at last, after a hiatus of not cooking, i've returned to my domain of heavenly smells and (sometimes disastrous) creations.
when i was in mekah 2 weeks ago, i had this sudden craving for ikan celup tepung or flour batter coated fried fish. this is especially famous in Telaga Batin near to KTrg's airport, where you can see a lot of cars flocking the rustic seafood restaurants. go to the one with the most cars, and that means the first shop after the T-junction. besides fish, there're also other seafood such as squids and prawns. and what's more, you can enjoy your seafood with the seabreeze cooling you, and sweet air kelapa to quench your thirst, and a seaview with coconut trees. hahaha TDC should take me in as a writer for their pamphlet.
anyway, i've digressed from my original intention, which is to talk about how to buy fresh fish and how to prepare ikan celup tepung.
my sister was amused to see that some terengganu folks buy fish at hypermarkets, which is a big no-no for us the fish connoisseurs. but i prefer to go to the wet market, where everything is fresher. so how does one pick a fresh fish? a fresh fish should not have red eyes (unless you're buying red snapper). the eyes should be clear and lucid. the fish itself should be firm to the touch, and the skin should be silvery clear and not cloudy. the gills should be brilliant red, and not dull red. in kuala terengganu there are certain places where you can get the freshest catch - at chendering near to taman permint jaya, near the small bridge of SMKA Sheikh Abdul Malek, and also the wet market at Pasir Panjang.
it is best that you eat the fresh fish a.s.a.p, which is why i decided that the simplest dish is the best for such fresh fish. the batter is the same as the batter to make goreng pisang (or pisang goreng, as my BM teacher used to tell me) - which means some kapur (alkaline), turmeric powder, flour, water and salt. just dip the fish in the batter and deep fry it and voila! remember that the wok must be clean or else the fish will be stuck to the wok.