Fried Tilapia with Homemade Bagoong…

Sometimes, there is nothing more comforting than some deeply fried fish served with a sour/salty sawsawan or dipping sauce, or homemade bagoong that you might mash together with some fresh tomatoes. A few days ago, Mrs. MM and I were having a sandwich and salad for lunch, but some serious aromas were coming out of the kitchen. This was the crew’s lunch, and frankly, it looked and smelled a lot better than our sandwiches! :) Deep fried tilapia and some homemade bagoong cooked with coconut milk.

They also had a side dish of monggo or mung beans with some squash and vegetables. Lots of rice, of course. So much of what we consider “comfort food” harks back to our very young, formative years… I think the tastes and smells of food from that period play a huge role in what we find appealing much later on in life. While I relish all types of cuisines and have a particular penchant for Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Thai and Chinese dishes, I still look for many of the classic Filipino dishes like adobo, sinigang, pinakbet and others, often. And I have never, ever really replaced my main starch choice of rice with noodles, bread or potatoes for extended periods of time. :)


43 Responses

  1. comfort food indeed, especially this rainy season. thanks MM for the inspirational menu for today’s lunch.

  2. We just had fried tilapia and monggo (pork for sahug, baby ampalaya and ampalaya leaves) the other day. With burong hipon. It’s a rainy day today, I wouldn’t mind a “replay” of fried tilapia and monggo (with squash this time).

  3. Oh, man! This is an ultimate comfort food for this rainy weather. I can almost smell it from the photos!

  4. oh my, so hungry now for this… sarap talaga, lalo na ang crispy tilapia, alamang bagoong hay baka isang bandihadong kanin ang makakain ko pag yan ang mga ulam (sira ang diet)

  5. Hi Marketman… can you please post here on how to cook homemade bagoong cooked with coconut milk. I’ve been trying to gook this dish but I can’t replicate the bagoong I tasted when I got a chance to attend a fiesta in Amadeo, Cavite. Thanks

  6. Oh my, I miss fried fish so much. We can never fry any fish at home. our kitchen doesn’t have any ventilation, so if you fry fish tonight, it will stink the whole apt for weeks

  7. Hi MM, whenever I have zubuchon chicharon, i make it a point to request mader to cook ginisang munggo and make those chicharon as toppings. Winner!!

  8. Few more days and I’m flying to Manila for a nice vacation. On the day of my arrival, I told my family that we will have lunch at KingBee Chinese Restaurant sa Paseo de Sta. Rosa next to Rose ang Grace Restaurant. On the second day after my arrival, I told my family to prepare sinigang na spare ribs and pritong tilapia with my favorite sauce – chopped tomato, onion, cilantro with vinegar, soy sauce, ground pepper, siling labuyo and a bit of brown sugar and for dessert I asked for “halo halo with leche plan topping!!” On the 3rd day, I want guinataang gulay with bagoong.

  9. Mm..mmm good. As a young kid, I often preferred the ‘crews’ in the kitchen’ menu – pinakas, camatis, alogbati, cadios, takway at iba iba pa.

  10. aaahhh…pritong isda with bagoong, ginisang munggo that is yummy! I miss fried fish…being here in the US, I have stopped frying fish as it smells in the house. So sometimes, when I do get some small fish, I grill them longer so it gets a bit crispy. Aaaahhh, need to get some fish to grill.

  11. I actually don’t know why deep-fried whole fish seems to freak people out in the states and elsewhere. It’s so easy, so natural and so delicious! If only some of those deep fryers used for french fries were converted to frying up whole small snapper, etc…. Yum!

  12. hhm, at mt parents home, if pritong isda and sud-an, daghanon jud ug lung ag ang humay… samot kalami ang monggoes ug kalabasa kung naa tuno ug buwad pinikas nga subak…

  13. Oh gee, I miss pritong tilapia! Have to get them quick….for dinner tonight!

  14. Mama mia, these photos brings back memories. I always love all kind of fish that is fried especially with bagoong as sawsawan.

  15. Hi Millet, do you mind sharing your bagoong w/ gata (or is it bagoong sa gata?) recipe? Thanks!

  16. Funny thing MM of all the gourmet postings you have had in the past. This post about fried fish with bagoong has me salivating. I can visualize myself using my hands to eat this. It brings back memories of eating fried fish during rainy days at home.

  17. Marketman your photography is getting really good. you should share us your camera settings too.

  18. boopsie, hahaha, I don’t even know what the settings are, I use a Canon DSLR and mostly on automatic mode… :) Honestly, I am NOT a good photographer, more like lucky… :)

  19. Regarding why westerners are freaked out by whole fish… A British client once told us that seeing the head/face/eyes of the fish is what concerns them, that they feel as though the fish is staring back at them. Hahaha… Talk about paranoia.

  20. I never thought of putting pumpkin in mongo. I will do that next time! I wish I had an outside kitchen for frying fish and all those dried types that I get once in awhile from the PI whenever my MIL comes for a visit. There are times we just fry fish in the house anyway. The smell goes away after a day : ) I’m wondering if the homemade alamang that my MIL makes can go bad in the fridge. I do notice the smell gets stronger as it ages and not sure if it’s still good although it has been salted. Can someone tell me if homemade alamang can spoil?

  21. Mmmm, food that just spells H O M E :-) I love it :-)

    @Khrishyne – tinuud gyud! kalami gyud no? :-)

  22. Marketman, I would love to know how to make that bagoong. Care to share a recipe? I fry fish in my flat when I get a hankering for it, but it does stink up the place and does not win me any ‘Neighbour of the Year’ awards. Haha. That said, this dish is immensely satisfying.

  23. Hi MM this looks yummy…I believe that some Westerners are a bit put off from eating whole fried fish because they freak out at seeing the eyes…they don’t like to be reminded that the creature was once alive! Makes them squeamish, I think :-)

  24. Mr. MM me too, I want to know how to make ginataang bagoong.. something like Bicol express without veggies? And gosh, I did not think of adding squash in my home made bagoong, (in Quezon province where I stay during my visit we buy fresh alamang to make bagoong). And speaking frying the whole fish in my deep fryer – ganyan ang gusto ng mga apo ko (who were born and grew up here in Texas), malutong na red snapper or tilapia. Ayaw nila yung filet na i-sineserve sa mga resto rito – malata raw. I hook up an extension cord and fry my fish at my little backyard or garage.

    Sarap nito, I will try to replicate it tomorrow for July 4th Holiday – – hahaha – kasabay ng t-bone steak and potatoes na ihahanda ng husband ko.

    Every year when I come home, this is my tradition for my cousins to cook for me (walang palya [9 years in a row]) – Fried real fresh GG (yung maliit), bagoong with lots of pork taba, and real maasim na kalabaw mangga. Yummyyyy…..

  25. Hi everyone, for those interested, I recently did a post on “Ginisang Bagoong a la Marketman” that had a version with gata or coconut cream… here. Enjoy!

  26. MM,

    It’s the after smell that sticks around in the house that keeps us from frying. I have been lucky though, that my husband doesn’t get freaked out with the fish heads or shrimp heads when I have them on the dinner table. He’s been able to cook live lobsters now too! I don’t even heat my bagoong anymore. But yes, I do really miss fried fish…it is still a Filipino comfort food for me. Malakas lang sa kanin!

  27. I enjoy recycling leftovers at home! Everytime I make BInagoongan with gata, I always end up a lot of the sauce. I freeze them and then when we have kare-kare for supper, that leftover sauce is added to ginisang bagoong and cooked until I reach the consistency I want. Since the binagoongan gata is already seasoned with vinegar, etc, the kare-kare bagoong is a top notch sauce. People always
    wonder why my baggoong is then different and tastes better!

    So, do not throw away that leftover binagoongan sauce with gata if you have any!

    So, MP…this is another must try and you can bottle it! Of course, your hubby will once again curse me!…hahahaha!!!!!!!

  28. i don’t know whats with tilapia –it has this certain smell which I don’t like…

  29. Good thing that here in san diego and i think for a lot of Asian stores in the west coast, you can have the store do the frying for you once you’ve chosen your fish. and to top it off, this is a free service. this helps maintain peace between neighbors and eliminate that ‘fishy’ smell in the house.

  30. I’ll trade my steak and potatoes for this anytime…sarap! Also love the inihaw version. :-)

    @Betty Q – great insight as always.

  31. MM, it’s the head or the “eyes” of the fish in particular that turns off americans and others like europeans. sarap ng ulo, especially the eyes, my fave! hahahahaha

  32. Indeed MM, besides getting worried about bulges in the wrong places from fried foods, there is concern about the relationship of fats and risk of breast cancer
    ( albeit inconclusive) .

    To start with, most if not all of the vegetable oils in the market have already been subjected to heavy processing ( under high heat, pressure, and industrial solvents ). The high heat when frying damages them further with its harmful effects on the body
    leading to inflammation, believed to promote the growth and spread of cancer.

    Here’s the order of stability of the type of fat under heat and light from least stable to most stable:

    1. polyunsaturated :soybean, grapeseed, cottonseed, safflower, corn oil
    2. monounsaturated , mostly: palm oil and coconut oil ( unrefined), olive oil
    3. saturated :REAL BUTTER !

    As Footloose advises, make sure you use the real thing!

    We need fats in our diet but we also need to pay attention that we get the right fats and in the right ratio of omega 6’s and omega 3’s .

  33. I have a powerful exhaust fan over my stove, all appartments have them here so I feel free to fry! No one has ever complained, even with bagoong, though I think Europeans are more tolerant of exotic smells than Americans…after all, you just have to smell some of the cheeses.

  34. Today, I will go to the asian grocery store to buy tilapia although all we can buy is frozen fish. I wish we could get fresh ones here:(

  35. I often remember the times when I would rather eat the food of our helpers or staff than the food cooked for the family. There are times I would rather eat danggit over corned beef or hotdogs with onion over bacon. I don’t know why but the simplicity of it all can really make one crave.

    This is such a timely post as it is comfort food during the rainy season. Tilapia and bagoong… waah am drooling already. I think gatang gulay will go better because of the bagoong. I know what I’m having for dinner!

    Thanks MM.

  36. Hahaha Bettyq, my hubby said that in his next life, he wants to marry Bettyq…. he teases me every time I try some new recipe and can’t seem to get it right! and I tell him, in my next life, I want to be Bettyq! Sorry, you have crazy “fans” in our household…

    As for those who have problems with after-frying smell, try using Renuzit Odor Neutralizer (the dark blue gel). Works very well and cheap, too ($1/pc!). If you want the smell to go away faster, pair it with the Renuzit spray!



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