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Ethnic Native American: CHUDA'S KITCHEN

It is not advisable that you prepare and
eat many of the following recipes
unless they are prepared by the
Native people of Alaska.
I collected these recipes from the
Dena'ina and Aleutiuq people of
the Cook Inlet Region. Some are from
pre-Russian influence and others
are a combination of the Russian/Native
culture. Most of them are still used today.
Asterik items were/are used by Babushka's
children. Other items are used by our
relatives in the surrounding area.


Dig a hole in the ground. Line the hole with layers of
birch bark or dried grass. Place two or three layers
of filleted fish in the lined hole. Cover with bark or grass.
Fill the hole with dirt and leave for approximately 21
days until the fish has jellied. Remove and eat. Another
version is to use fish heads that have been cleaned and
cut into chunks. In later years the fish was wrapped in
burlap and buried. In more recent years people up north
tried to use this recipe and wrap the fish in plastic. The
people became ill and some of them died. Apparently modern
methods do not work with old recipes and it is not
recommended that you make this item for consumption,
as it was merely mentioned to give an idea of the foods
consumed by the local people.


At certain times of the year a fungus was gathered
from the trees. It was placed near an open fire and
left until it disintegrated into a course ash. It was then
placed in a Gorshuck (a block of wood rounded out
in the center, a wooden bowl or a hollowed whale disk)
and pounded with a stick until fine (in later years a
broom handle was used). Leaf tobacco was added and
liquid tea or water to moisten it. Some people added tea
leaves and later plug tobacco and chewing tobacco were
used. Some also used spittle to moisten the mixture if it
was for themselves. The mixture was placed under your
lips in the same manner as chewing tobacco. It is possible
that the people received some sort of high from this
mixture. Not recommended for use today although some
of the native people in other areas still make this.


When old partially spawned pink salmon with large
humps on their backs were caught, the hump was
consumed raw. This is still done today by some of the
local natives but not recommended.


When cleaning the salmon, leave part of the backbone
and some meat near the tail. Make slices on the tail so
it can dry better. Tie the tails with twine and hang on a
fish rack or tie to tree branches and let dry in the wind.
You may boil it after several days or dry completely.
Tails or backbones may be done separately. The weather
must be sunny and windy to prevent maggots and souring.
This was often made while preparing smoked salmon
because nothing was ever wasted by the coastal people.
Remember not to leave the tyshee in the bright sun. The
heat will sour the fish. Tails were usually hung on limbs
of trees so they would be in the shade. If you use a fish
rack in the sun, you must cover it with a tarp during the
hottest part of the day. If you tie it on the clothes line,
remember to hang it on the shady part of the line. This
recipe is not recommended due to the possibility of fish


Skin and fillet fish. Hang on clothes line or fish rack
in the shade when the weather is sunny and windy. After
two days the fish should be glazed and firm. Remove from
the line and boil with chives and new potatoes. Do not
leave longer as the fillets will sour. Still eaten today but not
recommended for people who do not know the correct


Place whole cockles in the oven and bake until the shells
open. Put a small amount of butter on the clam and eat.
You can also place the clams on top of the wood stove
or on the open fire until the shells open. May be dipped
in seal oil. Safe for consumption.


Smoked salmon that has been smoked for two days
may be boiled with potatoes and onions for supper. If
smoked more than two days it will be too smoky.
Smoked salmon that has smoked for a week or two may
be placed in the oven and baked until done. Good with
homemade bread or fry bread. Safe if the smoked
salmon is made with the proper procedures.


Remove the twine or hay rope from the ends of the
smoked salmon. Place the ends in a casserole dish,
add canned stewed tomatoes to cover the fish ends.
Add a little water if necessary and a chopped onion.
Simmer in the oven until tender. Serve over boiled rice.
Safe for consumption if the smoked salmon is made with
the proper procedures.


Gather a pail of mussels from the rocks. Fill the pail
with salt water and boil on an open fire until the mussels
are done. This does not take long or the mussels will be
rubbery. Today we dip them in garlic or lemon butter.
Steamer clams are cooked in the same manner until the
shells began to open. Safe if gather at the proper time of
year and there is no danger of the red tide.


Salt fish was a staple item and is still used today for
things such as boiling, perock and pickling. It is
soaked in fresh water until most of the salt is removed.
It is sometimes dredged in flour and fried. The heads
are cubed and boiled with potatoes and onions for soup.
The body meat is boiled or baked in perock or piroski.
Left over boiled salt fish is used in hash and fish patties.
To make salt fish, fillet the salmon. Place a layer of rock
salt in the barrel and then a layer of fish fillets. Keep
alternating the fish and salt. Remember to keep the skin
side down until you reach the last layer and place
skin side up and finish with a salt layer. Cover with a
plate and a large rock.. In six weeks, drain the water
and make a brine of water and rock salt. When the
brine is at 100% a large potato with a large nail
inserted in it will float. Pour the brine over the fish
until it is covered. In the early spring, unpack the
barrel and drain the brine. Make a new brine and
repack the barrel. Salt fish will keep indefinitely as
it is cured. Salt fish is safe if it is cured properly and
used as extensively today as it was yesterday.


Wash King Salmon eggs until all the white stuff is gone.
Place in a jar (do not fill completely) and sprinkle with 3
teaspoons of salt. Sprinkle with pickling spices. Fill jar
with water leaving at least 2 inches. Pour vinegar in jar
to finish filling it. Place lid on jar and gently rotate and
shake to mix the contents. Keep in cool place for 2 days
and then enjoy. Safe only if you know the procedure.


These fish are similar to smelt. They are also known
as candle fish because the people dried them and
burned them for light. Hooligans are caught by using
a long flexible pole with a small meshed net attached.
The fish are caught during late spring and early summer
in the Kenai River. Often hooligans were dried and then
dipped in seal oil. They were boiled, baked smoked and
even barbecued on a rack with sauce. The favorite way
to eat hooligans yesterday and today is to dredge them in
flour and sprinkle them with salt and pepper and fry them
quickly in moderately hot oil. Fry till crisp on one side and
turn and fry the other side. Hooligans are sometimes frozen
and eaten raw by native people but it is not recommended.
Hooligans can be easily cleaned by snapping the head off and
squeezing out the guts. Many people prefer to leave the
eggs intact for boiling and frying. hooligan are safe to eat
when thoroughly cooked.


Herring were boiled, dried, pickled, salted and sometimes
smoked. Smoked and dried herring were dipped in seal
oil while eating. Today they are usually pickled. To pickle
herring you must first salt it in a container for six weeks.


Take the seal intestines and gently wash and squeeze
then until they are very clean. Flush them with water.
Turn inside out. Wash some more. Cut in sausage
size pieces, dredge in flour, season and fry till done
and brown. Safe to eat if prepared properly.


The fat of the seal was placed in a large container.
The container was positioned on an open fire and allowed
to slowly render (melt). Some people preferred a stronger
flavored oil and set the fat in containers thus allowing the
fat to seep out naturally without the aid of heat. Today
seal oil is placed in a glass jar and as the fat melts, it is
poured into another clean jar. The flavor is milder than
if allowed to remain with the fat. Do not use metal
containers if you are aging the fat normally as it
contaminates the oil. Safe to eat if properly prepared.


Gently wash the blood from the fish melt (sperm). Dredge
in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry until brown
on both sides over medium heat. The texture is close to
that of liver but the flavor is slightly fishy. Safe to eat if cooked.


The English name is Chiton. Gather the bidarki from
the beach. Boil a kettle of water and slowly pour over
the bidarki. Do not cook them. Push the bidarki (with
a stick) back into the hot water until the black skins
come off. Pour cold water over the bidarki and remove
the nails from the back. Take off the black parts. Now
you may eat the red eggs if you wish. Slice the bidarki in
slices and set aside. Place Wesson oil or slices of bacon
in a frying pan. Add onion and salt and pepper as
desired. Saute until onions are done. Add 1/2 cup of
flour that has been mixed with water to form a smooth
creamy paste. Pour over onion mixture to form a gravy
adding water as needed. When the gravy is done, remove
from heat and add the bidarki meat. Safe to eat if picked
at the right time of year and cooked. Always beware of
the red tide. The Bidarki grow on rocks mostly around
Seldovia. Pick the black Bidarki but do not pick the
hairy Bidarki as the are not good.


Skin and fillet the flounder. Roll in flour. Salt and pepper
to taste. Fry in Wesson oil, bacon grease, or other oils.
If the flounder fillets are very thick, you must cover the
pan with a lid and allow them to steam for a while after
browning. Flounder may cooked in the same way as
halibut so recipes can be interchanged. Safe for

Seal Spine

Boil the spine meat with garlic and onions, salt and
pepper. until meat is tender. Boil approximately 45
minutes. Safe for consumption if the seal is fresh and
properly prepared.


Cut cubes of seal meat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper
and garlic. Cut onions and or chives and place in pan.
Keep stirring until meat is cooked. You may add
vegetables if you wish. Safe to eat.


Gill the head of the fish. Leave the head whole.
Place the liver from the fish in the mouth. Boil
until head is cooked. Approximately 20 minutes. The liver
will be very sweet.


Place tom cod fillets in boiling salted water. Place chunks
of onion in the water. Boil for approximately 20 minutes.
Drain and serve with melted butter or seal oil. You may
also fry the tom cod or steam it. Safe to consume if well


Sprinkle with salt and leave over night. This will remove
the parasites. Boil with potato chunks and onions until done.
Eat with butter or seal oil for breakfast. You may also
steam the cod in a covered frying pan with onions, salt,
pepper and small amount of bacon grease.


Pick the greens just before they go to seed. Wash and
boil with seal fat, bacon or butter until tender. You may
add chives or onions. *Dandelion greens can
be served in the same manner.


Place an unsoaked salted humpy fillet on a piece of cotton

wood bark and leave it outside in a dark place for one

week. It will ferment without spoiling. Eat plain with fry

bread. It is not salty as the fermentation takes away the

salt. It is not recommended for consumption today.


Boil potatoes and mash. Do not use milk or butter. Mix

with some seal oil or wesson oil. Add some fermented

eggs and gently mix. Not recommended for consumption.


Place any type of salmon eggs in a glass jar. Cover

with a brown paper bag. Use a rubber band to secure

the bag to the jar. Leave about six weeks. The eggs will

be brown at this time. Do not eat the eggs if they have

a urine like odor as they will be poisonous at that point.

Not recommended for people who are not used to

preparing this type of food as food poisoning may occur.


Find a clean gallon size glass jar. Wash it thoroughly.
Place a thin layer of rock salt on the bottom. Place a
good layer of chopped wild onions on top (chives).
Alternate thin layers of rock salt and onions until jar is
full. End with salt layer. Cover the jar and store in
the root cellar. Use them in place of salt in soups
and meats.


Pick mushrooms in the fall (only the kinds you know)
and clean them. Alternate layers of salt and mushrooms
beginning with salt and ending with salt. If the mushrooms
are thick, you must cut them in chunks. Soak and use as

*WILD RICE (Chocolate Lily)

In the summer when the plant is blooming, dig under
it and you will find a bulb sac. Remove the sac. It
will look like clusters of rice. Soak overnight and cook
steam until tender.

Copyright 1997

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