Cooking Fish

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Zeenat Iqbal Hakimjee

Zeenat Iqbal Hakimjee is an Islamabad-based culinary expert.

Latest posts by Zeenat Iqbal Hakimjee (see all)

fishFreshness check: The fish should be stiff, eyes should be bright and the skin should be firm.

Method (skinning and filleting fish): Cut off the head and slit from the stomach right down to the tail. Turn it over, so that the skin inside is up and the bone is along the centre. Press on the bone to loosen it. Then turn it up the other way and take out the bone easily.

Three types of coating for the fish (to-be-fried):

  1. Beaten egg and brown bread crumbs.
  2. Flour and milk (first dip in flour and then in milk.)
  3. Dip into a coating of butter.

How to fry: Butter, olive oil or Kimbo should be used for frying.

Two methods of frying:

  1. Deep-fat frying.
  2. Shallow fat frying.

Large quantities should be fried in deep-fat frying, but care must be taken to see that the fat is never over-heated. If the fat is over-heated and is heating on an open flame, it can burst into flames and cause accidents.

In deep-fat frying, the fat should be made very hot, so that the fish fries easily and quickly. Butter is not suitable for deep fat frying, as it burns too easily. Small quantities of fresh fish should be fried in shallow fat, but better results are obtained from deep-fat frying.

For deep-fat frying, fat should be heated till a thin blue smoke rises from it. Pan should be 2/3 full of fat. The method of testing, whether the fat is hot, is to drop a small piece of bread into fat – if the bread goes golden brown almost immediately, then the fat is ready to be used.

The instructions for clarifying fat: The fat should be kept very clean and should be strained and clarified after every occasion. Put the fat in a large bowl. Pour over 1 kettle-full of boiling water and leave until the fat is cool and set or hard swimming on the water. When the fat is set, cut and scrape deposits from the underside. All the dirt remains at the bottom.

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