Fish is delicate and lovely and can be easily transformed into so many dishes. Be it a fragrant fish curry or crisp fried fish fry, it is a wonderful ingredient to experiment with. But a lot of people shy away from cooking it considering it to be challenging. While it’s true that cooking fish does require some amount of skill, it is easy to attain it. The first step in cracking any recipe or dish is getting the best ingredients. There are some thumb rules that you need to follow while buying fish and making sure that it is fresh. Once you know them, you’re on your way to making the best fish curry. Here are five tips to always keep handy while buying fish as suggested by Chef Sukesh Kanchan from Sanadige.
1. Look for firm, shiny flesh: The flesh of the fish should bounce back on touching it. The skin has a natural metallic glow and should not look dull. The surface of the skin must be tight and the scales might be tightly attached. Cracked skin or loose scales could be signs of rotting fish.
2. Sniff the fish: Fresh fish should not smell but should have a mild scent. It is best to avoid fish that has a strong, fishy odour or a sour smell. The smell of the fish is specific to the sea or river from where it has been caught. It is natural and pleasant. Fish that is old or spoiled has a pungent and sharp smell of trimethylamine – an organic compound released from rotting fish.
3. See the eyes: This is perhaps one of the best ways to check if your fish is fresh or not. The eyes of the fish can tell you a lot about its freshness. The eyes should be bulging, shiny and clear. They should be no cloudiness present. Even if the eyes are sunken into the head it could suggest that the fish is old.
4. Check the gills: If it is a whole fish, the gills should be bright pink or reddish in colour. They should also be slightly wet and not slimy or dry.
5. Other signs: Check for any kind of discoloration of skin, brown or yellow sliminess around the edges, or a spongy texture, these are all signs of old fish.
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