Crispy Jewfish Wings with Spicy Tamarind & Ginger Sauce
The pectoral fins and collar are an often over-looked cut when we are processing our catch. Known as "Fish Wings", they are a tender delicacy which, when cooked correctly, provide sweet meet contrasting with crunchy, crispy textured fins.
1/2 collar (1 wing)
1 hour, 10 minutes
- Mulloway collar and fins (one is enough for two people, if the fish is around the metre mark), scaled, skin on.
- corn flour to coat your fish.
- 1 teaspoon of cooking salt.
- Rice bran oil (enough to deep fry your wings in a wok)
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 2-4 red chillies (we like birdseyes, but choose according to your tolerance)
- 2 handfuls of fresh coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of crushed ginger
- 2 spring onions
- 2.5 tablespoons of sugar (palm-flavoured sugar gives an authentic Thai flavour, but castor sugar will do)
- 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
- 1 cucumber
- 1 carrot
- 2 cups thinly sliced savoy (Chinese) cabbage
- 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
- sliced lemon
- As we are intending to eat the crispy skin and crunchy fins, it's worth taking extra care to remove every single scale, so use your fingertips to seek out and remove any stragglers.
- Rinse and pat the collars and fins dry. Leave to dry further on paper towel.
- Use a mortar and pestle to grind salt into a fine powder and combine with cornflour, then coat the fish (all surfaces, inside and out, both sides of fins, etc.) with salt and flour mix and set aside.
- Julienne the carrot, thinly slice the cucumber into long match-like sticks and combine these two ingredients with the thinly sliced cabbage in a bowl. Set aside.
- Cut chillies in half and remove seeds with a teaspoon (don't rub your eyes!). Thinly slice the chilli flesh.
- Crush your garlic and finely chop the spring onions. Chop one handful of your coriander. If you have a food processor, you can blend these into a paste, including the ginger... but it's not necessary. We like it rustic and chunky.
- TO COOK
- Warm sesame oil and a dash of rice bran oil in a skillet. Add chillies, crushed garlic, chopped onion, chopped coriander (remember to save one handful for your garnish) and ginger (or your blended paste, if you've used a food processor). Cook on a medium to high heat until the flavours and aromas start to blend.
- Once the onion and garlic show signs of breaking down (they'll turn translucent), add sugar and fish sauce.
- Turn up the heat to start thickening your mixture.
- Lastly, add your tamarind paste. Stir and allow to fully mix. Taste. Your sauce should be sweet, spicy and sour all at once. Add sugar, fish sauce or tamarind to achieve the right balance. Water can be used to thin your mixture, if needed, to allow you to keep it simmering. Turn the heat to low and keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally, while you cook the fish.
- Heat about 4cm rice bran oil in a wok. It's ready for your fish when a small piece dropped in sizzles immediately. When it's hot enough, slide fish through the oil, skin down.
- Use a large serving spoon to pick up and pour sizzling oil over fins that are not in the oil. Allow to cook for about thirty seconds before turning. With the skin side now up, continue to pour sizzling oil over any exposed fish and fins until they are crisp and crunchy.
- Repeat until the flesh is cooked.
- TIP: fillets will continue to cook once removed from the pan, so use a knife to separate the meat at the thickest point and remove as soon as flesh is white through, so it doesn't over cook.
- Check your sauce. When it has a consistency like honey, it is ready.
- PLATING UP
- Spread your cucumber, carrot and cabbage salad on the plate. Place wings on the bed of salad before pouring your warm, sticky sauce evenly over the fish. Garnish with bean sprouts and remaining coriander leaves.
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