We used to get monkfish or anglerfish 鮟鱇 tail meat fillet at our nearby fish market but, for some reason, we have not seen it for some time. Since we now occasionally go to a different grocery store to get pasteurized shell eggs, we checked their fish department and found monkfish.
Monkfish is an interesting deep water fish and Japanese eat almost every part of this ugly fish. I posted several Ankimo 鮟肝 or monkfish liver dishes–the liver is the best part of the monkfish. One of the most popular Japanese ways to cook monkfish is as a nabe 鍋 dish called “Ankou nabe” アンコウ鍋 in which the meat, liver, skin and even cartilage are cooked in miso flavored broth with vegetables. This fish has a very firm texture somewhat resembling lobster tail but does not have a strong taste. I used to bake this fish fillet imitating lobster tail by using paprika to give it a red “lobster” color. This time I decided to make a portion of it as “karaage” 唐揚げ. It is very similar to chicken “Tatsuta-age” 竜田揚げ in terms of how this is made.
The fillet has a slimy membrane covering the surface. Although once cooked, it is not too bothersome, it is best to remove most of the membrane. I used my fingers to pinch, pull up, and raise the membrane from the surface and slice it horizontally using a fillet knife. This way you could remove most of it without slicing off too much meat but you can decide if this is worth the effort. I cut the fish meat into bite sized chunks and marinate them for several hours in the refrigerator in a mixture of soy sauce, sake and mirin (2:1:1) with grated ginger. Just before cooking, I drain and pat dry with a paper towel and dredge the pieces in potato starch or “Katakuriko
” 片栗粉 shaking off any excess flour. Meanwhile I heat up the peanut oil to about 170C (350F). I deep fry the fish until the surface is set and the meat is done (2-3 minutes depending on the size of the chunks).
Although I served this with green tea salt
, it has enough seasoning so just lemon juice was fine. It has a nice crunch on the surface with firm texture and very nice flavor. We restrained ourselves and only enjoyed a small amount.