I have first tried mahi-mahi while vacationing in Hawaii. The name sounded exotic, and I have already been swept away by that tropical vibe, so it was a logical choice on the menu.
When I asked the waiter to tell me what mahi-mahi is and how it tastes, he was rather vague and did not help much. He just mentioned that it is a fish known as a dolphinfish as well, which made me hesitate even more, as I could never eat a dolphin.
Luckily my all-knowing hubby was there to assure me that mahi-mahi is not even related to the dolphins and that the name confusion was created due to a shared root in the Polynesian language. I, therefore, braved myself and tried this succulent fish, and I can tell you one thing – I have not regretted it even for a moment! 🙂
I now want to spread the word and educate people on how healthy this fish is, but also answer the question “what does mahi-mahi taste like?” for all of you who tend to hesitate when you need to try something new!
What is Mahi-Mahi?
As far as I knew, up to the point when I have started research to write this article, mahi-mahi is a fish served in Hawaiian up-scale restaurants. I guess most of you do not know a lot about it either. So let us first get acquainted with this salt-water fish.
Mahi-mahi is a fish that lives in Pacific waters and tropical seas around the globe, but the Hawaiian mahi-mahi is considered to be the best when it comes to the quality of its flesh. Most mahi-mahi fish you can buy here are caught in Japan and Taiwan though.
This fish is also known as a dolphinfish, and it most often gathers in schools that feed close to the surface. They are carnivorous and mostly eat forage fish.
The males are characterized and easily recognized by the prominent forehead that protrudes well above the body proper, while females have a more rounded head and are rather smaller in size. They share the same interesting color mix of bright blue and green with some golden sparkle on the side.
Standard mahi-mahi weighs around 4 lb., but Hawaiian mahi-mahi is somewhat larger in size and can be more than 15 lbs. heavy (even up to 30 lbs.!). Its flesh is also firmer and whiter than in mahi-mahi fish found in other parts of the world.
The Hawaiian word mahi stands for strong, and the fish really justifies its name as it is very powerful and quick (they can swim as fast as 50 knots or 57.5 mph!). You can conclude by yourself that it is not very easy to catch!
Why Should You Eat Mahi-Mahi?
Before I move on to the most important part and answer the question “what does mahi-mahi taste like?”, I will quickly try to persuade you to try his nutritious and protein-rich fish for the right reason – its health benefits!
Some of the health benefits worth noticing are the following:
1. A great source of low-fat protein
- If you are not a big fan of pork or beef, but still value the importance of protein in your diet, feel free to include mahi-mahi in your weekly menu. Low-fat proteins from this fish will make you feel full for longer keeping you lean, but also contribute to building your muscles and providing you strength.
2. Low sodium content
- Low sodium diet will keep your cardiovascular system healthy, and mahi-mahi is an excellent choice to incorporate in such a diet plan.
3. Rich in iron
- Mahi-mahi fish is rich in iron that will Increase the number of the red cells in your blood and prevent anemia.
4, Rich in Omega 3
- Omega 3 preserves your heart but also has anti-cancer properties. People who suffer from high blood pressure should eat mahi-mahi as to lower it naturally. Omega 3 fatty acids can also regulate triglyceride levels and aid people with atherosclerosis and arrhythmia.
5. Great source of important vitamins
- Mahi is loaded with vitamins such as B6, B3, B12, pantothenic acid, and niacin that are sure to boost your metabolism but also help your skin appear healthy and sleek. These vitamins support DNA formation and secure optimal nervous system functioning as well.
6. Great source of essential minerals
- Mahi-mahi will provide your body with selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Selenium is important for the proper function of the thyroid gland but also acts as an antioxidant and aids your immunity. Phosphorous gives you the energy to get through the busy day, but also plays a role in the formation of cellular membranes and together with magnesium improves your bone health. Magnesium will also help regulate your cardiac rhythm and optimize your nerve and muscle function.
WARNING: Mahi-mahi is very healthy for you but unfortunately contains a high level of cholesterol which means that you have to consume it in moderation!
What Does Mahi-Mahi Taste Like?
So, what does mahi-mahi taste like? The simplest answer is: Fishy! I am just kidding, although there is much truth in that. The best way to describe the mahi-mahi taste is to compare it with some other fish.
As far as the texture is concerned, mahi-mahi resembles the swordfish the most. It is a firm-fleshed fish suitable for marinating and grilling. When it comes to the taste, mahi-mahi has a milder flavor than the swordfish.
On the other hand, mahi-mahi will provide a bit stronger taste than mild white fish such as cod. Maybe halibut is the closest match…
If you have never tasted swordfish, halibut, or a cod, you are in trouble as it is rather hard to describe the taste of mahi-mahi on its own. I would call it distinct and well-balanced, mild and somewhat sweet. However, the taste will depend on how you prepared the fish as well.
If you worry that it will taste too fishy, I will tell you right off that it is not the case! It is really rather neutral and can substitute any firm-fleshed fish fillet in any recipe.
It is rather easy to cook as well and does not require much time. It can be grilled, broiled or baked, but more on that in the next section!
How to Prepare Mahi-Mahi
As I have already said, mahi-mahi fish is not demanding when it comes to preparation. However, you still need to know a few things before you get down to business, especially if you want to avoid mistakes and serve a delicious mahi-mahi dish first time off!
When you buy a fresh mahi-mahi fillet and bring it home, make sure you thoroughly rinse it and then dry it on a paper towel before storing it in your freezer. If you want to prepare it right away, you need to choose the cooking method first.
My hubby always barbecues mahi-mahi in summer. In winter time, I take over the preparation process and usually bake the mahi-mahi fish together with colorful and healthy vegetables.
In this way, I know that my boys get the best possible meal – rich in muscle-building protein and vitamins that boost their immunity and provide energy!
Poaching is also an option. Simply pour some water in a pot, add herbs and spices of your choice and broth and let it all simmer.
Finally, add the mahi-mahi fillet and allow for ten minutes so that it cooks well. All the ingredients will blend together and create a unique taste! You will find more recipes later on.
Extra Tips On How to Cook Mahi-Mahi
- In order to keep mahi-mahi fresh, keep it iced up until you start to cook it.
- Clean the fish while it is cold as that will make the process much easier.
- If you prefer a milder flavor, trim the dark areas on a mahi-mahi fish fillet you are preparing.
- The mahi-mahi fish can be grilled with or without its skin – it’s a matter of your preference.
- If you want the fish to absorb the seasoning and spices better, remove the skin prior to applying them.
- Raw mahi-mahi fish need not be completely white, pink or gray shades are completely acceptable. When cooked, mahi-mahi fillets become flaky and have an off-white color.
- It does not take long to cook mahi-mahi, do not overdo it or you will compromise both its taste and texture!
The Best Mahi-Mahi Recipe
You do not need any special cooking skills to prepare the mahi-mahi fish; even your hubby can do it no question asked! That is why I like the fish! 🙂
My favorite recipe is also very easy to follow and prepare, and it will provide a decent meal for a family of four. It is as follows:
- Four mahi-mahi fish fillets (approx. two pounds)
- A quarter of a cup of mayonnaise
- A quarter of a teaspoon of garlic
- A quarter of a cup of finely chopped white onion
- Juice from one lemon
- Ground black pepper to the taste
- Salt to the taste
- Turn the oven on and let it preheat to 450 degrees F.
- Rinse the fillets well and place them in a non-stick baking dish.
- Pour the lemon juice over the fish fillets.
- Sprinkle black pepper and garlic over them as well.
- Spread the mayonnaise on the fish.
- Place some chopped onions on the top of each mahi-mahi fillet.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs.
- Reduce the temperature to 425 degrees F. and bake the fillets for about 25 minutes.
My Final Thoughts
Stop asking “what does mahi-mahi taste like” and instead go to a good restaurant, order this tropical fish and try it – I am sure you will not regret it!
In fact, it might become your favorite fish!
If you choose to prepare it on your own, choose a simple recipe for starters and keep the seasoning basic in order to feel the original mild and sweet taste of the mahi-mahi fish.
Finally, share your experience here with us and perhaps offer your perspective!
I am looking forward to hearing from you! 😉