Ladyfish isn’t a dish that you’ll see on the table often. In fact, it’s highly likely that you’ve never tried ladyfish.
Well, is ladyfish worth a try? Moreover, can you even eat ladyfish?
Let’s find that out!
Can You Eat Ladyfish?
The quick answer to this question is yes, you can eat ladyfish just like any other regular edible fish. The cooking process of ladyfish is similar to that of other fish, and if you’ve dealt with fish before, then you shouldn’t have any issues.
With that said, there are a couple of things to keep in mind with ladyfish. While the cooking process at its basics is simple, this fish isn’t quite like others.
If you surf the web, you are going to find two major complaints about ladyfish – it has too many bones in it, and it tastes mushy and oily. Not only that, but you have to keep in mind the issue of mercury in fish.
Too many bones in ladyfish
Now, “too many bones” doesn’t mean that most of the fish is bones. However, the amount of bones in ladyfish is enough to become quite noticeable.
And it’s not that you have to deal with a thick spine or a plentitude of other large bones. It’s just that there are many more tiny bones in this fish than in some other edible fish species.
As a result, getting rid of all the bones to prepare the fish for cooking can be a very tedious process. And given the amount of meat you are getting from ladyfish, you may think that it isn’t worth it to try and remove all the bones.
Ladyfish aren’t small, but for the amount of effort you are putting into the preparation, you’d probably expect something more from this fish.
Well, if you feel up to it, then you may try to remove those tiny bones manually. Otherwise, there are a couple of tricks with which you can remove the bones relatively easily.
Mushy and oily taste
The second thing that some people appear to have had issues with is the taste of ladyfish. Ladyfish is oily and mushy, which a good number of people didn’t like about this fish.
When it comes to the feel of the meat, ladyfish has quite a gentle and crumbly meat. It doesn’t really melt in your mouth, but it’s much more fine-grained than you’d expect from fish.
This probably won’t be an issue for everyone. Moreover, there probably are plenty of people out there who will like the softer feel of ladyfish. However, there also are plenty of people who like fish to be more textured and crumbly, and if you are one of them, you may dislike ladyfish.
As for the oiliness, it’s a thing that most people will probably dislike. Fat can be quite overwhelming when it comes to taste, and not in the good way. Besides, the oiliness may be a major contributor to the mushy and texture-less feel of ladyfish.
With that said, taste is highly subjective, and what may be disliked by you will be absolutely loved by others. Aside from that, how the ladyfish actually tastes depends on the ingredients and cooking techniques you use.
Mercury in fish
Human activities like coal burning or iron mining can contaminate water sources with mercury which is readily absorbed by fish.
When it comes to ladyfish, there appears to be little data on mercury levels. We’ve managed to find only the guidelines of the North Carolina’s Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology branch where ladyfish is listed among fish high in mercury.
At the same time, the US FDA doesn’t seem to have data on mercury content in ladyfish. No mentions of ladyfish were found in the FDA Monitoring Program (1990 – 2010) report as well.
The North Carolina’s Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology branch recommends people to consume only 1 meal of high-mercury fish per weak, while pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under 15 should not eat such fish altogether. According to the FDA fish recommendations, 1 serving for adults is equal to 4 ounces.
The data on mercury content in ladyfish appears to be incomplete, but you may still want to be a little bit more careful about consuming this fish. As a basis, the FDA fish recommendations suggests eating fish only once per week if there are no advisories available for it in your area.
How to Prepare And Cook Ladyfish
It’s a great idea to use some special recipe to prepare any fish. Everything you add to the fish could significantly contribute to how the fish tastes, and you could make a much more delicious dish.
With that said, you may need to take a little more care when cooking ladyfish.
Ladyfish is quite an unpopular food item, and it seems to be much more commonly used as bait to catch other fish. As a result, not too many people out there can tell you what kind of food ladyfish is and whether it is good or not.
Since most people appear not to quite like ladyfish, you may want to use ladyfish as a base for a recipe of your choice. You won’t necessarily dislike the mild and oily flavor of ladyfish, but mixing ladyfish with other ingredients may be very beneficial for the fish’s taste.
Below, we want to introduce you to 3 recipes that we’ve come across online. There are many more ladyfish recipes out there for you to find, so these 3 recipes are only barely scratching the surface of what you can do with the fish.
You may find plenty of other recipes on YouTube, so we suggest that you check that platform out as well.
Besides, if you have a favorite fish recipe, then give it a try with ladyfish – with its distinct flavor, ladyfish may combine with your recipes much better than other fish!
The recipes below are given nearly in the form that they’ve been published originally. We’ve added a few details here and there to hopefully make the recipes clearer to you. Take these recipes as basis but feel free to do any changes that you think will make the dish better for your taste.
Click here to read can you use a Jet Ski for fishing?
The pressure cooking method
This one’s a fairly interesting recipe found from this WordPress blog. It’s not the most conventional recipe, but if you have the equipment, you may give it a try.
For this recipe, you will need 2 things:
- A smoker or grill.
- A pressure cooker.
Here is the step-by-step preparation and cooking process:
- Fillet and skin the ladyfish.
- Chop the fish into smaller chunks. The original recipe suggests 3-inch chunks, but you may go larger or smaller depending on your preferences and available space.
- Put the meat into your smoker or grill.
- Cook the fish for 2 hours with the wood of your choice.
- Put the meat into canning jars. Top off the fish with water. Add some salt by preference.
- Shut the lid of the jars and place them into your pressure cooker. Add water so that it’s a few inches high. No need to entirely cover the jars with water – you can leave the water at half the jars’ height.
- Pressure cook the fish for about an hour. The extreme heat should be able to eliminate the bones present in the fish.
- Remove the jars from the pressure cooker and let them cool.
- Drain the jars and pour the meat out into a bowl.
- Add spices or flavors to your taste. The original recipe suggests mayo, chopped onion, sweet relish, black pepper, sour cream, and dill.
The main idea of this particular recipe is to get rid of the bones with pressure cooking.
We suggest that you remove as many bones from the fish as possible before placing it in your smoker or grill. Remove as many bones as you can without destroying the meat. If you do this, you should be able to ensure that pressure cooking indeed eliminates all the bones.
For the recipe of ladyfish cake, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- An egg.
- Lime juice.
- Celery stalks.
- Olive oil.
- Salt and pepper.
This is how to make a ladyfish cake:
- Clean, gut, and fillet the ladyfish. Don’t forget to remove the scales.
- Scrape the meat off the bones and skin with a spoon. Do put the effort in to remove as many bones as you can.
- Place the meat into a bowl.
- Mix the mayonnaise, egg, and lime juice. Finely chop the celery stalks and add it to the mixture. Then, add fresh parsley as well.
- Add salt and pepper to your taste.
- Put the flaked fish into the mixture and blend everything together.
- Place the mixture into the refrigerator and let it chill for about 30 minutes.
- Take the mixture out of the refrigerator and make patties from it.
- Scatter breadcrumbs onto a plate and carefully dredge the patties in the bread crumbs.
- Turn your stove to medium heat and heat oil in a frying pan.
- Place the fishcakes into the pan.
- Cook the fishcakes for about 5 minutes on each side. Keep the fishcakes on the pan until the cakes are thoroughly cooked and the crumbs are golden-brown.
Ladyfish rava fry
This one’s is also an interesting recipe that appears to be from India.
To make ladyfish rava fry, you need the following ingredients:
- 2 ladyfish.
- 1 plate of semolina.
- Refined oil as required and to your taste.
- 1 egg.
- 1 tablespoon of corn flour.
- 100 grams of red chili.
- 2 teaspoons of ginger garlic paste.
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
- 1 teaspoon of salt (or as much as you like).
To prepare this dish, follow these steps:
- Clean, gut, and fillet the fish. The original recipe just recommends to clean the fish, but it probably implies that you need to also gut and fillet it.
- Take care to remove the bones from the meat. Again, you may use a spoon to scrape the meat off the bones.
- Boil the red chilies in water. Strain them and grind them into a thick paste.
- Add the egg, corn flour, ginger garlic paste, lime juice, and salt to the chili paste.
- Apply the mixture to the fish. Let the fish marinate for 30 minutes.
- Coat the marinated fish in semolina.
- Deep fry the fish until done.
Should You Absolutely Give Ladyfish A Try?
If you’ve ever encountered ladyfish, then you’ve probably wondered whether it’s edible and how it’ll taste.
Well, we’ve already answered these questions. Not only that, but we’ve had a look at a couple of recipes that you could prepare and cook ladyfish with.
Then comes another question – should you give ladyfish a try? Is this fish even worth it?
We can’t really say that it’s a must-have fish or the tastiest fish that has ever existed out there. Claiming that you just have to give it a try would probably be an overstatement. If there are plenty of other fish in your area, then ladyfish may not be the most delicious among them.
With that said, we think that you should give ladyfish at least a try.
If you are among those people who like food that’s less crumbly and less textured, then you will probably like ladyfish. It’s pretty gentle without the use of any special cooking techniques.
If you like when your food is crumblier, then we still suggest that you at least give ladyfish a try. How to cook ladyfish is up to you, but if you like meat that has texture, then you may want to use some of the techniques we’ve talked about above.
Aside from that, if you just so happen to be in an area where there are plenty of ladyfish and not too many other fish, then know that you could make a delicious dish with it. It may take more effort than with other fish types, and you might not be getting as much meat as you have hoped for, but ladyfish can serve as a decent base for other meals.
Ladyfish isn’t the pinnacle of fish, but it’s worth a try. And who knows, maybe it becomes the one fish dish that you just can’t live without!