Blondine Herard is a young artist from the Grand Rue and a member of Atis Rezistans. She stopped into the Radyo Shak and gave us her recipe for Chiktay, often seen on Haitian menus as Chiquetaille, a kind of shredded fish salad somewhat related to Jamaica’s escovitch fish, but made with dried, smoked herring or salt cod.
What is Chiktay? What does it have in it?
Chiktay is a thing from Haitian culture, it’s made with herring, and then we mix it with some other ingredients. We usually make it when people are having fun, drinking. When they drink a lot, then they feel like they want to eat a little Chiktay, to bring the alcohol level down a bit.
Ingredients for Blondine Herard’s Chiktay
Scotch Bonnet Pepper
Barbancourt® Rum (3-star)
Maggi® Seasoning Cube
So, the first thing we do when we’re going to make Chiktay is we go to the market, we buy herring, onions, sweet and hot peppers, and oil. Then, when we get home… oh, we have to buy lemon, too. The first thing we do is we put the herring to soak, to get rid of the salt. Once it has soaked, you take the skin off of it, and then you pound it in a mortar, and then you taste it and if it still has a lot of salt you add a bit more water, and then strain it in a strainer so there will be no salty water left at all. Then you put it in a bowl. Then you pour your rum over it and put that to one side. Peel your onions, chop them really really small; chop your peppers really really small, and then you heat up your oil in a pot. If you have a stove you can use a stove, but for people who don’t have one, you can use charcoal, but you have to cook the oil, for your stomach. Then you put your herring in there until it’s well cooked, and then you put in your onions and then your peppers, so that they can cook together. Then we put in shallots, and then a little tiny quarter of a Maggi, just a bit, so it can add a bit of taste. In Haitian cuisine you have people who use Maggi “Creolito”, some people use Cal-Knorr, others use Maggi Don Pollo, usually at my house I use Maggi Cal-Knorr, because it’s less salty.
And then it’s finished. You take it off the heat and let it cool down and then you distribute it to all the alcoholics!