by Hilda Oscar
This famous Superfood is fresh in-season during this time. It is as traditional as the Moose Fat Akutaq, other than the sugar that is added, all of it is natural. It is as simple as 5 ingredients and is a favorite among the traditional akutaqs. Traditionally, the Yup’ik People, survive the deadliest winters on the planet. It is a belief that fish eggs and seal oil are two of the most powerful superfoods to sustain warmth in cold weather.
The Qerpertaq akutaq has 5 ingredients which consist of Pike Fish Eggs, Water, Seal Oil, Sugar and Tundra Cranberries. These ingredients may vary
-4 pike eggs (in sack)
-10 teaspoons of water
-2 teaspoons of seal oil or more
-1/4 cups of sugar
-1 or 2 cups room temperature Tundra Cranberries
You will need
-Passin (wooden pestle) or if you don’t have one, something to crush your berries with
-two bowls, one for your eggs, one to crush the cranberries
-whisk (or you could use your hands)
The directions may vary in many parts of the Yupik Region, but it is pretty consistent. The Passin is used to crush the eggs in your main akutaq bowl, which is the first step in making this akutaq. This is the very important step, the crushing of 4 pike egg sacks which allows for the akutaq to uleq (expand). The next step is to whisk the eggs for a period of time to allow this process to become foam-like. The sack will naturally remove itself, so as it separates, it’s a good time to remove it out of the dish. Traditionally, the eggs are then whisked with your hand (akuteq). This process can take a total of an hour, but some have retracted to the blender or a hand mixer. My personal preference is the whisk.
As the eggs are whisked, adding a teaspoon of water every 5 min or so and gradually adding seal oil allows for it to uleq. Depending on your tastebuds, you could add as many or as little of the seal oil as you whisk. The substance will expand and get lighter and foamier. The next step is in a separate bowl, crush the tundra cranberries with the Passin. After crushing the cranberries, add the crushed cranberries to the eggs. Sugar is the last ingredient you add in this yummy goodness. Some refrigerate the finished product to allow for a thickening, but some enjoy this tasty treat as soon as it is done. ENJOY!
This was reprinted with permission. It was previously published by the AVCP Prevention Unit. Quyana!