Aussie Fishes Suited for Asian Cooking This Easter

The Easter school holidays and long weekend is fast approaching this year, with many Australians eager to celebrate it together with friends and family after the easing of restrictions throughout the country.

So, when is Easter 2022? Easter 2022 falls in April this year, with Easter Sunday falling on April 17. Good Friday falls on April 15. Easter Monday is a public holiday, providing a much anticipated long weekend for many Australians!

Seafood is synonymous with Easter celebrations in Australia. Traditionally, some Catholics abstain from meat every Friday as a penance (which some still observe). However, it is a more common practice to abstain from eating red meat on Fridays during Lent and Good Friday. It has now become a normal tradition for households (regardless of faith) to serve seafood during Easter.

Fish is a healthier protein source than meats, packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and loads of vitamins and minerals that is said to reduce the risk of heart attack, strokes and even depression! While you can certainly choose fish that are steak or fillet without the hassle of bones or even skin, you’ll also be missing out on some of the tastiest dishes with whole fish, especially in Asian cooking. After all, a lot of the flavours come from the bones!

When buying whole fish, make sure it’s scaled, gutted, and cleaned thoroughly. Fresh bought from the market can generally stay fresh frozen up to 6 months. But fish is usually best to cook and savour within 2 weeks, especially for fillets and steaks. Raw fish is best consumed within the day.

Raw

Did you know that only saltwater fish is suited to be eaten raw?

Japan has perfected the art of preparing and eating raw seafood. Sushi grade fish (or sashimi grade) is the gold standard used to identify fish deemed safe for raw consumption. Most fish vendors will use the term "sushi grade" to indicate which of their supply is the freshest and of the highest quality.

Salmon, tuna and snappers are the best fish for sashimi and sushi. Here in Australia, you can easily find them pre-filleted. Enjoy a scrumptious sashimi platter, delicious salmon rolls, fresh sashimi salad and wholesome poke bowl with these cuts of fish.

Steamed

For the Chinese, steaming is probably the most favourite way cook fish. This is why you can find tanks of fish swimming in the most authentic Chinese restaurants across Australia.

It’s no wonder why. Steaming a fish whole retains most of the nutrition while releasing the natural juices from the fish, which creates a perfect base that will mix well with sauces and seasonings!

Although it is commonplace to find filleted fish in your supermarkets. It’s so much better to buy a whole fish directly from the market or local fishmonger for Asian cooking.

Both white flesh seawater and freshwater fish are great for steaming. Try your hand at preparing the fresh Cantonese style steamed snapper, the spicy and zesty Thai-style barramundi and this healthy steamed pomfret with mushrooms.

Other popular fish for choices Asian cooking in Australia are: bream, tilapia, flounder, grouper and trout are also.

Deep fried

This Easter, forget about the traditional fish and chips and try your hands at some Asian deep fried fish recipes! In Asian cuisines, the fish cutlet and fillet are typically marinated with a light coating of flour. Whole fish can be lightly coated in starch and deep-fried as is. They are then paired with sweet, sour or spicy sauces.

You can never go wrong with white-fleshed fish for deep fried fish. For fillets, enjoy the bream with nabanzuke marinate. The ling fish in an authentic Chinese vermicelli soup and savour the deep fried barramundi with Balinese sambal matah.

Pan-Fried

Most popular white flesh fishes in Australia are compatible with Asian style pan fried recipes.

Unless you have a restaurant grade wok, it is best to pan fry fillets and smaller fish-types. Pan-fried fish should be fried until golden brown- with slightly crispy skin and firm but tender flesh within.  In Asian cooking, the pan fried fish is usually topped off with a sauce or curry with fresh greens like spring onion or coriander for garnishing.

Have a simple Chinese home-cooked fave with any white fish cutlet. Black pomfrets are less common in Australia but are also best for pan-fry, with garlic or ginger for fragrance.

Impress your guests with a crowd favourite - barramundi in Thai red curry and pan-fried whole bream with rice in the Japanese classic Tai Meshi.

Grilled

In Australia, grilling is usually reserved mainly for meats, but when done properly, grilling is such a delicious and healthy way to enjoy fish! While red meat tastes better when not fully cooked, fully grilled fish is safest.

Grilled saba (or mackerels) is a common breakfast meal in Japan. It is usually served with a side of rice, pickled ginger, a simple salad and miso soup. Try it in this classic grilled saba shioyaki recipe.

Swordfish is an Australian specialty, found in the cool waters of the eastern territories. Because of their size, swordfish are usually cut and sold in fillets. Try your hand at preparing this simple traditional teriyaki steak!

The sting-ray like Skate fish lives in most Aussie waters. Its fillets are thick and sumptuous, which makes it perfect for the Malaysian Ikan Bakar. This fish grill is usually wrapped with layers of banana leaves before marinated with a special sambal blend. It is then grilled over charcoal fire.

Over To You

Finding quality seafood for the long Easter weekend can be tricky! We’d recommend ordering ahead from your local markets or fishmonger. We hope this list is able to inspire you to cook something different for this Easter. If you have tried any of them, please share your Easter feast with us on our socials!

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