Ginamos (Fermented Fish).Ginamos is a special dish close to the heart of many Filipinos. It’s a great way to get tons of fish flavor in a small portion dashed in a meal. You can use this as dipping sauce too for boiled bananas.
What is Ginamos?
Most people from the Philippines are familiar with this deliciously fishy appetizer, but if you have not tried it yet you will love it! Ginamos is a Filipino style of fermented fish. Ginamos is typically made with anchovies or lancelet. Ginamos has a great fishy and salty flavor, making it the perfect condiment or side for sweet and spicy food alike!
In the Philippines, you can find ginamos at markets jarred or scooped to order, but it’s a bit harder to find in the United States. Some specialty Asian and international grocers will carry ginamos, but that is why I have developed this delicious and easy recipe to make this specialty at home!
What Makes Ginamos so Great!?
Fermented foods sometimes get a bad reputation, but it’s really unfair! Fermentation adds so much richness and depth of flavor to foods, plus it helps to preserve the food for longer. So yes, your kitchen might get a little smelly when you make this, but it is super worth it! Every bite of this salty, fishy, and vinegar-infused snack will leave you wanting more!
Filipino people know how to prepare fish perfectly! Filipino fish dishes are world-renowned for their unique flavor and style, but why limit that flavor to just fish dishes!? Ginamos captures the greatness of Filipino-style fish in a format that can be swirled into other dishes or eaten on its own. Adding Ginamos to your potatoes or salad might be just the upgrade you’ve been dreaming of!
Easy and Long-Lasting!
This recipe could not be easier! There are only five ingredients and three steps! This is a great recipe to try out on a weekend that won’t take up your whole day! Once you’ve completed this super easy recipe you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for up to three months! Ginamos is an amazing shelf-stable and really fun addition to tons of meals!
Ingredients for Ginamos
- Silver Fish or Anchovies-This is not the household pest some might think of when they hear “silverfish.” They are actually small filter fish otherwise known as “lancelets.” They are small and eel-like in shape, and they are very commonly used in Asian cuisine. Their flavor is similar to herring. If silverfish are not available, opt for anchovies. In both cases, choose fresh, not jarred or canned. This recipe is a safe and traditional way to preserve fish, so buying canned and cooked fish would hinder the flavor.
- Sea Salt-Salt is the key to great preserved food. It cuts down on water activity which means it limits the ability of bacteria to cause chemical reactions, i.e. decay. Basically, salt stuns the bacteria and drastically slows its ability to break down the food.Sea salt is a healthy form of salt with more minerals than your average table salt. This makes it the healthiest and most natural form of salt to use.
- Garlic-Garlic cloves bring a wonderful sweet and savory herbaceous flavor to the delicious, bite-sized fish. Fresh garlic is the best choice for this, but you may opt for jarred garlic as a substitute.
- Ginger-Fresh ginger gives the fish some zing with its earthy and spiced flavor. Fresh is best, but jarred ginger is a suitable swap.
- Vinegar-Vinegar is the base of pickling liquid for these small fish. You can choose white, apple cider, rice wine, or a mixture of vinegar. Try smelling the vinegar before using it to get a better idea of what it might taste like.
- Wash the silverfish and drain the excess water using a strainer. Make sure that you
drain the water as much as possible.
- Place silverfish in a medium-sized bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
- Transfer the prepared fish to a sterilized container and store the Ginamos in a dark
place for 3 weeks.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Before starting this recipe, prep the containers you will store this in. If you plan to use a jar, boil the parts of the jars for a few minutes each to sterilize them.
- Sterile is key to this appetizer! Sterile containers allow healthy bacteria to grow inside the jars and the cleanliness ensures that you can store this food safely for longer!
- Allow the jars to age for up to 3 weeks. I usually enjoy mine after 1 week.
What to Serve with Ginamos?
Filipinos love to eat ginamos with cooked sweet potatoes or bananas. For a wild twist on Filipino tradition, try placing a fish on top of a potato from my special recipe for kamote cue (caramelized sweet potatoes). I also love to eat ginamos simply with rice; try these tips for perfect rice every time!
The rich and salty fishy flavor brings balance to sweet dishes, but it can be used virtually anywhere or eaten on its own as a fishy snack. Stir the liquid into dishes for a briny punch or add a few whole fish into sauces and stews for extra zip!
Be aware that Ginamos has a lot of salty flavors, so don’t overdo it, and always balance this snack with water!
How to Store Ginamos
- This recipe instructs you to jar or can the Ginamos for longer-term storage and because there is fermentation at work in those jars this snack can be held for a long time!
Finished jars of ginamos must be aged in a dark place for up to three weeks. After this, they can be kept for up to 3 months. Keep opened jars in the refrigerator, but unopened jars can stay in a cool, dark ambient location.
Is Ginamos Good for You?
- Ginamos is a bit of a mixed bag. The fish used in this recipe are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and low in calories, but this preparation is very high in salt and acid.
- It is not safe to eat this snack if you’re pregnant and ask a doctor if you are nursing.
Generally, ginamos should be enjoyed in small portions as a side, snack, or recipe enhancer and always coupled with healthy water intake and other nutritious foods.
More Recipes You’ll Love
If you loved learning about this fishy favorite, try these other great fish-forward recipes!
- 1 large saucepan
- heat proof container with lid
- 2 lb Silver Fish or Anchovies
- 3/4 cup sea salt
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 inch ginger finely chopped
- 3/4 cup vinegar
- Place about five cups of water in a large saucepan and put the container and its lid in. Boil in low heat to sterilize the container.
- Wash the silverfish or anchovies and drain excess water. Make sure that you drain the water as much as you can. Usea strainer to do this.
- Place the fish in a medium size bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Gently mix and Transfer the fish into a sterilized container and seal the container tightly.
- Store Ginamos (Fermented fish)in a dark place for 3 weeks. Then you can eat it, I actually eat and use mine in one week.