One dish new cooks shouldn’t attempt – Fried fish


This is a plate of fish heads because I had used the body to make steam fish and kept the heads for frying. In case you do not know, fresh fishes are best steamed but sometimes, the fish is too huge for one meal and I keep them for frying. Or if the fish is not entirely fresh, it is better to avoid steaming because not so fresh fish smells.

However, frying fish is something that I dislike because :
1) The oil splatter all over my kitchen
2) The risk of popping oil burning/scalding my hands
3) It is a real sticky situation to make sure the fish doesn’t stick to the pan

So, if you are a new cook, don’t attempt to fry fish. Moreover, some fishes cannot be fried and will turn flaky or disintegrate when fried. If you are not sure, ask the fishmonger if the fish can be fried before you try.

Tips for making sure the death defying fish frying situation is under control :

1) If the fish is large/thick slice, make oblong cuts along the body;
2) Dry it with kitchen towels
3) Rub salt on the body
4) Sprinkle some wheat flour on it
5) Ensure your oil is hot, not smoky hot but with bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pan
6) Standy a wok/pan cover

To fry…

Jeng, jeng, jeng….

After all the above steps are done, take a deep breath….

Slide the fish into the pan

Cover the wok/pan


Don’t turn the fish over until you see the sides at the bottom has turned brownish..

That said, fried fish is a damn tasty dish and goes well with rice.

4 Replies to “One dish new cooks shouldn’t attempt – Fried fish”

  1. I think I learnt is that if the wok was previously used to steam something, you need to “recondition” the wok by cleaning it, heating up some cooking oil in it, then scoop up the oil followed by cleaning the wok (without use of detergent) before frying. I think the steaming, or rather, the boiling effect removed all form of “grease” from the wok which made the wok “sticky”. Oh, I am referring to those black iron woks 😀

  2. the fish break a bit never mind wan… can make fish head bihun… make fish soup with the fried fish head add assam boi and preserved vege… slurp, slurp, slurp…

  3. the key to frying a good fish with all the skin and flesh intact is hot oil

    i still remember my late grandmother’s way … for a noob to do it is by using a slick of ginger, cut a not-very-thin slice of ginger – old ginger

    then dump into the wok, wait until ginger becomes golden, that indicates the oil is hot enough, pay the fish dry with a towel … but of course make sure its a clean towel la …

    then slide fish in, if the fish is dry and ur hand is dry as well, u dont have to run … running away and closing with the cover are for noobs only … hahaha

  4. I have learn this secret of frying fish without having it stick to the pan. Put some vinegar in the wok and heat it to boiling. Then dump it out and wipe dry with a paper towel before adding oil to it. And wait till the oil is smoking a bit before putting the fish in. For whatever scientific reason there is, the vinegar trick does work.

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