Dried fish a favorite dish of Batangueños on rainy and cold mornings. Usually served with fried garlic rice, an egg either sunny side up or scrambled, vinegar with red hot chili pepper as a dip and a hot cup of
Beside, the food can be found anywhere in the province due to the fact that the province has ample water area. Be it fresh or salt-water.
The fish is not only popular among Batangueños but I guess among Filipinos all over the Philippines.
Also known as daing, and a common way to preserve the fish. Referred by most Batangueños as dinaing na isda. Preserving the fish has been a source of livelihood in the province of Batangas.
Furthermore the fishermen store it, and sell the fish during the monsoon months to catch a higher price. The fish has a long shelf life and could take a year without the risk of spoiling.
The course of action in fish drying is not an easy as it may look. It requires a great deal of time and attention. Especially for those who depend on the sun for their drying needs.
The freshly caught big fishes are split into butterfly fillet, while for the smaller fish, branching is not necessary.
Now, it is time to clean the fish. The fish in then immersed in 10 percent brine solution for at least half an hour. According to a coastal villager, the procedure is an effective way to remove the blood. It is again soaked in a brine solution, but this time with a 33 percent brine solution and soaked for at least six hours.
After drenching the fish in the brine solution, it is time to prepare to dry the fish. The fish are laid in drying trays and sprinkled with additional salt. Salt plays a big role in defending against deadly bacteria from developing in the fish. It draws out moisture and reduces the ability of bacteria to grow. Salt is considered a good preservative.
Soon after, it is time to dry the fish under the hot sun. The fish are set out in screens or hanged dried for the action of air and sun drying to develop in a snap. Although with the new technology, some big time fishermen have an artificial drier, which increases drying rates. Additionally an added advantage during wet season.
The long drying process does not end here. The fishes are transferred in a cool shady place and left at room temperature.
Finally the dried fishes are packed and ready for the market.
Over and above, dried fish is high in proteins, vitamins, iron and calcium. Health benefits like, it can retain all the nutrients it has from a fresh fish. Have low carbohydrates, which is good for individuals who want to loose weight.
A word of advice, some individuals especially Westerners may not stand the odor it creates when fried. So please do not cook them if they are around. They really cannot withstand the strong fishy odor.
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