steamed fish

I was so sure that I had written about my experience last year with gutting fish – my first time ever – but apparently I didn’t because I can’t find it. It happened last September I think, when my friend was sort of fishing in my backyard and brought up two fish to the house. They were both still alive. I didn’t know what to do with them (having never killed or gutted fish before) so I put them in a plastic bag and… put them in the fridge. I know, I know. Inhuman. I’m sorry.

The next day, Lori and I decided that we would eat them for dinner. The fish were dead by that point, having suffocated in the darkness of the cold fridge. By this time I had done my research (aka looked up on Google “how to gut a fish”) and set to work. Innards came out, fish was washed and was sort of descaled (not as easy as you may think!) and then fish was fried on the stove. It wasn’t a pretty picture. I don’t know how to fry fish. Sure I’d watched my friends fry them before and they made it look so easy. But… I don’t know how to fry fish. It was edible though. Sort of. We ate it for dinner but gave whatever was left to our cats.

My lessons learned from this experience were: kill the fish before putting them in the fridge; gut the fish as soon as you kill it and before you put it in the fridge; learn another way to cook a fish, other than frying it… or learn how to properly fry fish so it doesn’t fall apart in the pan as you’re cooking it.

This brings me to my next story. Two days ago Phii Phaan and his brother-in-law whom we’ll call Mr. Orchid (because he makes fun of our orchid plants that haven’t bloomed in over a year) unloaded a barrel of fish into the pond, behind my house. I said quietly to Lori that I hoped that they didn’t bring us a fish, selfishly not wanting to have to kill it, gut it and then cook it. As they left, they jokingly (I think) called out to me, “Look after the fish will you?” (except in Thai-yai). I yelled back and said, “sure! But you have to teach me first because I have no clue how to look after fish.” They laughed in response.

“Okay,” I thought to myself. “No fish. That’s good.”

By this time, dinner was ready (which was, by the way, one of the best Thai-yai meals I’ve ever made: ‘nam phit kho to liin’ and ‘maak kheu oop’ – not to brag or anything) and we were sat at the table. Just then, Phii Phaan arrives at the door, holding in his two hands a rather large fish.

Don’t worry. I didn’t tell him to take the fish away. As he brought the fish over to the sink and put it into one of the dish pans, I thanked him several times and commented on how big the fish was and how that was so great. Then I quickly asked, “Is it dead yet?” (because I still have yet to use the blunt edge of a knife and hit the fish behind its eye to kill it and I wasn’t looking forward to doing so; and I had memories of an escaped fish flapping on the floor of the inside of my truck (about which I think I never blogged). “Er, uh… yup,” he said. Thank you Phii Phaan!

So here is the fish.

Here it still is.
Definitely not still alive.
Definitely not flapping around on the floor.

It really was a good sized fish.

With algae from the pond still on its ‘nose’ (?)….

Lori took a stab at gutting it this time
and was the one with the fishy smelling hands afterwards.

Then she wiggled the fish back and forth
to make its mouth open and close
like it was talking…
There is a video clip of this you know…
are you interested?

Then today, SW came and taught me how to steam fish.
Much better than frying.

And it was good.

So good.

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