Fish heads often have a more concentrated flavour and are meaty enough to cook into satisfying dishes.
CREAMY SALTED EGG YOLK FISH HEAD
500g garoupa fish head, chopped into serving-size pieces
½ cup tapioca flour
enough oil for deep frying
3 tbsp butter
2 stalks curry leaves
5 bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced
4 salted egg yolks, steamed and mashed
100ml chicken stock/water
150ml fresh milk
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp chicken stock powder
½ tsp pepper
dash of coarse ground black pepper
2-2½ tbsp sugar or to taste
Clean fish head pieces. Drain well and toss in tapioca flour. Deep-fry the pieces for 3-4 minutes till golden and crispy. Drain from oil.
Melt butter in a nonstick wok over medium heat. Add curry leaves and bird’s eye chillies. Stir fry till fragrant.
Add mashed salted egg yolks and fry gradually till mixture turns bubbly. Pour in chicken stock and fresh milk and adjust seasoning to taste. Simmer gradually till gravy or sauce is creamy. Add pre-fried fish head. Stir to coat the pieces well with the sauce.
Dish out and serve immediately.
TASTY FISH HEAD CURRY
450g garoupa fish head, chopped into serving-size pieces
some tapioca flour
oil for deep-frying
2 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, smashed
¼ tsp poppy seeds
2 sections of a star anise
Ingredients A (mixed to a paste with enough water)
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
Ingredients B (ground together)
2 cloves garlic
1 slice galangal
½ tsp salt and sugar to taste
1 tsp anchovy stock powder
Clean fish head pieces and lightly marinate with ½ teaspoon salt. Toss in tapioca flour and deep-fry till crisp. Remove from oil.
Leave 3-4 tbsp oil in the wok. Over medium heat, lightly brown shallots and garlic then add chilli paste mixture. Fry briefly for 2-3 minutes. Add ground ingredients, lemon grass, poppy seeds and star anise. Continue to fry until aromatic.
Add water and cook to a boil. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Add fried fish head slices and simmer till gravy is reduced slightly.
Dish out and serve with a squeeze of lime juice.
STEAMED FISH HEAD WITH ENOKI MUSHROOMS
400g red snapper fish head, chopped into serving-size pieces
3cm ginger, sliced
2 sprigs spring onion, cut into 4cm lengths
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp fresh chicken stock
150g enoki mushrooms, ends trimmed
adequate kei chi
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 sprigs coriander leaves, cut into 4-5 cm lengths
Adequate spring onion curls and chilli sliced
Clean fish head pieces and marinate with seasoning ingredients for 15 minutes.
Spread ginger slices and spring onion on the base of a heatproof dish. Arrange fish head pieces on the dish.
Just before steaming fish head, combine cooking oil and chicken stock and pour over the fish head pieces.
Place the dish in a steamer over rapidly boiling water. Steam for 15 minutes.
Five minutes before the end of steaming time, add the enoki mushrooms and sprinkle the kei chi around the dish. Continue to steam.
Serve dish hot with garnishing.