Stockfish refers to fish dried in the sun on rocks or racks of wood in order to preserve the fish. The head and gut of the fish are removed before drying. This method of fish preservation is so powerful and effective that fish can last for up to 12 years without going bad, and yet retain its full nutritional content!
Any fish can be "stocked", but only a few types of fishes are now used in making stock fish. They include Cod fish (most widely used), Tusk fish, Haddock, Pollock or Saithe and Ling fishes.
Fish preserved this way are extremely nutritious, and truly healthy. Unlike fresh fish cod that is made up of 80% water for example, cod stockfish is made up of only about 14% water, and 80 percent protein. You can easily see why it is said that 1 kg of stock fish is equivalent to 5kg of fresh fish.
They are also rich in essential ingredients like vitamin B12, niacin, Thiamine, which helps to maintain our nerves and ensure normal growth, phosphorous needed for the effective utilization of calories, iodine to help keep our thyroid gland health and ensure normal metabolism, and plenty of calcium for strong bones and teeth.
Stock fish also has the added advantage of being unsalted, this you do not run the risk of consuming too much salt than what is acceptable. This should of particular interest to people of African and Caribbean descent. Their kidney lack the genetic ability to filter salt properly from the body, unlike their Caucasian counterparts.
That is partly why Africans and blacks in general tend to have more kidney problems. They should therefore as much as possible drastically reduce their salt intake. Eating stock fish helps to provide a healthy alternative to salted fish (eating too much salt in one's meal leads to high blood pressure and kidney problems).
Another advantage of stockfish is that it is not smoked. Eating smoked fish is the leading cause of stomach cancer worldwide, and especially in countries like China and japan, where smoked fish is very common (worried if this is correct? Type in "smoked fish + cancer" on Google Search and see for yourself the result!).
You can substitute stockfish in place of smoked fish on your diet for a healthier you.
Even though stock fish is originally native to the Vikings of the Scandinavia, it is extremely popular and widely consumed in the whole of West Africa, especially in Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo and Sierra Leone.
Called Okporoko by the Igbos of Nigeria and kpanla or panla by the Yorubas of Southern Nigeria it is a highly favoured delicacy in Ogbono, palm nut fruit (banga) and Egusi soups as well as in efo riro. It is also used in afang soup, and indeed most other soups like edikaikong.
It is a prestigious and highly regarded gift to include in a visit to in-laws!
With the advent of snack stock fish as well as stock fish chippings, it can easily be included in jollof rice and salads meals.
Because of the process of drying this fish, sometimes left in the sun and wind for up to 3 months, it becomes very dry and hard, posing challenges to the unaccustomed during cooking.
Traditionally, stockfish is cooked by first hitting the fish several times with a hard object or hammer, then soaked in water for at least 12 hours before being boiled and then added to a dish.
If you buy the whole fish, you might still need to soak it over night for softness, and then boil. You can remove the skin. This helps to emphasize the fleshy part of the fish. Selecting a big chunky fish during purchase also means you get a very "meaty" fish. Cod fish is most preferred.
Thankfully, there now exist stockfish fillets, shavings and snack fish, all you can put straight into your dish without needing to soak in water overnight or preparing in any way.
Should you have any comments or questions on stockfish, please do not hesitate to contact us.