My late brother, Ruben shared this kropeck recipe with my sister Lorna when he was still studying at the Fisheries department at UP Diliman. This is the real thing. Lorna unearthed this gem of a recipe for anyone to try out. Here it is
120 grams ground, cooked fish meat (use any inexpensive fish)
500 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. MSG (optional)
1 tsp. sugar
2 drops of food coloring (FDA-certified, especially the red color)
1 egg, well-beaten
4 cups water
1-1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsps. lime water (dayap)
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl (non-reactive bowl, so a glass bowl or plastic bowl is good).
2. Meanwhile, prepare the fish flesh as follows:
Wash the fish, eviscerate, and wash again. Steam until cooked. Separate the flesh from the bones and weigh around 120 grams of cooked fish flesh. (Dry remaining fish flesh, grind, and store in a clean air-tight container for future use.)
3. Mix the water, egg, and fish flesh, then blend for two minutes with an electric blender (try a Cuisinart blender also).
4. Mix the dry ingredients and the water-egg-fish mixture and stir very well until it forms into a thick batter. Add food coloring and blend well.
5. Prepare a steamer with water. Let the water boil.
6. Pour about 3 to 3-1/2 tbsps. of the batter in an aluminum pan (9″ diameter). If a pan of other dimensions is the only one available, pour enough batter to cover the bottom. Spread the batter evenly by tilting the pan on its sides, thus coating the bottom of the pan evenly.
7. Steam the pan inside the steamer for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the batter has solidified and looks transparent.
8. Cool by submerging the bottom of the aluminum pan in a larger pan filled with iced water.
9. Remove the cooked kropeck from the pan, being careful not to tear it. Holding the aluminum pan upside down and pulling the edges carefully make the process much easier.
10. Spread the kropeck on a cookie tray to dry. After about 30 minutes, cut the partially-dried steamed kropeck into squares of desired sizes. Continue drying the pieces on the tray.
11. When thoroughly dry (make sure that flies do not get attracted to the kropeck so please store the cookie tray in an airy, covered container), store the kropeck in a cool, dry place until ready for use.
12. To prepare as a snack food or appetizer, deep-fat fry the kropeck pieces in hot oil until the expansion stops. Use a strainer to get the cooked kropeck, thus draining the fat.
What a great appetizer or merienda. Get the garlicky and peppery vinegar ready!