If there is one smell that 90 million Filipinos around the globe will recognize in a nanosecond, it is the smell of frying daing, buwad or dried fish. If you could bottle that aroma you could stop wars by just releasing it in vast quantities on the battlefields and watch the soldiers scurry back home. â€œNuclearâ€ as an adjective, takes on a new meaning when you have successfully harnessed the smell of frying, salt-cured, semi-rotting, sun-dried raw fish. Its potency is rivaled by few other odors. So when I came home late yesterday morning and entered our front gate, I immediately knew that some daing had been fryingâ€¦ The cook always tries to fry daing when we arenâ€™t home to minimize the aroma commentsâ€¦but the smell lingers for quite a while. Curious why she was cooking daing at such an odd hour, I went into the kitchen and she explained that she had just pre-fried some daing for her version of a Sarciadong Daing. Gosh, is this dish utterly simple and delicious, or what??
To make, take some good bisugo daing or similar dried fish and soak it in warm water and rinse it in cool water for a few minutes to remove the excess salt from the preservation process. Fry it until cooked, not overly crisp, drain on paper towels and set aside. Next, in a saucepan, sautÃ© some sliced red onions, garlic and julienned ginger in some vegetable oil. Add several ripe â€œnativeâ€ tomatoes and a few teaspoons of sugar, to taste. Add some cracked plack pepper. Make sure you are generous with this mixture, make more than you think is necessary. Then carefully put the fried dried bisugo into the mixture and let the juices seep in and flavors meld. After about 3-5 minutes, remove from heat and let it rest and serve shortly thereafter. This tastes terrific. The inherent saltiness of the daing coated in all those great flavors of sautÃ©ed onions, garlic and tomatoes. The sugar adds a touch of sweetness that tempers the daing. The ginger some flavor and freshnessâ€¦ No sawsawan required. But vinegar with chillis works for me. Make sure you have lots and lots of hot rice when you serve this dish! Yum!