08 Jan2013

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“M” is Chief of Stuff’s wife of many years. She is an accomplished cook in her own right, and their family was with us at the beach over the Christmas holidays. When a trip to the local Nasugbu market just after a storm AND a full moon yielded an almost empty basket, I ended up buying several bangus that I had Manang Puring prepare for rellenong bangus, a stuffed milkfish. COS mentioned that “M” knew how to make this rather well, so I thought I would spend a couple of hours experimenting with a dish I had never made myself before…

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M’s recipe is quite traditional, and she sautes onions, potatoes and carrots then adds the steamed, deboned and flaked bangus meat and mixed this up gently. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool. Because this was an unplanned exercise, we had several ingredients missing, including some raisins, that I gather are meant to bring sweetness and a bit of moisture. I always think of plump cooked raisins as garapatas or engorged ticks, but let’s not go down that path now… :) Some folks add ground pork, others more herbs, etc. But you get the picture, deboned and flaked meat, a bit of extender and starch in the potatoes, sweetness from the onions and color from the carrots. And enough volume to stuff back into the fish skin.

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After cooling for some 15 minutes or so, a couple of eggs were added as a binder…

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…then the filling was stuffed into the fish casing, and quite aggressively stuffed at that. M wanted it to be “bus-ok” or very plumply stuffed, and it was. Think of one of those young kids that is truly a bit overweight but out of politeness you would never say anything to their parents. I thought the filling might expand when fried and burst through the skin, but it didn’t.

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M used a long wooden spoon to get the filling all the way down into the fish skin.

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And while this angle doesn’t make it seem that the fish was that generously stuffed, take my word for it, it was hefty for its size. :)

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I forgot to mention, the fish skin was briefly marinated in kalamansi or calamondin juice and a bit of soy sauce, to ensure that it didn’t smell fishy?! Then it was sprinkled with a bit of flour and deep-fried in vegetable fat (would have used lard if we had it on hand). Doesn’t it look wickedly good?

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Wait several minutes (which we didn’t) before slicing, and voila!

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Remember to season with salt and pepper very generously, it needs it. This was delicious, and brought back childhood memories from eating out at other people’s houses. My mom didn’t fuss with this type of dish often, so I ate it at friends houses more often than not. This was still quite juicy and a great “base” recipe from which to experiment further. Thanks to M for showing me how to do it. Next up, two Marketman variations on the rellenong bangus theme…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Betchay says:

    I’d rather not have potatoes or ground pork in it but grated carrots even chopped bell peppers and raisins are ok. I want to taste the bangus meat when I have my rellenong bangus. Good morning MM!

    Jan 8, 2013 | 7:58 am

     
  2. pixienixie says:

    About the plump raisins looking like you-know-what, the association just made me dislike raisins even more… hehe. Never really liked them, but now, no more raisins!

    Like Betchay, I think I’d like my rellenong bangus without ground pork, too. Might overwhelm the bangus meat.

    Jan 8, 2013 | 8:16 am

     
  3. odessa says:

    now i’m a bit excited MM to give it another try very soon. It is indeed very laborious but since my hubby and i love it, its worth the effort naman! bdw, it never occurred to me thinking about the raisins like that he he!!! it’s actually a staple in the house because i use it for baking and cooking another fav of ours, the “valenciana”.
    I cook the flesh with a little vinegar and soy sauce and just veggies for me and no ground pork too.

    Jan 8, 2013 | 10:02 am

     
  4. ami says:

    I will never look at raisins the same way again :P

    Jan 8, 2013 | 10:41 am

     
  5. betty q. says:

    …for a smoky undertone, next time, Betchay, try adding roasted sweet red peppers. It has been ages since I made this rellenong bangus…about some 40 years ago when I helped my aunt and my cousin make this every dec. 27th.

    Safe trip, Ms. Connie C and Mr. T!

    Jan 8, 2013 | 11:24 am

     
  6. Natie says:

    We always liked raisins. Golden raisins won’t look like insects. Love this basic relleno inspite of all the work.

    Jan 8, 2013 | 12:26 pm

     
  7. Angie says:

    My mom cooks relleno the same way. She hasnt done it for a while so I guess its time to remind her :)

    By the way, I also have that association with plump raisins looking like you-know-what. Another association that I have is with ginataang monggo – the roasted monggo’s look like itlog ng ipis hihi

    Jan 8, 2013 | 1:17 pm

     
  8. PITS, MANILA says:

    rellenong bangus. lumpiang bangus. now craving …

    Jan 8, 2013 | 2:32 pm

     
  9. enna says:

    It really looks yummy. Thanks MM.

    Jan 8, 2013 | 3:56 pm

     
  10. Malou says:

    I also marinate the fish skin in soy sauce and kalamansi to give it some flavor and a darker hue when fried. And while M’s version above looks yummy, I personally prefer a “drier” version of the stuffing. I suppose it’s the addition of eggs at the end that made her version somewhat runny.
    As for the raisins, one way to remove the visual of garapata is to halve/quarter each one. Time-consuming, for sure, but the sweetness it imparts to the relleno is unique.

    Jan 8, 2013 | 9:22 pm

     
  11. Avid Thinker says:

    Wow, looking at the pictures is making me hungry again. Thank you for sharing this MM. *another salute! :=)

    Jan 9, 2013 | 12:05 am

     
  12. luisa pido-ditan says:

    we add 2-3 whole hard boiled eggs in the center and dont use potatoes :)

    Jan 9, 2013 | 4:08 am

     
  13. sleepless in Seattle says:

    This brings back memories of my mom.I like rellenong-bangus but a lot of work.

    Jan 9, 2013 | 12:14 pm

     
  14. JE says:

    Thanks for giving me one more reason to hate raisins.

    Jan 9, 2013 | 6:51 pm

     

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