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Pomfret contribute one of the main groups of table fish in India. They are found every where in the tropical sea of the Indo-pacific region. Though the pomfret occur all along the coast of India, the main area of abundance are Gujrat, Bombay coasts on the west coast and Orissa and lower West Bengal on east coast. They are basically of three species, out of which, the silver pomfret is most common P.niger is next in importance and P.chinensis though common in east coast, is rare in west Coast. Butter fish, also known as pomfret or white pomfret fish, is healthy and deliciously tender when steamed or baked in the oven.

How to select

Knowing how to choose fresh fish or seafood is a vital skill for a seafood cook. While buying whole pomfret, look for bright, clear eyes. The eyes are the window to a truly fresh fish, for they fade quickly into gray dullness. Dull-eyed fish may be safe to eat, but they are past their prime. A fresh pomfret should smell like clean water, or a touch briny or even like cucumbers. Under no circumstances should you buy a nasty smelling fish. While buying pomfret fish fillets, look for a shiny skin which springs back after pressing. If there is liquid around the fish, it should be clear and not milky. It is always better to buy flounder from a known fish seller or a well known fish store.

Culinary Uses
" The pomfret can be grilled, steamed or even made into fish soups, cutlets and cold salads.
" Pomfret is common to many cuisines and enjoyed in various forms such as sushi, sashimi, croquets, fried fish, baked fish, etc
" A delicacy in Asian countries is pomfret cooked in banana leaves. Place the banana leaf-wrapped fish in a glass casserole dish (uncovered) and bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 12-15 minutes
" Stuffed pomfret is common and it can also be baked with a mixture of melted margarine, Dijon mustard and mayonnaise
" Country fried pomfret and pomfret cutlets, soups, salads and stews are also popular.
" A few recipes involving pomfret are Tandoor pomfret, pomfret masala, pomfret in coconut and green curry, steamed pomfret in red curry, etc

How to store

If you caught the fish yourself, you will get as much as a week to 10 days to store the fish in a refrigerator, preferably in a bed of crushed ice. A market-bought fish won't last that long, nor will a piece of fish such as a fillet or a steak. Those will remain at peak condition only for 3-4 days in refrigerator.

Health benefits

" Fish, especially saltwater fish, is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are heart-friendly.
" Pomfrets are excellent sources of protein that are low in fat. Experts agree that, even in small quantities, fish can have a significant positive impact in improving the quality of dietary protein by complementing the essential amino acids that are often present in low quantities in vegetable-based diets
" Pomfret fish is high in Vitamin D. It is also loaded with minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium
" The protein in fish is of high quality, containing an abundance of essential amino acids, and is very digestible for people of all ages.
" The fish is also generally lower in fat and calories than beef, poultry or pork.

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