So! The Fish Smells Fishy!! Learn How to Remove Fish Smell?
Simple kitchen tricks to remove fish smells for a delicious dish. Whether it’s on your hands or in the kitchen, here is how they get rid of stale fish smells. As long as it hasn’t fully spoiled, your fish will taste as fresh as when you bought it after you remove the triethylamine oxide (TMAO) and cook it up.
So! You buy some fish at the store, toss it in the fridge, and forget about it for a few days. Until a very distinct smell reminds you that it’s there. Don’t toss it out just yet. It’s still edible and there are a few ways to make it smell and taste more appealing.
As long as, your fish is only a day or two old and the flesh is still firm it is possible to reduce the smell and make the fish appetising.
So, what is this fish smell actually?
That “fishy” smell invading your nostrils is caused by trimethylamine (TMA), an organic compound. In order to counteract the saltiness of seawater, the cells of ocean creatures are full of amino acids and amines. Trimethylamine oxide is the main one (also known as TMAO).
When a fish or shellfish dies bacterial enzymes attack the flesh. The muscles of the fish containing the trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) start to decompose causing it to break down into trimethylamine (TMA) which results in the fishy smell we know so well.
The fresher the fish the less it smells so if a fish smells particularly bad do not buy it as it is probably quite old.
No one likes overly fishy fish. The trouble is unless you’re cooking fish right after it was caught, it’s likely to have been out of water for several hours—even overnight or longer.
If it’s been flash-frozen, that may not be a problem, but as fish lingers, even refrigerated, its aroma can become steadily more pronounced, even before it starts to go bad.
Here are a few ways to remove fish smell before and after eating it:
Before cooking & eating the fish
- Use milk: Soak fish in milk for about 20 minutes. The casein in the milk binds with the trimethylamine and thus extracts some of it reducing the fish odour.
- Wash it with cold water: If the fish has only recently started to smell, a quick rinse in cold water—not hot water—will remove most of the bacteria and TMA. Rinse, pat dry with a paper towel, and cook.
- Use acid: Acid reacts with TMA & leaves behind acid salt and water – neither of which smell or taste bad. You can cook your fish in an acidic liquid, like a vinegar-based mix, squirt it with lemon juice before cooking, or dunk it in an acidic sauce, like tartar sauce.
- Use Ginger: Apart from its health benefits, ginger if effective on fish as well. Simply crush the ginger and rub it over the fish. Leave it on for about 30 minutes before cooking.
- Sugar and sesame oil: You need to take sugar or sesame oil & embalm your fish for about 3-5 minutes and wash it out with water.
What about the odours during & after cooking?
- Cook Outdoors: Use your BBQ. Not only does it give the fish a beautiful taste, but it also keeps the smells outside!
- Vinger Vanish: If frying the fish, leave a small bowl of white vinegar next to the hob. The vinegar absorbs the odour and leaves the room smelling clean and fresh.
- Go Poach: Cooking fish in water means that any unpleasant waft is contained within its bath and keeps the flesh soft and tender.
- Foil it: Cook fish in foil or baking paper can put a lid on the problem before it starts. In Inda, we do a lot of fish cooking with fish wrapped in banana leaves.
- Boil Stuff: Mixing vinegar and water and letting it boil for several minutes is a good idea to remove fishy smell.
FINALLY, TO SUM IT UP
If your fish is only a day or two old and the flesh is still firm it is possible to remove fish smell. This article shows really easy ways to get rid of fish smells.
Remember, as long as it hasn’t fully spoiled, your fish will taste as fresh as when you bought it after you remove the TMA and cook it up.
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