So I saw this fish at the supermarket and I thought ‘wow, baby croaker fish’. They looked cute. At the same time, I was kind of worried they were caught this young. #overfishing!!! When I asked the seller she told me ‘no, those are red mullets, a delicious healthy fish. Red what? ‘Never heard of before’ I answered. But the health expert in me caught the signal: HEALTHY and DELICIOUS! So I bought a pack of 10 out of curiosity and I knew I needed to find out what they are and how to bring out the best of these babies.
What is red mullet?
I found out that another name for this oily fish packed with high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids is ‘goatfish’. Hmmm, I thought to myself. There is nothing ‘goat-like’ about this fish. It doesn’t look like one and definitely doesn’t smell like one. It is actually named like that because of its brightly colored striking skin. This fish actually shimmer oooo. But then, its flesh is firm to the touch and kind of pinky-white.
Red mullet is found to be high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol in some people, reduce belly fat, help reduce the risk of certain cancers, and promote brain health in unborn children. So pregnant women take note. Other nutrients found in this fish are iodine, iron and phosphorus, so it’s healthy as well as delicious.
How to cook mullet
I learned from This chef that this fish is flavorful on its own and could be cooked simply if desired. He recommended cooking the fish with its innards (that stuff found inside the fish, meaning liver, gills and all) because that’s were all its flavor comes from. #eyeswideopen! I wasn’t going to try that! He warned though not to over cook it or else you will end up with dry fish! 🙂 It is also recommended not to scale the fish, but I did scale mine. This was a first for me, so I had to take it slow. I used cilantro, scotch bonnet, garlic, African nutmeg and a few other spice favorites. The taste? Excellently fishy, almost like croaker, soft but not too soft, but even juicier and more flavorful! If you can lay your hands on this fish, I urge you to give it a try with a side of my sweet and creamy avocado mango salad. You will not regret it. I promise!
Where to buy red mullet
I got mine at my local supermarket. I don’t know if this fish is available in Cameroon or Nigeria. If so, I guess frozen. Watch though when buying to make sure you purchase very fresh mullet fish so you can benefit from all its flavor.
So now that we’ve gotten the what and the how of red mullet out-of-the-way, let’s get cooking. Have you ever tried this fish before? Let me know in the comments area below.
- 5 red mullet fish
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 thumb-size ginger
- 1 African nutmeg (ehuru)
- 2 scotch bonnet peppers
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 cilantro sprigs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (any oil will do)
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 green bell pepper (blend seed too)
- 1/2 tomato
- Seasoning cube
- Blend all ingredients with some water (just enough to blend), add oil, then gut and de-scale fish.
- Rub marinade in and on fish. Store in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate overnight.
- Place fish on patchment paper and grill for 15 - 20 minutes. You can char-grill the fish as well.
- Serve hot with a side of salad for a low-carb meal.