Nigerian Dryfish

About Nigerian Dryfish

Nigerian dryfish is fish that has been slowly smoked over a period of time until it is dehydrated and dry. Different species of fish are dried and sold, some tastier than others. Both large and small sized fish are dried for consumption. Some are cut into pieces before drying, others are dried whole, sometimes folded or bent and held in place with a string or stick for ease of storage.



In the past, Nigerian dryfish was produced using fish from rivers but now with the intensive farming of fish (Fishponds) on the increase, Pond dryfish is very commonplace.

The fish is usually dried to different degrees, from partly dried to bone dry. The partly dried type, where the skin is dry but the insides are still quite soft is called Jokojoko ‘ soft’. This type is delicate to handle especially when washing it because it breaks apart very easily and is prone to spoilage. I either dry it further in the oven or use it to drink ‘soaked’ Garri. The overly dry type, when used for cooking, is best boiled with the meat because it takes a while to soften.

Drying concentrates the fish flavour which directly impacts the taste of the dish it is used to prepare, especially soup broth in Nigerian soups. Nigerian dryfish is used in cooking practically all Nigerian soups also,  yam peppersoup, plantain porridge, Oto Mboro (unripe banana porridge) palm oil jollof rice, palm oil stew, Dry fish pepper souppalm nut soup/ofe akwu etc. It is a very essential component of the Nigerian cuisine.



Thailand Fish

The freshness of the fish is something to look out for because sometimes dry fish has mould. If it is on the skin of the fish, with proper observation, you will notice it. Though some sellers will brush it off with oil and it will look as good as new. The mould might be more extensive, going deeper inside the fish, so if in doubt, smell it. There will be a tell-tale musky smell of mould or just lack of freshness. Do not buy because it will be money wasted. The taste will be horrible besides the health risk.



During the smoking process, the fish oils which are released stay on the fish skin, this attracts dust, sand and sometimes bugs which go into the flesh. Dry fish needs to be washed properly before consumption. See how to wash dry fish here.

You can also check out How to wash Dry fish, How to kill and process Catfish, 20 Interesting facts about Goat meat (Chevon) and learn How to make Nigerian Dry fish Peppersoup.

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  1. It’s good to learn that dry Nigerian fish need to be washed properly before being cooked. My wife and I are wanting to try new food and we were wondering what we should know before trying Nigerian dry fish. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should make sure the fish is cleaned correctly before we eat it.

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  3. Pingback: How to kill and process Catfish - The Pretend Chef

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