Saturday, 17 December 2011


Catfish are plenty in the paddy fields especially during the monsoon season when the paddy fields are submerged for longer periods.

Catfish are a main protein source for most Malay villagers, in addition to ikan sepat which can be found in rivers.

Both catfish and ikan sepat are regarded as delicacies, and thus people are willing to pay a high price to obtain them. Some villagers have turned to fishing catfish and ikan sepat to earn a living. Ikan sepat is usually sold as dried salted form.

Catfish is belut in Kelantan or ikan semilang in other states (I don't think it is called ikan gemilang). They are sold in 2 sizes - adults or young. Most villagers prefer the young catfish as they are tender and are odourless. The adults ones can turn off some eaters as the flesh can be a bit smelly as it takes on the odour of the paddy fields. At Desa Murni in USM, the large adult catfish is sold for RM2.50 per fried fish.

The catfish must be carefully prepared. Clean the fish by removing the sting (sengat). Slit open the abdomen and remove the internal organs. Wash under running water. Add tamarind and salt and rub the mixture onto the catfish. Rub hard to remove the slimy material on the catfish skin. Wash and make 2-3 slits on each side of the cleaned catfish.

Cleaning the catfish. Slit open the abdomen and remove the internal organs 

Rub garam-kunyit (salt-tumeric) mixture on the fish and fry in deep oil till crispy. Serve catfish while still hot and crispy.

Crispy fried catfish at Rumah Tanah Merah 

Large catfish with sambal, from the students' hostel at Desa Murni, USM 


Anonymous said...

Catfish in Malay is ikan keli