Yes, it is technically pritong hito. But, not really.
This dish is inspired by Thailand's Yum Pla Duk Fu and the first time I prepared it, I was amazed on this new way of preparing catfish.
We are so familiar with deep frying and grilling catfish, or even making an adobo dish out of it, but this recipe gives a whole new light to the humble hito, and would make for a nice alternative fish meal you can prepare for your family.
Not only is it super easy, but you can make this ahead and in batches to save you time in meal prepping in the kitchen. Best of all, catfish is accessible and affordable.
1 kilo of catfish, about 5 pieces
Vegetable oil, about 2 to 3 tablespoons
Oil for frying
1. Clean the catfish and pat dry. Catfish is slippery, and some prefer to rub it with salt first to take this texture out.
2. Steam the catfish for 30 minutes. Let it cool.
3. Once cooled, remove the skin and flake the meat. Set aside.
4. Put all the flaked meat in a mortar and pestle and start pounding. This is traditionally a Thai style in food preparation and this step allows the meat to come together. You may add vegetable oil to sort of bind the meat.
5. In a wok or casserole, heat oil.
6. Take a palm-size chunk of catfish meat and fry about 5-7 minutes each side. You can press the meat to flatten it. Place in a paper towel to drain excess oil.
7. Serve with your choice of vegetables. Traditionally, this is served with a mango or papaya salad (called yum).
Yield: Serves 3 to 4
– The resulting texture is crispy and fluffy. One is pleasantly surprised to realize it is catfish.
– You can fry the entire catfish meat in one go, so long as you have a big wok (and lots of oil) to accommodate the meat.
– Similar to making an omelette, you may “fold” the fish in half if frying in one go.
– Alternatively, you may opt to fry the meat in single serve pieces for easier handling.
– The recipe does not use salt and is not obvious to the eater that no salt was added. The catfish beautifully lends the distinct taste
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