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Deep-fried Tenggiri Fish

Deep fried Tenggiri Fish
Childhood favourite: Deep-fried Tenggiri Fish

I grew up on these deep fried Tenggiri fish. It is a common fish in South East Asia cooking, and besides being known as Tenggiri, my mum refers to it more often as “ma jia” (in Chinese) or “beh ga” in Hokkein. For those who reside out of Asia, the fish may be more commonly known as Spanish mackerel. Growing up, there are not many fish I liked because I find them all fishy (I’m not much of an adventurous eater back then), but this fish is an exception because it is naturally sweet and not fishy at all. The bones are relatively large and few, so they are a little less cumbersome than other fish to eat. I remember enjoying it with rice or porridge. Looking back, I realised my mum’s meals are wholesome, unpretentious, and super yummy. So naturally, when I tried to re-create this now in my kitchen, I kept the recipe really minimalistic. For the ingredients, there are just three – fish, salt and oil. And to cook it, just heat the oil and fry the fish fillets (deep fry or pan fry) till golden brown. In this simple recipe, there are no excessive marinade, seasonings or ingredients so no risk of complicating or masking the natural good taste of the fish.

Deep fried Tenggiri Fish

How to know if your fish has been deep fried to perfection? A nicely fried Tenggiri fish is crispy to the bite. I can hear the delightful ‘crunch’ as I sink my teeth into the fish, and the sound is music to my ears. The best part is, the fish stays crunchy even a few hours after it has been fried.

– Tenggiri fish steaks (cut cross-section), rinsed & patted dry
– vegetable cooking oil (example canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil)
– sea salt

Additional tools
– kitchen tongs (to hold the fish to check its progress)

1. Sprinkle a bit of salt over both sides of the fish.
2. Deep frying method. Heat some oil (enough oil to cover the fish) in a wok (or saucepan or deepfryer). Add fish steaks and deep fry till golden brown and crispy.
3. Pan frying method. If you prefer to pan fry, heat some oil (generous amount to cover a layer of the entire wok or pan. Add fish steaks to cover a single layer in the wok. Pan fry for a few minutes on one side till golden brown and crispy. Turn over and pan fry till golden brown on the other side.

Leave a Comment

58 Responses to “Deep-fried Tenggiri Fish”

  1. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) — May 21, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

    Haven’t had tenggiri fish for the longest time! Can’t find them here in Sydney :( The golden crisp is the best!


    • wiffy replied: — May 26th, 2010 @ 10:46 am

      Oh oh, but in Australia, you have access to good fish like barramundi at great prices. I’m jealous ;)


  2. diva — May 23, 2010 @ 4:34 am

    LOVE! my dad’s favourite fish and my childhood lunch dish – always paired with a bowl of watery plain porridge. MMMM


  3. diva — May 23, 2010 @ 4:35 am

    oh and i’m not sure what the name of this fish is in Chinese, do u? but it’s a Teochew favourite.


    • wiffy replied: — May 24th, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

      Hey diva, the Chinese name is ma3 jia1 yu2 … I’m not sure how to write ma3 jia1 in Chinese though hehe


      • Angel replied: — May 19th, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

        *馬鮫魚 sorry about the typo! :p

    • Angel replied: — May 19th, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

      It’s otherwise known as 馬交魚 :-)


  4. Nasi Lemak Lover — May 23, 2010 @ 10:56 am

    i also grew up with deep fried “beh ga”, dip it with soy sauce and eat with a bowl of porridge, simple delicious !!


  5. Trissa — May 23, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

    Growing up in the Philippines, I also really enjoyed fried fish! Never the Spanish mackarel – we used to have it grilled which was also delicious. Next time I come across this fish, I’ll try frying it. Yum!


  6. Juliana — May 25, 2010 @ 3:52 am

    My grandma and mom used to cook fish this way, it is true that you can really taste the fish and its sweetness…great pictures!


  7. MelodyJ — May 25, 2010 @ 5:35 am

    Is Tengirl Fish another name for what we call in the US Mackarel( King Mackarel)? That’s what this fish looks like to me.


    • wiffy replied: — May 26th, 2010 @ 10:48 am

      Hi I’m not totally sure about that. According to Wiki, they are not the same though very similar.


  8. Clare @ Mrs Multitasker — May 29, 2010 @ 12:29 am

    Love the pictures and this post. Brought back fond memories of my childhood =) Maybe I’ll cook some this week…


  9. Christina — May 29, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

    I used to eat this dish very often when i was a child.. Would love to eat more often again…


  10. eric — December 8, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

    Dear all. thanks for sharing. I’ve tried most of your ideas and my wife and daughter love the fish. Thank you for your great help :)