Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Fish Tale: Finding Dalag

Dalag (Mudfish)
Mudfish (Channa Species) or Dalag in Tagalog language is a freshwater perciform fish native to Asia and Africa. Dalag are elongated predatory fish distinguished by its long dorsal fin, large mouth with shiny teeth. They are excellent eating fish sold in public market. Both wild and farmed Dalag can be purchase live and will stay alive for many days.

In the United States especially the state of California, if you get caught with a live Dalag, you will be in legal trouble. Dalag known to local California residents as Snakehead (fish) has infested the Potomac and the Mississippi river. Snakeheads are voracious predators and have the tendency to consume almost anything in its path.

Dalag flesh is pink or nearly white. Depending on cooking method and with an attractive flavor - most people would like it prepared with broth, fried or grilled. The flesh is tender, fine grained and does not flake apart, making it excellent for soups, stews and curries. Some regions in the Philippines can even prepare a lively concoction of fermented dish out of its meat.

Dalag is extremely slimy, making it rather difficult to hold on to until it is scaled, beheaded, cleaned and rinsed several times. Scaling, cleaning, filleting and skinning a whole fish will take some time depending on one’s skill level and tools. The scales are large but easy to scrape off with very little flying about. Cleaning is a little different from most fish; there are lots of innards running from the head all the way to the tail.

Mudfish is recognized in Asia Pacific countries as a remedy for healing of wounds. The fish enhances dermal wound healing and reduces post-operative pain and discomfort. The efficacy of wild Dalag has made it a common food served to women after childbirth or those who had undergone surgery.

Here are some of the well-known Philippine recipe and dish preparation for the native Dalag:

Pesang Dalag

Pocherong Dalag

Adobong Dalag In Coconut Milk

Crispy Fried Dalag

Binukangkang Dalag

Burong Dalag (Fermented)

Sweet & Sour Dalag
Pinangat Na Dalag

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