Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Paksiw na Hasa-hasa" (Short-bodied Mackerel Poached in Vinegar & Spices)

Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish. It is from the family of Scombridae, Carangidae, Hexagrammidae and Gempylidae. They live in all tropical and temperate seas. Common features of mackerels are a slim, cylindrical shape (as opposed to the tunas which are deeper bodied) and numerous finlets on the dorsal and ventral sides behind the dorsal and anal fins. If there are, the scales are very small.

They are prized and are highly harvested for their meat which is often very oily. Also, they are known for their fighting ability and for recreational and commercial fishery. The meat can spoil quickly, especially in the tropics causing scombroid food poisoning. It must be eaten on the day of capture unless cured. For this reason, mackerel is the only common salt-cured sushi.

  • 50 grams of sliced ginger
  • 4 pcs, about 350 grams short-bodied mackerel (hasa-hasa), cut into two
  • 1 small (100 g) eggplant, quartered & cut at 2” length
  • 1 pc finger chili
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • ¼ cup native white vinegar (sukang paombong)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp of vegetable or cooking oil

Here’s how:

Scrub ginger under running water until all dirt is gone. Slice. Place half of ginger at the bottom of casserole. Place fish. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cover. Place over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Without removing the cover, swirl the casserole a few times. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Remember always to let your vinegar reach its boiling point before opening the cover or stirring. Uncooked vinegar leaves a ”raw” acidic taste (hilaw na suka) to your dish.

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