Of whales and pomfrets

The flood alarm has been sounded for Bangkok for close to a month already. We were initially rather frugal with our meals, trying our best not to use too many ingredients lest we were struck by the rising waters. But three weeks of waiting for the ‘giant whales’ to descend upon our neighborhood (still a if and when at point of writing) have taken its toll on us; we were getting restless at home so we decided to make better use of our weekends at home by attempting to cook new dishes. Mr. P had been craving for fish for several days so we made a trip to the nearby Udomsuk fresh market, zeroed in on our favorite seafood stall and chose one fortunate pomfret to be our guest at home. (Side note: We were pleasantly surprised that fresh produce were still in abundance. A fruit vendor in the neighbourhood told us the week before that his supplies were running low as it was becoming harder to secure fruits from the Rangsit wholesale market—the area is currently flooded.)

Back home, I decided to give my mom a call to get her advice on cooking pomfret. I called my dad up on iPad via Facetime. They were highly tickled and amused I’d make an impromptu call home—we have a routine for our weekly chats—just to find out how to cook a dish, least of all something (fish) I didn’t used to like. When Mummy knew we had got a pomfret, she requested to ‘see’ it. I took the pomfret out from the fridge and flashed it in front of her/the iPad.

“Aiyoh, why did you buy a hei cang?” She clucked her tongue. (Hei cang is Chinese for black promfret.) “How do you intend to cook it?”

“We’ll use the microwave, just like how you used to cook fish for Papa,” I replied.

“Then you have to use bai cang (white promfret). Hei cang tastes better when fried,” she said.

I said,”I also think so but Mr. P here thinks differently. He thinks a hei cang is fatter, hence tastier if steamed.”

“Haha. Just try making it. Remember to rub salt on the skin and inside of the fish to clean it,” she advised.

At times like this, I really heart technology. The wonders of technology make it possible—and easy—for me to seek culinary tips from my family, even though we are physically more than 2,000km apart. And when the fish is cooked, I took photos of the dish on iPad and sent it to my brother’s iPhone so that he could show our ‘masterpiece’ to Mummy and Papa.

They asked about the taste of the fish. Our verdict? Just mediocre. The flesh was a bit too dry and the soy sauce too little. But we’re already planning to advance our fish-cooking techniques with the next piscine dish, this time with plaa kraphong (sea bass). More updates to come. 😉

7 thoughts on “Of whales and pomfrets

  1. Hei Cang is not exactly good for steaming unless it’s like very very very fresh. Good try though and I am sure the sea bass will be better, as sea bass is easily found extremely fresh in Bangkok.

  2. such coincidence! i just steamed white pomfret few days ago. i missed steam fish so much. but fish here is neither fresh nor cheap.

    and my mom also always fry hei cang when i still prefer steam hei cang cos it is less dry this way. hahaha

    • A coincidence indeed! But for the lack of fresh, cheap fish in California, you have other local, seasonal produce, right?

      Yes, I guess it’s a matter of personal preference how you cook your hei cang. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s black or white, steamed or fried… as long as it’s tasty! 🙂

      • I haven’t had pomfret for ages here too. =/ Occasionally when I am dining out at this fine Thai restaurant I would order it but it’s ambitious for 1 person to finish that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s