Palawan Danggit

Palawan is known for three things. The first is cashew. The delicious and ever expensive cashew nuts. I was also hearing and seeing cashew wine back then. However, I never got positive response when I asked residents about it. . The second is dangit.  Perhaps we all know what cashew is but the second thing seems foreign to most. The 3rd is several tourist spots.

We are not talking about tourist destinations. It is all about danggit.

For starters, dangit is a dry salted fish. A small sleek fish. Cut across and open wide to increase surface area for efficient salting and later drying. It is a counterpart of tuyong daing and daing na bangus.

What fish species? I never know and I forgot to ask. Maybe danggit is the local common name. Salting and drying is just a form of preserving it. It is dangit fresh or dried.

It is one of popular pasalubong so we did a stop over at nearest market to buy. We never want salted so we politely asked for unsalted. Too much salt is bad for the kidney. We don’t want that.

The guy pointed us to what we wanted. Packed a kilo suitable for airplane boarding. What I remember was a series of polyethylene, old newspaper, polyethylene, old newspaper and another polyethylene. Pressing plastic bag carefully eliminating air as much as possible and sealing immediately.

Perfectly packed. I can’t smell dried fish.

While on board, I heard a passenger saying “smells like dangit”. Not because of our baggage. She was carrying loose package of dried fish inside the plane. I guessed she never knew the trick. It was also our first time but someone was kind enough and thought as the simple trick.

At home, we found out that what we bought was super salted fish. Every fish is small but I can barely eat half every meal.

fried dangit

I will never buy from that man again​. Going trip back is unlikely and meeting him again is next to impossible.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

The Mang Inasal Yellow Sauce

What is this yellow thing, golden yellow to be more accurate. Some kind of liquid spice, maybe. I have been in this restaurant many times already, but it was the only time someone told me it supposed to go with rice.

mang-inasal-chicken-oil

All this time I thought it was fish sauce. I am not a fan whatever grade it maybe. They are all bad smelling to my nose. I often grab the soy sauce and ignores it.

I tried mixing it with plain rice and put it inside my mouth. It was kind of oily and nothing more. I was wondering what kind of phenomenon make people like it. The color may have contributing favor. Remember, color yellow and red tend to made people hungry. The very reason why many food chains use these colors as motif. Examples: Jollibee, McDonalds, Goldilocks, Karate Kid, KFC, Shakeys and Chowking.

A little try was enough. Our order was fried chicken. An oily meal. Adding the yellow sauce would make it oilier and unhealthier.

Speaking of oily sauce. The best for me is the oil after frying salted fish. The darker the oil the better the taste. During the time when few homes can afford refrigerator, freshly bought fish was sprinkled with rock salt to extend its keeping life. Then, fried without shaking off the salt. The result was a salty and fishy flavored cooking oil that go well with plain rice.

Now, we are aware cooking oil degrades, producing free radicals, through several uses. We never let it go dark and eat as viand either.

I think the correct term is Chicken Oil.


update as of March 2018:

According to Passerby, it is Annato Oil or Mantikang Atsuete with chicken fat or skin. How it is made is sure a company secret!

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Things About Fish

I eat fish a lot. In fact, I like it better than pork, beef and chicken. Maybe for health reasons. The latter three are often related to health problems while the first one is often not. Even if I am eating fish a lot, there are things I never like. Maybe they are thing we never like.

1) Lots of fish bones.  Whenever our menu includes fish, I am telling my wife to be very careful in feeding our toddler. I never want him to be a victim of fish bone pricking. It is painful and or very uncomfortable.

I have uncountable experiences of fish bone dislodging in my throat. Those experiences have made expert in fish bone sorting using my eye and fingers. Then my tongue is sensing it while  chewing the meal. I am eating slowly whenever the meal includes fish. Fish bones still slip every now and then.

2) Disagreeable smell. It is the normal fish smell, malansa. It is not nice but not a big problem to deal with.  It can be remedied easily during preparation. For the species with persistent hard-to-remove smell, a spice such as ginger is an easy solution.

3) Degrading flavor.  Fish is best when fresh. The unfrozen fish from public market taste great when sprinkled with salt and fried in golden cooking oil. The same fish, if frozen before frying taste far below from before.  The fried fish by morning will have a different taste by lunch. Its not for the better but for worse.

Let us accept the fact, the most tasty menu on dining table are livestock and poultry meats. The next is fish and the least is vegetable. Some fish have superior flavor but their prices are too steep for commoners.

This is also affected by tradition. Every occasion like town fiestas and weddings have three or more meat dishes and only one vegetable. Serving fish is a rare case. This is the common practice because most people prefer meat dishes over the other.

We have been to my friend in Nasugbu, Batangas. It was fiesta. We stayed there for one day. We ate fish all day long. No meats and veggies. His father was fisherman. Serving all fish was not surprising at all.

broiled milkfish with tomato ginger garlic

Assessing the Freshness or Spoilage of Fish by Sensory Evaluation

The best method of assessing the freshness or spoilage of fish is by sensory evaluation techniques. It is recommended that appropriate sensory evaluation criteria be used to evaluate the acceptability of fish and to eliminate fish showing loss of essential quality provisions of the appropriate Codex Standards. As an example, fresh whitefish species are considered unacceptable when showing the following characteristics:
Skin/slime — dull, gritty colors with yellow–brown dotting slime.
Eyes — concave, opaque, sunken, discolored.
Gills — gray–brown or bleached, slime opaque yellow, thick or clotting.
Odor — flesh odor amines, ammonia, milky lactic, sulphide, fecal, putrid,
rancid.

Remove Fishy Flavor Using Ginger

Do you love fish but hate the fishy flavor ? Worry no more! You can eliminate the culprit fishy flavor by means of ginger.

Ginger can be made to  wine,  tea (salabat) and candy. Its main use is to spice many of our daily meals.

Another purpose  is removal of fishy flavor in fish and other seafoods.  Add a couple of ginger slices in any of your seafood recipe (fishball, sinigang, fish kikiam, embutido, relyeno etc…) and compare the difference.
fresh fish topped with flavorings

 

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

The Hotdog and Fish Leftover Chao Fan

A fried fish, fried hot dog, fried rice and some old rice. I think this would fit me and my son for lunch. Wait, I bet it is me only. My son prefer eating with his tita and lola than with me. Near lunch time is still play time. He is going to eating with them while playing.

Yet another randomly prepared recipe without any specific measurement and cooking time frame.

I removed the fish head and bones, then shredded it to pieces. I made sure there was no bones left. Cut the half hotdog thinly. Chopped one medium onion. Dropped all prepared ingredients to old rice and fried rice. Added a little soy sauce. Then stirred it continuously over low heat for few minutes.

The chao fan for me and only for me was ready. I never added any cooking oil. The previously fried rice oil was enough to prevent the mix from sticking to pan.

recooking fried rice with other ingredients

As I expected, my son already ate sontanghon soup with his tita.

 

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Sinaing na Tulingan (Fish) Causing Mouth Itchiness

My usual favorite. The sinaing na tulingan. It was the same recipe as before except the fish used was relatively bigger. Cutting it to smaller slices was necessary, for a more efficient cooking and flavor development.

I thought the only difference was the fish size. It tasted the same. The same taste sensation every bite. However, my mouth was getting itchy as my dinner progressed. I wanted to get another serving but the uncomfortable feeling was holding me back. My dinner ended prematurely.

It was not only me. Mother-in law felt the same way too. My wife took only a bit and denied eating such.  She cooked another menu, hotdog, for her and for our two-year old boy.

The next day, she fried the tulingan, the pritong sinaing na tulingan. The itchiness intensity was reduced by almost 75% percent. Still, we never managed consuming it.

pritong sinaing na tulingan

According to her. The large tulingan was bought from public market. Frozen fish sold for a low cost. Many customers bought and she got carried. In short, she prioritized the cost over quality.

I was thankful it never caused any untoward incidents.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.