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Surrounded by bodies of water from all four corners, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we Filipinos really know what we’re doing with seafood. The many fresh ingredients we find in our waters easily turn into delicious and hearty meals for us and our loved ones. In no way an exception from this is, of course, the beloved milkfish — or what we more commonly refer to as bangus! It is no secret that Filipinos hold bangus in high regard. In fact, many even call it our national fish, albeit unofficially! Whether the title is authentic or not, what is genuine is how rich, savory, and tasty bangus is, as well as the many recipes that can come out of it. For those looking for something new to do with their milkfish, this tochong bangus is definitely key.
If you know Filipino cuisine, then you probably know how ingrained Chinese cuisine is in it, too. Since pre-colonial times, the Chinese have made their mark on many aspects of our culture. This encapsulates a lot of parts of our life, from our language, to some materials we use, to, you guessed it — food! Filipino cuisine is ripe with Chinese influences; many restaurants are testament to this. Even some of our favorite dishes we refer to as Filipino-Chinese! From dimsum to dumplings, to the sauciest of meat dishes, Filipino-Chinese cuisine has it all. And tochong bangus is one prime example of how Chinese culture has lent its delicious hand to a Filipino favorite!
What makes tochong bangus (or totsong bangus, as others spell it) special are its two main ingredients.
Of course, what would this dish be without its main protein? The delightful milkfish is full of soft and tender meat, as creamy as you’d expect from its white meat. Its deliciously indulgent belly is the subject of many families’ play quarrels, arguing over who gets to enjoy that part in particular. As we mentioned earlier, bangus is only one memo short of being recognized as our national fish. It comes as no surprise, then, that many recipes have thus stemmed from this versatile fish.
Indeed, tochong bangus isn’t the only way to enjoy this yummy seafood! For those who like to keep it simple, the classic daing na bangus is definitely preferred. Have you ever tried Bangsilog? A popular breakfast for many, this consists of daing na bangus, umami garlic rice, and a tasty egg. Daing na bangus has you marinating your fish in a combination of vinegar, peppercorn, garlic and salt. The intense flavors of your marinade add to the already mild and rich taste of your bangus, and make it all the more flavorful and mouthwatering. You can even dip your fish in a toyomansi mix for that extra oomph! This dish also surprisingly works well with a creamy broth like pumpkin soup.
Another way you can enjoy bangus apart from tochong bangus is in sisig! One of the Filipinos’ proudest food creations, sisig has seen an abundance of forms and proteins across different regions. Onion, garlic, and chili come together on a sizzling plate alongside chunks of your favorite fish. The result? Something spicy, salty, and savory all at the same time! Trust us, you won’t be able to get enough of this sizzling bangus sisig!
Now, bangus aside, what else makes this dish truly shine? The answer to that would be the flavorful, filling tocho sauce! Thick and tasty, tochong bangus’s sauce consists of tofu, fermented bean curd, and salted black beans or tausi. Tausi is no stranger to many different kitchens. It can grace a number of dishes, ranging from the simple fish filet to even Filipino classics like adobo! Tausi lends its own unique flavor to bangus, making each hearty bite absolutely tasty. Don’t be afraid to try it today!
Now that you know the two main components of this dish, let’s make this tochong bangus together! You’ll find that it’s just as easy to make as it is to enjoy.
How to Make Tochong Bangus
Clean your bangus and slice it into diagonal pieces. Rub salt all over your fish then let it stay for 10 minutes. Then, after heating a cup of cooking oil in a pan, fry both sides of your bangus until you get a light to medium brown color. Remove your bangus from the pan, then place it on a clean plate as you prepare to make your sauce.
The next step in this tochong bangus recipe would be to make your tocho sauce. After heating 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a clean pan, sauté your garlic, onion, ginger, and tomatoes. Sauté these staples until you’ve softened your onion, then add in your vinegar, tahure, and tausi. Cook this combination for 30 seconds before pouring in a cup of water. Bring this to a boil, then cook it on low for about 3 minutes.
Our next move would be to add the fried fish and tofu in the pan. Your tochong bangus needs to cook now for about 8 to 10 minutes. If you want your dish a little saucier, feel free to add as much water as necessary. Lastly, don’t forget to season with salt, ground black pepper, and sugar to taste! The latter is optional if you prefer your tochong bangus with a more savory taste.
All done? Your tochong bangus, aromatic and delicious, is now ready! Turn the heat off your stove and transfer it to a serving plate. You and your family can now enjoy this tochong bangus with warm rice and each other’s company. Share and enjoy!
We’d love to hear how you liked this tochong bangus. Let us know what you think of this delicious treat!
- 1 bangus cleaned and sliced diagonally into pieces
- Rub salt all over the fish. Let it stay for 10 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan. Fry both sides of the fish until the color turns light to medium brown. Remove fish from the pan and place on a clean plate. Set aside.
- Make the tocho sauce by heating 3 Tablespoons of cooking oil in a clean pan. Sauté garlic, onion, ginger, and tomato.
- Once the onion softens, add vinegar, tahure and tausi. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Pour water into the pan. Let boil. Cook in a low heat setting for 3 minutes.
- Add fried fish and fried tofu in the pan. Cover and continue cooking for 8 to 10 minutes. Note: add water as needed.
- Season with salt, ground black pepper, and sugar. Serve with warm rice. Share and enjoy!