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Rellenong Bangus- Stuffed Milkfish

Rellenong Bangus - Stuffed Milkfish is a classic Filipino fish entree which is our family favorite. I always ask for this dish when we travel back to the Philippines. But I can't always wait for a trip to Asia for this, so I learned to cook this stuffed fish in my American kitchen. The process of making this involves slicing the fish in the back, removing its meat and sauteeing the fish meat in savory condiments. After the saute, fill the fish with the stuffing and tie it up, then pan fry. This recipe was adapted from The Philippine Cookbook by Reynaldo Alejandro. Serves 2 to 4.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dinner, Fish, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Rellenong Bangus Milkfish
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 294kcal
Author: Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Large skillet: 12 to 14 inches in diameter


  • 3 to 4 pounds whole large bangus (milkfish) or substitute with sea bass, tilefish or weak tile; cleaned and washed
  • 2 teaspoons salt divided, use 1 teaspoon for fish skin, rest for saute of fish meat.
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper divided, use 1 teaspoon for fish skin, rest for saute
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil Divided, use 2 Tablespoons to saute fish meat; rest to pan fry whole fish
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled, minced
  • 1 whole onion chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cubed tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons calamansi or lemon juice Divided, use 1 Tablespoon for fish skin, rest for saute
  • 1 Tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 whole egg beaten

For the fish:

  • 2 feet butcher's twine for tying fish

For serving:

  • Steamed rice


To prepare the Bangus - Milkfish

  • Wash the fish thoroughly after coming home from the market.
    Slice open the back of the fish, towards the sides. Using a meat mallet, or the back of a large knife, pound the outer side of the fish, so that the meat is easier to take out.
    Hold the open cavity and using a spoon, scoop out the meat of the fish, removing the spine and bones. Leave the head and outer skin intact. Wash the skin and head. Marinate with calamansi juice, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
    In a bowl, flake the fish, removing any remaining bones. Season the fish meat with salt and pepper.

To cook the Bangus filling:

  • In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add the oil. When oil is hot enough in 2 minutes, saute the garlic, onions and tomatoes. Stir around for 2 minutes till tomatoes are soft.
    Add the flaked fish. Pour the calamansi or lemon juice and the patis (fish sauce). Add the green peas and raisins. Blend ingredients in the skillet. Continue cooking for 5 minutes more till the fish meat is completely cooked.
    Quickly add the beaten egg into the cooked fish meat. Stir the mixture fast so the egg gets absorbed right away. Set the fish mixture aside for 5 minutes to cool.

To fill the Bangus:

  • Place the skin and head of the bangus on a board or tray. Open the slit. Using a spoon, fill the empty cavity with the cooked fish meat. Fill the entire fish, making sure no stuffing comes out of the sides. Tie the fish with butcher's twine so the stuffing stays in place while pan-frying.
    Refrigerate the uncooked fish for 1 hour before pan frying.

To cook the Rellenong Bangus:

  • In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, pour the remaining vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough in 2 to 3 minutes, place the entire stuffed bangus inside the skillet. Use a splatter guard if the oil jumps out of the pan and gets uncomfortable for you.
    Pan fry each side of the bangus for 5 to 6 minutes till brown.
    When serving, untie and discard the butcher's twine. Place the fish on a serving platter. Slice in 3 to 4 serving parts. Serve warm with rice.

Cook's comments:

  • Most fish mongers at the market offer to clean the fish of its intestines, scales and tails (and sometimes the head). This is a free service. Take advantage of the free offer. I always do.
    Here in the United States, on the east coast, I buy my bangus (milkfish) from the Asian grocery, where the fish mongers are familiar with Filipino cooking. If bangus is not available, you can substitute with sea bass, tilefish or weak tile. In the Philippines, bangus is readily sold in wet markets or groceries.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Bangus or milkfish is a white fish variety commonly found in the Philippines. Fishery experts in the Philippines regard the bangus as the backbone of the country's aquaculture. Commercial production of fish farming like bangus goes back to a century ago. The Philippines is one of the top producers of this fish variety in the world and exports to the USA, the UK, Canada and Japan. Here in America, I buy bangus at the Asian market. The bangus has a white meaty flesh that tastes sweet when cooked.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1169mg | Potassium: 163mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg