Realising I would never be able to do any justice to the fish, I quickly told her that my mom (the chef) would only return much later at 7pm and promised to leave it to her to prepare/cook the ikan baung. As I stood later in the kitchen, staring at the fish in my sink, I realised that waiting for mom would be very risky as my brother (the very person the ikan baung was intended for) had to leave for the airport at 8pm plus. Thus this would mean, we would need to have an early dinner. Which of course means, the ikan baung needed to be cooked pronto! Now the question was by whom??? I had no idea how to clean the fish as it was not like any ordinary fish. And my culinary skills in cooking anything masak lemak has always been questionable , if not inconsistent. After much thot, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go.
First task was to clean the fish. And just how does one do that. The fish itself was a challenge for me. In fact, I found its shape to be pretty intimidating. After much struggling with 2 knives, a kitchen scissors and a small pestle, I did manage to have the fish cleaned (more like butchered) though it did take me a good hour to do so. Mental note: must remind dinner guests to ignore the slightly mutilated fish.
Next task was to actually cook the ikan baung. With a lot of prayer muttered under my breath, I went on to prepare the dish which was to be the main course for the family's dinner that nite. A dash of this and a stir of that..I then left the slightly cair and pedas ikan baung masak lemak in the pot and made a quick 911 call to my mom on her handphone. Rushing through the story of how my aunt, her sis had left me with the fish bla-bla-bla...I then begged her to return to my house A.S.A.P and help salvage my definitely ruined ikan baung.
Anyway, she returned as usual at 7pm and sampled my dish. Took out half of the gravy and added more coconut milk in order to make it thicker and less pedas. Voila! 15 minutes later it was ready to be served for dinner. For the hundredth time, SuperMom has saved the day again. And the daughter of SuperMom silently vowed that she'd make a point to sharpen her culinary skills before embarking on her next ikan baung escapade!