Saturday, August 08, 2009


This is one unforgettable dish for me which was taught by my late brother Roy, who passed away last year. He taught me the quickest, easiest, oil free of preparing bangus (milkfish) by cooking it over a bed of salt.

Bangus is the national fish of Philippines, known for its hundreds of tiny bones. I like the fish but I hate the bones but I'm not helpless at that because there is boneless bangus available. It is done by deboning the fish manually, I have seen it being done and it looked easy, but I wouldn't dare to do it myself not unless I want to test my patience.

If I am in Phil, I could easily get deboned milkfish from the super market or in the wet market, would just pay additional P10 for deboning which they do expertly for you. In KL, I saw milkfish in supermarkets but they don't sell deboned or they won't debone it for me either, so I didn't bother to buy until my friend Tess, offered me her boneless bangus. I didn't hesitate to get a couple of packs for the weekend's lunch. The first thing that came to my mind is to prepare it like my brother had taught me. It's healthier and quicker to prepare. Another alternative way of cooking without frying.

Here's how:

Prepare the fish by marinating it with soy sauce, calamansi and crushed garlic.

In a pan over high heat, spread a lot of rock salt enough to cover the base of the pan. The salt adds heat, while preventing the fish from sticking into the pan. The fish is literally cooked by its own steam from its moisture. You can tell when its done when the fish has turned completely pale and the skin is slightly burnt.

Place the fish skin side down over a bed of salt. Cover the pan and cook on high heat for about 10-15 minutes without opening. You will hear some popping sound, but that's the way it should be.

Serve it with rice and soy sauce with calamansi or lime.

The skin should look like slightly burned like the picture below.

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