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How to Clean Mudfish (“Dalag”)
(Pls. see related post on Fish Farmer vs. Mudfish (“Dalag”))
We recently caught some adult dalag during the complete draining of our Main Pond a few days ago.
Here’s how two pieces of dalag were cleaned.
|Two recently caught mudfish for cleaning|
1. First, stun the fish by hitting it on the head using a hard object such as a bolo knife.
2. Using scissors or bolo knife, cut off the dorsal (back) fin, pelvic (belly) fin, pectoral fins, and tail. Put in small plastic basin.
|Cutting back fin|
|Cutting belly fin|
|Cutting pectoral fin|
|Dalag minus the fins and tail|
Removing Mucus/Slime from Body
3. From the basin, put the fish on the ground (preferably with sandy soil). Rub left palm on the ground soil then grasp the dalag with the soiled hand (without soil on palm, you’ll find dalag too slippery with its thick mucus-covered body).
4. While grasping the dalag in left hand, use a kitchen knife with the other hand to remove the scales from the tail toward the body.
If you have a fish scale remover, use it to remove the scales.
|A fish scale remover with handle (available in public market)|
5. Rub the right palm on the ground with soil and move the soiled palm along the dalag’s body starting from the head. This will remove the thick mucus coat from the fish body. Put the fish back in basin.
Note: Experts say that the thick coating of mucus protects the mudfish against infection and desiccation (drying) and helps it to breath through its skin.
|Rubbing soil along body to remove mucus|
6. Find a rough cement floor which you can use as cleaning area. Scrub and wash the surface.
|Washing clean a rough cement surface in work area|
7. Remove the fish from the basin and wash it clean.
8. Holding the body with both hands, rub or scour the fish against the rough cement floor surface. This will remove the mucus and also the black spots from the body.
|Rubbing dalag against rough cement surface to remove body mucus and black spots|
9. Pour water on the cleaned body and put the fish back in plastic basin.
|Pouring water on the rubbed fish|
|Dalag scoured clean (bottom) and other dalag not yet rubbed clean (top)|
Slicing the Fish
10. Slice the tummy open from the tail up to the jaw.
|Slitting the tummy from tail to jaw|
11. Remove the intestines. Note: In case dalag is female, full of eggs and ready to spawn, remove also the fish eggs and set aside.
|Exposing intestines after slitting tummy; see fish eggs inside|
12. Cut off the maxillary bone (jaw) from the head of the fish.
|Cutting off maxillary bone to make removal of gills easier|
13. Pull out the gills (“hasang” in Tagalog), which are connected to the intestines, from the head and set aside as fish thrash.
|Dalag gills and intestines removed as shown|
14. Cut off part of the head (about one inch from the tip of the mouth).
|Cutting off part of dalag head|
15. Pour water on the fish and remove blood and other remnants from inside the fish body using knife.
|Removing blood and other remnants inside body using knife|
16. Remove the inner white skin attached to the jaw. Use scissors or pull the skin by hand from the jaw sideways.
|Removing skin attached to jaw|
17. Remove inner skin from the roof of the mouth.
|Removing skin from roof of mouth|
18. Remove any remaining skin portions from the fish mouth.
|Removing other skin portions from mouth|
|Removing blood and other remnants using thumb|
19. Wash the fish clean on the plastic basin; remove any traces of blood from the head, then soak in water. Pour clean water and wash thoroughly until clean.
|Two pieces of thoroughly cleaned dalag ready for cutting|
Cutting into Pieces
20. Cut lengthwise to divide the body into two.
|Cutting body into two halves lengthwise|
21. Take a half piece and cut across to get several serving pieces. Do the same for the other half.
|Two halves of dalag cut lengthwise ready to be cut into pieces for cooking|
22. The cleaned and cut dalag fish is ready to cook (see photo)!
|Dalag cut into pieces for cooking, including fish eggs (orange)|
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