11 Jan2013


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.



  1. Mary Lee says:

    You should get a “splatter screen” to cover your frying pans (although an oval one to match the copper pan might need to be custom made). It’s a cheap and efficient way of saving all and sundry (especially curious roving pets) from the danger of burns from violently sizzling oil. One particularly large canine in our household refrained from ever entering the kitchen whenever something was sizzling ever since, as a puppy, he got splattered on his curious nose.

    Jan 11, 2013 | 6:35 am


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  3. PITS, MANILA says:

    photo above shows exactly how i plan my next meal to be. loving halabos na hipon (black) and that rellenong bangus!

    Jan 11, 2013 | 6:38 am

  4. Josephine says:

    MM, looks beautiful as usual, and I know you have aesthetic concerns for this blog…but 2 people and 4 utensils for one bangus….? I (wo)manhandled one 4 kilo capon (with another kilo or so of stuffing)solo over Christmas…I don’t think you’re eating enough! You need to regain your strength!

    Jan 11, 2013 | 6:55 am

  5. Marketman says:

    Josephine, hahaha, I know what you mean. But the two people is because our feet were so far away from the stove, to avoid the splatter! I hate frying but really explosive fat is simply unpleasant! :) You should see my sisters pull together Thanksgiving meals, they do the work of 8 of me and my crew! Totally superwomen type stuff. And the clean up… egads. :) ML, yes, definitely splatter guard needed. Actually, I was caught off-guard with this, an earlier bangus cooked up just fine. It was the liquid from the tomatoes in the stuffing that really made this fry outrageous!

    Jan 11, 2013 | 7:18 am

  6. bearhug0127 says:

    Smiled :) at the reference to the fishpan! Yohooooo!

    Jan 11, 2013 | 7:18 am

  7. Footloose says:

    Would be sorely tempting to serve the filling as is but you are aiming for a bit more, let’s say the sizzle of presenting an entire bangus unburdened of its pesky bones. Another easier and a lot less painful way of avoiding flying wild grease would be to fry it encased in beaten eggs like an omelet, Bangus Foo Yung if you like.

    Ah the pan that launched a thousand invectives…

    Jan 11, 2013 | 7:25 am

  8. pixienixie says:

    LOL at the reference to the great fishpan episode! :)
    A couple of posts back I said I didn’t like Rellenong Bangus; this version, though, is really making me reconsider my position. I think I’ll try this one of these days, but I’ll omit the stuffing-into-the-fish part. :)

    Jan 11, 2013 | 7:42 am

  9. Rona Y says:

    You have a fish pan but no fish spatulas? For shame!

    You would probably still have needed two spatulas (and maybe two people), but one with an off-set handle would have been very useful for your Rellenong Bangus!

    Jan 11, 2013 | 7:51 am

  10. ami says:

    Would this work grilled instead of fried?

    To the commenters based abroad, which citrus do you think is the better substitute for beefsteak taste-wise? Lemon or lime, or maybe a combination of both?

    Jan 11, 2013 | 8:02 am

  11. Marketman says:

    ami, lemon, with a touch of mandarin or clementine juice added in. That would nicely approximate kalamansi. Rona, now that you mention it, we do have a fish spatula or two, just didn’t think about it or it wasn’t handy… pixienixie, try it, it was really good. Footloose, a longer comment for you in the days ahead re: David L, recipe writing, etc. If I didn’t know it, I would say you are absolutely psychic. Psychic I tell you. :)

    Jan 11, 2013 | 8:26 am

  12. cecile says:

    i laughed when i tried to picture how MM and his companion looked, while they try to avoid the oil splatters as they turn over the bangus… :)

    Jan 11, 2013 | 8:56 am

  13. Chas says:

    A (wide) fish turner would help…

    Jan 11, 2013 | 9:54 am

  14. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Cooking is a team sport!

    Jan 11, 2013 | 10:42 am

  15. Ging says:

    hi MM, Footloose. I believe the Fishpan incident happened before i started reading this blog and my curiosity has been piqued. How do i search for it on the blog? I tried typing fishpan but my antivirus always redirects me elsewhere.

    Jan 11, 2013 | 10:45 am

  16. Mari of NY says:

    What if you drained the filling first before stuffing it? or cool the filling at least for an hour for the liquid to gel? Haaay, yes the splatters is also one of my peeves. I would be doing the same, staying as far away while trying to flip it! LOL, I could just imagine both of you trying to flip the fish at the same time!

    Jan 11, 2013 | 11:08 am

  17. ConnieC says:

    Looks like that fishpan is still sizzling from that incident. And what a kitchen mess indeed!

    How about a drizzle of flour or cornstarch on the fish to lessen the splatter and draining the filling well before stuffing the fish?

    Jan 11, 2013 | 11:16 am

  18. jakespeed says:

    Yup, a splatter screen similar to the one I got from Ikea (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10112530/) would be helpful on these occasions. :)

    Jan 11, 2013 | 11:34 am

  19. JungMann says:

    I have been following the rellenong bangus series with much relish and envy. I haven’t had relleno in probably 8 years and the manang who used to make it for my lola isn’t around anymore. So it looks I may have to take my lessons for you. I hope rellenong bangus is a lot easier on my Manhattan neighbors than the one time I made daing!

    Jan 11, 2013 | 11:37 am

  20. cindz says:

    officially hungry! will try this soon (or at least ask people at home), great idea MM :)

    Jan 11, 2013 | 11:59 am

  21. ykmd says:

    That looks so good, sizzling away in that fishpan ;) So she-who-must-not-be-named still lives…

    Jan 11, 2013 | 1:18 pm

  22. Cwid says:

    This recipe is definitely a must try for me. Ordinarily not a lover of rellenong bangus, this filling looks delish. Ah, the fish pan. Those were happy times.

    Jan 11, 2013 | 3:16 pm

  23. Marketman says:

    ging, the fishpan incident started with this totally innocuous post, here. A commenter left a nasty comment, which I left in, followed by seriously outrageous, slanderous, offensive comments that I deleted… and that was the beginnings of the fishpan thingee. I wrote a follow up post “elitist post” here. :) In a totally bizarre small world twist, it seems a couple of people who may have positively KNOWN the commenter, including a professor, etc. privately emailed me so identity was pretty well established, amongst other unmentionable items. It was just a classic example of something coming back to smack you right in your face.

    Jan 11, 2013 | 3:32 pm

  24. JE says:

    I remember making the mistake of frying daing na bangus in a relatively shallow pan without a shirt on. Never again.

    Jan 11, 2013 | 4:00 pm

  25. Joy says:

    and another fish recipe to try :)

    Jan 11, 2013 | 5:01 pm

  26. gorabels says:

    this absolutely looks delicious!! bangus makes the nastiest, gnarliest splatters in the kitchen. i let it rest for a minute before I even attempt to touch it. :D

    Jan 11, 2013 | 9:06 pm

  27. jestonijohn says:

    suggestion; cover the fish with banana leaves while frying it for better flavor. Also the banana leaves prevent the bangus from sticking to the pan hence you can use less oil while frying the fish.

    Jan 11, 2013 | 10:28 pm

  28. edee says:

    MM, when you said Footlose is psychic, do you mean you’re finally writing your book?!!!

    Jan 11, 2013 | 10:34 pm

  29. bagito says:

    “Fishpan” was 6 years ago?!?!? Time flies when you’re having fun! ;)

    Jan 12, 2013 | 1:15 pm

  30. sonnysj says:

    MM, we use the same stuffing as describe in part II but add a bit of tomato sauce while the stuffing cooks. it sure makes the stuffing moist. so i guess our version is somewhere between part II and part IV. he he.

    Before frying the relleno, we insert a BBQ stick in the mouth of the bangus all the way up to near its tail. Cut the excess stick before putting into the hot oil. Turning the fish will not too difficult.

    And yes, as with Connie C, we dredge the bangus with flour to lessen the splatter.

    Jan 14, 2013 | 12:51 pm

  31. Ruth Tuvilla says:

    Have you tried baking the bangus relyeno instead of frying it? I have personally avoided making this dish for 30+ years because of all the trouble it entails-until last year when i was challenged to cook 4 big bangus for ny husband’s valentine’s day dinner. To avoid the frying part, I sprayed some heavy duty alluminum foil with PAM and brushed the individual bangus with worcestershire sauce then wrapped them in foil and bake for 30 or so minutes . The result is amazing- golden brownish splatter free bangus relyeno. I have to say I kept two of them in the freezer until 3 months later.

    Mar 12, 2013 | 12:24 pm

  32. Marketman says:

    Ruth, good to know it can be baked, it’s a mess to fry it… :)

    Mar 12, 2013 | 2:17 pm


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