Freshly caught Atlantic dolphin fish at a marina in the Florida Keys.
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Can You Eat Mahi Mahi Raw?

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If you’re a fan of sushi, you will know that this popular Japanese food incorporates many different types of raw fish. As most people are used to eating fish cooked, this can sound like a very odd concept!

But can you eat any type of fish raw, such as mahi mahi? Mahi mahi is one of the safer fishes to eat raw, as it carries a low risk of bacterial infestation or parasite contamination. To minimize the risk of potential problems, it should be gutted and kept chilled at all times.

Mahi mahi can be used raw in sushi, sashimi, and other raw fish dishes, and it is also ideal for baking and grilling.

Let’s find out everything you need to know about mahi mahi, including whether you can eat it raw and how to make it safe to eat!

What Is Mahi Mahi?

Mahi-mahi is a warm saltwater whitefish, found in milder water such as the South Pacific Mediterranean, and the Caribbean.

Mahi-mahi is the Hawaiian name for this fish, although you may also hear referred to by its Spanish name, dorado. In some countries, you may also hear them called dolphinfish, although they are no relative of the dolphin family.

These fish are relatively lightweight, rarely exceeding 30 pounds, although they can grow between 3-6 feet long.

They are prized for their lean, firm, white flesh, which holds its shape well when cooked. The skin of mahi mahi fish is tough and inedible, but it is normally left on during cooking to hold the flesh together.

Mahi mahi is considered to be a sustainable fish choice. Population stocks are good and it is not at risk of overfishing, helping to keep the breeding population strong.

The main fishing season is from summer through to fall, but it freezes well, so it’s widely available all year round.

This fish is most commonly sold as pre-cut fresh or frozen steaks or fillets and may be available in the chiller or freezer section of your local grocery store. If not, your local fishmonger will undoubtedly be able to source mahi mahi fish for you.

The great thing about mahi mahi is that it is very reasonably priced. This delicious and versatile fish will normally cost less than swordfish or halibut.

What Is Mahi Mahi Used For?

The firm white flesh of mahi mahi does not fall apart easily, making it a popular choice for grilling or baking.

Although it is a whitefish, the flesh has a slight pinkish hue even when cooked.

The flavor of mahi mahi is mild and slightly sweet, with a slight hint of fishiness. This fish is subtle and delicate, and definitely not overpowering. It carries other flavors and seasonings well, making it an excellent choice for a range of different dishes

Mahi mahi is a very healthy choice of fish. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation in arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease. It contains beneficial cholesterol, which is also good for heart health.

This fish also contains high levels of vitamin A, which promotes cell growth and enhances vision. Vitamin A is also vital for maintaining good levels of immunity.

This delicious fish makes a great substitute in any recipe that calls for catfish or tilapia!

Can You Eat Mahi Mahi Raw?

Mahi mahi fish can be eaten raw, but some precautions must be taken to ensure it is safe for human consumption.

If this fish is not handled and prepared correctly, it could cause some unpleasant health problems.

The two key factors to pay attention to are that the mahi mahi must be fresh, and the fish must have been gutted before it is consumed.

If fish is not gutted, the internal organs start to quickly decompose. This quickly leads to the flesh being colonized with bacteria, causing it to deteriorate quickly.

Freshly caught mahi mahi that has been gutted quickly after it was caught carries the lowest risk of bacterial contamination.

What Are The Risks Of Eating Raw Mahi Mahi?

Consuming raw mahi mahi that is not as fresh as possible puts you at risk of several foodborne illnesses.

Food poisoning from raw mahi mahi may lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Other symptoms include itching, headache, irregular heart rate, sweating, and a burning sensation on the tongue.

To reduce the risk of these problems occurring, there are certain steps you can take to reduce the chances of contracting fish-borne illnesses.

Follow these tips when buying and preparing mahi mahi to keep you and your family as safe as possible:

  • Buy raw fish from a reputable fishmonger who can guarantee that the fish is as fresh as possible.
  • Ask your fishmonger to gut the fish if it has not already been done.
  • Transport the fish packed on ice and refrigerate it as soon as you get home.
  • Consume raw fish on the same day of purchase.

What Does Raw Mahi Mahi Taste Like?

The House Bunny Mahi GIF - The House Bunny Mahi Hungry - Discover & Share  GIFs

Not only is mahi mahi one of the safer fishes to eat raw, but it also has a great flavor and texture that lends itself well to raw fish dishes!

Unlike some fish, such as cod (which can be mushy and unappetizing when raw), mahi mahi has a firm texture that holds together well. The flavor is sweet and mildly fishy, surprisingly pleasant for raw fish.

Look for raw mahi mahi with pink flesh and a bright red bloodline — this means it has been freshly caught. If the flesh seems slimy or the bloodline is brown, it is not fresh enough to eat raw.

Can Raw Mahi Mahi Be Used In Sushi?

A dolphinfish also known as a Mahi Mahi as it is being fileted by a commercial fisherman

Raw mahi mahi can be used in sushi, but connoisseurs of this Japanese food preparation technique tend to shun it.

This is because the flavor of mahi mahi is pleasant, but very mild, and it can easily be overpowered by other sushi ingredients.

This means that you will more commonly find stronger-flavored fish in sushi, such as ahi and salmon. But if you pick your food pairings carefully, there is no reason why raw mahi mahi can’t be used to make great sushi!

Mahi mahi can be sliced into thin strips using a very sharp knife after removing the bones, skin, and bloodline. Dipping the knife into rice vinegar will help it slide through the flesh of the fish more easily.

These thin slices of mahi mahi can then be used to make delicious and intricate sushi creations that are traditionally paired with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger.

Although we commonly associate raw fish with sushi dishes, it can also be used to make sashimi, tartare, ceviche, and yusheng.

How To Cook Mahi Mahi

If we haven’t convinced you to give raw mahi mahi a try (after all, raw fish is not to everyone’s tastes), luckily this is a great fish for cooking!

It is highly versatile and can be used in just about any cooking technique with great results.

Mahi mahi is very lean and prone to drying out if overcooked, so it only takes around 8 minutes to cook an average-sized fillet.

The skin of mahi mahi is very tough and should not be eaten, but is often left on to help hold fillets together. Ideally, you should remove the skin before serving the fish.

Mahi mahi fillets can be grilled, broiled, pan-fried, or steamed. They can also be oven-baked but should be wrapped in foil to prevent them from drying out. 

Related Questions

Now we’ve got mahi mahi figured out, let’s take a look at some other common fish-related questions!

What Fish Can You Eat Raw?

The most common and safest types of fish to eat raw are salmon and tuna — these both come with little or no risk of parasite infection or food poisoning if prepared correctly.

However, bacterial contamination is a big risk in uncooked fish, so you must take precautions to minimize this risk. Ensure that any fish intended to be consumed raw is kept as fresh as possible, ideally within 1-2 days of it being caught.

Gutting the fish will reduce bacterial contamination, and it should be kept chilled at all times until you are ready to consume it.

If you are buying fish from the store or market, ask the fishmonger if you can have it packed on ice. This is the safest way to keep fish perfectly chilled as you transport it home.

Can You Eat Raw Cod?

It is not advisable to eat raw cod unless it has been prepared for you by a reputable chef or supplier. In some circumstances, cod can be safe to eat raw, but it carries a high risk of food poisoning or parasite infestation.

The other problem with raw cod is that the texture is not particularly appetizing — when raw, the flesh of this fish is translucent and mushy.

We’d suggest that some things are just not worth the risk, and cod is one fish that is far better enjoyed when cooked!

Can You Eat Imitation Crab Raw?

Imitation crab sold in the grocery store is already cooked, so you do not need to worry about eating it raw. This pre-cooked processed fish product is perfectly safe to eat straight from the packet, as long as it has been stored correctly.

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