The combination of kalamansi (calamondin/lime juice) and soy sauce and lots of onions in a classic Bistek Tagalog (or Beefsteak “Tagalog” style) is one of my personal favorite flavor pairings of all time. I made a lot of bistek in my college days and I have always loved the dish. So while I was thinking about variations on the rellenong bangus theme, why not put the flaked bangus meat with onions, soy, kalamansi?
Saute lots of onions (a bit too much in proportion to the fish in this experiment) and some minced garlic in vegetable oil, or if you have it, some good lard.
Add some flavorful light soy sauce like Kikkoman.
I thought about the dish a bit more, and saw that we had some wonderful ripe native tomatoes and chopped some of those up and added them to the pan. Again, too much in proportion to the size of the fish, so I would reduce volume a bit if you try this at home.
Saute for a couple of minutes to reduce the liquids and concentrate the flavor. You may wish to remove the centers of tomatoes to reduce the liquid content. Or perhaps use home-made semi-dried tomatoes.
Add the steamed, de-boned and flaked bangus meat.
I added the juice of 15 large kalamansi fruit or perahps 4-5 tablespoons worth; substitute limes or lemons if you don’t have kalamansi. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add soy sauce if necessary. Definitely lots of cracked black pepper.
I added some chopped wansoy or coriander for color and flavor, but this is optional for those folks who have a distinct dislike for coriander. Toss gently so as not to over smush the fish. Let this cool for several minutes.
Taste. I almost couldn’t resist setting this out on a platter for lunch, with lots of rice. Yes, it was already a very edible dish at this point. And maybe I will do something like this for the restaurants… :)
Stuff your bangus skin; note the excess liquid in the pan. Too much liquid. Pain in the next step.
Fry in vegetable oil or lard. Copper fishpan not necessary. Aside for blog regulars: (But good for stirring up elitist feelings in some readers; yes, I am pretty sure “it” still comes back to read posts on this blog after 6-7 years since the first fishpan incident. Tries to disguise “its” location but bad diction and unique phrasing is usually a dead giveaway — thankfully most all of the vitriol ends up in spam, never viewed nor read. If “it” wanted records of that ridiculous exchange many years ago expunged from the internet, all “it” had to do at the time was apologize for making the libelous, defamatory comments targeted at me and other commenters. Too much pride to do that then and a few years later tried again, so now see what comes up when you google the name you used in those comments? A ptential professional nightmare, I can imagine, even with a new married name tacked on. At the time, I emailed the person at the provided email address and they refused to retract their comments nor respond to the email, which did NOT bounce back, so I presume it was delivered. Another example or lesson for thinking about what what you say on the world wide web… Or in any electronic written communications for that matter.)
Notice the incredible and painful if you were hit splatters of oil due to the excessive liquid in this particular bangus concoction. It was like early New Year’s fireworks in the kitchen!
Mind you, it looked BEAUTIFULLY fried.
But took two people and four utensils to turn over.
But it was SO WORTH IT. Delicious. Definitely that bistek tagalog taste, but with flakey bangus meat instead. Really good with rice. I could have eaten the entire fish worth. We tried this again the next day with some diced potatoes instead of all the tomatoes and it wasn’t as good. Definitely do the tomato version, just make it less wet.
The three pieces in this center row of bangus slices contain the version with soy, onions, garlic, kalamansi juice, tomatoes, wansoy and bangus. Yum.