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Deep-fried Tenggiri Fish

Deep fried Tenggiri Fish
Childhood favourite: Deep-fried Tenggiri Fish

I grew up on these deep fried Tenggiri fish. It is a common fish in South East Asia cooking, and besides being known as Tenggiri, my mum refers to it more often as “ma jia” (in Chinese) or “beh ga” in Hokkein. For those who reside out of Asia, the fish may be more commonly known as Spanish mackerel. Growing up, there are not many fish I liked because I find them all fishy (I’m not much of an adventurous eater back then), but this fish is an exception because it is naturally sweet and not fishy at all. The bones are relatively large and few, so they are a little less cumbersome than other fish to eat. I remember enjoying it with rice or porridge. Looking back, I realised my mum’s meals are wholesome, unpretentious, and super yummy. So naturally, when I tried to re-create this now in my kitchen, I kept the recipe really minimalistic. For the ingredients, there are just three – fish, salt and oil. And to cook it, just heat the oil and fry the fish fillets (deep fry or pan fry) till golden brown. In this simple recipe, there are no excessive marinade, seasonings or ingredients so no risk of complicating or masking the natural good taste of the fish.

Deep fried Tenggiri Fish

How to know if your fish has been deep fried to perfection? A nicely fried Tenggiri fish is crispy to the bite. I can hear the delightful ‘crunch’ as I sink my teeth into the fish, and the sound is music to my ears. The best part is, the fish stays crunchy even a few hours after it has been fried.

– Tenggiri fish steaks (cut cross-section), rinsed & patted dry
– vegetable cooking oil (example canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil)
– sea salt

Additional tools
– kitchen tongs (to hold the fish to check its progress)

1. Sprinkle a bit of salt over both sides of the fish.
2. Deep frying method. Heat some oil (enough oil to cover the fish) in a wok (or saucepan or deepfryer). Add fish steaks and deep fry till golden brown and crispy.
3. Pan frying method. If you prefer to pan fry, heat some oil (generous amount to cover a layer of the entire wok or pan. Add fish steaks to cover a single layer in the wok. Pan fry for a few minutes on one side till golden brown and crispy. Turn over and pan fry till golden brown on the other side.

61 comments on “Deep-fried Tenggiri Fish”

  1. Hey Wiffy, I grew up eating a lot of easy fried fish too. My mom stuck to mild fish for us ‘fried’ b/c we actually wolfed it down. Your photo makes the texture of this mackerel look so good…

  2. been ages hey! but this is the fish that I would eat with rice porridge when i was growing up!

  3. The way you describe them with the little ‘crunch’ has my mouth-watering! So delicious! :XO:

  4. Simple and nice, I miss this kind of fish.

  5. Love tenggiri esp deep fried like this. I don’t think I can find the same here :(
    I like to eat with sambal and white rice.. hehe

  6. My grandma used to cook this whenever we have porridge! She fries with some soy sauce..yummy!

  7. I coat it with some tumeric powder and chilli powder for some colour and spicy oomph!

  8. just like my grandma did it, yummy as it is

  9. goes well with hot piping porridge.

  10. I love this fish and it’s one that I cook very often. There’s also a very similar looking & tasting kind called Batang, I’m not sure if these two are the same. Can’t find this in Beijing (where I live now) though. *sulk* ::-*:

    • No Batang and Tenggiri is not the same, but yes they look similar. Batang is the cheaper fish over here. I think Tenggiri is less fishy and sweeter :)

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