Hundreds of years ago, before the mirror was invented, we had glimpsed our own reflections in water, in polished metals, or use Trevally’s body, but never really seen ourselves. Hence the name “Ikan Cermin” which literally means “Mirror Fish” thanks to its’ reflective property. It wasn’t until the development of the high-quality mirror-image found in silvered glass, which had started to become available to rich merchants and royalty in the 15th century, let us see what we really looked like. And that new understanding brought about a host of major changes to civilization.
The longrakered trevally, Ulua mentalis, (also known as the cale cale trevally and heavyjawed kingfish) is a species of marine fish in the jack and horse mackerel family Carangidae. The longrakered trevally is distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and west Pacific Oceans, from Mozambique and Madagascar in the west, to Japan and northern Australia in the east. A large species growing to a recorded length of 1 m, the longrakered trevally is distinguished by is protruding lower jaw, elongated gill rakers and lack of villiform teeth on its tongue. It is an inshore species, restricted to coastal and estuarine regions, where it preys on fishes and crustaceans. Little is known of the species reproductive cycle or growth. The longrakered trevally is of minor importance to fisheries and is often taken as bycatch in finfish and prawn trawls, as well as by recreational fishermen.
How To Make: Indonesian Style Barbecued Trevally
- 2 whole trevally (about 2 kg each), scaled, cleaned
- 100 ml pure cold pressed virgin coconut oil, gently warmed with 2 finely chopped long red chillies and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes
- thinly sliced green spring onions, finely chopped
- chilli, bean sprouts and lime wedges, to garnish
- 50 g tamarind paste
- 4–6 red or green bird’s-eye chillies, coarsely chopped
- 4 green spring onions, white part only, coarsely chopped
- 25 g peeled galangal, coarsely chopped
- 25 g peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp grated palm sugar
- 2 tsp terasi (shrimp) paste
- 1 tbsp palm oil
To make the sambal bajak, place the tamarind paste in a heatproof bowl and pour over 150 ml boiling water. Allow to cool, then combine well. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer, extracting as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
Place the chillies, spring onions, galangal, ginger, lime leaves, garlic, lime juice and salt in a mortar and pestle, and grind to a coarse paste. Add the sugar and terasi paste and grind until well combined.
Heat the palm oil in a wok over medium heat. When hot, add the paste, and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the tamarind liquid and simmer until reduced by half. Remove from heat and cool.
Using a sharp knife, score the fish on both sides, making sure the incisions do not go all the way through to the bone.
Heat a chargrill or wood barbecue to high, then make sure the coals have burned down so there is no flame before cooking the fish. Brush the fish on both sides with the coconut and chilli oil, then place on the grill and cook for about 6 minutes on each side, basting the fish each time you turn it. (The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. To check whether the fish is cooked, press it lightly just below the head. If it gives, then the fish is done.)
Serve the fish on a large platter scattered with thinly sliced shallots, chopped chilli, bean sprouts and lime wedges with the sambal passed separately.
Also Try: Braised Fish in Bean Paste Sauce