We love our Pritong Isda (Fried Fish) and the fish of choice in our house for frying is Bream. Tilapia would be nice but in Australia, this type of fish is considered as a pest. Dead or alive, Tilapia is prohibited. If Bream is not available in your part of the world, just use your preferred fish or better yet, ask your fishmonger on what’s suitable for whole fish frying.
As you all know by now, Cusinera usually buy her seafood in Inala and every time fish are included I request them to be scaled and gutted. Once I get home I descaled them again and really clean the gut areas by flushing it with cold water under the tap. I trim the fins with a sharp kitchen scissors but only half of the length, because I usually cook them side by side in the pan. Trimming the fins makes it easier for me to flip the fish and they don’t tend to stick to each other because there are no side fins that fans out too much.
PRITONG ISDA (FRIED FISH)
4 medium bream (scaled, gutted & trimmed)
1/2 cup cooking oil
~ Pat the fish with kitchen paper towels to remove excess water. Using a sharp knife, make a slanted cut on each side of the fish. Grab about 1 1/2 tspn of coarse table salt and sprinkle between the slanted cuts, inside the head/stomach cavity and all over the fish. Do the same procedure with the rest of the fish and place in container and completely cover with cling wrap. Place inside the fridge for at least an hour. You can do this prep the night before if you want, ready for next day use.
~ Take out the fish container and drain out the accumulated liquid.
~ In a large frying pan, heat your oil on high. Once your oil is hot enough, lower the heat just above medium or medium-high and place two fish in opposite directions.
~ Fry the first side down till golden brown and flip over to cook the other side. Remove the cooked fish with a pair of tongs, lift it for a few seconds just above the frying pan so that the excess oil drips down and then place on a large bowl/platter lined with kitchen paper towels. Cook the 2nd batch the way you have cooked the 1st batch. Let all the fried fish rest on the kitchen paper towels to further let the excess oil drip.
~ Best served freshly cooked.
- Don’t tightly cover the fish before serving as it will sweat and the crunchy bits will become soft.
- Open all your windows and turn “on” your fans to get rid of the frying fish aroma, better yet invest on a portable stove to be used outside the house.
- Don’t crank your stove heat too high as this will quickly cook the outside of your fish but still have raw parts inside.