~ Mackerel in Tomato Gravy ~
Have you ever tried making your own canned food? Canned Sardine is one of the most common canned food often lands on the dining tables to many. Mass produced commercial canned Sardines or Mackerels picked standard size fishes and cooked them to a bone-edible soft texture with high pressure steam-cooking in cans, separately from the gravy. Tomato gravy will then be added to the cans before they are sealed for sterilisation and boxed up for sale. To enable a prolonged shelf life in these caned fishes, are these canned fish preservatives free as claimed by some industry players?
With all kinds of doubts in mind, I finally pulled myself together to make my own “Canned Sardine” with some fresh Mackerels, from scratch. Thanks to the East Malaysia Sales Development Manager, Ms. Alison Si who shared the idea when I first attended an AMC cooking presentation in Miri some 5 years ago, I managed to make my own “canned Mackerel” with the AMC Secuquick Lid from home. I did not manage to get fresh Sardine anywhere in Singapore but Mackerel has made a great substitute.
Mackerel is said to have high level of Omega-3 fatty acids, great for the heart and has lower level of mercury as compared to the other big fishes. For some reason, I have never considered Mackerel in our day to day diet. Perhaps, the flesh appears too hard for the toddler I have at home. As I have now explored cooking them the “canned Sardine” style in great tender texture with edible bones soaked in lots of fresh tomato gravy, I think I will cook them more often.
I am pleased that I have conquered this high protein and high calcium recipe with the help of my AMC system. I cooked both the fish and tomato gravy in one pot without the worry of drying up the fish and gravy. The only challenge in cooking up this recipe is that Mackerels, instead of Sardines, have larger bones in comparison. I bought 1 1/2 and 2 inches wide Mackerels before I learnt that I should just pick those that are of 1 inch wide. I also did not slit open the body of the fish. Hence, longer cooking time was required in my very first attempt.
The fresh tomatoes and brown onions used makes homemade Mackerel in Tomato Gravy tastes distinctively better than those of canned version. The fresh ingredients just make the gravy richly flavourful with so much nutrients packed in them. I conclude that no canned Sardine or Mackerel gives such natural goodness.
To make the cooking time worthy, I figured that it would be wiser to prepare this in a bigger batch the next time I cook up this recipe. Perhaps a dozen.
Canned Sardine (Mackerel) Recipe (Serves 4) :
- 4 Mackerel Fish, approximately 300 grams (cut out the head and tail)
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Cooking Oil
- 1/2 Brown Onion (diced)
- 4 Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
- 3 Tomatoes (wedged)
- 2 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 150ml Water (mix with Tomato Paste)
- 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon of Corn starch (diluted with 50ml water)
- 1 stalk of Coriander (garnishing)
AMC Healthy Cooking Method :
- Marinate Mackerel with salt and pepper for 30 minutes.
- Preheat AMC 20cm 3.0 liter Pot unit with Navigenio heat level “3” to 50°C or “Meat Window”. Use Audiotherm as an indicator by turning it on, place on lid knob/Visiotherm, indicating 50°C or “Meat Window”.
- When Audiotherm beeps indicating readiness for pan-frying, turn Navigenio heat level “2” and turn off Audiotherm. Add cooking oil followed by brown onion and garlic. Gently stir-fry to brown. Line Mackerel and tomatoes into the pot. Pour diluted tomato paste and add sugar.
- Cover pot with AMC 20cm Secuquick Softline lid. Switch on Navigenio to automatic “A”. Turn on Audiotherm, place on knob, indicating “Turbo” and set 1 hour 30 minutes to cook.
- When Audiotherm beeps, turn off both Navigenio & Audiotherm.
- As pot depressurised, pour in corn starch mixture, bring to boil at 98°C on Navigenio heat level 3, to thicken the gravy.
- Garnish and serve with warm rice.
Tips : AMC Secuquick Softline comes in 2 sizes, 20cm and 24cm in diameter. Whether it is big or small batches of fish cooked, the same setting applies. It will be Turbo setting cooks in the temperature range of 108°C to 118°C for 1 hour with one side of the fish flesh slit open. Cooking time may vary with the size and cut of fishes.