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Hot Topic (More than 30 Replies) Caring for your Kahawai (Read 26796 times)
Sikahill
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Caring for your Kahawai
Feb 25th, 2007 at 11:10am
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It amazes me sometimes at the lack of knowledge on how to prepare fish for the table - grown adults never having filleted a fish before.
This post attempts to help those of you who want to know how to prepare a kahawai for the table. Some of you will love smoked Kahawai (I don't), some of you will love it raw in a lemon juice marinade then coconut creme (its lovely) and I heard it makes a lovely fish pie.  I choose to eat the fillets dusted in wholemeal flour and fried in Olive Oil or butter. If it has been cared for it tastes pretty good. Of course those of you with access to good snapper fishing or even a boat will prefer better eating fish. The simple Kahawai is a meritorious catch to surfcasters and probably makes up 90% of the catch of most beach fisherman. So for those of you who are happy to catch Kahawai and feed the family for a night or two here goes.

First catch yourself a nice fat kahawai - it doesnt have to be big. Cut under the gills to free the head and let the claret flow. Keep out of the sun until ready to fillet. I use a wet potato sack to store them in and leave in the shade. We surfcasters dont have the luxury of carrying bags of ice, especially when we dont know if we are going to catch anything at all. For those of you with ice, well that is the best of course to lie the fish in until ready to fillet.

I dont bother to scale them. It makes one hell of a mess and you end up finding scales everywhere and they stick like sh*t to a blanket. Note in the photo the beast of a reel. Its a real workhorse and smooth as silk. A shimano thunnus 16000F for those of you who are interested. Find your wifes "hang out the washing table" sharpen the knife and lay down newspaper to save leaving scales all over the table.



Make a diagonal cut in behind the pectoral fin as shown.


Next cut from the top of the back down one side of the fish. Your knife will need to be sharp otherwise you'll butcher it.



Make sure you keep your knife against the bone so as not to waste any. As you go peel back the fillet so you can see what sort of job you are doing. You'll hit the backbone so just angle the knife around it using light strokes of the knife.


You'll then get to the ribcage and most fish also have a lateral line of bones you'll just have to cut through. Carefully work your way around the ribcage. In some fish there is stuff all meet around the ribcage so dont be too fussy here. Just make sure you dont leave any ribcage in the fillet itself.



At the bottom of the rib cage you should be able to lie the fillet in an open position


The sever the fillet at the bottom. I dont take any of the bottom fins with the fillet.


Turn the fish over and do the same to the other side. The second side is always more difficult to get a nice fillet close to the bone as the fish has lost all of its support and rigidity.


The frame left over can be used in your compost, or cray bait or even....


But seriously  chooks wont be effective enough and it'll stink to high hell if left out in the sun.


Next you need to get the skin off. On a fresh piece of newspaper (no slime!) hold the tail of the fillet with your thumb and angle the knife in.


Keep the knife angle as shown (angled down towards the skin) and gently move up the fish movin the knife back and forth folding back the fillet as you go. Be careful not to cut through the skin  - trick is to get the right angle right on the knife


After you have got the skin off both fillets you need to remove the red meat as it tastes disgusting and ruins the eating experience. Looking at the back side of the fillet, make an angle cut right along the length of the fish as shown along the red meat line


Peel back the red meat as you go. This cut actually splits the fillet length ways into two and takes out the lateral bones and red meat in one go.


Trim the rest of the red meat and place in a dish ready for cooking.


Now dispose of the frame and skin   Wink


I hope you enjoy your fish!

I forgot to add, under no circumstances do you wash your fillets in fresh water. I prefer to not wash at all. It screws the meat.
  
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DUCKSLAYER
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #1 - Feb 25th, 2007 at 11:20am
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thats a lot of work what a waste of snappa bait Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley
  

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MADNESS
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #2 - Feb 25th, 2007 at 11:23am
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nice informative post sikahill Cool
i bet the chook was pissed off when it lost the frame to the pigs  Grin
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #3 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:31am
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That's a great guide Sikahill, thanks for posting it. I have made it a sticky so that it stays at the top of the forum for a while.
  

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paora
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #4 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 3:10am
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pigs got the best parts
  

Make it happen!
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kawhia
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #5 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 6:49am
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good post mate, few tips to get rid of that red meat, soon as ya catch them poke ya thumb though the gills and rip it through the bottom and pull back the head as soon as you get the hook out, wriggle the fish while it bleeds...........snappa bait my arse duckslaya lol, best dog tucker you can get if you have a few spare Wink.............also doing the first half cuts on both sides will give you two even fillets
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #6 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 6:51am
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Smiley
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #7 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 8:34am
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Thanks for sharing sikahill. Much appreciated!
  

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Sikahill
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #8 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 10:08am
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I forgot to add - while I was outside doing the photos for this photo essay, my wife was inside going through the early stages of labour.
Hows that for dedication to the fish n hunt forum
Grin Grin Grin Grin


Kawhia

Good points mate - I'll try that in future - always learning on this forum!
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #9 - Mar 2nd, 2007 at 10:25am
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Sikahill, was it a Harry or a Harriette? Cool
  

Oooo! Look, is that an alpacca?
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Sikahill
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #10 - Mar 5th, 2007 at 12:42am
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A girl Hicksville - "Ella"

Another fisherwoman in the making although my wife is keen for hunting to be her first love. Either or suits me.
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #11 - Apr 19th, 2007 at 8:23am
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Congratulations on the daughter  Smiley

Kahawai is a grossly undervalued fish but certainly high on my target list. the younger yellow spotted ones are the best eating but those big grey backed ocean going jobs can be pretty good to if properly looked after.


A small tip, soak the fillets in milk for a few hours before cooking sweetens them up qhite a bit, much more better  Smiley
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #12 - Feb 4th, 2008 at 3:15am
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Congrats on the daughter mate!  Cheesy I'm sure she'll be a fine hunter AND fisher!

Kahawai - the chicken of the sea!

I hope your wife didn't see you using her washing basket table to fillet fish, or I'm sure your new daughter would have popped right out! May have made the labour thing easier anyway!!   Grin
  

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Jackie
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #13 - May 4th, 2009 at 7:05am
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As a Newcomer to this site and to fishing ( Ive been fishing all of 4 weeks now, and I even scale gut and fillet them!!!! Smiley...I just wanted to thank you for your post. I actually caught my first Kahawai off Foxton Beach wharf last week, and wasnt it a thrill!!!! Mind you my arms ached like the hell the following day !!!

I did a pretty good job of filleting it (well I thought I did untill I saw your post!) I simply made up a batter and cooked it that way and believe you me it was delicious!!!!

I can't believe that this old girl has become totally hooked on fishing, I wake up every morning and drag my husband down to the wharf, and we usually spend 5 to 6 hours just loving the whole deal.

Any tips hints on this marvelous sport will be very welcomed from me!

  
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Sikahill
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #14 - May 4th, 2009 at 8:34am
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Youre welcome
  
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