Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tips on cooking and buying fish

At Mc Currie, we purchase fish and seafood regularly for use in our ready-to-eat product range. We share some tips here on how to purchase, prepare and cook fish.

The cooking of fish depends on its fat content. Lean fish are best for cooking in liquid as they remain firm, for instance cod, pike, sea bass and carp. The oily fish should be “backed” or “steamed”. The types of fish suited to this are salmon, mackerel, trout and herring.

Frozen Fish Fish Market

After thawing, cook exactly as fresh fish.  Frozen fish should be hard when bought. Never re-freeze fish after it thaws.

Buying Fish

A good fishmonger’s or market will display the fish packed on ice. Fresh fish is very perishable and should be carefully handled and kept at a low temperature from the moment it is caught. Fresh fish has a characteristic smell which is pleasant and easy to detect with just a little experience. Fresh fish has a firm and elastic flesh that leaves no impression to the touch of fingers.  The gills should be red and the eyes bright and bulging, with scales closely adhering to the flesh. Fish can be bought either dressed or drawn. Drawn (whole) fish have only their scales and entrails removed.  Dressed fish have scales, head, fins, tail and entrails removed.

How much to Buy

A drawn or whole fish weighing ½ kg (1 lb) will serve two people; ½ kg (1 lb) steaks will serve three; ½ kg (1 lb) fillets will serve four.

Storing Fish

If storing in the refrigerator, fish should not be allowed to pervade other food with its smell and should either be kept in a covered glass bowl or wrapped in greaseproof paper. Clean it before storing if it is not being used for a day or two. Unless purchased frozen, fresh fish bought from the fishmongers should  be cooked the same day, as it is already 12-24 hours old.

Tinned Fish

Like any other tinned food, tinned fish can easily be heated and become part of a very pleasant  casserole and the brine or oil from the tin can help to make the basis of a good sauce. 

Preparation of Fish

Many fishmongers will obligingly prepare and clean a fish for you if asked. However, there will be some occasions when you will have to do it yourself.

Scaling : To remove the scales from a fish hold the tail and scrape a blunt edged knife over the fish from tail to head. Hold knife at a slant to prevent scales from flying. It is less messy if you do this with the fish held under water in a large bowl.

Skinning : Cut out the fins with scissors. Cut away a narrow strip of skin along the entire length of the back. Cut and loosen skin at the gills and pull skin off towards the tail, following closely with a knife to avoid tearing the flesh.  Skin the other side in the same way.

Dressing : Make a slit in the stomach and remove entrails and any clots of blood. Remove head and tail unless fish is very small. Wash thoroughly and wipe with a dry cloth.

Boning : Use a very sharp pointed knife. Begin at the tail end and slip the knife between the flesh and the backbone and cut the entire length of each side of the fish, keeping knife as  close as possible to backbone.  On a large fish, do not cut all the way through the back but keep the two sides together for stuffing. Smaller fish are cut into separate fillets.

Visit the Mc Currie website for ready-to-eat seafood based products!

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Sweet & Sour King Prawns: A special Kumar Pereira recipe

Kumar Pereira

Kumar Pereira, of MasterChef Australia fame, was on a culinary tour of Sri Lanka in January 2013. Mc Currie was the Official Spice Sponsor for the tour. We will be posting some of the recipes for the dishes prepared during this tour. Visit Kumar’s website and get a copy of his book for more such wonderful recipes!

Sweet & sour king prawns with coconut rice & greens

Ingredients

4 King prawns per person, shelled [de veined] tails on; Mc Currie Unroasted curry powder, Mc Currie Tamarind paste, Mc Currie Chilli powder, Mc Currie Turmeric, Onion, Curry leaves, Garlic, Ginger, Mc Currie Lemon grass, Kitul treacle, Coconut milk, Pandan leaf, Young coconut [Londa]

Rice, coconut water, salt

Kang Kung, Maldive fish, Grated coconut, Green chilli, sliced onions, Curry leaves

Method

Cook rice in a mixture of ½ coconut water + ½ water

Peel, & devein  prawns [leave tails on]

Saute onion, garlic, ginger in a little oil add curry leaves and curry powder and turmeric, fry off and add prawns and turmeric. Add turmeric, tamarind and chopped chilli and stir until just cooked. Add a splash of treacle to taste and adjust seasonings. Add coconut milk if more gravy is required.

Stir- fry the Kangung with other ingredients to make a mallung. Adjust seasonings.

Scrape out the young coconut [thambili] into the prawns and mix through.

Serve with the steamed rice cooked with coconut water and water – serve on a banana leaf lined plate

Stay tuned to the blog for more recipes and visit the Mc Currie website for all your spice needs!

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