Ultra Crispy Fried Pomfret Recipe: Ever wonder how to make fried Pomfret that is so ultra crispy that even the fins and tail can be eaten? The secret lies in coating it in a ‘magic powder’ – can you guess what it is? Click for the answer!
Crispy fried pomfret is another of my family’s highly sought-after dishes which I have been cooking for several years. I once invited my former pastor and his wife from St Paul’s Church to have a simple meal at my house, and one of the dishes I prepared was this crispy fried pomfret dish.
He is a great fan of Chinese food as he had been pastoring in Singapore churches for almost 20 years before returning back to his home country of New Zealand. But at heart, I think he is still more Singaporean than New Zealander.
After that day, my pastor could not forget the crispy fried pomfret that he had at my house, and always wondered what ingredient I added to the black pomfret that made it so crispy, yet moist and tender. I simply told him that I used a secret magic powder to make the fish so crispy on the outside yet moist on the inside.
But today I will unveil this well-kept secret to all TBK readers, so if you want to find out what my magic powder is, please read on!
- 400 gm Black Pomfret
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 - 2 1/2 tbsp Corn Flour a.k.a. Bee Leng's magic powder)
- 8 tbsp Oil for frying
- Wash the pomfret and use a sharp knife to make diagonal criss-cross cuts across the body 1-inch apart to form a diamond shape. Then use a kitchen towel to pat dry the fish both outside and inside
Rub the salt on the fish as well as the inside of the fish. Then coat the whole fish generously with corn flour on both sides.
Make sure you coat the fish with corn flour inside the diagonal grooves too.
- In a wok, add in the oil and heat over high fire.
- When the oil is boiling, shake off the extra flour from the fish and place it in the oil to fry for about 3-4 mins.
- Turn the fish over and fry for another 3-4 mins.
- Remove and place the fish on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.
- Transfer the fish on a serving dish and serve hot with balachan chilli (optional) and lime (optional).
- As I hinted above, the corn flour is the 'magic powder' that makes the fish so crispy that even the fins and the tail can be eaten.
- If you are using less oil to deep fry the pomfret like I do in the photos above, you will need to tilt the wok all around, so that the whole fish can cook evenly. To make the fin and tail crispy, be sure to tilt the wok in such a way that the tail and the fin of the pomfret are fully immersed in the oil while frying.
- Make sure you clean the fish properly, otherwise it will have an unpleasant smell of stale blood. See my post on 6 Simple Steps to Scale and Clean Your Fish Like A Pro for more details.
- Ensure that you pat dry the fish before frying, otherwise it will not be crispy.
- There are many types of pomfrets (white, golden, black, silver, Chinese), but the best pomfret for this dish is the Black Pomfret because the meat tends to be firmer, so its great for frying but I would not steam the Black pomfret for that same reason.
- You need high fire to deep-fry the fish so the outside is crispy while the inside remains tender and moist. But make sure the fish doesn't get burnt during frying. You need to watch the fire and lower the heat if necessary.
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Child-Friendly: Skip the belachan. Kids love the crispy skin, fins and tail!
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: No modifications needed, but check the label of the Sambal Belachan sauce to ensure it is gluten free.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: Skip the Sambal Belachan which contains shrimp.