By Vanette Colmenares
New York City — There’s this joke about a Filipino who went to America and brought with him some dried fish which we call Da-ing. Upon entry, the US customs police was suspicious of the Filipino’s luggage because it emitted a bad odor and so he ordered it opened.
Upon inspection, the customs police officer, opened a funny looking package covered with layers of newspaper and started unwrapping it. The stench got stronger as every layer was revealed until finally, lines of grayish black dried fish were exposed. And the officer screamed, “What the hell is this?” To which the Pinoy answered: “Ser Custom, Dat es Da-ing!”
And the officer said, “What do you mean dying? It’s dead!”
Anyway, it is difficult to bring dried fish to America and more difficult to cook it especially during winter because the stench would stick to your furniture as well as curtains. But there is a secret to cooking daing – and it’s by using a jar.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend cooked breakfast which consisted of sunny side fried eggs, fried garlic rice and her home-made tuyo smothered in its oil and spices in a jar.
And so I handpicked the tiny bones, entrails or sometimes the skin, put it aside and ate only the dried up meat of the tuyo. At the end of the meal, I had a cute mound on my plate until my host asked why I didn’t eat everything.
She then said, that one could eat the whole fish since it had gone through a pressure cooked process and was edible. After that revelation, I then asked for more rice and had my plate cleaned through.
The idea that my friend gave was very educational in the sense that you can fry tuyo (dried fish), without really emitting that stench smell in the apartment. And here’s how she taught me.
Get a pack of dried tuyo from the Filipino or any Oriental store;
Then get glass jars with lids (the brand BALLS purchased at Wallmart is ideal), oil, spices like peppercorns, sili, carrots, garlic, and any other choices, pressure cooker;
Line the dried tuyo in the glass jar;
Put in your choice of spices;
Pour in oil until the tuyo is about covered;
Seal well…make sure the rubber tube seals it well;
Place jars in pressure cooker. Do not overcrowd jars;
Put water inside (you know how pressure cooking works, right?)
Seal pressure cooker and steam away for an hour…then turn off heat and DO NOT OPEN IMMEDIATELY. Wait for 30 minutes until the pressure cooker has cooled down before opening it.
CAUTION: Do not open pressure cooker right away because if you do, it will blow on your face. Make sure that there is no longer any steam. Remember, I warned you!
So happy eating – without the smell your neighbors don’t like.
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