Smoked fish is an essential ingredient in most Nigerian meal. It is a product of firewood or charcoal grilling. This end product has a unique aroma and taste it infuses into food. Smoked fish is quite affordable and very nutritious; it contains protein, healthy fats and low in calories. Ask any Nigerian on the street what White Soup, Efo riro and Egusi soup have in common; The answer is Smoked fish!
How do you avoid buying spoilt fish at the market 😩? It gives an unhappy feeling when you realise you bought a rotten fish to prepare that delicious dish. Well, you are not alone! Take note of these tips and say goodbye to perpetual buying of rotten smoked fish.
Excess oily Smoked Fish
When vendors are unable to sell off their old stock which has invariably turned stale, they try to adjust it to ensure they sell it off. They polish the smoked fish with vegetable/palm Oil. The result is a smoked fish with excess gloss and attractive feel to the unsuspecting buyer. That brings us to tip number one; Flee from buying smoked fish with excess shine. Double check over and over again.
The colour of smoked fish tells you if the fish was burnt from the smoking process. This burn may arise as a result of quick smoking where the vendor uses fire not the smoke to process the fish. Burning may also arise from oversmoking the fish for too long. If you intend to get it right this time, opt for a bit of deep brownish colour as against dark or black colour. The black fish may have gotten burnt during the smoking process and the taste won't turn out great in your meal.
Sight the Stomach
This is one very valid area every shopper should be in the know of. The stomach of the smoked fish tells you how fresh or stale the smoked fish is. To detect the freshness of the fish, you would need to press the stomach of the fish. If the stomach is very soft, this means that the smoked fish is no longer fresh or may have deteriorated. Also note that dark discoloration of the belly walls, indicate fish that was stale before they were smoked. On detecting such condition, avoid the fish.
At this point of check, the vendor already knows that you are a “pro” shopper and will start getting uncomfortable with you…lol Fish when properly smoked feel firm and springy to the touch, and the whole fish or fillets are fairly rigid. Fish that is overly soft, flabby and sticky on the surface were either in poor condition when processed or have gone stale over time after smoking.
The fleshy one has it
Okay, this one is a no brainer. To select the right type of smoked fish at the market, go for the fleshy one. The fatter the fish, the fresher it is. Smoked Fish that looks too dry and thin may have stayed long with the vendor. It may have gone through the fire many times and possibly stale.
Bonus Tip: Buy them in Bulk
Why buy smoked fish in small quantity when there is an option to buy freshly smoked fish in bulk and share? All you need to do is get a few friends to gather funds and purchase from the vendor straight out of the fire. That way, you’d be assured of the fish condition.
After you are done shopping like a pro, store properly and consume as desired. Store your smoked fish for longer by freezing it. This storage process has no downsides.
Let us know if you found these tips helpful? Tell us.
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