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Paksiw na Bangus

Paksiw na Bangus is a dish enjoyed by generations of Filipinos and is considered a classic of native cuisine. It is an exquisite dish made by cooking milkfish, a cherished local fish, in a special mixture of vinegar, garlic, ginger, and other herbs and spices. The combination of various ingredients provides a unique, tangy flavor that tantalizes the taste buds, leaving you craving more. This dish is a perfect representation of traditional Filipino cooking that prides itself on bold and intense flavors. Many households across the country have their own secret recipes handed down over generations, but the basic ingredients remain the same, giving this dish a sense of familiarity, community, and culture. If you want to savor the true taste of the Philippines, we have prepared a simple recipe guide to making this classic dish in the comfort of your own home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bangus (milkfish), scaled, gutted, and cut into serving pieces
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (cane or white vinegar)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 2-3 pieces of green finger chilies (siling haba), sliced (optional, adjust to your preferred level of spiciness)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (adjust according to your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Banana leaves or aluminum foil (optional, for wrapping the fish)

Instructions:

  1. If you have a whole bangus, prepare it by scaling, gutting, and cutting it into serving pieces. If you prefer boneless bangus, you can ask your fish vendor to do this for you or buy boneless bangus fillets.

  2. Optional step: Rinse the bangus pieces with vinegar and water to remove any fishy odor. Pat them dry with paper towels.

  3. In a pot or deep pan, sauté the garlic, ginger, and onions in a little cooking oil until the onions become translucent and aromatic.

  4. Add the vinegar, water, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, whole peppercorns, and bay leaf to the pot. Stir everything together and bring it to a simmer.

  5. Add the bangus pieces to the pot, making sure they are submerged in the liquid. If you want to enhance the flavor and aroma, you can wrap the fish in banana leaves before placing them in the pot. This step is optional, but it adds a nice touch to the dish.

  6. Cover the pot and let the paksiw simmer over medium heat. Allow it to cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the fish is fully cooked and tender. Be careful not to overcook the bangus to avoid it from becoming dry and flaky.

  7. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. You can add more sugar if you want it sweeter or more vinegar if you want it tangier. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  8. Add the sliced green chilies (siling haba) to the pot if you want some spiciness in your paksiw. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.

  9. Once the fish is cooked and the flavors have melded, remove the pot from the heat.

  10. Serve the paksiw na bangus hot with steamed rice. Enjoy!

Note: Paksiw na Bangus is even tastier when allowed to sit for a while, allowing the flavors to develop further. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, making it a perfect dish for leftovers.