Karalla daura – The goldstripe ponyfish
The goldstripe ponyfish, Karalla daura, is a species of marine ray-finned fish of the family Leiognathidae (ponyfish, Vietnamese: cá liệt), which is native to the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. The goldstripe ponyfish is smaller than the common ponyfish (Leiognathus equulus), and is easily recognized by one yellow or golden stripe on both sides of its body.
- Scientific name: Karalla daura
- Family: Leiognathidae
- Genus: Karalla
- Synonyms: Equula daura, Leiognathus daura, Equula dacer
- English names: goldstripe ponyfish, black slipmouth, black-finned slipmouth, pugnose pony
- Vietnamese names: cá liệt sọc vàng, cá liệt chỉ, cá liệt dầu
In Vietnam, the goldstripe ponyfish is less commonly found than many other relatives, but is more prized for its meat. It is known locally as cá liệt chỉ (literally means striped ponyfish) or cá liệt dầu (lit. means oily ponyfish). The goldenstripe ponyfish is caught mainly by fishing nets on small basket boats, especially in Phan Thiết, a city on Vietnam’s central coast. It is silvery-white in color, and has a very smooth skin without scales. Its skin seems to be covered with a layer of oily fat, so that’s probably why local people call it by such name.
Other related ponyfish found in Vietnam include: Leiognathus equulus (Common ponyfish), Leiognathus berbis (Berber ponyfish), Photopectoralis bindus (Orangefin ponyfish), Leiognathus brevirostris (Shortnose ponyfish), Karalla dussumieri (Dussumier’s ponyfish), Equulites elongatus (Elongate ponyfish), Aurigequula fasciata (Striped ponyfish), Secutor insidiator (Pugnose ponyfish), Equulites leuciscus (Whipfin ponyfish), Secutor ruconius (Deep pugnose ponyfish), Leiognathus longispinis (Longspine ponyfish), and Eubleekeria splendens (Splendid ponyfish).
Since the goldstripe ponyfish has some fatty layer under their skin, it is often cooked by grilling or roasting. The dish is served with a dipping sauce bowl made from fish sauce, lime juice and chili peppers.
Other common choice of cooking methods is to cook a light version of sour soup with tomatoes and pineapple. This cooking style is known as “nấu ngót” in Vietnamese.
Sometimes, Karalla daura is braised with spices, or dried and marinated as a preserved food.