Bangus or commonly known worldwide as milkfish is a medium-sized bright silver toothless fish that’s been in the Filipino palate for centuries. Bangus is one of the bonier fish species out there but that doesn’t stop Filipinos in incorporating the protein in their dishes. ‘Boneless bangus’ has become a popular product in markets over the years for this reason.
Although it’s still unofficial, bangus is largely considered to be the Philippines’ national fish. Its unique flavor and soft texture have left a lasting impression on many Filipinos. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a good source of protein and its rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
The fist industry in the Philippines is booming and one of its leading species is the bangus. So if you don’t want to miss out and get a taste of what the Filipinos have been loving for centuries, here is a list of the best recipes for Bangus you can try.
Daing in the Philippines is a form of preparing ingredients, especially seafood. This can be done in the form of drying the fish out in the sun after it’s gutted, split in half and liberally salted. It’s best to fry it afterward and this brings out great flavors out of the fish.
For this special daing na bangus recipe, we’ll only be using vinegar, salt, and garlic. Using a butterfly cut bangus, marinade it in the ingredients above overnight and fry it to bring out its delicious flavors.
The belly part of bangus is probably the favorite part of every Filipino. The fish’s belly provides this softer meat that just melts into your mouth even when it’s fried. Add in a marinade mixture of delicious ingredients and you got yourself a winner.
You’ll need slices of bangus belly for this recipe arranged side by side in a casserole. Marinade the fish in the casserole using water, vinegar, and sampalok sinigang mix. Top the mixture with choices of vegetables and seasoning. Cook the fish with the mixture and boil to a simmer.
Combining the unofficial national dish of the Philippines with its unofficial national fish will be like uniting two national icons. Adobo is a cooking method of marinating different kinds of meat in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and bay leaves then reducing the meat mixture. This creates this rich sour and salty flavor and tenderizes the meat.
This method of cooking will surely make any type of meat tender and delicious and bangus is no different.
Read further: Ultimate Filipino Adobo Recipes
Tinapa is a popular way of preparing fish in the Philippines. Tinapang isda is the most popular term but there is a distinction between which species of fish are undergoing this process of preparation. Tinapa is the most common way of preserving fish supplies and is done through smoking.
Bangus is one of the most common species to tinapa along with blackfish scad, commonly known as galunggong. Smoking the bangus not only helps preserve it but also further brings out its flavors. The only thing that’s left to do is season and fry it.
Read further: 13 Traditional Filipino Ways of Cooking
Bangus isn’t the most common fish to cook into a sinigang due to its reputation of being quite bony. But due to the rise of the popularity of boneless bangus products that people can practically get anywhere, sinigang na bangus is slowly becoming the choice of fish sinigang for Filipinos.
This particular recipe incorporates pusong saging or banana blossoms into the sour soup, making it extra healthy compared to its pork and beef counterparts. The banana blossom also makes the broth and the bangus extra creamy to look at.
Read further: Sinigang: Facts and Trivia, Origin, and Recipes
Rellenong bangus literally translates to stuffed milkfish in English and that perfectly describes this recipe. In Filipino recipes, anything can be stuffed or irelleno with a rich mixture of ingredients serving as its filling.
The recipe for this one can be quite a tedious process when followed so it’s typically reserved for special occasions. The whole process involved a lot of hard work of deboning, flaking, sauteing, stuffing, and sewing the fish. But the end result is another level of delicious bangus.
This recipe creates layers of flavors added to the already delicious but subtle flavor the bangus provides to the dish. Make sure to debone the fish first because this recipe requires a whole fish. You just need to slice it in the process.
Cardillong bangus fries the fish first then cooked further with sauteed tomatoes and garlic by stewing with beaten eggs. The result is are rich flavors layered on top of each other and quite a mouthwatering presentation at that. This dish has some similarities with sarciado recipes. The difference is the use of beaten eggs in cardillo while the sarciado does without.
Read further: Century Tuna Sarciado Recipe
Bulanglang is a healthy vegetable dish originated in the province of Batangas and it’s fairly easy to prepare. All you’ll need in this recipe is one whole broiled bangus and a selection of healthy vegetables.
The vegetables for this recipes are slices of ampalaya, eggplants, string beans, malunggay, tomatoes, and onions. Slice and boil these ingredients in water used to wash rice. Once cooked, remove the vegetables from the water, arrange it on a plate and place the broiled bangus on top. This makes an easy to prepare and very healthy bangus dish.
Read further: Most Loved Vegetable Dishes in the Philippines
This one is a fairly simple dish to prepare using simple ingredients and boneless bangus belly. Bangus Belly Ala Pobre is a boneless bangus belly prepared bistek style. The saltiness of the fish combined with the sweet combination of sauce from the bistek sauce creates a delicious combination of flavors. The sauce helps the bangus melt in your mouth.
The bangus belly is lightly fried then cooked again by simmering in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, onions, and calamansi or lemon juice. Served with fluffy white rice and you got a delicious Filipino dish hybrid.
Read further: Bistek Tagalog Recipe
10. Bangus Nilagpang
Nilagpang is a traditional style of cooking that originated from the province of Iloilo in Western Visayas, specifically in the municipality of Leon. This method of cooking involves different steps in preparing the bangus including grilling, roasting, or broiling the meat first then adding it to a soup. The soup traditionally consists of scallions, ginger, tomatoes, and onions.
The process is fairly quick and simple to follow. Cooking the fish first before adding it to the vegetable soup further tenderizes its meat.
Read further: Top 10 Mouthwatering Visayan Foods and Delicacies
11. Lumpiang Bangus
The great thing about lumpia is that you can practically fill it with anything you want. This includes bangus flake fillings. The preparation for this recipe is the same with any lumpia recipe out there.
The filling consists of precooked bangus flakes mixed with chopped green onions, tomatoes, and onions. The mixture is then seasoned, rolled into lumpia wrappers then deep-fried. Served with special homemade sauce and fluffy white rice.
12. Fish Sisig
Bangus is also a popular healthy alternative for dishes traditionally cooked with pork or beef. One of these dishes is sisig, a traditional pork dish grilled in a mixture of chopped garlic, pepper, soy sauce, and topped with calamansi juice and a raw egg.
Using bangus instead of pork makes the dish a little saltier but it’s definitely a healthier version of the more popular pork sisig.
Read further: The Best 13 Sisig Recipes Available in the Philippines
Pinaputok na bangus belly literally translates to popped milkfish belly, although the fish is in no way shape or form popped in the cooking process. The name probably came from the popping noises the banana leaves make when it’s fried in hot oil.
In this recipe though, the bangus belly is topped with chopped tomatoes, garlic, and onions before wrapping in banana leaves and steamed, not fried. So no popping sounds here.
This dish has two stars in it: monggo guisado and paksiw na bangus belly creating an awesome combination of healthy ingredients and flavors. But we’ll be discussing the latter, paksiw na bangus belly.
The bangus belly, like all paksiw recipes, is cooked in a simmering pot of vinegar along with other ingredients such as ginger, garlic, onion, ampalaya, eggplant, and finger chillis. All of these ingredients will be simmered for another 12 minutes and served.
Read further: 5 Top Health Benefits of Eating Munggo
15. Inihaw na Bangus
For this last entry on the list, you’ll need a large milkfish to share with your family or friends. Inihaw na bangus is grilled milkfish stuffed with a mixture of tomato, onion, ginger, and seasoned with calamansi juice and pepper. The fish will emit a delicious smelling fragrant while it’s grilled. When done, get a plateful of fluffy white rice and share the milkfish with family.