03 Sep2006


A healthy fish dish for lunch or dinner doesn’t get much easier or healthier than this Steamed bangus2Bangus with Soy, Ginger and Sesame Oil. The well-liked bangus or milkfish is steamed until just cooked and its flaky white meat is well paired with some light soy sauce and a touch of sesame oil. To make, I purchase those frozen, de-boned Sarangani bangus at the grocery. Defrost the bangus thoroughly before cooking. Heat up the water in the steamer until at a rolling boil. In the steamer, place either a heat-proof plate or a large piece of aluminum foil and place the fish on top of the foil, turning up the edges so that the cooking liquid doesn’t spill out…

Sprinkle the bangus with some Kikkoman or other lighter soy sauce, slivered ginger, bangus3chopped green onions, some salt and lots of pepper and a light drizzle of sesame oil and steam covered for 12-15 minutes until cooked. Transfer the fish to to a platter and include all of the juices from the steaming plate or aluminum foil. You can add some wansoy or cilantro if you like. You should sliver the ginger more than I have done in these photos, I got lazy and it really makes a difference to sliver properly… Served with a small serving of brown rice, this is a perfect lower calorie, lower fat meal. Mind you, I haven’t lost any weight yet despite 5 days or so of controlled eating and more than normal exercise!



  1. Chris says:

    I noticed the bangus still had scales when you steamed it. I love eating bangus skin so i always remove the scales before cooking, even for paksiw. Some people say it adds flavour so they never scale fish, what do you think?

    Sep 3, 2006 | 4:57 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    Chris, it’s amazing you should mention that because I only noticed the scales when I was choosing the pictures. We don’t eat the skin I guess, so I have never wondered if it was scaled…hmmm, I have to rethink that as the skin could be wicked good, particularly fried, I suppose…

    Sep 3, 2006 | 6:18 pm

  4. robksa says:

    I have noticed that most steamed fish calls for the sesame oil to be “heated and poured” over the fish (this is after the fish has been steamed already.) So I do that for my steamed fish, maybe something you can consider?

    Sep 3, 2006 | 8:04 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    robksa, yes, I do that sometimes. I think the reason is that sesame oil shouldn’t really “cook” for a long time as it degrades the flavor. Instead it is heated not to a very hot level just to unlock the flavor and aroma and poured over the fish then… it’s a classic Chinese restaurant move. But remember to use it sparingly if you are on a diet, restaurants tend to overdo it hoping that the flavor of the oil masks the rest of the dish…

    Sep 3, 2006 | 8:12 pm

  6. robksa says:

    Five days and no weight loss yet, are you sure you’re not cheating? hehehe Anyways, I’m inspired and might as well do my diet now.

    Sep 3, 2006 | 8:35 pm

  7. oggi says:

    MM, that’s also the way I steam fish, tilapia fillet though not bangus, sometimes I vary by replacing salt with 1 TBS of salted black beans(tausi).

    Sep 4, 2006 | 2:55 am

  8. gonzo says:

    hmm have never tried steaming bangus chinese-style. not a bad idea. as for the sesame oil question, i believe most recipes call for sesame oil to be added after a dish is cooked (the heat of the frshly-cooked dish is sufficient to release the flavour), similar to the proper way of using extra-virgin olive oil. there oils are meant to be used as condiments, not as actual cooking oils. The super-heated oil that is meant to be poured over steamed fish in chinese recipes is usually peanut.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 8:15 am

  9. Gigi says:

    Gonzo – now that you mention about oils as condiments, Sheryl Crow guested on Larry King and said that olive oil should not be heated because carcinogens are released. What is there to eat? I’ve found peace in the fact that only God can number our days — not to say that I’ll eat lechon when I feel like it. Kakainis. Ang daming bawal…

    Sep 4, 2006 | 9:46 am

  10. connie says:

    Oggi, I like the idea of substituting black bean. I too like the aroma and taste of sesame oil and uses it often with a lot of dishes.

    Gigi, first time I’ve heard of that a few years ago, I also went on a cancer panic mode. LOL. So, I did try to learn more about it, although I did not research how many Italians and/or Greeks are afflicted with cancer. :0) As far as I know any cooking oils that are heated releases minute amount of cancer causing substances. However pin-pointing them as the sole carcinogens would be rather hard to prove, considering any food we eat could be equal contributors as well. Extra virgin olive oil have more antioxidants and fewer fatty acids compared to the less refined virgin oil. Also I do remember reading an article a while back, that only when re-heating and re-using oils that they loose their antioxidants, so maybe that throwing the oil after each use would be much better alternative than not heating oils. Imagine if restaurants would stop reheating their cooking oils.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 10:40 am

  11. izang says:

    no need for a fish pan here, i guess…hehehe..

    you may not be losing weight, but maybe you’re building muscles…..

    Sep 4, 2006 | 1:06 pm

  12. angela says:

    i once attempted to cook a melt-in-your mouth bangus sardines but i was unsuccessful. According to the recipe i followed, i cooked the baby bangus(w/ all the scales and bones) in olive oil, pepper, onions, carrots, bellpeppers, laurel leaves, ginger and garlic and pressure cooked it for about 2 hours. the result was ok but wasn’t that great as expected. the bones can still be distinguished and not as soft as the ones being sold in restos where you can eat everything. marketman, do you have a good bangus sardines recipe? please… thanks.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 2:35 pm

  13. bijin says:

    you guys who live in the PI are so lucky because you can buy virgin coconut oil for peanuts. i use it for sauteing only (too expensive) and makes food so delish! i’m a health freak so I stopped cooking with olive oil after I read the article on the effect of heating it. the oils that I know that can withstand high heat are coconut, sesame, palm oil and ghee. i get my coconut and palm oil from the natural foodstores in the US and handcarried them until this summer when no liquids are allowed. I packed them in a box and prayed and prayed that they would survive the flights (stopovers in Maui and Honolulu). they did! i’m good for another year! For shallow frying, i use sesame oil pressed from unroasted sesame seeds. They’re cheap here at our Costco in Japan. Nature’s Blessing is a good coconut oil company in the PI. you can also use the same coconut oil for your skin. go to amazon for books on the benefits of using coconut oil. or you can google it.

    MM, i enjoy your blog. my mouth waters for all the food pictured here ‘coz i can’t cook decent filipino food no matter how many times my mom has showed me that’s why i go back to the US every year so i can eat mom’s cooking! there’s nothing like it in the world!

    Sep 4, 2006 | 4:49 pm

  14. chris says:

    Yep, bangus skin tastes great, try scaling your bangus next time and eat the flesh and skin together. It adds a certain richness that’ll drive the ‘sarap’ quotient over the top! =)

    Sep 4, 2006 | 8:06 pm

  15. gonzo says:

    angela, i too love bangus sardines (in fact i love bangus full-stop. better than salmon anyday.)and have attempted at least twice before to cook em up in a pressure cooker in the way you’ve described. I think i used the nora daza recipe, slightly modified. came out just fine. very tasty. I think the trick is to use smaller bangus, maybe 6-8″, so the bones go soft and become easy to eat.

    Sep 4, 2006 | 10:25 pm

  16. Wilson Cariaga says:

    not really a bangus eater here but this will be nice to try. . .

    Sep 4, 2006 | 11:57 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    oggi, the black beans are incredibly flavorful so they would go nicely with the fish fillets or white fish… gonzo, now I get it, if they are pouring hot peanut oil that would explain the incredibly greasy mouth feel. Yuck. Gigi, never cook with extra virgin olive oil, sayang the fruitiness and flavor. Only pure olive oil is reasonable for the frying pan… connie, re-used oils must get worse and worse for you… angela, I have never tried the bangus sardines you write about and I don’t have a recipe unfortunately…Gonzo seems to have some good suggestions for you, however…I would guess too that the smaller the bangus the better… bijin you seek virgin coconut oil but have cheap sesame oil… here, the sesame oil is pricey and hard to find fresh… Chris, will try the skin the next time I fry. To everyone, thanks for those comments. I personally love bangus in almost any form or preparation…

    Sep 5, 2006 | 9:00 am

  18. Maricel says:

    Hi MM! A bangus dish we always cook when we are on a diet is Pinais na bangus. Just chop onions and tomatoes, add some ginger if you like it. Stuff inside the bangus. season bangus with salt . Wrap in banana leaves. Put in a fish pan :) with about 1/2 cup of water and cook until the water dries up and bangus is cooked through.

    Sep 5, 2006 | 11:18 am

  19. angela says:

    gonzo, will try your suggestions. thanks. i love bangus specially if it is stuffed (head & belly) with tomatoes, onions, ginger and celery and grilled the traditional way. the aroma is amazing. sarap with bagoong and kalamansi na sawsawan.

    Sep 5, 2006 | 2:47 pm

  20. connie says:

    ” connie, re-used oils must get worse and worse for you”
    No doubt.

    MM, I think using extra virgin olive oil for deep frying would be a little bit pricey. Yikes! That’s why you have the cheaper pure olive oil. LOL. Although, I’m guilty of using extra virgin olive oil to make a quick preparation of porkchops, a little oil in the pan, some Italian seasonings blend, salt and pepper, and then you have a quick 10 minute meal. Easy to prepare especially when the day have been a little hectic. The olive oil flavor is enough to flavor the chops without loosing that nice aroma.

    Sep 6, 2006 | 1:32 pm

  21. izang says:

    my family loves daing n bangus….we usually remove the scales so it gets crispy when fried……

    Sep 7, 2006 | 1:13 pm

  22. Naz says:

    Broiled (real charcoal, mesquite) bangus is how I want mine done with fresh tomatoes with alamang for saw-sawan.

    I also happened to like the steamed tilapia prepared by my brother last January when I visited the country. It is almost a duplicate of your steamed bangus but with tons of sauted, crispy, almost burnt garlic. Excellent dish!

    Sep 8, 2006 | 12:37 pm


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