“Fishzilla” aka Snakehead

Ok, so it’s not the prettiest looking fish in the world but it sure is tasty! Last night we grilled the legendary “Fishzilla” otherwise known as Snakehead or Channidae in Latin.

Lots of controversy surrounds this gilled menace.  In the US State of Maryland, it wreaked havoc on fresh water ecosystems by climbing swiftly to the top of the food chain (Nat Geo article) You’ve just gotta have some fish that’s as tough as that!

In Asia, the docile and fun loving snakehead is a bit of a delicacy in countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Often found trudging around in filthy drainage ditches, the snakehead has progressed and is now commercially farmed across the region.  They were also the cheapest fillets I found at the fish monger the other week as well.  Right, that said we embarked on a reminder to this little fishy that WE are at the top of the food chain around here!

Preparing the fish:

  • 200g snakehead fish fillet, sliced thickly (2 fillets)
  • 5 teaspoons plain yoghurt
  • 3 teaspoons prawn paste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Spicy Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon prawn paste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 red chili padi, chopped

Fish Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 2 stalks spring onion, cut thinly
  • 1 red chili padi, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts

The preparation for this dish is very easy and took less than half an hour from start to finish.  In fact, the basmati rice that I cooked up with this fish took longer.  Set your grill up for direct heat and stabilize the temperature at 400 degrees F.

Now while you’re waiting for the grill to settle, prepare your fish marinade by combining the yogurt, prawn paste and sugar in a bowl. Mix it well and ensure a nice creamy light brown consistency. From there you simply add your fish fillets to a zip top bag and then pour the marinade inside.  Squish it around a bit to ensure an even coating then let it sit f0r about 15 minutes.

You can also prep your dipping sauce ahead of time by simply combining the ingredients listed above and you’re done.

The fish goes directly on a lightly oiled grill for 7 minutes per side over medium heat.  Flip and check that your fish is cooking properly and leave it on a while longer if you think it’s not cooked through all the way.  Here’s a great little guide to use if you’re not sure about grilling fish: click here

OK, let’s assume that the fish has achieved a lovely golden brown apperance and is ready for serving.  Plate your fillets and then with a clean hand, top each fillet with the topping and then drizzle the remaining lime juice on top. Add some basmati rice to the side and you’re done.  Snakehead on a plate!

The result tonight was interesting.  Not the best fish we’ve ever grilled but certainly the most unique.  The texture of the snakehead was more like chicken though it kept all of its moisture.  The marinade really helped a lot and the red chili kicked up the heat factor.  All in all, a great and simple meal that we’d try again…perhaps with another white fish.

Overall Heather Rating: 7/10

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