Good for you…

I guess everybody knows that fish is good for you…and I guess that is the reason why it is getting more and more expensive. Ikan bawal hitam or black pomfret or what we call or-chio in Hokkien is now RM19.00 a kilo and the price fluctuates according to the season. In the past, it was less than RM10.00 a kilo and because it was cheap, it would be deemed a disgrace if it were to be served at a full 10-course Chinese sit-down dinner…

Ikan bawal hitam

The above photo is actually for the benefit of Cleffairy who said that she did not know what an ikan bawal hitam looked like. ROTFLMAO!!! On the other hand, white pomfret or ikan bawal putih and what we call pek chio is similar in shape but not so dark. I would say it is silvery rather than white in colour, its flesh is softer and smoother and the fishy smell is not as strong. As for the cost, buying one these days will burn a hole in your pocket, that’s for sure!

Personally, I prefer the black ones despite the stronger taste. Though not quite suitable for steaming, it is good for cooking curry or assam or you can just fry it like this…

Fried bawal hitam

…and then you can make the sauce to pour over it – sweet and sour or perhaps fermented bean (tau cheo) or salted black bean sauce. Otherwise, you can make some thick assam kunyit (tumeric) sambal or sauce which is also very nice.

Another fish that I like very much is the ikan terubok (longtail shad) which costs a bomb as well these days – some RM20-30 a kilo. Imagine my delight that day when I found some at this fish stop next to the tuition centre where I am teaching selling for only RM15.00 a kilo. I bought two at RM17.70 only and cooked one…

Ikan terubok

My mother said that if I were to panggang (bake) it, I should not remove the innards…but I got rid of them anyway so that it would not be so messy when eating the fish. It is so easy to cook! You just wrap it in aluminium foil like this…

Ikan terubok - wrapped

…put it in the oven or what is called the Tatung pot and turn on the heat/fire…

Tatung pot

…and after around 30 minutes, the fish is cooked already…

Delicious ikan terubok

It is best if it is lemak (oily or fatty) and if fresh, it will be so very sweet you can eat it just like that. Ooo…just look at all that Omega 3 and tasty juices that had seeped out of the fish! There is absolutely no need for any marinating or sauces, I assure you…but do watch out for the bones! LOL!!!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

34 thoughts on “Good for you…”

  1. LOL…. LOL… so bawal hitam looks blackish while the silver looking one is bawal putih? LOL…I always saw them in the supermarket, but dunno wud difference… tot the black ones are not fresh, that’s why look like that, what’s more, the mini mart at my place didn’t write bawal putih or bawal hitam. They just write bawal! *FAINT*

    I never really knew that some bawal cannot steam….cuz those that I eat in restaurants are usually ‘bawal tiga rasa’, and they fried em before pouring the sauce over it. LOL… ikan dah mati kena goreng, so tak tau what colour they were when they’re alive!

    I think they use bawal putih for the tiga rasa. Here we have that too…but I think only dua rasa…

    1. LOL… dua rasa? Must be sweet and sour, dun have the spicy taste… lmao…

      One grilled or something…and the other with spicy Thai sauce – this one I can remember.

  2. I like sweet & sour bawal hitam..with the fish been crispy fried…see i’m the first who comment…hooray

    Ya…me too! Imagine when I asked for it at a hotel restuarant once (when I was organising a dinner for students – cut cost), the manager was so shocked. Said nobody would have that for a Chinese dinner… LOL!!!

    P.S. Nope, you’re not first! Somebody can’t sleep again, it seems…Hahahaha!!!

    1. *grumbles* Cikgu is guessing that right. ‘Somebody’ cannot sleep again. Thank God it’s school hols… or that ‘Somebody’ would be zombified.

      Ask hubby sing “Tidurlah permaisuri…” Muahahahahaha!!!!

      1. He sing like katak… omg… *horrified* That’s how I first got to know him. He was singing dono wud song outside of my hostel room… I went out to maki him! *shudder*

        Good grief! So he tried to serenade you…and was not very successful? Ah well…at least he got your attention! Hahahahaha!

  3. Between the two bawals, I prefer the white one for to me, it’s nicer. But like you said, it’s freakin’ expensive so mom usually buys the black one. Also love the mini bawals ~ deep fried till it’s nice and crispy. Yummy!!! I like ikan terubuk too but the bones can drive you mad!!!

    The white ones, for me, must be very fresh and fleshy…and steamed. If fried, I would much sooner go for the black ones. Ya…the bones! But this variety was very good – none of those tiny little bones (like ikan lumek) in the upper half of the fish. I would just give up eating and throw the rest of the fish away. This one we could eat right up to the head – only the bigger bones usually found in the lower half of a terubok. Dunno what variety this is, but the tail did seem much longer than usual!

    P.S. I like the mini bawals too. Fry till crispy and eat everything including the bones! LOL!!!

  4. ikan terubok-yummy-did you dip in minced garlic/chilli in soya sauce? WILL TRY cooking in my AMC pot. Have you ever try the Ikan Patin-I saw a lot of frozen ones in the supermarket n a lot cheaper than other fish..any recipe to share on this fish.

    I don’t usually eat fish with sauce unless it is not fresh (been frozen too long) as I would like to enjoy the taste and the sweetness. Ikan patin – they usually steam or cook soup with salted veg or preserved veg (chao chai). Don’t like the smell, probably from the excessive fat…and a lot of pond ones too. I would rather go for ikan buris. If you google “ikan patin”, you will find quite a lot of recipes – masak tempoyak, assam and so on. I know they use it for pansoh (cooked in bamboo)too.

  5. War…the black bawal is so expensive even after CNY? I usually eat jenak and tenggiri only. 😀

    Prices of things go up and up…Where got go down one? Tengirri is also very expensive these days, nothing’s cheap! And what’s jenak?

  6. i love both bawal hitam and terubok, but not too keen on bawal putih. I love terubok deep-fried if done well as the tiny bones become so crunchy you can eat them as well, and not have to pick them out slowly.

    Not into frying! One restaurant here does that. Prefers panggang…even the way they do it in the kampong stalls, provided it’s not overdone and becomes dry and hard.

  7. Oooohhh!! Yummy!!! Thank God Chipmunk does not like fish (he only can eat pek chio coz no fishy smell like or chio) so I can have all the fish to myself! Muahahahaha!!!

    LOL!!! Lucky you! Then Chipmunk is like my dad… Doesn’t eat a lot of fish…and or chio is one of them!

  8. terubok its beter panggang coz too many bones…panggang will make the bones crunchier to eat it oso…

    I think you mean frying? Panggang…more or less same as steaming but for terubok, I think panggang is nicer. Frying terubok is definitely not how I would cook it – the smell of the oil will spoil the taste of the fish.

  9. for the panggang fish.. do you put salt?

    Up to you. No need for this fish actually as it has big scales, minimal contact with the flesh…and may only serve to make the “gravy” salty. Nice gravy, very “sweet”!

  10. I love the way u sliced the bawal hitam.. makes it looks crispy after frying.. i will do it your way the next time i fry fish! about the ikan terubok, my BIL bought a few to barbeque during cny.. i dont like la..too much bonesss… no patience to take them out every now and then.. haahaaaaa…

    Terubok is definitely not for anyone who’s in a hurry! Best for weekends, relax…eat slowly and enjoy and savour the taste of the fish! Yum! Yum! My mum sliced the bawal like that for as far as I can remember. You don’t slice before frying?

    1. yeah.. the most i sliced was two small slits.. haha.. now i will slice more more..

      I see. I guess the more the slits, the more the oil can reach inside the fish and cook it faster – I dunno, I just followed what my mum used to do.

  11. Ohh….I like the fins of the deep fried ikan bawal.

    I eat it all…if fried till nice and crispy, except maybe some parts of the head. LOL!!!

  12. I want that Tatung pot….!! Still available kah?

    I dunno where mine came from – I think Lucy bought it. My mum has one too. That goes back to a long time ago – will scout around and see if can find any anymore. Real heavy metal! (Not the rock music!!! LOL!!!)

    1. Actually, did you not technically steam it, instead of baking it?

      Nope. It was baked. No water involved. Just wrap and bake…and the juices will come out. Can put the fish unwrapped on a rack inside the pot and bake too…and if the fish is good (lemak), you can hear the juices/oils drip and sizzle on the bottom of the pot but that would be such a waste of the delicious juices PLUS the cleaning of the bottom of the pot later would be hell!!! LOL!!!

  13. Terubok with pounded chilli,yum! so known as longtail shad too,not sure if can get here, a lot of ‘fancy’names of fish here,I only m familiar with a few,the ones I always buy. Oooo! and the terubok eggs are just ‘out of this world’ as well!

    Like my missus, eat with so much chilli…I said where got taste of fish anymore, all chilli taste. I never like to eat things with sauces unless not tasty. The name ah? I had to google to find out – only know it as terubok! LOL!!! The eggs very popular in Kuching, can buy easily at Satok market. Here, so so… The salted terubok also very nice!

  14. Mmm, bawal hitam stuffed with sambal and barbequed is just awesome !!

    Ah!!! Miss the ikan bakar in Penang – with bawal hitam and eat with the sambal! Best! Lots nicer than stingray – ikan pare’ and of course, more expensive.

  15. I like to fry fish then top with that bean sauce.. chuan chuan…

    Most of the time, my missus will top with sweet and sour sauce. Have not used the bean sauces for a long time. Have to buy a bottle/tin and use once only – store in fridge and in the end, just throw away.

  16. My kids love bawal hitam cooked sweet and sour style…..nice!

    My daughter loves that too…and ikan terubok but somebody must pick out all the bones for her – usually the mum! I only know how to eat! Hahahahaha!!!!

  17. FISH!! I just had fish for my lunch today!

    I like ikan bawal putih than ikan bawal hitam, ikan bawal hitam got a smell. 😛

    Your bake fish can squeeze some lemon juice on it, it will taste more yummy. 🙂

    Ya…Foochows usually prefer bawal putih – my father does! I know they give lime with ikan panggang or ikan bakar but usually I will not use or just squeeze a little for a bit of the lime fragrance. I think it is more for people who would like to drown out the fishy taste. I love the fishy taste especially where the fish is fresh…

  18. Ooohhh… I personally prefer steamed and grilled fish… with hot spicy gravy topping!

    It depends on the fish…and how much one wants to savour the actual taste of the fish – not the sauces! Bawal putih, if fresh, is better steamed – quite bland, if just fried. I don’t like terubok fried…and steamed, it isn’t as nice – too mushy and the bones can be a pain! And you will never see anybody eating the upriver fish (Rejang River), those worth their weight in gold – empurau, tangadak or semah…cooked in any other way, other than steamed….and no need for any gravy, the taste of the fish itself is out of this world!

    1. Ohhh… you must be a pro food critic in fish dishes! Thanks for sharing!

      I love fish…almost any kind of fish even ikan lumek – but I do not eat it as I cannot stand those numerous minute bones. They tell me they’re edible…but I just cannot get used to the idea of swallowing the bones.

  19. oh I love ikan bawal…especially Ikan Bawal Hitam…my mum hardly buy bawal putih cos my father don’t really like it…so from small we love to eat bawal hitam…deep fried, sweet sour…assam….oh yummy!!

    Same here! And my daughter too! I think bawal putih is overrated. If just fried, can be quite bland. Ok…if steamed with ginger and all the sauces to give it taste.

  20. Dunno why but I never been able to remember names of fishes or recognize them. sigh…

    Guess you don’t go marketing so often…or usually buy fish fillet in the supermarts?

  21. panggang not frying…frying is goreng…lol

    But panggang does not make the bones crunchy leh? Maybe the flesh, when panggang, is not so moist, soft and mushy…so it is easier to pick out the bones.

  22. i like the bawal hitam….deep fried like wht STP did…sedap…eat with chili sauce and hot rice….my kinda food…..cheers!

    Expensive now… RM19.00 a kg. I also like the smaller fish – kembong and the rest but they are also not so cheap anymore!

  23. This sure is one interesting pot. No water needed and it won’t burn? What’s it made of? Very cool!

    Nope. Just stand the stuff inside and turn on the heat… No burning, nothing…except when the oil drips from what you’re roasting inside and there’s no receptacle to collect the drips – then a whole lot of scrubbing may be needed.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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