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It's a question that is probably discussed to death pretty much all over the shrimp eating world. The opinion is evenly divided for ...

It's a question that is probably discussed to death pretty much all over the shrimp eating world. The opinion is evenly divided for both points of view. Most frozen shrimp / prawn is usually head and shell off with the tail left on and usually "de-veined". If the shrimp / prawn is head-on shell on, then more often than not, the "vein" would still be in there. This "vein" that we are talking about it is one that runs along top of the shrimp / prawn.

What is strange and NOT discussed that often is whether or not to "de-vein" the one on the underside of the shrimp / prawn. This is almost always left in. No matter where live you on the planet.

Why this dichotomy? Well the simple answer is - it doesn't have a gritty mouth feel like the "vein" on the top side of the shrimp / prawn. The more detailed answer what this post is about.

The top "vein" is actually the Alimentary Canal or intestine that runs along the top of the shrimp, from the mouth of the shrimp all the way down to the tail (where the "bum" is located). On the dorsal side of this "vein" runs the Supra-Intestinal Artery supplying blood (a translucent color so we actually never really see the artery) to the intestine and the abdominal muscles. These are both removed together - they are pretty much stuck to one another so when one is removed the other comes with it.

Anatomy of a Crustacean
Given the shrimps' method of eating, a lot sand (if sea catch) or mud (if pond catch) goes in with the food. Some of it gets flushed, some of it just sits there in the intestine when the shrimp is caught or harvested. Some poop might be left in as well. The sand/mud is what gives us a gritty mouth feel and the poop can add a slightly bitter after-taste to food. So the two main reasons for removing these are really just that - we DO NOT wanna eat poop and the sand/mud texture in the mouth is terrible. Also, leaving the "vein" in increases the risk of the shrimp going bad faster as poop will decay quicker.

These are too small to "devein".
It's important to note here that only 50% of the people actually remove this! The shrimp is eaten as is! I have personally eaten shrimp both ways and maybe I've been lucky, but I have not been able to tell the difference. Do I "devein" shrimp when I cook? Yes, I remove the intestine every time IF its possible i.e. the size of the shrimp has to be large enough to do that. I mean if I'm making a Prawn Fried Rice and using tiny shrimp (100-200 per kg) there is no way I am going to sit and spend hours doing this delicate procedure when I can barely hold on to the little fellas! I mean really, it's hard enough to get them outta their shells!

That brings us to the bottom "vein". 
  • Its NOT a vein
  • Its NOT an artery
  • Its NOT part of the digestive tract
  • Its NOT cartilage 
What the devil is it then? 

Its the Central Nervous System of the shrimp - the main nerve cord! 

It runs along the dorsal or underside of the shrimp. Unlike most mammals, shrimp / prawns do not have a spine to protect the central nerve. The shell and legs perform that function.

Nowhere in the world will frozen shrimp that is labelled "de-veined" ever have this removed. In India, even our local fishmonger never removes this until specifically asked to and then too she/he will probably make a fuss about it. I have never ever removed and I do not personally know any one, in my circle of friends and family, who remove it. Why?
  1. It does NOT contain poop
  2. It does NOT contain blood
  3. It does NOT have any sand/mud in it and therefore NO gritty mouth feel.
Peeled & Deveined Prawns from Fishvish
With the shrimp / prawns Fishvish sells, the top "vein" is always removed. The bottom never removed. This is a process followed by every shrimp processing factory in the world! We source all our products from such export factories and they all follow mandated processes that are certified by not only India's FDA but also USFDA, EU FDA, Australia FDA and Japan's equivalent to the FDA.

Deveining the bottom vein.
In closing, I'd like to say that, yes, the top "vein", at least India, is usually removed by the overwhelming majority. The bottom one - almost always NEVER removed. It's pretty much cosmetic anyway and I haven't seen even high end, fine dine restaurants remove this bottom "vein" either. Still, its a personal choice and those that like to remove it, it's simple enough - make a shallow cut along the bottom length and use a toothpick or the pointy end of a knife to pull the "vein" out. Just be careful, it's delicate and will break easily. 

Don't let something that's so trivial stop you from enjoying your shrimp / prawns. Even if you're not buying them from Fishvish!

Bijal Patel
Co-Founder Fishvish
Hardcore food junkie, 
loves to cook for his wife.

Chicken, goat meat and seafood are a big part of most of our traditions. Whether as foods that are typically eaten during the festive seas...

Chicken, goat meat and seafood are a big part of most of our traditions. Whether as foods that are typically eaten during the festive season or for their symbolic meaning, their cultural significance is undeniable. Weddings, feasts, celebrations, religious occasions, often feature fish and poultry. Here are some such traditions from across the globe that are incomplete without a fish, chicken or mutton offering:

1. Fish during Friday fast

As a religious custom, various Christian denominations fast on Friday. This fast consists of a diet that includes fish. Christians abstain from eating meat on Fridays as penance for the crucifixion of Christ. However, although the meat of a warm-blooded animal is not allowed they are permitted to eat cold-blooded fish. Some say that this is because of the ‘miraculous catch of fish’ incident in which Jesus blessed his disciples with a large catch of fish. While few others are of the view that this custom was inherited from the Jewish community as they believe that God created fish on the fifth day of the week. Irrespective what the reason was that led to this tradition, Friday Fast is now closely associated with the consumption of fish in the Christian community.

Fish fillet works well during the Friday Fast.

2. Fish as a Bengali wedding tatta

Like with most other communities, gift giving between the families of the bride and the groom is a common practice during Bengali weddings. This custom is known as tatta. One of the gifts presented as a part of this custom is a Rohu fish. The fish is decorated like a bride and presented along with the other items of the tatta. Since Bengalis love their fish it is only natural that it should be a part of one of the most important events of their life, their marriage ceremony. Symbolically speaking,is also considered auspicious by Bengalis.

What better gift than a fish!

3. Oysters during the holiday season in France

The French love to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve with oysters. They enjoy oysters all year round, however, during the holiday season, it becomes one of the important features of their festive feasts. Hence a LOT of oysters are consumed during this time. The exact number of oysters that are eaten in the country during this time is not confirmed but some estimate it to be way over fifty percent of their annual consumption. Oysters are a big part of French culture hence feature in most of their traditional celebrations.

Oysters: a French gourmet delight!

4. Feast of the seven fishes

Like everything else that they do, Italians fast in style. Come Christmas Eve, Italian-Americans cook a feast that features seven (more or less) seafood dishes. As mentioned earlier, Christians fast during certain days that have a religious significance. And, fish is a part of their fast. This could have led to this tradition of eating seafood specialities on Christmas Eve. This grand seafood affair is known as La Vagilia di Natale or FestadeiSettePesci in Italian. Cod fish, shrimp, squid, scallops, anchovy, clams, mussels, sardines, lobster, one can make dishes with these or any other seafood. This tradition perhaps originated because seven is a biblical number.

 A seafood feast fit for a king.

5. Pickled herring during Christmas in Finland

Pickled herring is a popular dish in Northern Europe. Each country uses a different set of ingredients to add flavour to the herring after curing it. The most common method involves using vinegar, salt, onions and sugar. To this mix, a combination of spices like pepper, clove, bay leaves, fennel seeds, star anise can be added. This herring is traditionally had during Christmas and Easter in Scandinavian countries as well as their neighbours like Poland and other countries that were formerly Soviet states.

Pickled herring is a widespread Christmas tradition in Europe.

6. Lutefisk during Christmas in Norway

Lutefisk is a Norwegian fish dish that is made with dried cod. It is a lengthy process that requires the fish to be first dried then rehydrated before it is cooked. Like with most other traditions, there are many myths and tales surrounding how this preparation originated. One such story is that ages ago some Vikings after looting a fishing village set the place on fire. The surviving villagers put the fire out by pouring water on everything. This included the wooden racks on which they had hung cod to dry. Later, it rained and the ash-covered fish absorbed that rainwater.  This is how the villagers discovered this new recipe for making cod. 

Norwegians everywhere customarily enjoy lutefisk during Christmas celebrations. 

7. Minangkabau Mutton Rendang

The Minangkabau community in Indonesia is responsible for giving us this yummy recipe. This Indonesian favourite has also made its way to Malaysia and Thailand and is now a bonafidespeciality of Southeast-Asian cuisine. This mutton dish requires a fairly long preparation time and is made by slow cooking the meat in coconut milk and a special spice mix. The Rendang has long been a favourite at all Minangkabau festivals and celebrations. It also is one of the main dishes that are served at weddings in Malaysia.

The rendang is a semi-dry curry.

8. Chicken Hallaca during Christmas in Venezuela

This dish is popular in most South American countries. Chicken along with some vegetables and other meats like pork are used as a filling in a cornmeal wrapping that is covered and tied together with a string in a banana leaf and then cooked. Each culture has their own special method and set of ingredients for making this dish. In Venezuela, although every region and family have their own take on this recipe, typically onions, capers, olives and raisins are used with chicken and pork for the stuffing. It is a Christmas tradition to celebrate with Hallaca in Venezuela.

Hallaca is like a dumpling.

9. Christmas herring in Lithuania

In Lithuania, they celebrate Christmas with not one but multiple herring dishes. Herring with carrots, herring with potatoes, herring with beet, herring with mushrooms, any of these dishes and/or some other herring offerings are traditionally a part of the Christmas Eve spread. 

The more herring the better!

10. Fish during Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year, which is based on the lunar calendar, is a two-week long celebration. On New Year’s Eve, families come together for a grand meal. This feast is known as the reunion dinner. At this dinner, a variety of dishes that are a part of the Chinese culinary tradition and are considered to be auspicious are served. Fish, of course, is one of them. Fish is served as it meant to bring good luck and prosperity. It is an important custom to not consume the entire fish and leave some of it as that conveys the wish for a surplus in the coming year.

Fish symbolises prosperity.

11. KoshaMangsho during Durga Puja

Back home, in Bengal, India, Durga Puja is celebrated with a special goat meat preparation that is known as koshamangsho. This mangsho is slow cooked with a combination of spices. It is eaten with either luchis (puris made from maida) or rice. All Bengalis and Bengali food aficionados know that this is dish is not be missed during the festival at the pandals.

Bengali mutton curry: A Durga Puja delicacy.

12. Fish soup and fried carp during Christmas in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic celebrates Christmas with two main fish dishes. Traditionally, on Christmas Eve, fish soup and fried carp are served with potato salad, bread and cookies. This custom is supposed to be fairly new as it is said to have started not before the nineteenth century. However, since then it isn’t a Christmas feast in a Czech household unless they have carp and fish soup.

Czech traditional Christmas fish soup

There are many such traditions, small and big, in different parts of the world that include seafood, chicken and mutton as a custom. Even ones like having chicken broth when one is down with a cold is a practice that many people indulge in. Whether it is because the soup cures the cold or just provides comforts the fact is that a large number of people like to have it when they are suffering from the sniffles. Similarly, each household, community, culture and country has such practices that are centredaround fish, goat meat and poultry. For example, in mobster language, receiving a dead fish from another mobster means you are done! Irrespective of what the exact tradition is the fact is that these foods have a symbolic significance that cuts across all cultures. 

- The Fishvish Team

Fishing is not just a sport that thrills but also one of those activities that provide a wide-range oflife experiences. Hence, it...

Fishing is not just a sport that thrills but also one of those activities that provide a wide-range oflife experiences. Hence, it is no wonder that it appears as the subject, theme and/or the background of so many literary works. Be it fiction, non-fiction, folktales, short stories, novellas, or verse, writers use different formats to tell fishing stories that touch us.

Here are tensuch fishing books that you should give a read:

1) The Fisherman and His Wife – Collected by the Brothers Grimm; and The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish – By Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin’s ‘The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish’ commemorated on a Soviet Union stamp.

The Brother Grimm gathered folktales from different regions and published this collection of stories for children in 1812. One of the stories that featured in this collection is that of a poor fisherman who catches a golden flounder but sets it free. The story goes, at his wife’s insistence, the fisherman asks the fish to grant him a wish of a grand house, which the fish fulfils. However, after this happens, the wife keeps sending the fisherman back with other demands to the golden flounder till it finally takes away everything that it had given them both and they’re back to living in their small shack. Obviously, this is a didactic fable with the moral being that greed is bad. This story became so popular that it has been adapted in different forms of art across the globe. A famous retelling is by the Russian author Alexander Pushkin in his verse ‘The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish’.

2) Old Man and The Sea - By Ernest Hemingway

“My big fish must be somewhere.” 
―Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

This is the novel that is considered to have earned Hemingway the Nobel Prize in Literature. It also won him the Pulitzer Prize. A simple story skillfully told. If you like to fish and have not been able to catch a fish on subsequent outings then you know how frustrating it feels. One can only imagine how it would make a fisherman feel. The story is about the struggles of a fisherman called Santiago in trying to get a catch after he has gone for many days without a catch. On the eighty-fifth day, he finally gets lucky when a marlin takes his bait. The marlin is a worthy opponent and Santiago fights for two days and nights trying to pull it up the boat. Whether Santiago finally manages to capture that fish and his fate as a fisherman after this incident is something that you should read the book to know.What we can share with you is that it is a wonderfully written story which you will definitely enjoy reading.

3) A Fishy Story, Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of The Dog) –By Jerome K Jerome

“I should never make anything of a fisherman. I had not got sufficient imagination” 
― Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of The Dog)

Chapter 17 from this comic novel by humourist Jerome K Jeromecontains a little story about how everybody likes to spin a yarn about catching fish. The author begins by telling us that to be a good angler basically means that one is able to tell untrue but convincing fishing stories. He proceeds to share an account of the time when he and his friend George visited a pub in Wallingford during their Thames boat trip.As soon as the local pub goers there realised that they both were visitors, each one told a tale about how he had caught the impressive looking trout that was hanging on the wall. Later that night, when George stumbled and held on to the trout to regain his balance the fish fell to the ground and broke. This is when J and George found out that it was not a real fish but one made of plaster of Paris!

4) The Fish- By Anton Chekov

"Get him by the gills, by the gills!"
-  Anton Chekov, The Fish

The master of short stories, Anton Chekov, tells this tale about a bunch of guys trying to fish in the most unusual way. A couple of carpenters are trying their best to catch an eelpout that they spotted under the roots of the willows in the water. They are trying to pull it out with their bare hands! Others, including the master of the house, join them one by one in their bid to catch this fish.Unsuccessful in their attempts, they finally decide to use an axe to cut some parts of the roots, and, this gets them the catch. However, just as they get their hands on the yard-long eelpout it manages to wriggle out and escape.

5) Following Fish: Travels Around the Indian Coast –By Samanth Subramanian

“If Bengali cuisine were Wimbledon, the hilsa would always play on Centre Court.” 
―Samanth Subramanian, Following Fish: Travels Around the Indian Coast

This nonfiction book shares stories on India’s fishing scene, life in its coastal towns, seafood recipes, problems faced by local fishermen, how fishing boats are built,and, among other things, the search for the world’s fastest fish along Goa’s coast. It consists of nine essays that wonderfully capture the essence of the fishing and seafood culture in India. If you love seafood, fishing, India, travelogues, or simply a good book then don’t give this book a miss.

6) A River Runs Through It – By Norman Maclean

“To him, all good things - trout as well as eternal salvation - came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy” 
― Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

This hugely popular American novel is set in Montana. It is about a family who consider fly-fishing to be nothing less than a spiritual experience. This beautiful story about human nature, faith, values, and the art of fishing is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Reading it will transport you to the wonderful fishing streams of Montana and the story will move you. An Oscar-winning movie was made in 1992 based on this book. The movie is also worth a watch.

7) The River Why – By David James Duncan

“Fishermen should be the easiest of men to convince to commence the search for the soul, because fishing is nothing but the pursuit of the elusive.”
David James Duncan, The River Why

This story is as much about the joy ofcatching fish as about finding the meaning of life. The protagonist Gus Orviston leaves his family who love to fish andmoves to a small cottagenear a river so he can follow his passion of fishing as a solitary endeavour.The more he connects with nature the more disturbed he is with how humans are destroyingthe rivers, mountains and everything that is close to his heart. However, slowly but surely, through hismetaphysical fishing journey he discovers himself, comes to appreciate the value of human connectionsand eventually finds happiness.

8) Two Friends –By Guy De Maupassant 

Fishingis a source of happiness in dark times for the two friends.

This is a short fishing story that has at the centre of it a message about the senselessness of war. Two fishing buddies risk their lives during the Franco-Prussian war so they can fish at the Seine. Through the story Maupassant, shares the differing views held by the people of that time on politics.He also uses the plot to expose the cruel realities of war. The two friends Monsieur Morissot and Monsieur Sauvage experience a moment of true joy during a time of despair when they go fishing. Do read the story to know what happens next to the two fishermen.

9) Big Two-Hearted River - By Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway uses symbolism to convey how the forest, river and fishing help heal the protagonist.

A story with only one character who, though it is not mentioned, is assumed to be coming home from a war. Nick Adams is the protagonist of this tale. Upon arriving at Seney, Michigan, Nick finds that the entire town destroyed in a fire. He camps near the river where he had seen a trout earlier while walking out of the town. The next day he goes fishing in the river. The seemingly simplistic plot is a technique that Hemingway employs to communicate more by saying less. He provides details of the little things that his chief and only character Nick indulges in on this fishing trip while not sharing too many of his thoughts or spoken words. Yet, the reader can sense the cathartic effect that nature and fishing have on the war returned Nick.

10) A History of Fishing– By Sahrhage, Dietrich; Lundbeck, Johannes

A complete history of fishing

This non-fiction book takes comprehensive look at the history of fishing. It is an interesting and insightful account of the evolution of fishing from the Stone Age to the present time:how fishing techniques developed over the ages, the current methods in use, ecological implications and the possible sustainable alternatives for the future. Basically, everything that you ever wanted to know about fishing can be found in this book.

Whether you are a fishing enthusiast or not you will be able to relate to and enjoy each one of these fishing tales. So, go on and give them a read. Also, if you like to go fishing then the chances are that you too have interesting anecdotes like these stories to share.We would love to hear these fishing stories --- be it about a prize catch, failed attempts on particular fishing trip, the techniques that you have found to be most successful, a dry spell that you thought would never get over or any such experiences -- do write in to us or post them in the comments section.

- The Fishvish Team

The selection at Fishvish  is at its all-time best: There’s the excellent seafood, chicken and mutton range, and the so-good-and-just...

The selection at Fishvish is at its all-time best: There’s the excellent seafood, chicken and mutton range, and the so-good-and-just-gets-better homestyle Heat & Eat line-up. The people at Fishvish have taken upon themselves to bring to local patrons the great variety of quality seafood from far and wide, and the new addition to the seafood selection says it all. You now have easy access to exotic fish varieties like the Pacific Cod, Bengali demi-deity Hilsa, Atlantic Pollock, Hake, Yellowfin Sole and Rock Lobster

Which places you far ahead of most restaurants in the city, for very few have these on the menu. Here’s more to one-up your dining game—here are 3 recipes for each variety, both Indian and international, so you have everything you need to eat the way the world eats. Just a click away.

  • Pacific Cod Fillet:

A bottom-dweller from the northwestern Pacific Ocean, the Pacific cod has a mild, savoury flavour with a firm, flaky texture. The fillets are great to be baked, pan-seared, even fried in a beer batter for a truly Brit fish and chips.

• For a comforting hug-in-a-bowl, try the creamy Cod au Gratin, a dish from the Canadian island of Newfoundland. It uses cod fillets, a béchamel and blend of parmesan and cheddar, and the fresh flavours of lemon zest and tarragon topped with a layer of cracker crumbs and baked until bubbling and brown.

Recipe: Cod au Gratin

• An elegant take on cod, the Pan-seared Pacific Cod with Cilantro Vinaigrette and Creamed Corn may be a mouthful, but each component calls for 5 ingredients or less. If you’re of those that deem it fundamental for cilantro to be accompanied by a fresh green pepper instead of the blasé black, go ahead and blend half an jalapeno (or any local hot green chilli pepper) with the vinaigrette, or chop it up fine and scatter over the fish with the butter.

Recipe: Pan Seared Pacific Cod with Cilantro Vinaigrette and Creamed Corn

• For a desi curry and rice meal, look no further than this lovely Indian Cod with Lemon Coconut Sauce. The saffron is redundant; the turmeric will cover the sunny hue and earthy flavour that’s the heart of almost every Indian-style savoury dish. Also, the black onion seeds are best replaced by mustard for a true South Indian zing. And don’t be too surprised if this reminds you too closely of the creamy Meen Moilee from Kerala; sub the butter with coconut oil and voila!

Recipe: Indian Cod with Lemon Coconut Sauce

  • Hilsa:

“Hilsa is consideredas one of the most tastiest fish due to its distinctly soft oily texture, mouthwatering flavour and superb mouthfeel”, writes  Dr. AKM Nowsad Alam, and goes on to explain the science behind the devotion-invoking taste of ilish, and why it’s called the “Macher Raja—the king of fish”.

• You could as easily sample a Sorshebata Ilish Mach and reach the same conclusion. The one-two punch of ground mustard seeds and oil tames the strong flavours of the fish, with the poppy seeds adding texture and body to the hot sauce. Several slit green chilli peppers cooked with the fish are a given; the oils, both within the fish, and mustard soothe the bite of the peppers. Serve with a fragrant, steamed rice always, with a side of kachumber.

Recipe: Sorshebata Ilish Mach

• If the mustard in the Sorshe Ilish is too much for you, maybe the Doi Mach will be more up your alley. The burn of the ground mustard is replaced by the creaminess of yogurt, but the mustard oil and green chilli stick around to do the fabulous roles they can be counted upon to play. Serving suggestions remain the same as for the mustard version.

Recipe: Doi Ilish

• Granted that the fine, multiple bones in hilsa don’t make it easy to adapt to a baked recipe, or one that calls for flaked fish, but that shouldn’t stand in the way of culinary imagination. Take this list of out-of-the-ordinary hilsa recipes, for example; hilsa and phyllo stacks, wasabi and sesame crusted hilsa, hilsa infused jambalaya, and baked hilsa with cheese and kancha lonka pickle. Another one on the list is a very doable Baked Hilsa with Sweet Turkish Chilli, intriguing for its fresh Mediterranean take on a fish found and revered in the Indian subcontinent. Use mild chilli peppers if you can’t find Turkish chilli around, but don’t skip the pomegranate molasses if you can help it; it’s easy even to make some yourself

Recipe: Baked Hilsa with Sweet Turkish Chilli

  • Atlantic Pollock

The Atlantic Pollock is a member of the cod family and is also known as blue cod. Found on both sides of the Atlantic, the pollock is light and flaky.

• An easy-peasy, low-fat pollock dish, this Lemon-Dill Pollock calls for marinating fillets in lemon juice, fresh dill, garlic and mustard, and then grilling or broiling the marinated fish. Serve with a green leafy salad and garlic bread, if you need absolutely need carbs.

Recipe: Lemon-Dill Pollock

• For a presumablymore elaborate (but really easy to do) meal in a dish, this Pan-Seared Pollock Fish with Sauteed Mustard Greens and Bulgur Wheat Salad should make the cut. Ready in about 40 minutes tops, the bulgur in this dish can be substituted by broken wheat, that can be pressure cooked with salt and water before making into a salad; you may want add a squeeze of lemon to either anyway. Mustard greens are not in season at the moment, so you could look to using peppery raw arugula.

Recipe: Pan-Seared Pollock Fish with Sauteed Mustard Greens and Bulgur Wheat Salad

• A very interesting Indian version of the Atlantic fish is this Pan-seared Pollock in South Indian spices with Upma, created by the famous Atul Kochhar. Fillets of the fish are fried in hot oil, and then topped with curry leaves, garlic and chilli. This is served with an Alleppey-inspired gravy and a quenelle of upma, the breakfast staple which is considered just that by most of us. Kochhar suggests a garnish of edible flowers, but with everything else going on for it, the dish doesn’t really need any more adornment.

Recipe: Pan-seared Pollock in South Indian spices with Upma

  • Hake Fillet

Hake is another member of the cod family, with flesh that’s soft when raw, firming up when cooked. Hake has a mild flavour and adapts well to various dishes and cooking processes.

• An ingredient list with just 5 names, and an end result that’s as tasty as it looks, the Pan-fried Hake with Lemon and Herb Butter Sauce should be on your list of go-to recipes that can be made in a jiffy. And do use a mix of herbs as suggested, no need to stick to one when you could have a little of everything, all at once.

Recipe: Pan-fried Hake with Lemon and Herb Butter Sauce

• The Telegraph calls this an unusual idea, which it is; how often do you hear of fish and potatoes cooked in mayonnaise? But what may seem as a hack to use whatever’s available in the pantry and fridge is more than that. The fish fillets are stacked with fried onions and garlic and sautéed potatoes, all enveloped in a layer of mayo. The potato slices brown on top, while the fillets cook at the bottom. Add a light salad as a side to the casserole and you’ve got yourself a great meal.

Recipe: Portuguese Hake Baked in Mayonnaise

• Another South Indian-inspired fish curry that incorporates coconut milk; is it any surprise that Indian curries are so adaptable? Do include a sprig of curry leaves in this one, the herbal scent is irreplaceable and not to be skipped. You may also want to add a few mustard seed to the hot oil, before tipping in the onion and other ingredients.

Recipe: South Indian Hake Curry

  • Rock Lobster

Fishvish’s rock lobster comes whole, so is great to throw on the grill, if that’s how you like to serve your lobsters. You could also blanch it whole, then remove the meat and add as required to your dish.

• All the citrus in this sauce—orange rind, orange juice, lime juice—blends smoothly with the hot sauce, garlic and other ingredients to make up the much-loved Baja sauce, originally used in fish tacos in the state of Baja California, Mexico. Making the Baja sauce is more than half the job done; all that remains is grilling the lobster tails and green onions and drizzling the sauce atop. Serve with warm tortillas and a cold brew.

Recipe: Baja-Style Grilled Rock Lobster Tails

• An Asian-style stir-fry, the Stir-fry Rock Lobster with Garlic and Black Pepper uses both Chinese rice wine and (Indonesian) kecap manis (sweet soy). The lobster meat is dusted with potato starch, fried, then added to vegetables and seasonings in the hot wok. The shells are deep fried separately until deep red, then used as a serving vessel for the lobster and veggie fry. After all, eating lobster is a little celebration in itself.

Recipe: Stir-fry Rock Lobster with Garlic and Black Pepper

• The lobster versions of the South Indian-style fish curries are as aplenty as the latter. This lobster recipe, originally from the Agari community, is distinct and stands apart from the crowd, especially for its use of raw mango. Whole spices are first toasted, then pounded and added to the frying alliums, green chilli and the tart fruit. There’s another surprise; the lobster heads are simmered in the curry, along with the meat and spices, conceivably to infuse more of the crustacean flavour. It’s all delicious, to say the least.

Recipe: Aggari Style Lobster Curry

  • Yellowfin Sole fillet

A member of the sole family, the yellowfin sole is a flatfish found in the Pacific Ocean. It has a firm yet delicate texture with a mild flavour, and is great for baked and fried recipes.

• A dish that “made Julia Child fall in love with French cuisine", this is a French classic that epitomizes the focus on involving prominently simple ingredients with meticulouslyexacting techniques, that’s hallmark of the cuisine. Here too, the list is decidedly short—just sole fillets, flour, butter, parsley, lemon, and salt and pepper at the most basic—and a cooking time of about 10-12 minutes. But the catch is in letting the flour-dredged fillets brown in the clarified butter until just right, and cooking the sauce until the cold butter is melted and whisked well into the reduced lemon juice and white wine, if using. A bite of the finished dish is indeed, “a morsel of perfection”, as Julia is supposed to have remarked.

Recipe: Andrew Zimmern’s Sole Meunière

• This seemingly-Chinese dish asks for first frying the flour-and-egg-dipped yellowfin sole fillets, then making a quick stir-fry with tricoloured bell pepper strips, and, actual peeled segments of the citrus in its name; in this case, orange and lemon. The red pepper oil adds warm heat and flavour in this recipe that relies on the crunch of the vegetablesand freshness of the citrus segments to be the counterpoise to the mild crispness of the fish. Mission accomplished.

Recipe: Yellowfin Sole with Citrus and Three Peppers

• The delicate flavour and firm texture of the sole also behove it to be enveloped in spices, and crisp-fried to consummate crunch, Punjabi style. Use the fillets as is, or cut into smaller pieces. The dish is best eaten hot, with a dusting of chaat masala. Feel free to add fries, and call it a desi fish and chips.

Recipe: Amritsari Fish

So many ways to tame the exotic. Which one would you try first?

About the Author

An incorrigible gastronome, Rupika V is on a perpetual quest to find the best food around, and will happily travel far to find it.

Image Credit: Cover
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Image Credit: -Seared Pollock Fish with Sauteed Mustard Greens
Image Credit: Pan-seared Pollock
Image Credit: Pan-seared Pollock
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Image Credit: South Indian Hake Curry
Image Credit: Baja-Style Grilled Rock Lobster
Image Credit: Stir-fry Rock Lobster with Garlic and Black Pepper
Image Credit: Aggari Style Lobster Curry
Image Credit: Andrew Zimmern’s Sole Meunière
Image Credit: Yellowfin Sole with Citrus and Three Peppers
Image Credit: Amritsari Fish

Illustration of The Little Mermaid by E. S. Hardy (circa 1890) The vastness of the ocean, the changeable nature of water, the fu...

Illustration of The Little Mermaid by E. S. Hardy (circa 1890)

The vastness of the ocean, the changeable nature of water, the fury of a sea-storm, the abundance of life found in the ocean and the variety of species that thrive in deep waters has made mankind not only marvel at everything that the sea offers, symbolises and is capable of but it has also provided a fertile ground for the creation of myths and legends. Mermen, shapeshifters, water demons, gods, amphibious humans, hybrid creatures, and zoomorphic beings, the sea has been the source of these legends of folklore. Even today, these tales about mystical sea dwellers continue to catch our imagination, inspire us, and enrich our culture.

Here is our list of the top 10 mythical characters that lived in the sea:

1. Bishop fish

Also referred to as the Monk-fish (not be confused with the real monkfish), this water being is supposed to have had the body of a fish and the face, hands and legs of a human. As the name hints, its appearance was that of a clergyman- this is probably because it was wearing a cloak. According to folklore, it was caught in the Baltic Sea and presented to the King of Poland sometime during the 16th century C.E. A group of Catholic monks were allowed by the king to meet this fishlike man. When they met the bishop-fish it indicated to them that it wanted to be set free so they requested the king to grant it its wish. After being set free, the sea-monk is said to have made the sign of the cross before jumping back into the ocean. A little after this tale was first told, different versions of it appeared around the world, one such story being about a bishop-fish who was said to have been captured near Germany. However, this time the sea creature sadly refused to eat and died. 

The sea monk.

2. Hippocampus

Greek mythology features a marine being that is part horse and part fish. Hippos means horse in Greek. The creature had the upper body and head of a horse and the lower half of a fish. The Greek God of Sea Poseidon’s chariot was drawn by these creatures. Some consider this Greek myth to have given rise to similar myths of sea monsters in other cultures like sea serpents and horse whale.

The marine seahorse gets its name from this Greek myth.

 3. Glaukos

He was a mortal fisherman who was transformed into a sea-god after eating a magical herb. All cultures offer some sort of prayers to certain gods when it comes making sea voyages, the ancient Greeks believed that one of the gods that protected fishermen and seafarers was Glaucus. The story goes, that the herb that he ate not only caused him to grow fins and a fishtail but also to become immortal. A little after he took to the sea, he gained prophetic powers and became a sea-god who protected humans that ventured into the sea.

Glaukos was considered to be the patron god of fishermen.

4. Oannes

According to Mesopotamian mythology, Oannes was considered to be a representative of the water god Ea. Oannes was a being that was part human and part fish. Inside the body of a fish was a man- the fish’s body covered the human body like a cloak from head to toe. He lived in the Persian Gulf but would come ashore during the day to educate humans. He taught the sciences, the arts, maths and even writing. Every night, having instructed and shared knowledge with humans, he would return to the sea.

Oannes, the fish-man

5. Namazu

A giant catfish that can only be restrained by God Kashima is responsible for earthquakes according to Japanese mythology. Initially, Namazu was considered to be a river god that warned people about natural calamities and protected them from catastrophes. However, sometime during the 18th century C.E., he was attributed to being the cause of disasters such as earthquakes. After the Edo earthquake in 1855, it was believed that through disasters Namazu was actually punishing people for their greedy acts. Hence, he began to be known as the god of world rectification.

The legend of Namazu evolved over time.

6. Aphros and Bythos

According to Greek mythology, Bythos (Sea-Depths) and Aphros (Sea-Foam) were two sea gods. They were ichthyocentaurs who, according to legend, were part centaurs (mythical creatures with the torso and head of a man and body of a horse) and part fish. So, these creatures had the upper body of a human, forelimbs of a horse and a fishtail. These ichthyocentaur twins were supposed to have imparted knowledge to humans and other beings.

Some of the Ichthyocentaurs had horns on their head like lobster-claws.

7. Ika-Roa

The Māori arrived in New Zealand from Eastern Polynesia around the 13th century C.E. They are considered to be the first settlers of that country. Like all other cultures, Māoris had myths and legends with which they tried to make sense of the world that they inhabited. One such myth was that of a long fish named Ikaroa who was considered to have given birth to the stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. There are different versions of this story and in some of them the Milky Way itself is known as Ikaroa meaning the long fish.

Ikaroa, as per the myth is the Mother Goddess of the stars in our galaxy.

8. Fintan

In Irish mythology, there’s a tale about a salmon named Fintan that received all the knowledge that the world has to offer by eating nine scared hazelnuts that fell into the well where it lived. The well was considered to be The Well of Wisdom and the nine hazelnut trees surrounding it were supposed to have been divine. The legend goes, anyone that ate the salmon would find inspiration and attain all the world’s knowledge. When a poet called Finn Eces caught this salmon he asked his servant Fionn to cook it but not to eat it. While cooking the salmon, Fionn accidentally had a drop of fish fat. This led him to acquire all the knowledge and become the leader of a mythical Irish warrior band of men known as Fianna.

Fintan, The Salmon of Knowledge.

9. Proteus 

Considering that Greek mythology was rich with legends from the sea, it seems apt to end this post with another Greek sea myth. Proteus was a sea deity. He had prophetic powers but did not like to share what he saw with others. The only way to get him to share what he saw was by catching and binding him when he was asleep in the afternoon. But even then this herdsman of sea creatures would try to flee by changing his form. Finally, if he could not manage to escape, he would divulge what he knew and then jump back into the sea.

In Odyssey, Homer called Proteus ‘the oracular Old Man of the Sea.’

The bountiful nature of the sea and the secrets it holds has inspired man since thousands of years. These myths, legends and stories reflect the close bond that we’ve always shared with the sea. Here’s hoping that the sea and its inhabitants continue to feed our imagination for a long time to come.

- The Fishvish Team

Image Credit: Cover
Image Credit: Bishop fish
Image Credit: Hippocampus
Image Credit: Glaukos
Image Credit: Oannes
Image Credit: Namazu
Image Credit: Aphros and Bythos
Image Credit: Ika-Roa
Image Credit: Fintan
Image Credit: Proteus