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Feseekh (Fermented and Salted Fish) is an ancient Egyptian meal that Egyptians have been eating for hundreds of years.
This fish is not for everyone, though. It smells terrible, that is for sure, but the taste is quite controversial. You will either fall in love with it or you won’t stand swallowing that one bite.
What is Fessekh?
Fesikh or Fessekh is a type of salted mullet that is dried and put in coarse salt for fifteen days or more until it acquires a silver color and a distinctive smell.
It is usually served along with green onions, pita bread, and herring during Sham Al Nessim, which is an Egyptian celebration held yearly in the spring.
During that day, Egyptians go out and enjoy the beautiful weather, and they never skip Feseekh!
Origin of Feseekh
Fesikh is one of the most popular Egyptian foods that are served on Eid al-Fitr, and it is not only eaten by the Egyptians but in different parts of the Middle East.
Perhaps many do not know the story of the first person to eat Fesikh, which has become a symbol of Sham El-Neseem. Egyptians cannot celebrate it without eating Fesikh.
Sham El-Nessim, a celebration that was held from the days of the Egyptian pharaohs, to celebrate the arrival of spring and the prosperity of life and the spread of the fun and bright summer colors, and their belief that spring brings life and hope.
This was called Sham El-Nessim when they began to celebrate with the sunrise in early spring, where they go out in gardens, parks, and natural places, and eat foods that included fesikh.
The ancient Egyptian pharaoh was considered the first to eat feseekh, as it was common for the pharaohs to eat it before starting to build the pyramids, believing that it would give them strength and energy. The salted fish also symbolizes goodness, giving, and blessing.
Historians don’t agree on the date of the Egyptian celebration of Sham El-Nessim and the manifestations of this celebration. They eat salted fish and go out to smell the breeze that day.
The Egyptians made Fesikh from mullet fish, and its method depends mainly on salting the fish and leaving it for a long time until it becomes a pungent smell.
The process of making feseekh begins by cleaning the fish’s gills well and then placing them in wooden barrels. Salt is placed between one row of fish and another.
Then a layer of thin plastic is placed on the fish and large amounts of salt are placed on top of it, and then the barrel is closed with cardboard, provided that the barrel is left at a temperature of fewer than 18 degrees Celsius for 21 days.
How to Prepare Feseekh at Home
feseekh can also be prepared at home, and it is the best way.
- Bring fresh mullet fish, incise its stomach, clean its bowels well, then wash and clean.
- Leave it to dry for two days near the window, with kitchen absorbing paper placed under the tray on which the fish is placed to absorb liquids.
- Make sure to keep turning it until it is completely dry, and then put it in glass containers. It should be sealed after filling its nostrils with coarse salt and immersing it in salt as well.
- Press and cover with cling wrap and then with a lid and leave in a warm place for fifteen days and a longer period in Winter.
Best Way to Eat Fesikh:
- Put it in the freezer to reach the freezing stage after buying it to kill any bacteria that may be present in it.
- Cut off its head and tail and clean its guts.
- Soak it in clean, clear water for at least two days, changing the water every two or three hours, and put it in the fridge while it is soaking so that it will not be damaged and until its sharp salinity is reduced and a slight trace of salinity remains in it.
- Fry in hot and deep oil and serve with bread and salad.
- Or it is placed in a tray after being coated with flour and sprinkled with olive oil, then grilled and roasted in the oven.
What is Mullet?
Mullet fish belongs to the mullet family. It lives near the coasts and is found in abundance in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
It is called by several names, and it feeds on algae found in the sea. It has a salty taste, a silver color, and an aroma that distinguishes it from others.
What is the Benefit of Eating Fesikh on the First Day of Eid al-Fitr?
The salinity in fesikh prepares the stomach to receive food after fasting for an entire month, and its excess salinity works to trap fluids in the body and replace the fluids lost during Ramadan fasting.
Does Eating Fesikh Has Side Effects?
The salinity of fesikh is harmful in itself, as it increases blood pressure, fluid retention in the body, and swelling of the feet, especially in pregnant women.
Although feseekh has a wonderful taste, especially if grilled with olive oil, it is advised not to eat it a lot, especially for the elderly and pregnant women.
Be Sure to Try These Other Egyptian Dishes!
I hope you try out this Egyptian Feseekh and let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Enjoy!
- 1 kilo of herring fish
- 1/2 cup of salt
- 1/2 cup of chili
- 2 tablespoons of Nigella sativa
- 5 Plastic bags for packing
- A sealed container
- Wash the fish very well; then drain it very well and leave it at room temperature.
- Mix the salt with the chili and the black seeds
- Put the salt and the black seeds in the head of the fish, and put some mixture of salt, chili, and nigella
- on the fish
- Place each fish individually in a plastic bag, placing them in a jar
- Closing the jar very well; then wrap the jar again with the plastic bags so that the air does not penetrate into it
- Leave for about and 15 days to 20 days at room temperature.
- Serve and enjoy your Feseekh with tahini sauce!