River catfish such as this tend to have a slightly sweeter taste and a flaky texture. Lending themselves to baking, either as a pot roast in a rich sauce, or wrapped and roasted. You can use foil, although with banana leaves becoming more available, they can be used, lending a subtle flavour to the fish.
For a simple meal marinate the ayer fish in lime juice, ginger and garlic for 30 minutes, drain off most of the marinade and pop in the microwave, the time depends on the thickness of the fillet, so do it for a couple of minutes at a time until it’s cooked through. Or for a more luxurious meal…
Oven Baked Ayer
If you’re using banana leave warming over a flame will make them more malleable, brush the smooth side with a little oil. If using foil brush one side with oil to stop to sticking.
Serves 2, just increase the ingredients depending on how many people you’re serving.
175 g thick cut Ayer fish.
3 tbsp Curry Paste
A pinch or two chilli powder, garam masala, fenugreek seeds (use a pestle and mortar to break them down) and black pepper.
A handful of fresh chopped coriander
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 wedges of lemon
Salt to taste.
- Rinse and ayer fish and pat dry with paper towels, season and spread the curry paste on top.
- Place in the banana leaves drizzle over some of the oil. Fold and use oven safe string to tie in packages.
- Place in the fridge to marinade, you can leave them for up to 4 hours, but half an hour will do if you’re in a rush.
- Place in a preheated oven (180 °C/Gas 4) for 15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
- Serve with a potato side dish in the banana leaves and a lemon wedge.
These make a great dish for dinner parties; you can prepare the parcels before hand and just place in the oven 15 minutes before they’re needed. Served in the banana leaves guests can undo the string and squeeze over the lemon juice and enjoy.