“Mommy, why is this fish’s mouth is so wide open?” That was the question of my son, the toothless, asked when he saw these broiled fish on the dinner table. “Well, because he is screaming to tell me that the oven was too hot for him” That was the answer I could come up with. LOL!
I literally grow up eating fish pretty much on the daily bases. My parents loved fish, or anything that grows under the water. It has to be fresh, mostly alive when they buy them.
The other day I went to the local wet market in Wan Chai to look for fresh fish. They call it “wet” because the ground in the market is wet. Make sense!
I like to go there often to see local people’s way of living. There is something about market that teaches you the importance of life, the energy, and the diligence. People sell, people buy…, beautiful produce…, hard working locals to get by their daily needs. Things that you don’t feel the same way from the big grocery stores where everything is nicely prepacked and displayed.
I took my camera with me last time to see the local produce through the lense.
Here are some I would like to share with you…
This is the local tram stop at Wan Chai market.
This is the tram.
It only cost HKD$2 (25 cents US) to use it.
One of the market entrance.
one of the many fish stands.
A man cleaning fish for his customers.
The life of fish!
Well ripened papaya
The dragon fruit.
Looks gorgeous outside but not so sweet inside…
Not a big fan of these fruits.
one of my favorite tropical fruit.
White flesh inside, very sweet and juicy.
Not a big fan, either.
The kindest lady I know in the Wan Chai market.
although I don’t speak Chinese, and she doesn’t speak English well either,
she always greets me with smile and gives me a bunch of green onion for free
even if I buy just a single zucchini.
That is ox tail!
and the lady on the right bought it.
I wonder if the butcher removes all the hair out of that tail…
Kinda gross to me….
The yellow croaker, the star of today’s posting!
One of my favorite fish and my kids just love them.
Now, we will end the tour of the market here. More comes later!
I will share with you how you can enjoy these yellow croaker in a simple broil method.
Pull your sleeves and let’s get to work on this fish!
Some people hesitate cooking fish because of the smell.
Yes, if you don’t treat the fish well, it will smell up your kitchen pretty bad.
Always look for fresh fish. That is the first step.
Here are some tips how to choose fresh fish.
1. Look at their eyes. Bright and clear is the one you need to look for.
2. Smell it. Fresh fish is not stinky. It should smell like clean water.
3. Shiny? Yes. Dull? No
4. Look for bright red gills. Old fish will have darker brownish gills.
So you got the fish, the whole fish?
You would think your fish man cleaned all the scales and get rid of inside stuff?
Well, unless he has a crush on you, the chances are NO!
Scales are the one causing the most smell when cooking,
and you need to remove as much as you can.
The fish guys usually remove the body part’s scales very well but not around the head.
So, shave his head, please!
Say hello darling!
Remove more scales around the fins as well.
Wash them good.
Cut off the fins.
They are the ones get erected in the heat and get burned fast.
Besides who eats the fin?
(except the shark’s fin…)
Trim off these fins as well,
Well, these guys are all shaved and trimmed, slick!
Get some coarse salt.
Sprinkle salt inside and
Cover with plastic wrap.
Here is what you need to decide.
I would like to eat this fish for dinner that night so I let them chill for about 6 hrs until ready.
The amount of the salt in the recipe is based on that time.
If you don’t have much time, increase the amount of salt.
Also, you can freeze these guys for later use.
Just wrap them individually and put them in zip lock bag,
keep them in freezer up to couple of month.
How to thaw? You can use microwave but I prefer this way.
Dunk the entire zip lock bag in the cold water for 20 minutes.
They are as fresh as before!
Ready to broil?
First, Wash the fishes again to remove excess salt. Set aside.
I will show you my secret of broiling fish without the worry of smell during cooking.