If there’s one fish that’s really popular in the Philippines, it’s bangus (milkfish). Not only is it the country’s national fish, it also has a mild sweet flesh and melt-in-the-mouth thick belly fat that make it superior to other locally available fish. Despite its being quite difficult to eat because it has lots of thin spines, milkfish is a versatile fish that can be cooked in different recipes like Sinigang, Paksiw, Totso and Cardillo. It is also delicious even when simply grilled or fried.
There is this dish called Daing na Bangus that we, Filipinos really love to eat for breakfast. It is milkfish marinated in vinegar and garlic then fried and eaten with steamed rice or sinangag (fried rice). In the Philippines, daing na bangus is readily available in the supermarkets. Though it is also available in Asian stores here in the US, I still prefer to make it from scratch. It’s kinda time consuming especially because I prefer to have the bangus deboned (so that it will be easier to eat), but it’s all worth it! At least I am sure that my Daing na Bangus tastes the way I want it and it has no preservatives.
The other weekend, I found a good bangus at the Asian store and I decided to make it into daing. It was a lot easier this time because the hubs volunteered to debone it for me. A number of PiTCC readers have requested me to feature Daing na Bangus, so here it is…
If you are too lazy to undergo the deboning process, it’s fine. You can go ahead and marinate the milkfish after cutting it. Anyway, you can just remove the spines while eating it! :)
- 1 large bangus, about 2 lbs.
- 1 cup vinegar ( I used 1/2 cup regular cane vinegar and 1/2 cup spicy cane vinegar)
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- salt and pepper
- With a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut the fins and tail of the bangus.
- Split bangus on the dorsal side starting from the tail to the head by running the edge of the knife along the backbone.
- Lay fish open like butterfly fillet. Remove gills and innards. Wash fish in running water to remove blood.
- Remove backbone by laying fish flat on the cutting board with the skin down. Hold the knife in a slanting position and cut in with the tip of the blade along the backbone from the head to tail. Trim off the dorsal fin.
- If you want to totally debone your bangus, with the aid of a forcep, pull out the rib bones. Make a superficial slit along the dent of the dorsal muscles and pull out the intermuscular spines embedded between the muscles from the head to the tail. Remove spines in the ventral side in the same manner. Remove filamentous Y-shaped spines along the lateral lines, i.e., the junction of the dorsal and ventral muscles.
- Gently wash deboned bangus in running water. Drain. Cut in 4-6 slices.
- Combine vinegar, 3 tsp. salt, garlic and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a container with lid. Thoroughly coat the bangus with the mixture and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least three hours. I prefer to do it overnight to get full flavor.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, fry bangus in 1/2 cup vegetable oil, skinside down first, until both sides are golden brown.
- Serve with steamed or fried rice with achara and/or chop tomatoes and spicy-chilli vinegar on the side.
© 2012, Tina a.k.a. PinayInTexas. All rights reserved.