We wandered over to Senoko Fishery Port one fine midnight to buy seafood – flash-frozen fish, big ol’ prawns and slimy squid.
The haul was for Chinese New Year (the Chinese version of Christmas without religious undertones & oversights) where food, food and gut-bursting food is the norm.
My Haul: 1 kg of Tiger prawns, 1 small parrot fish
What I wanted to get out of it wasn’t just relatively fresh and relatively cheaper seafood. I wanted to scale, gut and prepare a fish from scratch.
Preparing a Fish
Simple 3-step process: scale, gut, and keep.
Images taken from the web.
Scale the Fish
Get a fish scale scrapper and run it against the scales to pull them off the fish. Do it all over the fish – head, tail, body, everywhere. You’ll know when it’s done when the fish is smooth all over to touch.
This is the messiest step. I do it outdoors now especially after I clogged up the sink with fish scales.
Gut the Fish
Not for the squeamish. It gets bloody here. I’ve outlined the steps below:
- Remove the gills
Lift the side flaps on the fish’s head, grab a hold of the gills and yank them out.
- Slit the fish along the belly
Use a short and sharp knife. Cutting through the skin and belly requires effort. Place your hand above the fish, press down on it, and commence slicing. Make sure that your fingers are nowhere near the cutting zone.
- Open up the fish and pull out its guts
Basically reach in and pull out the intestines, liver, ballast pouch etc. I use pliers as it can get slippery. Essentially you’d want a clean, hollowed out fish.
- Scrape out the blood residue
Use a knife or point of a chopper to scrape out the now clotting blood. This helps to reduce the fishy smell and taste. Clean throughly with water.
Keep the Fish
If you’re not using the fish now, sprinkle a little salt inside and outside of the fish, and freeze it.
Now that’s how we scale, gut, and clean a fish.