Fermented Fish - Preparations


Name Image Origin Description
Bagoong Filipino Partially or completely fermented fish or shrimps. Fish bagoong is prepared by mixing salt with fish, and placing it inside large earthen fermentation jars. There it is left to ferment for 30-90 days with occasional stirring to make sure the salt is spread evenly. A food colouring called angkak is added give the bagoong its characteristic red or pink colour. Angkak is made from rice inoculated with a species of red mold (Monascus purpureus). Some manufacturers grind the fermented product finely and sell the resulting mixture as fish paste. A byproduct of the fermentation process is a fish sauce calledpatis.
Fesikh Egypt Fermented, salted and dried gray mullet, of the mugil family, a saltwater fish that lives in both the Mediterranean and the Red Seas. The traditional process of preparing it is to dry the fish in the sun before preserving it in salt. The process of preparing fesikh is quite elaborate, passing from father to son in certain families. The occupation has a special name in Egypt, fasakhani. Fesikh is eaten during the Sham el-Nessim festival, which is a spring celebration from ancient times in Egypt.
Garum Ancient Roman Fermented fish sauce and essential flavour
Hákarl Iceland Consists of a Greenland- or basking shark cured and hung to dry for four to five months. Hákarl is often referred to as an acquired taste and smells richly of ammonia with a strong fish and cheese taste. Traditionally prepared by gutting and beheading the shark and burying it in a shallow hole in gravelly sand. Stones are placed on top to press fluids from the shark. The shark ferments this way for 6–12 weeks, and is then cut into strips and hung to dry for several months. During the drying period a brown crust develops, which is removed prior to cutting the shark into small pieces and serving. The modern method is just to press the shark in a large drained plastic container. Chef Anthony Bourdain described hákarl as "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he has ever eaten. Chef Gordon Ramsay challenged journalist James May to sample hákarl on The F Word. Ramsay vomited after the experience.
Hongeohoe Korea Made from fermented skate. Has a strong characteristic ammonia-like odour. Usually served uncooked and without further preparation, along with other Korean side dishes such as kimchi.
Igunaq Inuit An Inuit method of preparing the meat of walrus and other marine mammals. Meat and fat caught in the summer is buried in the ground as huge steaks, which then decompose and ferment over autumn and freeze over winter, ready for consumption the next year. The precise conditions are passed on through generations and form part of the oral tradition of the community. Improper production can result in botulism.
Kusaya Japan Salted-dried and fermented fish, famous for its malodorousness similar to the pungent fermented Swedish herring surströmming. Though the smell of kusaya is strong, the taste is quite mellow. Often eaten with Japanese sake or shōchū. Kusaya originated in the Izu Islands, probably on Niijima, where, during the Edo period people used to earn a living through salt making. Villagers paid taxes to the government with the salt they made, and as taxes were high, salt for fish-curing was used frugally. The same salt was used many times for this purpose, resulting in a pungent dried fish, which was later called kusaya. The resulting, tea-colored, sticky, stinky brine was passed on from generation to generation as a family heirloom. Though kusaya is made on several of the Izu Islands today, it is said that kusaya from Niijima has the strongest odor.
Lakerda Turkey
Ngari Manipur
Ngari is a traditional fermented food of Manipure. It is prepared by fermenting smaller freshwater fishes with mustard oil and salt. The dried fish are then tightly packed them in a big clay urn which is made airtight. The urn is buried for 30-40 days. Ngari is roasted lightly prior to consumption, and then added in many Manipuri dishes, such as eromba.
Pla ra Thailand Fermented fish sauce made by pickling several varieties of fish, mainly snakehead murrel. The fish is cleaned, cut into pieces and mixed with salt and rice bran. This is then left in a big jar covered with a wooden lid, to ferment for three months to a year. Recently a dried powdered version of pla ra has been successfully marketed.
Rakfisk Norway Made from trout or sometimes char, salted and fermented for two to three months, or even up to a year, then eaten without cooking. The first record of the term rakfisk dates back to 1348, but the history of the food is probably even older. As a dish, rakfisk is related to the Swedish surströmming and possibly shares a common origin. Traditionally eaten around Christmas.
Surströmming Swedish Fermented Baltic herring, notorious for its pungent odour.
Tepa Yup'ik Tepas, also called stinkheads, are fermented whitefish heads. A customary way of preparing them is to place fish heads and guts in a wooden barrel, cover it with burlap, and bury it in the ground for about a week. For a short while in modern times, plastic bags and buckets replaced the barrel. However this increased the risk of botulism, and the Yupik Eskimos have reverted to fermenting fishheads directly in the ground.

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