7.4.4 Fish Smoking

Smoking-fish-1 fish_smoking


Smoking is one of the best methods of improving the shelf life of the fish. Smoking is invented in the Maldives. The smoke contains phenol which acts as antibacterial agent so the development of the bacteria is checked. The fish are cooked and smoked in order to inactivate tissue enzymes, kill micro-organisms and transform the raw fish or intermediate product into edible form. The smoking not only improves the shelf life but also the taste.
Steps of smoke fish processing.

1. Butchering: cutting and removal of head and gut. Some processors cut into halves or quarters.

2. Washing: washing has to be done after butchering with clean running water must be used for washing. It is better to use freshwater first to clean the fish in-order to reduce the ferrous chloride.

3. Cooking: fish must be thoroughly boiled (water boiling or steam boiling). Partial or improper cooking will result in poor quality. Normally fish are cooked for 15 to 20 minutes or till the muscles become firm. 5% saline water is commonly used to cook the fish.

4. Smoking: cooked fish has to be smoked before drying. Firewood using for smoking should be of a kind that will be pleasant in taste and odor, when burned. Smoking is done in kilns by keeping the muscle side facing the smoke. 8-12 hours of smoking is done normally, but can be prolonged if climate is cool or unfavorable.

5. Drying: fish has to be well dried to achieve a good quality dry fish. Drying time depends on the fish size, time of sunshine, number of grooves on fish etc., too little drying will result in quick spoilage, off-odor, stale taste and rot. 4-6% of moisture level is maintained in-order to get best quality fish.

Well cooked and well dried fish can be kept in a good quality standard for a period of 6- 12 months.

Types of smoking: two types based on the way of practice.

Hot smoking: – it is usually practiced in Maldives. The shelf life of the fish is high.

Cool smoking: – it is usually done in the cool countries. In this method the heat of the smoke is reduced before treating the fish with      smoke. The shelf life of the fish is less when compare with the hot smoking.


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