The process of oven-drying Panla fish is very simple and can be done in just four simple steps which are: How to grill fish/ oven-dry panla or hake fish.
- Source for the fish
- Clean the fish
- Brine the fish
- Oven-dry the fish
First, let’s look at what Panla fish is. Panla fish is known as a Hake or a Kika. It is a popular fish that is highly consumed in Nigeria.
They are generally known to have soft-looking skin that can be easily bent into a curved shape before they are dried or smoked.
Before drying or smoking your Panla fish, you will need to take into consideration some factors. How to grill fish/ oven-dry panla or hake fish.
What is a dried or smoked Panla fish?
A dried panla fish is a hake fish that has been well cleaned, brined, or seasoned and hygienically dried in an Oven while a smoked Panla fish is a Hake fish that has been well cleaned, brined, or seasoned and dried locally with the use of a local heating chamber.
The difference between a dried and a smoked Panla fish is the mode of drying. The dried Panla fish are generally known to be passed through a hygienic drying process using an oven while the smoked Panla fish are generally known to be processed through local heat setups like the Iron drums or block chamber. Whether you are drying or smoking your Panla fish, you are to apply the same processes but with a different processing setup or fertility.
Factors to consider before drying or smoking your Panla fish.
- The quantity of the Panla fish
- The purpose of drying the fish
- The heat source
Drying a few pieces of fish will require a small portion of resources like water, salt, season, and other things. It will also require a small heat set up like a small Oven. But drying large quantities of Panla fish like 1 carton and above will require more effort and resources to get them dried or smoked.
The purpose of drying the fish: The purpose of drying your Panla fish also determines the resources that will be needed for the drying process. Fish dried for personal consumption may not be given so much effort and resources. They may not be well seasoned or well dried because the processor may have a way of preserving them. But for fish that are dried for commercial purposes, they must be well cleaned, seasoned, and dried to satisfy those well buy the products. How to grill fish/ oven-dry panla or hake fish.
The heat source: This is an important factor to consider before starting the drying process. You have to make provision for the heat source to use. This is determined by the heating facility available to you.
Examples of heat sources are:
Examples of heating facilities are Oven, Iron drum, Block or Clay set up, etc.
The step-by-step process to Oven-dry or smoke your Panla fish
As listed earlier, the steps are:
- Source for the Fish
- Clean the Fish
- Brining the Fish
- Oven-dry the Fish
Source for the Fish: This involves looking out for good sources to buy quality fresh Panla fish. When buying your fresh Panla fish, you must look out for the following:
- Freshness of the Fish
- Level of preservation
- Size of the Fish
- Nature of the Fish
Freshness of the Panla Fish: It is important to always buy fresh Panla fish from a source in which you are sure the fish has not been stocked a long time ago. This is because a fish that is no longer fresh may develop a bad taste which will reflect when consuming it.
Level of preservation: Make an effort to get your fresh Panla fish from sources where they place focus on their preservation process. You can find out from people around or the fish processors to be sure of where to get your fish.
Size of the Fish: Although it may be impossible to achieve this because the sellers of fresh Panla fish may not know the size of the fish in the carton until the carton is opened you can still make an effort to request for carton that will likely have big fish in it.
Nature of the Fish: This is a very important point to consider. Some Panla fish are usually more oily than others. This means that the oily ones will take longer time and effort to get dried. Therefore it is good you specify the type of Fish you will want the sellers to give you. How to grill fish/ oven-dry panla or hake fish.
Before going to source for your fresh Panla fish, you need to find out from people who buy fresh fish in your community to get information before making your decision on where to buy yours and the specific type or species to buy.
The second step to oven-dry or smoke your catfish is:
Clean the Fish: Cleaning Panla fish for drying or smoking can be done in two ways.
- Rinsing the Fish
- Gutting the Fish
Rinsing the Fish: This is the common method adopted but most Panla fish processors. This involves washing the fish in a pool of clean water. This process does not involve the removal of the gut or dirt in the fish, it only involves washing off external or visible dirt that appears around the fish and then using Toothpick to attach the head and the tail.
Gutting the Fish: This method involves washing the fish in clean water and removing the gut or dirt in the fish. This is not an easy method unlike the first one because of the difficulty in removing the dirt in Panla fish due to its small body size.
It is also a risky process because the fish can get broken or lose its shape when you try to cut it open for the gutting process. Therefore many processors prefer to just clean thoroughly the physical part and get the fish to be well dried and kill all germs or microbes that can cause the fish to get spoilt.
At Wemmab Foods, we adopt both processes while processing our Panla or hake Fish. We work with the interests/ demands of our customers and process what they order.
The third step to Oven-dry or smoke your Panla fish is:
Brining the fish: Brining is an important process that is focused on giving taste to your fish. This is a process that may not be demanded by some customers because they may want the fish to come in its natural taste while they add salt or seasoning to it while cooking. But most customers of dried or smoked Panla fish usually prefer their fish to have a little salty taste. This is because some customers enjoy eating the fish in its dried state without cooking them and therefore they like to have the normal salty taste in food.
In Nigeria, Panla fish are commonly taken with Garri and Ogi or Pap. People eat them along with their Garri and Ogi or Pap.
To brine your Panla fish:
- Fill a bowl or plate with clean water.
- Add a considerable amount of salt into the water and stir the water for the salt to dissolve and the taste gets evenly distributed. Taste the water to determine the salt level and add more water if the salty taste is too much.
- Add the already cleaned fresh Panla fish into the bowl and leave to soak for about 5 to 10 minutes for the salty water and taste to penetrate the fresh fish.
After carrying out this process, you can proceed to the final stage which is: Oven-drying or smoking the fish for market.