How To Bake Fish In Clay

Start With A Gutted Fish

Start With A Gutted Fish


Baking fish goes back to the beginning of history. Not only is it simple, but baking takes advantage of almost the entire fish as a food resource. Shown here is a Talapia which was purchased at a local Superstore food section. It is already gutted and ready to bake.

Add Seasoning

Add Seasoning


Fish tastes great by it’s self but I like to add seasonings in the abdominal cavity and on the outside surface.

Wrap Fish In Leaves

Wrap Fish In Leaves


The fish is wrapped in foliage or wet paper. I find that cabbage leaves work well and is easily obtained at the local grocery store. It keeps the fish moist and acts as a barrier between the food and clay.

Use Bag And Bowl To Fashion Clay

Use Bag And Bowl To Fashion Clay


I place a mixing bowl inside a plastic grocery bag to protect the bowl as well as enabling my hand to slip between the bag and bowl surface in order to help form the clay wrap which should be 1/2″ – 1″ thick.

Cover Fish With Clay

Cover Fish With Clay


Complete the clay outer layer and you’ll end up with a football shaped mud ball. Seal any open holes or seams.

Bury Clay Encased Fish In Coals

Bury Clay Encased Fish In Coals


Place the fish mud ball on top of the coals and then place coals on top. For those who do dutch oven cooking this will be a familiar process using charcoal briquettes. I have found that using charcoal briquettes works better for this procedure because air can flow between the briquettes thus keeping them alive, whereas wood coals can be packed and tend to snuff out, requiring refreshed coals and/or a longer cooking time. Charcoal briquettes require about a 45 minute cook time whereas wood coals may take 60-75 minutes.

Break Open Clay Bundle

Break Open Clay Bundle


When the estimated cook time is finished, uncover the clay ball and examine it for hardness. A hard surface indicates that it’s finished whereas a soft surface indicates a need for further cooking. Like any cooking, if you feel that it’s not quite done, just let it bake some more. A hatchet is a handy opening device but a sharp rock will accomplish the same task.

Finished Baked Fish

Finished Baked Fish


When the surface is broken open, steam will come drifting out and by further opening the encasing, you will reveal an aromatic and visual delight. Transparent meat becomes opaque when it’s fully cooked. Use a fork to test the outer skin and meat for easy flaking and separation. You’ll find that the meat will virtually fall off the bones and makes access to all the tasty meat easy.
 
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2 thoughts on “How To Bake Fish In Clay

  1. As a young man, I camped w/a family below Sandstone Falls that used a method handed down from Native American Indians: a gutted fish w/scales was wrapped in large green leaves growing along the New River, then encased in clay and baked in glowing campfire coals. When hardened, the lump was cracked open w/a hatchet. The scales and skin remained with the leaves, leaving the white flesh easily removed from the bone. Cannot remember what kind of leaves were used, but the results were delicious!

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