What is the difference between white pomfret and black pomfret? Honestly, I have no clue. But we always steam white pomfret with ginger or deep-fry then luxuriously slather it with sweet soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce. With black pomfret, we stuff it with lemongrass and, again, deep-fry.
There is very noticeable texture and taste between the two. White pomfret is somewhat smoother and milder in taste. Black pomfret is more flaky and has earthy taste to it. These are the reasons why steaming is not such a great way to enjoy it. Since black pomfret is usually bigger in size, hence thicker meat, it is a great deep-fried fish.
Back to the stuffing, I am a sucker for lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. They are just the most perfect couple in the world of spices. So, both ingredients, plus many others, such as chillies and shallots, are coarsely ground. A deep cut on the side of the fish is made and the stuffing is inserted. The whole fish is then deep fried till crunchy. The flaky meat is infused by the fragrant spices. A mouthful of fish and spices with steamed rice. It is just simply delicious!
Stuffed Black Pomfret with Lemongrass
370 g black pomfret, washed, pat dried and innards removed
2 cups cooking oil, for deep frying
For spice stuffing
25 g red chilies
6 (25 g) shallots
2 (10 g) garlic cloves
3 whole candlenut, toasted
1 cm fresh turmeric root
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 stalks lemongrass
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
Grind all spices ingredient in a food processor or pound in a mortal and pestle
Make a deep cut on the top side of the fish. Insert the stuffing as much as you can
Deep fry the fish in hot oil for 10 minutes each side, till both sides are cooked. Serve with steamed rice
Stuffed black pomfret can be grilled on open fire or grill pan.
Remove chilies' seeds before grinding if milder taste is preferred.
Also known as "Bawal Hitam Goreng Serai" in Indonesian.
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