This is a collection of stuff I learned from my Auntie Pat in Ewa Beach and Uncle Google…
Aging your fish:
Let your fish age a few days in the fridge so that the meat has time to break down. I like to use a quick overnight method which includes gutting the fish, cutting off its tail and head, wrapping it in Saran Wrap and freezing it. Take out the frozen fish in the morning, and leave it out to thaw. I figure that when the meat freezes, the ice crystals break the meat down faster, so when it thaws out, it’s good to go.
Getting the Meat:
There are two methods I know.
First method: Leave the fish intact—no need to gut, and no need to remove the head. Just leave it in the fridge to let it age. When the meat is ready, cut off the tail about 1/2″ to 1″ into the meat. Take a bottle or rolling pin, and roll it from the head to the tail. If the meat is broken down, it should come out like toothpaste from a tube.
Second method: Fillet and scrape with spoon. I cut on either side of the spine, open it up, scrape, cut along the rib line, scrape and squeeze out the parts I can’t get to. I always feel like I get the most meat out this method.
Don’t forget to save the scraps for your crabby friends!
Basic Fishcake Recipe
2 lbs fish equivalent. Can use O’io (Bonefish), Awa (Milkfish) or Awaawa (Ladyfish)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp Hawaiian salt (Dissolved)
1 egg white
2 tbsp cornstarch
Put in blender with salted water, then blend at low speed for a couple of minutes. Should come out like a thick paste. Put in a bowl, fold in beaten egg white and cornstarch. Spoon out balls of the mix into a lightly oiled pan, and brown on both sides.
The recipe above is bare-bones; you should try it plain before you start getting fancy. I tried a couple of different mixes. I like finely diced onions in the mix. A lot of people I know like to add in stuff like carrots and potatoes. This is done not for solely for taste, but more as a means to bulk up the mix so that there’s more to go around. Personally, I recommend avoiding overpowering seasonings like black pepper and fresh garlic because the fishcakes come out tasting more like chicken than fish.
Bruddah Bill’s “Happy Wahine” O’io Fish Patties
2 lbs of o’io
1 whole egg
A couple of shakes garlic salt (the one with parsley flakes is sooo fancy!)
1/2 cup diced onions
Since my Wahine outlawed my use of the new blender for fishcakes, I’ve been making this mix. Just throw ‘em all together in a bowl, and squish ‘em with your hands until it looks consistent. Spoon out balls of the mix into a lightly oiled pan, and brown on both sides. The mix will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, so you can just cook to serve for a quick meal.