Galay Recipes: Daing na Bangus

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One of our most simple but delicious recipes is Daing na bangus.

Going back all the way to at least my great-grandmother, this way of cooking milk fish is a very familiar and nostalgic taste for us Galays.

Daing‘ usually refers to dried fish split in half along the back in a ‘butterfly’ cut (‘pinikas nga bulad‘ or ‘halved dried’ in Cebuano). But for us the term refers instead to this marinated deep-fried fish. While many kinds of fish are made into daing bulad, our daing is only traditionally made using bangus (although my mother has innovated with Tilapia).

The marinade used for daing is versatile – we call it ‘daing marinade’ because it was originally for bangus, but it has since been used for other dishes. It can be used for chicken, pork chops, or other fish.

It is so tasty one whole bangus usually takes over a week to finish – a little bit can be eaten with so much rice. For milk fish one often thinks it is the fatty stomach part which tastes best, but this isn’t necessarily the case for daing: the stomach area is buttery, but the head is chewy, and the extremities are crispy, and the meat itself is silky and tasty – this is making me hungry.

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole bangus (milk fish)
  • Vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Kalamansi
  • Crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 clove crushed garlic
  • Salt
  • Seasoning
  • Flour

(Quantity of some ingredients is estimated and depends on the size of bangus)

 

Procedure

  1. Gut the bangus and split open along the stomach. Make sure the scales are not removed.
  2. Make the daing marinade: mix vinegar, soy sauce, kalamansi extract, crushed pepper, crushed garlic, salt, and seasoning in a plastic container big and wide enough to fit the whole butterflied bangus.
  3. It is traditional to leave the crushed garlic unpeeled, with the skin mixed in.
  4. Marinade bangus in the mixture. The duration depends on taste – from overnight to up to one week (traditionally it is only marinated overnight, marinating it for longer is an innovation of my mother). The longer it is marinated, the more flavourful – but also the sourer and ‘itchier’ – it will be. It will also be softer (and will fall apart easier), and the bones will be easier to eat.
  5. After marinating to desired duration, drain and set aside for a while away from marinade. This is to make sure the fish is not too soggy before frying.
  6. Before frying, coat lightly with flour to avoid sticking in the pan. (My mother’s innovation)
  7. Deep fry until golden.
  8. Serve with rice.

Traditional sawsawan and partners:

  • Tomato, water, and salt
  • Ginisang petchay (another recipe!)
  • Sayote ‘fire cubes’ (My mother’s own recipe, only my branch of the family is used to this)
  • Any vegetable dish

It is also not unusual to eat it with rice without any sides.

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