Drying fish or Dry fish is a traditional method of preservation that has been used for centuries. Not only does it extend the shelf life of the fish, but it also concentrates its flavors and textures, making for a delicious and versatile ingredient. In this blog post, we will go over the detailed procedure and recipe for how to dry fish at home.
- Choose the fish: The first step in drying fish is to choose the right type of fish. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are ideal for drying as they have a high fat content that helps to preserve them. Other types of fish such as cod, haddock, and halibut can also be dried, but they may not have the same rich, smoky flavor as oily fish.
- Clean and gut the fish: Before drying, the fish must be cleaned and gutted. Use a sharp knife to remove the scales, fins, and tail, then make a small incision at the base of the head and remove the guts. Rinse the fish thoroughly to remove any remaining blood or debris.
- Remove the moisture: The key to successfully drying fish is to remove as much moisture as possible. To do this, place the cleaned and gutted fish on a wire rack and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. This allows the fish to air dry and lose some of its moisture.
- Salt the fish: Once the fish has been air-dried, it’s time to add the salt. Salt is an important ingredient in the drying process as it helps to preserve the fish by drawing out the moisture and creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria.
To salt the fish, mix together 1 cup of kosher salt with 1 cup of sugar. Spread the mixture over the fish, making sure that it’s well coated. Put the fish back in the refrigerator, on the wire rack, for another 12 hours.
- Smoke the fish: Smoking the fish is an optional step, but it gives it a delicious smoky flavor. To smoke the fish, you will need a smoker or a small smoking box that can be placed on a stovetop. Fill the smoker or box with wood chips and light them. Once the wood chips are smoking, place the fish on the rack and close the lid. Smoke the fish for about 2 hours, or until it’s dry and flaky.
- Dry the fish: Once the fish has been salted and smoked, it’s time to dry it. The best way to dry fish is to hang it in a cool, dry place with good air circulation, such as a pantry, a shed or a porch.
You can hang it using twine or string and making sure the fish is suspended and not touching the ground. Leave the fish to dry for 2-3 days, or until it’s dry and firm to the touch.
Once the fish is dry, you can store it in a cool and dry place, or vacuum seal it for long term storage.
Drying fish is a time-honored tradition that takes patience and attention to detail, but the end result is well worth the effort. With a little practice, you can easily make your own dried fish at home and enjoy its delicious smoky flavor and long shelf life.
Also read: How to Make Dried Squid