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Old 09-29-2006, 05:42 PM   #1
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What to do with charales?

I just purchased a bag of charales, small dried fish, at my local Mexican market. I've read that they can be fried and eaten but other than that I cannot find a recipe using them. Any suggestions?

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Old 09-29-2006, 08:35 PM   #2
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Are you sure you have the correct spelling? I found this online..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charales
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Old 09-30-2006, 08:11 AM   #3
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I answered this on the Epicurious board also. If I am not mistaken I think folks who like them eat them out of hand--dried small crunchy fish.

And Amber got the same thing I got on google in looking for them.
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:11 AM   #4
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Hi devora,

I see this is your first post and hope we have not frightened you off! Anyway, Welcome to DiscussCooking, and I hope you return to tell us how you fixed the fish.

Being from the Midwest US, I was not raised eating fish. I think you are brave to have bought the bag of fish, good for you!

I will post a picture of a grocery store where large pieces of dried salted fish were sold. I knew i was not permitted to photograph in this store, so I took several photographs before being busted. It was amazing to me to see people pick up this fish and try to wedge it in their grocery carts. There was no wrapping for this fish. But judging by the large amount of this fish being sold, it is quite popular.
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Old 09-30-2006, 10:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethzaring
Hi devora,

II will post a picture of a grocery store where large pieces of dried salted fish were sold. I knew i was not permitted to photograph in this store, so I took several photographs before being busted. It was amazing to me to see people pick up this fish and try to wedge it in their grocery carts. There was no wrapping for this fish. But judging by the large amount of this fish being sold, it is quite popular.
This might be the same salt cod that is sold in little wood boxes in our stores here for a whole LOT of money--$8/12 oz. I was looking for it to make the French dish, brandade.
I think in Spanish it would be bacaolo.

If I am picturing what the OP is asking about, these are cellophane bags of small/tiny dried fish or possibly shrimp.
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Old 09-30-2006, 02:01 PM   #6
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I've seen lots of different bagged dried fish - both large & small - in Asian markets, & I have a small bag of tiny dried shrimp in the freezer, which is also used in different Asian recipes.

I have a couple of Mexican cookbooks around here somewhere - let me see if any of them mention dried fish & what to do with them.
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Old 09-30-2006, 02:53 PM   #7
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Hi Devora,

I believe your small dried fish are a specialty of Michoacan cooking (meaning from that part of Mexico). Usually they are crumbled up and added to soup, or even omelettes.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-30-2006, 03:25 PM   #8
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Actually, that's how the dried shrimp are used in most Asian recipes - crumbled or crushed into soups, stirfries, & curries. They're more of a flavoring agent than a major ingredient.
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Old 09-30-2006, 06:45 PM   #9
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I removed some of the posts. They did not help the OP in her quest for recipes. If anyone has any questions about this please PM me.
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:03 PM   #10
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Hi again,

Just wanted to add a bit to my previous posting. These small fish come from freshwater lakes, I believe. They are very similar to the fish we would call "smelt."

During the season of Lent, charales are sold all over Mexico and used in just about everything that would normally use ground or shredded beef, because beef cannot be eaten during the Lenten fasting period if you are an observant Roman Catholic.

Just play with them in your usual Mexican recipes.

Sometimes they are fried crispy and eaten as snacks, too!

Sorry for the delay in posting this. "Real life" intervened!
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Old 10-01-2006, 01:06 AM   #11
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Tiny dried fish are used a lot in Filipino cuisine; they're my grandfather's favorite (he dries his own) but I've never actually seen how he eats them. I think they're usually eaten out of hand, dipped in vinegar. I've also heard of them being fried in little cakes or put in omlets for breakfast. Try searching the word dilis or daing na dulong if you'd like more info on how Filipinos use them.
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Old 10-01-2006, 01:48 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone! I'm going to try frying them (the vinegar sounds delish) and adding them to soup. Maybe crumble the lil' guys in some enchilada filling.

I have seen the smelt being dried (they are really tiny) while living in China. Whole sidwalks are covered w/ fish.

Thanks again!
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:22 PM   #13
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I see them everytime I visit my Chinese Supermarket but haven't bought them yet. They sound like the strangely named 'Bombay Duck' (which is a small dried fish and nothing to do with duck!) used in Indian Cuisine that were banned from the UK for a while due to silly European Union regulations. I realise this is no help to your query though!
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Old 10-03-2006, 08:29 AM   #14
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Didn't want you to think I forgot about you, but none of my Mexican or Spanish cookbooks make any mention of dried fish except for the ever-popular salt cod, which is a Spanish seafood staple.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:24 PM   #15
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Charales/smelt

Tiny dried fish or fresh if you are lucky to find them. to cook them is simple you can used them in basically all your mexican recipes. my favorite is with dried smelt all you do is washed them a bit than put them in a thick frying pan with some oil add some fresh nopales/cactus already cooked a bit of red onion cilantro tomatoe and 4 egg beaten for each pound of charales or smelt and eat them in tacos it is delicious.
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