My mother made us 釀鯪魚 two days ago. It was really really good. Partly because it recalled many childhood memories for me and my wife. But our daughters, who have no such memories, also liked it.
Chinese mud carp (鯪魚) is a very tasty fresh water fish. Unfortunately it also has a lot of small bones, which make them difficult to eat. So removing and beating the flesh into a paste and then stuffing the flesh back into its own skin is an ingenious way to enjoy the fish.
My mother had to buy two big mud carps, and ask the monger to skin the fish. Not too many mongers these days know how to do it. This one charged two dollars for it, which was a real bargain, considering the time and skill required.
Some dried pork and dried mushrooms were mixed with the fish’s flesh to enhance the flavour. The mixture was chopped and beaten into a paste, then stuffed back into the fish. Finally the stuffed fish were fried until they were golden brown, and sliced before serving. The stuffing was firm and slightly bouncy, tasted fresh and full of complex flavour. Even the bones were SO good.
It took my mother two hours to do it. We were all very thankful.