Rellenong bangus is one of the most popular dish in the Philippines. On top of the delicious taste and unique process of preparation compared to other fish recipes, the amount of work involve is tedious. Separating the skin from the meat and deboning and flaking of the milkfish meat requires a lot of patience. But after all the hard work of deboning, marinating the skin, cooking the meat with all the ingredients, stuffing the skin with the fish meat mixture and frying is the reward of eating a unique and delicious Filipino dish.
Two Methods for Removing the Meat
The preparation of removing the meat from the skin can be done in two ways: one method is cutting the back of the fish and scraping it’s meat and bones from the skin, then sewing it up with a thread and needle after stuffing it of course, the other one is braking nape and tail of the fish and using a palette knife or the handle of the aluminum ladle to remove the meat without breaking or cutting the skin just like the recipe I have below. Then squeeze out the fish meat from the skin beginning from the tail and afterwards you can remove the fish bones after boiling the fish meat (see video on the bottom the actual process).
Kitchen Tools for Scraping
The second method requires a good skill in scraping the meat. But I guess practice makes perfect. Also, there are many kinds of kitchen ladle nowadays. What we need is the old typical aluminum “sandok” with a straight handle end and a hole for hanging it on a wall. But you can easily use a pallete knife or frosting spatula.
Preparing the Fish
To prepare the fish, start by scraping off the scales and cleaning it. Gently pound the fish to loosen the meat from the skin using the flat side of a knife. Break the big bone at the nape and on the tail. Then, insert the end of the handle of an aluminum kitchen turner (sandok) through the fish neck.
Gently scrape down the handle between the meat and the skin. Scrape down to the tail, going around and on the other side of the fish. If you feel the meat is entirely separated from the skin, remove the handle, squeeze, and push out the meat (with the big bone). Starting from the tail and going out through the head. This way, you will be able to push out the whole meat without cutting an opening on the skin.
Marinating the Skin and Boiling the Meat
Marinate the skin and head of the fish with soy sauce and calamansi (lime) juice, then set aside. Boil the fish meat in a cup of water, then drain and pick out the bones. Flake the meat and set it aside.
Making the Filling
Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a frying pan and sauté ground pork. Add 1 cup of water and simmer until the liquid evaporates. Sauté again until brown and set it aside. Sauté garlic until brown, then add onion and sauté. Add carrot and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in the fish meat, green peas, raisins, ground pork, and bell pepper. Season with salt and ground pepper, oyster sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Sauté for a few minutes, then turn off the heat. Transfer the cooked mixture to a plate and let it cool. Then, add raw egg and flour and mix thoroughly.
Stuffing and Frying the Fish
Fill the mixture into the bangus skin, then sew the head opening with a needle and thread. Dredge the bangus in flour until well-coated, then fry until golden brown. Cool before slicing. Garnish with sliced fresh tomato, spring onions, or parsley, and serve with ketchup.
Rellenong bangus is a dish that requires a bit of patience and skill, but the result is a unique and delicious Filipino dish that is definitely worth the effort. With these tips and techniques, you can prepare and cook a delicious rellenong bangus that your family and friends will surely enjoy.
NOTES ON THE INGREDIENTS:
Milkfish, or bangus, is a popular fish in the Philippines known for its rich, flavorful meat. It is the main ingredient in Rellenong Bangus and is deboned and flaked before being mixed with other ingredients and stuffed inside the skin. Milkfish is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients, making it a healthy choice for this dish.
Soy sauce is a staple ingredient in Filipino cuisine and is used to marinate the skin and head of the milkfish in Rellenong Bangus. Made from fermented soybeans, soy sauce adds a savory, salty flavor to the dish and helps to tenderize the meat. It is also rich in antioxidants and has been linked to numerous health benefits.
Calamansi is a small citrus fruit that is commonly used in Filipino cooking. Its juice is mixed with soy sauce to marinate the skin and head of the milkfish in Rellenong Bangus. Calamansi adds a tangy, citrusy flavor to the dish and is high in vitamin C, which supports immune function and may have other health benefits.
Ground pork is sauteed and added to the filling mixture of Rellenong Bangus. It adds a rich, savory flavor to the dish and helps to balance the sweetness of the green peas and raisins. Pork is also a good source of protein, iron, and other nutrients.
Green peas are another key ingredient in the filling mixture of Rellenong Bangus. They add a sweet, slightly crunchy texture to the dish and are a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamins. Green peas also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may have health benefits.
How To Cook Rellenong Bangus
- 2 pcs medium sized bangus milkfish
- 1 pc onion chopped finely
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pc large sized carrot small cubes
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 pcs raw egg large
- 1/8 cup oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pcs red bell pepper chopped finely
- 1/8 cup Flour
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 4 pcs kalamansi juice extracted
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 kilo ground pork
- 1 cup water for boiling the meat
- cooking oil for frying
- salt and pepper to taste
How To Cook Rellenong Bangus
- Scrape fish scales. Clean. Gently pound fish to loosen meat from the skin. Use flat side of a knife in pounding.
- Break the big bone at the nape and on the tail. Insert the end of the handle of an aluminum kitchen turner (sandok) through the fish neck.
- Gently scrape down the handle between the meat and the skin. Scrape down to the tail, going around and on the other side of the fish.
- If you feel the meat is entirely separated from the skin, remove the handle, squeeze and push out meat (with the big bone), starting from the tail going out through the head. This way, you will be able to push out the whole meat without cutting an opening on the skin.
- Marinate skin and head of fish with soy sauce and calamansi ( lime ) juice. Set aside. Boil fish meat in a cup of water. Drain. Pick out bones. Flake meat.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of cooking oil in a frying pan and saute ground pork. Add 1 cup of water and simmer until the liquid evaporates. Saute again until brown and set aside.
- Saute garlic until brown. Add onion and saute. Add carrot and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in fish meat, green peas, raisins, ground pork and bell pepper. Season with salt and ground pepper, oyster sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Saute for a few minutes then turn off heat.
- Transfer cooked mixture to a plate and let it cool. Then, add raw egg and flour and mix thoroughly. Fill in mixture in bangus skin then sew the head opening with needle and thread.
- Dredge the bangus in flour until well coated Fry until golden brown. Cool before slicing.
- Garnish with sliced fresh tomato, spring onions or parsley. Serve with catsup.
- To easily separate the skin from the meat of the milkfish, gently pound the fish with the flat side of a knife.
- Use a palette knife or an aluminum ladle to carefully scrape the meat from the skin. It takes practice to perfect this skill.
- When sautéing the ground pork, make sure to cook until it turns brown and the liquid evaporates.
- After sautéing the vegetables and fish meat mixture, allow it to cool down before adding the raw egg and flour. This helps prevent the egg from cooking too quickly and binding the mixture together.
- When stuffing the fish skin with the mixture, make sure to sew the head opening tightly to prevent the filling from falling out while frying.