Saturday, May 3, 2014
Sun Dried Fish and Ampalaya with Shrimps For Dinner
The other day I posted about the distinguishable screams of the fish vendors in our neighborhood. Today, I was lured by one of the vendors booming voice shouting isda...isda.. lagidlid etc...that I could hear 4 blocks away. Our cook mentioned once that lagidlid is an excellent specie for sun dryng. So I ran to our front gate in time for the vendors bicycle passing by. I asked for the price. It was 120 pesos per kilo. I told the vendor I need one kilo. The vendor has a scale and bingo I had 12 fresh medium-sized lagidlid in one minute. Along with the bislad, we had ampalaya with shrimps, and tocino for dinner. In the table are the newly harvested huge avocados and chicos from my orchard.
Drying fish is a lost art in modern times in the US, but here in the Provinces of the Philippines it is still part of daily living specially in towns with plenty of fresh fish available daily. Drying fish removes enough water from the final product so that the growth of microbes that cause spoilage are retarded, but drying isn't the same as dehydrating, which removes all but 3 percent of the moisture. My cook used a similar procedure for drying fish as outlined by ehow.com as follows:
My cook however soaks the fish in 50% vinegar/water mixture with salt for 40-60 minutes and do not remove the head prior to drying. The vinegar helps preserve the fish and give it the delicious/unique flavor and odor when fried.
1 Choose the proper location to dry your fish. Drying works best in low humidity and drying fish requires an area sheltered from animals and dust.
2 Prepare the fresh-caught fish the same day of the catch for drying. Remove the gills, guts, back and ribs. Leave the skin and head intact.
3. Wash the fish in cold water and scrub away any remaining debris. Soak the fish in a solution of salt/vinegar/water mixture for 30 minutes. Drain the fish and rinse the flesh again.
4. Place the fish on wooden drying racks outdoors. You must not use metal racks, as they can corrode and contribute an off flavor to the fish.
5. Sun dried for 4 to 6 hours. Wrap the fish in a sealed ziplock and keep cool in the refrigerator until ready for frying.
Note: The fish is only partially dry, but the vinegar mixture help retard spoilage. It is best to fry the fish in the next couple of days.