Being surrounded by coasts and shorelines, Singapore is certainly blessed with a wide variety of sea creatures. Not surprisingly, we’ve become a nation who loves consuming fish.
Fishes are a protein-rich seafood which are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, essential vitamins and minerals. They are good for the eyes, heart, brain, and almost every other organ in our bodies. Compared to meat, fish significantly has less saturated fat and reduces more risks of serious health conditions.
With all the benefits we can get from this health food, we should be more appreciative and knowledgeable of its qualities and sources. The big question is: How well do we know our fish in this modern time?
Today, Tankfully Fresh is here to educate you about three of the well-loved fishes in the country.
1. Red Snapper
Known as Ikan Merah in Malay, the Red Snapper is one of the most commonly caught varieties in the region. This exotic fish can be found in warm waters, such as the Gulf of Mexico and waters surrounding Southeast Asia.
Red Snappers have pin bones and a sweet, firm, textured flesh which makes it suitable for a lot of cooking methods. Raw snappers vary in white and yellow colours, but are all similarly pearly white when cooked.
Snappers are often added with strong flavours such as chilli, ginger, coriander, and coconut, perfectly complementing its slightly sweet taste. One popular dish that can be made out of Snappers are Curry Fish Heads. Large kinds of snappers can be even served filleted, grilled, baked with herbs, or pan-fried with butter.
Threadfins are a small pelagic fish believed to have high nutrients to boost supply for breast-feeding and support the brain development of a child. Known colloquially as Ikan Kurau and Ngor He, this fish comes in two types: the economical version which has a metallic gray pattern on its skin; and the premium version which additionally has a golden pattern and sourced one and a half hour ferry ride away from Singapore at Tanjung Balai.
This fish is often characterized by its threadlike filaments under its gills. Threadfins have firm, pinkish flesh and are usually sold as a cutlet or fillet. There are a number of recipes that use threadfin as its main ingredient. One is the green papaya threadfin soup, which are typically used for confinement. Another is the Teochow porridge, which contains steamed threadfin and fried bittergourd, offered in Zi Char stalls.
3. Silver Pomfret
Also known as Ikan bawal putih (Malay) or pek cheoh (Hokkien or Teochew), Silver Pomfrets are flat-bodied fishes which are found in coastal waters. This variety can grow up to 24 inches and are often used as a substitute to the Chinese Pomfret due to its price and availability.
Silver pomfrets have either forked tail fins or long pectoral fins. Its meat is white, tasty, and tender, making it suitable for steamed dishes. Unlike other fishes, silver pomfrets do not give off a strong scent. The Chinese usually prepare it by steaming with some light soy sauce and sour plum to enhance the flavour. In Singapore, it is frequently preserved with sour plum, ginger and mushrooms or fried with black beans. Still, others prefer to cook them by grilling, panfrying and broiling.
Now that you know your Singaporean fishes, we hope you’ve realized its essence not only as a treasurable element of our delectable cuisines but also a healthy source of nutrients for our overall well-being.