Monday, November 4, 2013

Sengsun jorim (braised fish)

I am not really a fan of dealing with fish. I like to eat it (mostly in the raw form of sushi and sashimi than cooked fish), but you will rarely see me cooking up a fish dish at home. Oh and even when a fish tastes good but has too many bones, I won’t eat it! I don’t have the patience to be picking out all the bones. And I get paranoid about getting a bone stuck in my throat (it’s happened to my mom and brother in the past..did NOT look like fun at all).

The fishy smell that lingers after scaling/gutting/filleting a fish is something I can do without. I just tend to stay away from it. I just don’t like handling fish lol. I remember when my brothers and I were kids, my parents used to drag us fishing almost every weekend. I hated it. Fishing days seemed endless. But I’ll admit, it was a bit exciting when a fish bit my hook. Reeling that sucker in made the day a bit more bearable. I get why people love fishing, but it was just never my thang
Most of the time, we would go fishing at the Redondo Beach Pier. The beach reminds me of Three's Company. Maybe that is why I feel a deeper fondness towards Redondo compared to other beaches lol. The fun part began when the fishing part was over. It was the kids' turn to have fun after the grown ups had theirs. I have fond memories of eating crab (crab and shrimp) after a long day of fishing. I loved using that wooden hammer that they provided. It was so much fun to use. Oh...and the arcade at Redondo...Time flew by way too quickly when I was having my fun at the arcade. When it was time to go home, my mom had to practically drag me out....just when my fun started, I had to go home!
Anyways back to the story of my torturous fishing days..I think throwing in the bait and reeling in the fish were the only part I took part in with the fishes I caught. My dad would bait the hook with whatever bait he was using for the day. No way in hell I would touch those worms or other icky thingamajigs that fish eat. And when it bit, that is when a slight thrill overcame my boredom. It was most exciting when the fish was big. But still….other than the 10 seconds of the sporadic thrill, fishing for me was like pulling teeth! And then of course, my dad would unhook the fish (cuz I wasn’t going to touch no smelly fish..duh!) and throw them in the bucket with the other fish that had been caught.

80s girls, remember when Punky went fishing? Lol..that is how I’d feel each time I was dragged to go fishing….”bored out of my mind” and couldn’t wait to get home.
Recently, a friend of mine, J, went fishing on a boat. I guess it was a good fishing day for him. He caught a bunch and asked me if I wanted some. I told him, “sure”.

“How many do you want?” He asked. Umm…I had no idea how many I wanted. One or two would have been sufficient. But he just gave me almost everything he caught. Sure…why not. I could experiment and make some things I haven’t had in a while. It’s been forever since I’ve done anything with fish (other than eating it). As much as I hate getting my hands all fishy in fish, I kind of looked forward to it since it is a once in a blue moon thing for me.
In the picture he showed me, I couldn’t really tell the size of the fish. But dang, when he brought them over, they were pretty huge! I think he gave me about twelve or so. So I was given more fish than I know what to do with. He gave me: Blue Dog, Sheephead, Grouper, White Fish, and Opaleye.
The first (and so far the ONLY) dish I made was Sengsun Jorim (braised is not technically an actual braise, but that is the term it is translated into), using a Blue Dog. Some of the fish were not completely scaled (and others were…friend just got tired and couldn’t finish with all the scaling lol). I used two of the Blue Dogs. One of them was scaled and the other was not. OMG! It was a nightmare to scale. Fish scales flying everywhere as I was cleaning the fish really left a big smelly mess. The fish smell lingered on my hands and went all over my clothes too. I had to take a nice hot shower after all that fish mess and change into new clean clothes. It just reminded me why I hardly ever do fish! LOL

 I shared the Sengsun Jorim with J and he got to try a taste of what he caught. He liked it, told me that it was “good”. Since he lives down the street from me, it’s easy to share my food with him when I feel like it. When he says something is “good”, I think it means that he liked it but that it’s not out of this world good lol. When he absolutely loves something I made, I’ve noticed his response to be very different…He will tell me that the dish gave him an orgasm or foodgasm lol or be like “OMG that was sooooo good!” as if it was the best thing he’s ever had. But with Sengsun Jorim, he just said it was “good”. Well, at least it was edible and he finished everything.
I am not that great with fish because I simply don’t like dealing with it. I need work on my fish skills and now I got all that fish in my freezer waiting to be practiced with. It’s been about a month since I even touched any fish that J gave me. By this rate, I think I will get done using up all that fish probably a year later lol.  Hmm...what to cook up next with the remaining fish?!


  1. Oh I love that post! I used to go deep sea fishing w/ my dad and loved it. It was the first time I learned how to hook a live sardine on the hook and then use it was bait. But man, the smell of fish guts and sea water at the end of the journey still haunts me (along w/ my sea sickness).

    Where did you put the rest of the fish?! That's a whole lotta fish !!! I've never scaled OR gutted a whole fish - you're good. But I agree that handling fish is tough b/c the smell just lingers on your skin forever.

    The fish stew looks good though :)

  2. Wow I am impressed you learned how to hook. I can never do it lol...too icky! The rest of the fish is still in the freezer. Friend loves to fish and he said he will pass them over to me whenever he catches some lol. I hope I use all the remaining ones before I get my next batch.

  3. I feel the same way about fish. Also choking on a fish bone when I was 13 didn't help what little love I had for fish. It took me a while to feel comfortable about eating fish again. I stick to the boring stuff like cod, salmon, tuna, halibut, snapper, etc. And almost always already filleted.

    1. Oh I prefer the "boring stuff" too. Wow choking on a fish bone must have been traumatizing. How exactly do you get it out? My mom just had a tiny piece stuck in her throat for days and she was constantly semi-choking until it passed.


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