I am utterly surprised that this canned food – Fried dace with fermented black soya beans (豆豉鲮鱼） even have a rather comprehensive write up in Wikipedia.. i have always thought that this is just a common household canned food that does not have any historical background. Obviously i am wrong and apparently this recipe is linked back to the immigrants from Guangdong when they arrived at South East Asia.
“Fried dace with salted black beans is a canned food of Chinese origin. Cirrhinus molitorella (dace) is a fish from the Pearl River in China ‘Dace’ is a trade name of Cirrhinus molitorella while black beans are called “dau si” or “douchi” in Hong Kong and Guangzhou respectively. Fried dace with salted black beans is made by combining dace with salted black beans and preserving it in oil afterwards. Fried dace with salted black beans originated in Guangzhou in China. In the past,before industrialisation of China in the 1950s begun, many Chinese from the Pearl River Delta region needed to go to Southeast Asia for work. They would fry the dace, preserve it with salted black beans and bring it with them because they were not used to eating foreign food. This tradition gradually transformed into a canned food business. The first canned fried dace with salted black beans was produced by Guangzhou Guangmaoxiang Canned Food Factory in China in 1893. This factory was evolved from “广奇香罐头厂” (the Guang Qi Xiang Guan Tou Factory), which was registered in 1912 in Hong Kong. “ (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fried_dace_with_salted_black_beans)
I do not think I need to introduced this canned food. Most families will know and it is such a delicious flavourful and convenient canned food that goes well with rice porridges. Our families does keep some canned food for emergency usage when we are running out of time to cook, besides luncheon meat, mushroom meat sauce, this is one of the evergreen canned food that always have a space in our kitchen cabinet. We do not consume it very often but it will be once in a while ‘treat” to the kids.
I believed that many readers do not know what is dace and so do it.. I never heard of the fish named “dace” neither have i seen ever the fish sold in the wet market. Therefore, if you are not in China but in Singapore and Malaysia, I believed most small fish can be used such as ikan kuning . I have used baby white promfret instead as I cannot find small fish except this rather expensive baby promfet. It is quite a waste as pomfret is a good fish and when fish are deep fried and pan fried, taste will be similar at the end of the day.
It is a very simple and straight forward recipe. The only challenge is to stew the fish until the bones melt in the mouth. To do this, some recipe called for the use of slow cooker braising of 8-10 hours but i have resorted to the use of pressure cooking that took me about 1 hour to get the same texture as the canned version.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 3-4 adult servings
- 6-8 small fishes such as ikan kuning or others
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlics
- 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons of dark soya sauce
- 50 grams of fermented black soya beans (豆豉）
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- Pinches of salt
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Deep fry or pan fry the fish until crispy. Drain and leave one tablespoon of cooking oil. Sauté the minced garlics, ginger and fermented black soya beans until aromatic. Add the deep fried fish, sugar, pinches of salt and about 1-2 cup of water. Stir fry until well mixed.
- Transfer the fish and the sauces to the pressure cooker pot and pressure cook for about 1 hour until the bones are soft. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can try to use slow cooker and slow cook for at least 8 hours.
For those who are adverse to the consumption of canned food, may be you will like to give this recipe a try. It is acceptable to use whatever type of fishes but the critical success factor is that the fish must be adequately deep fried.
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