We already gave you some tips and tricks to get rid of your hangover. But every country has its own traditional dishes to make the process go faster. We like to give you a taste of the international anti-hangover cuisine. In this episode we will tell you how the Dutchmen traditionally fight their hangovers. The cure: raw herring with onions, or haring met uitjes.
In Holland most towns have a market on Saturday with at least one fish stand, which is the place to go after a hard night of drinking. The main threat here is raw herring (the best kind is called hollandse nieuwe, which means New Dutch and has this name since catching herring is season bound). It can be served on a point roll, cut up or really Dutch style just eaten as a whole while held in a vertical line (check the photo). Kind a like some strong liquors raw herring is something you must get used to. A lot of foreigners who try it even spit out the first bite. The Brazilian football star Ronaldo, who was playing at PSV Eindhoven in the 90’s, even puked on national television from eating herring. But once you get used to it, it’s quite the treat.
In Holland, but also parts of Belgium and Germany, you can find tons of fish stands and stores who will prepare the herring in the right way. But in other countries it will be more difficult to find. Anyway, it’s quite easy to do it yourself, so here we go.
4 whole fresh herrings (preferably caught in the months May or June, when the fish is most fat)
1 liter of water
75 grams of salt
Point roll – small oblong bread (optional)
Take the whole fish and cut of the head and gills. Than make an incision in the belly and cut out the guts. Very important: leave the tail on. The gills and guts must be removed before the salting process to avoid a bitter taste. Mix the salt and water till the salt is totally absorbed and put the fish in. Let it rest for a day in a cool place.
The next day you just have to clean the outside of the fish, split it through the middle until the tail and take out the fish bone. Both half’s of the fish are now only connected at the tail. This is also the only part that should not be eaten.
Now cut up the raw onion into very small pieces and sprinkle them over the herring. The traditional way to eat is to grab the herring by it’s tail, raise it in a vertical line over your head and lower it into your mouth. Another option is to cut it into bites and eat it with a fork or put the whole thing on a point roll (broodje haring). Some people like pickles next to it or as a substitute for the raw onions.
As said this is the fast way to prepare your herring. However in the days before freezers existed the salting process was a way to keep fish eatable for a longer time. For this you need way more salt and you should use the following formula: liters of water x 18 x 11 = grams of salt. This way the herring will also need more time to reach it’s optimal taste, like with making good wine it takes some patience.
The combination of salt, natural fat from the fish and raw onions will not only chase away your hangover. It might even restore some brain cells you lost the night before, since fish is the best medicine for the brain.