I've mentioned many times in past posts that my parents used to cook and sell Filipino food to the local Filipino community when I was a young girl. Back then I didn't appreciate the importance of my Filipino heritage and how important it was for my parents to keep it alive in our family.
Now that I am older and have my own family, I realise how important it is to teach my children not only their Filipino roots but also their English background, which they inherited from their dad.
I plan to do this one day at a time, one dish at a time.
Tinapa has been something I've been wanting to learn and make for years. We finally decided to make some during our "mum (and dad) and daughter cooking day". As soon as the sardines touched the smoker, the instant hit of the the aroma brought me back to my childhood.
You can smoke any kind of fish though the oily ones are the best for this. We used sardines. Makes sure they are the freshest you can get your hands on.
Before smoking the sardines, they must be quickly blanched in water with plenty of salt and sugar. Quickly simmer for 5-7 minutes just to slightly cook them through.
If you have the time, it is ideal to left to dry overnight. We didn't have the time so we smoked it straight away.
We used pine wood chips but you can use any kind of wood chips. You can also add herbs to it.
Smoke the sardines for approximately 15mins till the skin is nice and brown. Turn once. Do this carefully as the sardines are delicate and fall apart easily. You should also be able to smell the smoky aroma of the wood.
In Philippines, this is for breakfast, quickly pan fried, eaten with garlic rice and frankly, it's the best way to eat them. Yum!