DRIED FLOUNDER OR HARÐFISKUR - FISH JERKY IN YOUR SOUP
This disgusted one of my readers.
Zheng Xie wrote: "Dried fish? Huh, typical. Probably stinky for words. I'll stick with steamed dumplings."
His name and attitude suggest that he is a northerner. And I may have been guilty of eliciting just such a loaded reaction by advertent snarkiness about his kind in that post.....
"Northern dumpling filling always includes chopped cabbage, garlic, and other stuff that to the southern mind has absolutely no business being there."
Mo yi-si ah, chan oi dik pakfong yan, but it's a valid opinion!
The taste contribution of dried flounder (左口魚 jorhau yu, 大地魚 daidei yu), roasted or fried before added, is not particularly 'fishy'. Rather, like many other dried seafood products, it contributes a unifying flavour and hint of sweet savouriness most complimentary to the other ingredients. The roasting or frying process mellows the dried fish and makes it easy to pulverize or crumble.
Per person per serving the quantity is in fact minute - probably less than half a teaspoon at best.
"Dried fish, huh, typical, probably stinky for words."
Dried flounder is also used in the form of little fried flakes in a number of simple vegetable dishes - such things as mustard greens (芥蘭 gai-lan), asparagus (蘆筍 lo-seun) or even little cabbages (小白菜 siu paktsoi) benefit from the inclusion of a small amount of dried flounder.
Just remove any scales and bones from the fish pieces if they're supposed to remain in the dish - if you are making stock, that isn't really necessary, as you will be straining it anyhow.
Fry the dried flounder crispy, but do not let it blacken. If you're making a supply of powder for future use, let the pieces dry on kitchen paper, then grind them fine. Otherwise, simply add them to the food during a moist stage, to let the flavours meld.
A few small pieces for the soup or added to one of the various 餸 should be perfect.
About one or two teaspoons (or more, if you really have a gevaldikke taam) for the entire dish.
About that unusual term in the title of this post: Harðfiskur is an Icelandic term for various kinds of dried fish. Seeing as Zheng Xie voiced a very northern bias, it seemed appropriate to throw in a word from a very Northern language.
Should make him feel right at home.
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.