The Indian Threadfin (especially those from Tanjung Balai and more commonly known here as Balai Ngor) are highly sought after by parents in Singapore. This is because their soft, sweet meat is believed to be easy for children to take a liking to. They're also low in mercury and hence a safe option to start children on. Furthermore, this fish can practically be used from head to tail without wastage because its head and bones can be used to make broth that's rich in nutrients. Some confinement recipes specify the use of Threadfin bones to aid in recovery and boost breast milk supply.
Over here, we address some of the common questions about these threadfins.
Why are the Balai Indian Threadfin (Balai Ngor) more expensive than the other types of threadfin?
The meat of the Balai Ngor is commonly believed to be more tender and sweet than the other types of threadfin.
How do I identify a wild Balai Indian Threadfin?
It's actually very easy to do so! Just count the number of threads under its head. The Balai Indian Threadfin should have 5 threads. It should have some form of pinkish/ golden hue on its skin but this is sometimes hard to tell when the fish has been de-scaled.
What is the best way to cook Balai Ngor?
It's best eaten steamed, in soup or in porridge. We don't recommend frying this fish as its meat is very fine and may come apart easily when frying.