Pomfret is one of the main fishes in South Asia. They are found majorly in the Indo – Pacific ocean and Atlantic region. It is a perciform fish which belongs to the Bramidae family. This category of fish has more than 30 different known species. It is a bony fish with two separate fins, dorsal fin and anal fin. The different species of fish are from 8 different genera. Few of them are Eumegistus, Pterycombus, Brama and Taractichthys. Brama genus consists of the largest number of identified pomfrets.
It is also called as pamphlet locally. Commercially, Atlantic pomfret is the most important species of fish in this category. It spends most of it time at a depth of about 3250 feet. It feeds on small fishes and mollusks.
Some varieties of butterfishes are also called as pomfrets. Three common varieties contributing majorly to Indian fishery are –
- Pampus Argentius (Silver pomfret)
- Parastromateus niger (Black pomfret)
- Pampus chinesis (Chinese pomfret)
- Along Mumbai coast, Alibaug, Versova, Revadanda, Arnala, Uttan, Satpathi, Basein are the main regions where pomfret is found in plenty.
- Along the Gujarat coastal line, Kotda, Dhamle, Sutrapada, Hirakot, Verawal, Porbunder are the major pomfret fishing areas.
Along the Indian coastal line, the major season for pomfret fishing is September to May.
Cooking techniques used
Grilling – Grilled pomfret fish is commonly made by marinating the fish and then grilling
Steaming – Steamed pomfret is a usual part of Thai cuisine.
Baking – Baking is commonly done instead of frying.
Deep frying and shallow frying – Frying is done by battering and encrusting the fish.
Popular Dishes made of pomfret
- Steamed pomfret with Thai sauce – It is very important to clean the fish before cooking. All the internal organs have to be removed before cooking. It has to be washed in clean water and then used. The fish is seasoned, salted and wrapped in a banana leaf and then steamed in a bamboo steamer for about 10 minutes. A tangy, spicy red Thai curry like sauce is made and poured over the steamed fish. This can be eaten with jasmine rice.
- Pomfret fish curry – Pomfret fillets are used to make this dish. Indian spices like turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander seed powder, fenugreek seeds are used. Fresh grated Coconut along with kokum is used to enhance the flavor. All the spices along with some onion are ground together and cooked in little oil. Pomfret pieces are added and cooked for about 2 – 3 minutes. It is served either with Indian breads or steamed rice.
- Grilled pomfret – Lemon juice, red chilli powder, dry mango powder, garlic and yoghurt are used to make a marinade. Either the entire fish is marinated or fish pieces are used. Grilled pomfret is served as an appetizer.
- Stuffed pomfret is a traditional Maharashtrian dish made using pomfret. It is stuffed with a spicy mixture of onion, coconut and spices.
- Braised pomfret is a chinese dish eaten popularly as an energy replenisher.
- In Hong Kong, pomfret is cooked by smoking over tea leaves.
Health and Nutrition Facts
Pomfret fish, raw
Serving size – 100 g
Calories – 87 cal, Fat – 2 g, Saturated fat – 0.5 g, Protein – 15 g, Carbohydrates – 15 g
- Pomfret is very low in calories and fat. It is high in good quality protein. It is very good for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases. It can also be consumed by hypertensive patients. People who want to build their muscle tone should incorporate pomfret into their diet.
- It contains high amount of omega 3 fatty acids which reduces the risks of cardiovascular problem development. It supplies DHA which an important component for brain development.
- Cooking low fat techniques like grilling, steaming and baking are better as compared to frying.
How to select a pomfret
- It is very important to select a fish with bright eyes. Fish with dull eyes may not be safe for consumption.
- The body should be firm and when pressed with a finger, it should leave no indent.
- The skin should be shiny.
Where to buy
- Pomfret is easily available in all supermarkets all over the world. One can buy either canned or frozen.
- It is also available at local fish vendors all over Asia and in coastal regions.