The Use of Sodium to Stuff Fish – Compound and Process

Sodium is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal. Sodium is usually found in salt. Actually it becomes compound with chloride ions with the ratio 1:1. Its (sodium and chloride ions as a compound) chemical symbol is NaCl. NaCl is the chemical formula of salt. Let’s talk about salt.

I remember when I was a child, my mother told me to kill dangerous animals that bite and have poison with salt, such as little snakes, leeches, and animal millipedes. Later, I know that it contains sodium that can kill bacteria too.

Now, we will talk about the uses of salt. It is because salt contains sodium that is useful in stuffing the fish.

Salt is needed in many ways. One of them, which is the most popular one, is the use of salt in the kitchen. Salt is not only used to make salty foods, but salt is also used to make the sweet food even sweeter. Salt can make foods tasty and also needed by the body. The lack of salt in our body can cause death that may happen because of too much water in our body, called water poisoning. In the other words, salt is very important if not used excessively.

The Use of Sodium to Stuff Fish

Now, we know the use of sodium to stuff fish by salting it. As for us to remember, we do not stuff fish with pure sodium, but salt that contains sodium. We use salt, not others, because it is for food.

Why fish can be lasting because of sodium? It is because sodium penetrates into the fish body and spread all over it. It fights bacteria that can cause decay. Bacteria are the microorganism group without cell membrane nucleus. They react with sodium and die. Therefore, too much salt in our body can make us die too; one of them because of the death of the good bacteria. So, salt must not be used excessively. We just need to eat the stuffed fish in small parts. Moreover, because it is salty, we do not need to eat it in large portion. Too salty food tastes bad. We can eat it together with the other foods that are not salty, such as rice and not too salty, such as sour vegetable soup and chili.

Can sodium not to penetrate completely? Yes, it can. That is why we have to wait for longer time and make sure that the sodium has penetrated completely. We have to let the stuffed fish under the sunlight as long as possible before cooked.

How if the fish not too be cooked for years for example? Can it decay? Yes, of course. It is because the sodium inside the fish can no longer be able to fight the bacteria that grow. While they die, there will be the other bacteria that grow because of the sodium before has reacted with the previous bacteria, making it no longer effective.

So, sodium is used to stuff fish because it kills bacteria. However, we cannot use sodium to stuff meat although it kills bacteria in meat also. At least, not in the ways above. Meat is too hard for the sodium to penetrate. Moreover, it is dirtier than fish. It cannot be as simple as stuffing the fish to preserve the meat. People are used to smoke meat, not stuffing it.

One way how we can use salt is for stuffing fish. Not only the fish will become lasting, but also it will become tasty. Many Indonesian people love it.

Here you may also read about many uses of sodium:

How to stuff fish:

  1. Remove the skin of the fish
  2. Discard the contents of the fish’s stomach
  3. Part the fish into two, but not until separating each part
  4. Blend 50% of water and 50% of salt
  5. Soak the fish into the water for at least one hour. If you prefer it more salty, you can add the hours, but not until breaking the fish
  6. Dry the fish under the sunlight
  7. Prevent it from the rain
  8. It can stand for weeks before cooked

Stuffed fish is usually fried. In Central Java, people prefer eating it together with rice, sour vegetable soup and something called ‘sambal terasi’. ‘Sambal terasi’ is a sauce made with shrimp paste.

The ingredients of sour vegetable soup:

  1. Corn
  2. ‘labu siam’ (kind of squash)
  3. Cabbage
  4. ‘kacang panjang’ (kind of legume) 

The spices of sour vegetable soup:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • ‘terasi’ (condiment made from pounded and fermented shrimp or small fish)
  • Tamarind
  • Coconut sugar
  • Salt
  • ‘daun salam’ (laurellike leaf used in cooking)
  • Galingale

The ingredients of ‘sambal terasi’:

  1. Chilli
  2. ‘terasi’
  3. Salt

Above is the way we stuff fish that is called the wet way. There is the other way that is called the dry way. The fish stuffed in this way is also delicious if eaten together with rice, sour vegetable soup, and ‘sambal terasi’.

How to stuff fish in the dry way:

  1. It is the same with the above way, but the salt is not mixed with water.
  2. The fish will stand for months.

What fish can be stuffed? All kinds of fish, as long as they do not have too thick body. If they are too thick, the salt will not penetrate easily and completely all over their body. So, they have to be sliced to make their flesh thinner.

Here you may also read about many uses of sodium:

Fish from the sea are the most ideal ones to be stuffed. They live in the salty water, so they taste more salty than the fish from the river. It can be stuffed better and will taste better.