Airfryer (Philips Airfryer!),  Fish,  Seafood

Airfried Cod Fish with Crispy Skin, HK Style

Jan 24 - Airfried Cod Fish with Crispy Skin

My mum and I live apart and we’re not that close, but we like to talk recipes together. My mum is a great cook. If Ah-mm’s cooking is comfort food, mum’s dishes are restaurant quality.

When we visit every Chinese New Year, my mum will be in the kitchen cooking away. I love many of her creations.. mixed vegetables with shitake mushrooms, roasted leg of lamb, stewed oxtail, roast beef.. and of course, that HK style fish.

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I remember her telling me the secret to really good fish (apart from its freshness), is boiling oil. You can steam, pan fry, or cook your fish in whichever way you want, but if you want to eat a restaurant-style fish, you need boiling oil. Pour the sizzling oil over the fish after it is done, and spoon your seasoning sauce over. Eat it immediately. (of course I didn’t. I had to take 162738129 photos, but the dish was still good.)

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If you follow my blog, you would know that I don’t cook fish any other way except air fry them. I cannot deal with uneven cooking and splattering oil, wait, actually I can, about the splattering oil, but why make things difficult for yourself when you can air fry? The fish turns out juicy, creamy and moist every time if you get the timing right. I don’t usually steam my food because you’ll need a wok, steamer rack, boiling water, plate and lid when you steam, and knowing me, two steps extra is two steps too many.

So I always air fry. I’ve always air fried salmon and saba, and since I’m cooking cod today, why should it be any different? My salmon cooks in six minutes after a three-minute preheat, so I thought to try this timing with cod. The cod took longer to cook than salmon in the AF, about 10-12 minutes as these steaks were quite thick, but the meat was flaky, tender, moist and quite simply, darn delicious.

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You know how I like to do the crispy skin thing. I don’t like eating fish skin but it is good for you. Instead of leaving them untouched on the plate, I air fry them til crispy. How to do that? As your fish is air frying for the first four minutes, open up the air fryer tray and using a pair of tongs, gently lift the fish skin away from the meat. It will be easy to do once the fish starts to cook. The naturally-released fish oil makes it easy for the skin and meat to separate. Place the skin beside the fish and AF til fish is done. Sometimes, you might need to remove the fish first (don’t overcook it!), then continue to air fry the skin til it is crispy. Check every 1-2 minutes to ensure the skin doesn’t burn.

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Some readers ask me why we must remove the skin first. If you leave the skin on and AF both skin and meat together, your skin will almost never get crispy and even if it does, your fish would have been airfried to death. So.. some things come together but not meant to stay together, you know? Separate them, and enjoy your crispy skin.

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Jason and I were blown away by how good this dish turned out. You could also substitute cod with more cost-friendly types of fish or fish fillets and it’ll also be good. And another tip: please make sure that you tear/shred the spring onion instead of just chopping or snipping with a pair of scissors. Don’t leave out the garnish! And if you try this (you have to!), please let me know if you like it!

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Aifried HK Style Cod Fish with Crispy Skin (budgetpantry.com)
Serves: 4 as part of a Chinese meal
Total cost per serving: $7.90

What you need:
2 x 200g cod fish
A sprinkle of salt and sugar (about half teaspoon each)
A dash of sesame oil
250ml water
5 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Lee Kum Kee superior dark soy sauce
5 little squares of rock sugar (about 1 cm x 1 cm x 0.5 cm each)
3 tablespoons oil
5 slices ginger
White part of spring onions (about 4 one-inch sections)
Green part of spring onions to garnish (a handful, shredded)
Corriander to garnish (a handful)

Steps:
Wash and pat dry cod fish. Season with salt and sugar plus a dash of sesame oil. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Preheat your AF for 3 minutes at 180C. If you have an oil spray, give the skin a quick spray. If not, you may skip the step – not a big deal as fish has natural oils. AF cod fish for 12 minutes. (if you want crispy skin, follow my method in the text above)

In the mean time, prepare the seasoning sauce. Pour 250ml water into a pan and bring to boil. Add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and rock sugar and stir til sugar melts.

Prepare the hot oil: Heat up the oil in a small pan and add ginger and white part of spring onion. Fry til ginger turns brown. Remove ginger and spring onion sections.

Remove cod fish from AF and place in a dish. Top with garnish (don’t omit!). Pour the boiling oil over the fish. Spoon seasoning sauce over the serve immediately.

How much I spent:
$31.60 for cod fish (you can buy frozen for less cost!)
Everything else from my pantry

11 Comments

  • Jaci

    Hi,

    Can i check to use airfryer for fish – do you place aluminium foil in the basket? How do you do that? I’m new to AF, thanks!

    • [email protected]

      Hello Jaci, I now use the grill pan to AF fish, but before I had my grill pan, I used aluminium foil with a some oil sprayed on top. Sometimes it’ll still stick, so I really recommend using the grill pan or a non stick pan (you could also use any non stick pan, tray or dish).

  • Ellie

    Love your posts on all these airfryer tried and tested recipes and tips! It really helps me loads to get the most out of my airfryer.

    May I ask, when you are AF’ing your fish, do you flip it? To achieve even cooking on both sides that is. This step is mentioned sometimes by other AF users but I’m not sure if it is really necessary coz yours seems to turn out great!

    • Chris-budgetpantry

      Hello Ellie, thanks for liking my airfryer recipes! :) Do you use the grill pan or basket? Grill pan: No need to flip since the fish goes directly on top and air circulation is thorough. Basket: Flip – because I place the fish on top of foil or baking paper (to prevent sticking) and the air doesn’t reach the underside of the fish. Please let me know if this is unclear!

  • Jeff

    Hi Chris! This my first visit to your blog and bumps into this amazing post with good tips to fry codfish!
    We all knows it’s hard to fry a codfish in terms of controlling heat temperature.
    But your recipe are so simple and not complicated!
    Really a nice quick recipe to follow!
    By the way I am a Lee kum kee supporter too!
    I will test this out and revisit your blog for more great posts again! Thanks!

  • Christ

    Hi, I am new to AF.
    If I want to air fry red snapper fillets cut into small pieces already for making mee hoon fish soup, can I fry at 180C for 12 minutes too ?
    I need to spray with coconut oil or vegetable oil too right ?
    I season it with salt, pepper, shaoxing wine, marinate 15 mins and coat with corn and rice flour.
    I will try your cod fish receipe too.
    Thanks

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