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September 17, 2008


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Nowadays, the fish vendors in the Philippines have this instrument that they use to separate the meat from the skin. They insert it through the head, and in a few seconds, the meat (and bones) comes out with the instrument. And the best part? It's free of charge! :)

I love rellenong bangus, but it was a special occasion type of food, being so hard to prepare and all. Funny story about your dad: now I'm being gullible here, how big does the fish have to be to be punched like that?

The bangus looks terrific. Now I only wish you were here to prepare us some. ;)

I suppose it's common to take food one eats often for granted, especially if one doesn't cook, but until now, I'd never thought about how labor-intensive rellenong bangus was! I never even thought of it as a special occasion dish, the way I do lechon. There are several Filipino relleno dishes, so I assumed it wasn't too hard to make. I seem to remember eating this on regular days at my parents' house. So either our cook knew some secret shortcut that made it easier to make than your mom's version, or Ning's comment above is the reason -- they get the tedious part done at the market.

I think I might actually prefer the above easier version, though. Another way to do it that I really love (and I'm sure you will, too) is to stuff it with chopped onions, tomatoes, and kamias! If I recall correctly, the stuffing isn't marinated with as much (if any) soy sauce, as the kamias already gives it so much flavor. This is terrific with lots of rice, and some red egg, if you have it! :-)

Ah, there's a classic if I've ever seen one! I don't think anyone (Filipino or otherwise) would fault you for using the cheat-y method... After all, the seamlessness is just for the ooh and aah factor, right?

I love rellenong bangus, with the peas and carrots (and if I'm lucky, raisins) inside, and with ketchup, yum!

Ha! You just described my dad. He makes the Rocky Balboa-style relyeno every year for Christmas. He takes a couple of days off from work and would make up to 30 relyenong bangus every year to serve for noche buena and to give as gifts to family and friends. I'm not quite sure how it got started but he's stuck with making them now. :)

My hubby & I offered to help him one year. We spent the whole day picking over fish bones and we reeked of fish for days.

Your shortcut version looks delicious. My family would cook bangus this way, too. But I haven't had it lately. This version I don't have to wait for Christmas to eat. I think I'm gonna make this one for my dad. Thanks for giving me the idea.

That sir is one hell of a way to get that fish meat! Good thing it's not.
That is one of my favorite Filipino dishes! Sarap!

I miss eating bangus relleno or daing. I love it specially the fat part :).

Like what Ning mentioned there is now a tool that you can use to get the fish meat out of the bangus without slicing it open. I forgot what its called but my aunt brought it here and gave it to my aunt.

I love rellenong bangus and love it more with tomatoes and onions marinated in toyo and kalamansi. I also love it when stuffed with meat and eaten with ketchup of course. Its a plus that the best part is the belly - free of bones and all. =)

oh a side note Dale who was on Top Chef is also discovering kalamansi and trying to infuse it with his cooking like you are. Cool!

If I were to meet your parents, I know I wouldn't be able to stop laughing. I'd be visualizing your Mom and the meathook and your Dad and the fish. And of course, I'll never hear "Eye of the Tiger" in the same way again.

This is a great shortcut, and the ingredients make me think fish meat combined with salsa :-)

If you must eat it with ketchup, you can not just use any ketchup. Gotta use banana ketchup.

Anyone else notice filipino's love to use raisins in their dishes?
Just a few of the dishes off the top of my head - morcon/embutido, menudo, afritada, relleno, igado, macaroni salad(filipino style ofcourse).

LOL, wouldn't be surprised if I end up seeing it in filipino style spaghetti.

Just a suggestion, ask your fishmonger to butterfly from the back so that the belly stays whole and all the fatty goodness stays intact and bastes the inside of the fish.

What pinoy/pinay doesn't like taking a jab at their old school parents?! :) I personally wouldn't attempt making this because of the labor involved... but I do love the dish when my mom makes hers. Ah... the wonderful smells that came from the kitchen (and the bickering that my parents have about scaling the fish the proper way)! lol

oh man! i thought you were going to list out the old fashioned way... hahaha but yeah, that what we do too, though we only cut and stuff the belly part... but my grandma makes it for us when there is indeed a special occasion. but my aunt sells them, or used to, by special order...

I'm still trying to imagine removing the meat through the gills. People really know how to do that? I think I like your method much better.

Your fish looks perfectly grilled and delicious.

What I know of the short-cut you just demonstrated, Marvin, is called "inihaw na bangus." The "rellenong bangus" is really the one punched out, scooped out and filled in with all sorts of things like vienna sausages,ground meat, mashed eggs, raisins and bangus meatall rolled into one. That's what I know of rellenong bangus. Which is why I cannot boast of saying I make/cook rellenong bangus. It's just too long to prepare and cook and too fast to consume! :-(

This looks and sounds really delicious.
It kills me when you talk about your family. Thanks for the laugh.

Ning, that's probably the best time-saving invention of all! I'll have to see if that service is offered here. I'd probably even be willing to pay a small fee for that service.

JS, haha! I guess the size of the bangus would have to be pretty big to be punched like that, or perhaps it could serve as a speed bag rather than a heavy punching bag:)

I still haven't found any kamias in my neck of the woods, Katrina. But admittedly, I haven't looked very hard. I do love the sourness of it, so I will make a note of it to look harder for kamias!

You're right, manggy. I see no other reason for the seamlessness other than it's pretty impressive when presented to the table.

Hello Caroline. I can't believe your dad makes 30 bangus every year! That's crazy! At least he has you to help, but still, that's a lot of fish. Thanks for visiting!

Hi Rico. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Mmmm. Bangus fat is almost as good as pork fat, veron!

Now I'm really curious if this instrument is available here in the states, raissa. And did Dale use calamansi on Top Chef? I remember him making Halo-halo, but I don't remember him using kalamansi.

That's actually a good comparison, Sandy. The tomatoes are sorta like a salsa for the fish.

Hey there, Jiggy. I actually don't like raisins very much, and I've definitely never seen it in igado before. Mmmm, but I do love igado.

Awesome tip, Maricel! I will definitely ask to butterfly from the back the next time. Thanks!

I'm glad I'm not the only one, Joelen;)

Hi ahnjel. No way, I don't think I will ever try it the old fashioned way myself, unless I can get the fishmonger to take the meat out for me.

I know, dp, sounds impossible. But unless you slice the fish open, through the gills is the only way!

Ah, inihaw na bangus. Grilled bangus, right bernadette?

Thanks for laughing, Erin! I appreciate it.

Man, I'd give anything to have a taste of this.

I will ask around if this tool is available here. If I'm not mistaken it just looks like a long blade.

oh no Dale didnt use calamansi on the show but I saw him in a show where he was interviewed and he spoke about infusing calamansi in his cooking.

I had no idea there was that much involved work involved in making this.. To think that I always ignored and disliked rellenong bangus when I was younger.

this is a must have for beach picnics! we usually wrap it in banana leaves before grilling, though. oh, and you can do the same thing for tilapia (but i'd add some ginger since tilapia belly can get nasty if you're not careful when you gut it)! +1 for the tool (though i haven't seen it yet, i usually go to shopwise, s&r or unimart) and the banana ketchup for relleno! nyahaha! ufc even! hope you're all doing well! ingat!

I definitely like the charred version, Marvin.

Oy, I feel for your parents. haha

A classic! Although truth be told I'm actually not a fan of of the traditional one with the fish meat flaked and restuffed with peas and raisins (sorry Manggy!)...I like this version you've made here much better :)

Oh, and I think Eye of the Tiger is an awesome song to cook/bake/prep food to :)

mmm bangus.

I don't think i've ever had it stuffed. Just fried then served with a soy sauce/vinegar dip.

This looks beautiful.

relleyenong bangus is one of my favorite dishes! i must admit its been a decade since i last had them! thanks for bringing this :-) my auntie have a special technique of wrapping them in banana leaves when she cooks them . and i tell you the taste is really different.

Thanks Cynthia.

Thanks Raissa. It'd be very interesting to see what kind of dishes dale does with calamansi.

Yes, Jude, the work is very involved for this dish. And I think I was the opposite of you when I was younger as this was one of the few Pinoy dishes that I enjoyed.

Hi greasemonkey! I will definitely have to try the banana leaf version.

Haha, thanks Lori Lynn. My parents never take me seriously;)

Hi joey! Yeah, I agree with you, I'd probably pick the raisins out if it were served to me like that. And eye of the tiger is wonderful cooking music;)

Fried bangus is good eats too, veronica. I'll have to attempt that one of these days.

Thanks tokyoastrogirl.

Hi dhanggit! I can see how the banana leaf would impart a different taste to the bangus, sounds good!

I hated eating this fish growing up because of the multiple shards I'd have to catch in my mouth and spit out. Too much effort for what it's worth! We always had it fried but never stuffed. I'll have to try sometime ... and get the fishmonger to remove all the bones!!

Rellenong bangus was a sunday lunch staple at home. Didn't really realize the effort that went into it. I'm just getting started on the cooking and blogging thing. Yours (the cooking, blogging and the humor) has become a peg. So, thanks.

oh, wow! that looks soooo good! back in the DC area - i used to buy fish and/or any seafood all the time. since we've lived here in germany - seafood is so friggin' expensive! ugh.

Pat, bangus definitely takes a bit of caution because of all the bones, but I think it's worth it;)

Thanks very much for the kind words, tarcs. Just keep cooking and blogging and things will only get better for you.

I have an aunt that lives all the way in Germany too, rita. I can only imagine how expensive certain foods must be.

Hmm ... now that I think about it, boneless butterflied regular and daing na bangus is sold here where I live. All I need to do is buy one of those and scrape the meat off the skin. Gosh darn it! Why didn't I think of that sooner! haha. Thanks for the idea!

You're lucky to have the bangus already boned and butterflied, beth! I guess you'd have to sew it back together though.

i love rellenong bangus. i should have listened to my mom when i was still in manila, she taught me how to clean the fish but since i hate cleaning fish, i ignored everything she taught me about the fishes. stupid of me! now i have to wait until she comes here so she can teach me how to do it, better if she's gonna cook it for me (yay). good thing i remember how to stuff a bangus and to marinade it to become a daing.

Hi Leah. When you mother visits, be sure to pay attention this time! :)

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