Rellenong Bangus or Stuffed Milkfish made easy using Sarangani Bay Prime Bangus Boneless Milkfish Unseasoned. This brand is for import and hopefully it is available in other parts of the globe aside from the US but any brand will do. If you want to challenge yourself and make it from scratch the hard way, this post is not for you.
In the Philippines, bangus (milkfish) are sold scaled, gutted, deboned and flaked which is ideal when making this dish. Here in the US, it is available in Asian stores and if requested, they will scale and gut the fish. That’s it. The daunting task of deboning this bony fish is my job.
I’ve always wanted to make rellenong bangus but reluctant with the amount of work involved. As far as I can remember, the last time I’ve seen it done I was still in the Philippines watching my mom make it. Scaling, gutting, pushing the meat out and deboning is just not for me. Just the thought of doing all these work, I shy away from making it. So here’s my lazy way of doing it.
Three months ago, we attended my moms siblings reunion in the Philippines. A day before going back to the US, my cousin stopped by and surprised us with some gifts and food for lunch. She brought rellenong bangus and Filipino barbecue. Yay! She’s a very good cook so I knew it would be scrumptious. It was our last day and not knowing she was bringing food, we ordered a big bilao (tray) of pancit malabon, bibingka and puto bumbong. Unfortunately, we run out of paper plates and utensils. The economical me, saved what we used that morning. Luckily, aside from food she also brought paper plates, spoons and forks. She’s well equipped.
After a few minutes, our order arrived too. Guess what me and my mom devoured. The rellenong bangus! It is rare that I have this dish as it demands too much labor and very tedious to make. I only had a small portion of the pancit malabon and decided to eat my favorite kakanins for later. That night, we were invited to Gloria Maris and I was so full that I forgot about the bibingka and puto bumbong. Too bad! We were busy packing so we can be out of the house by 3am to make it to the airport before rush hour.
Anyway, her rellenong bangus was delicious. I am very picky when it comes to fish or seafood. I’ve had it a few times here in the US and with one bite I knew I don’t like it. The fishy taste lingered in my mouth. Hers was damn delicious. It reminded me of my mom and grandmas rellenong bangus recipe. Felt guilty if I ate it all. I wanted to save some for my brother and sister-in-law so they can have a taste too.
I asked her, if she made it that morning. She did, but to save time she requested her vendor (suki) to debone and flake the meat. A light bulb went off my head. Hmmm, I can do the same thing. I can use the Sarangani Brand that is boneless. She loads up on red bell pepper to get rid of the fishy taste which makes sense. After talking to her, I was so excited and can’t wait to make my own easy version.
BTW, none of my relatives are aware I have a food blog. I want them to discover my site. It is so obvious once they see my mom’s profile. I am waiting for someone to say something to me. Also, it is one way for me to gauge if my site is actually appearing in google searches. I’ll be amaze if they don’t recognize my mom’s disguised picture.
What is Rellenong Bangus?
Bangus also known as milkfish is one of the favorite fish in the Philippine even though it is extremely bony. Rellenong bangus or stuffed milkfish is one way of preparing this fish and served during special occasions. The meat is removed, keeping the skin intact and marinated in soy sauce and kalamansi (key lime) juice. Meanwhile, meat is sautéed and cooked with the other ingredients and stuffed back in the fish. It is fried until golden crisp. There are two ways of removing the meat but I will not go into details since I am not doing it that way.
How to Make Easy Rellenong Bangus or should I say the Lazy Way of Making It
- Use the Boneless Sarangani Milkfish that is butterflied with head and tail intact.
- Scrape out meat with spoon.
- Marinate head and skin in soy sauce and calamansi (key lime) juice or lemon.
- Saute all the ingredients. When cool, start spreading stuffing on one side of the bangus fish.
- When done flip the other side of the skin.
- I experimented and used a kitchen twine to hold the fish in one piece. I wonder if tooth pick would work but it might break the skin. My verdict – Sewing is the best way.
- Insert a barbecue stick inside the fish so it is easy to handle when frying.
- Lightly dust both sides of fish with cornstarch and flour. This will prevent the fish from sticking to the pan and no oil splattering.
- Fry. I like a crisp skin so I did not wrap it in banana leaves. You can also bake it, but I prefer fried as the skin is crispier and it doesn’t taste fishy.
Note: The only thing I will change next time I make it, I will stick to the traditional way of sewing the opening. Using a kitchen twine was not bad but you have to carefully lift the fish so stuffing doesn’t fall off.
There you go! My lazy way of preparing this delicious dish.
The aspect of the deboning is dreary and monotonous. Not anymore!
Also, using the Dessini pan made it easier for me to fry the fish but it occupied two burners. A family friend gifted my brothers family with this. I saw it and asked if I can have it since I’ll have more use than them.
- 1 medium milkfish (bangus)
- 1/8 pound ground pork optional (1/4 lb.)
- 1 small onion minced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium tomato chopped (2 medium)
- 1/4 cup carrot minced (½ cup)
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1/8 cup green bell pepper chopped (1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup green peas (1/2 cup)
- 1 pack 1 oz raisin (1 ½ box)
- 2 eggs (3)
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce (1 ¼ tbsp)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (1 tsp)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 cup cornstarch (1/4 cup)
- 1/8 cup all-purpose flour (1/4 cup)
- oil for frying
- 1/3 cup calamansi or lemon juice
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
If frozen, thaw gutted, boneless, butterflied and unseasoned milkfish.
Wash and scale the fish.
Scrape out the fish meat.
Be careful not to tear the skin. Keep head, skin and tail intact. Marinate in soy sauce and calamansi or lemon juice. I marinated mine overnight to avoid the fishy smell or taste. Half a day will do.
Add garlic. Cook for couple of minutes or until golden.
Toss-in tomato. Cook until soft. Crush with cooking utensil.
Add pork and cook till pale. This is optional but I like it with ground pork.
Stir-in milkfish. Flake into smaller pieces with utensil while cooking.
Toss-in carrots. Cook for 2 minutes.
Toss-in red, green bell pepper and raisins. Cook for 2 minutes.
Pour in soy sauce. Mix well.
Stir-in green peas and cook for a minute.
Season with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and let it cool.
Pour eggs over stuffing and mix well.
Remove fish from marinate.
Spread stuffing evenly on one side of fish closest to you. Don’t overstuff or it will be hard to close it.
Flip the skin without stuffing to close the fish.
In my video, I use a kitchen twine as an experiment. It is best to sew the opening with a needle and thread.
Slowly insert a barbecue stick through the mouth into the body of the fish. Be careful not to poke the skin. Without the spine, it will be easier to handle the fish with the stick when frying. Another great tip shared by my cousin.
Dredge fish in a mixture of cornstarch and flour. Lightly coat all sides to give you an enticing golden crust when fried. Also, this will prevent oil from splattering.
Heat cooking oil over medium heat.
Fry the stuffed milkfish for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
When done, transfer fish to a serving plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Once cooled, you may cut the rellenong bangus diagonally.
Serve with lots of rice, a side of veggie like cucumber or atchara and ketchup.
Once fish is stuffed and sewn, place in a baking sheet and lightly spray or brush both sides with oil.
Preheat oven at 375 degrees.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Before removing from oven, broil each side of the fish for about 2 minutes to brown and crisp the skin.
More Delicious Bangus (Milkfish) Recipes