Bangus belly steaks

Most Filipinos call this dish “bangus a la pobre”. It’s seasoned and fried boneless bangus (milkfish) fillets served with a little sauce, lots of onion rings and toasted garlic bits. It’s prepared in basically the same way as the traditional bistek (Filipino beef steak) except for the garlic bits. That might make it sound ordinary but, believe me, this dish is scene stealer. bangus belly steaks

I’ve done this dish in so many ways but the best was the version I served at my husband’s birthday party last June. Oooh, the praises I got. And when they come from your mother-in-law, it can’t be a small thing, right? Kidding, kidding. My mother-in-law adores my cooking, so there.

Boneless bangus belly is available in most supermarkets. You may also use whole boneless UNSEASONED bangus.

This recipe serves four.

Ingredients :

4 bangus belly fillets
2 large onions
about half a cup of flour
2 c. of vegetable cooking oil
juice of 12 kalamansi
1/2 c. of light soy sauce
4-6 cloves of garlic

Cooking procedure :

Pat the bangus belly fillets dry with absorbent kitchen towels. Season lightly with salt and liberally with pepper.

Peel, crush and coarsely chop the garlic.

Peel the onions and cut into rings about 1/4 of an inch thick. Hold a slice and press outward with your thumb to separate the rings.

Heat about a quarter of a cup of cooking oil in a frying pan.

Fry the garlic in the oil just until toasted. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Lightly fry the onion rings. DO NOT OVERCOOK. About a minute in the hot oil is enough. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Pour the rest of the cooking oil into the pan and heat until it starts to smoke.

Dredge the fish in flour, shaking off the excess. Over medium-high heat, fry the fish — two at a time so as not to overcrowd the pan — until lightly crisp and golden. Flip halfway through cooking to brown both sides evenly. Drain on paper towels then arrange in an oven proof baking dish (overlapping is fine but not one on top of the other). Arrange the onion rings on top.

Mix together the kalamansi juice and soy sauce and pour over the fish and onion rings. Bake in a PREHEATED 170oC oven for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven, tilt the baking dish lightly, scoop the sauce with a spoon and pour over the fish and onions. Do this about five times. Sprinkle the toasted garlic on top before serving.


1. If you marinate the fish in kalamansi juice and soy sauce before frying, it will never form a crisp coating.

2. If you simply pour the kalamansi juice and soy sauce over the fish after frying, the fish will never get a chance to absorb any of the flavors from the sauce. With or without the flour, fish that has been fried to crispness forms a coating which will not allow the sauce to permeate the inner part. You might as well serve the kalamansi juice and soy sauce mixture as a dipping sauce.

For some reason, by baking the fish and the sauce, everything just blends perfectly together. My guess is the heat. At a certain temperature, the fried fish becomes more amenable to absorption. I’m not a scientific person and that’s just a guess. But baking works. Ask my mother-in-law.

3. By scooping the sauce and “basting” the fish straight from the oven, you give the fish even more chance to absorb the flavors.

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The Author

Hello, my name is Connie Veneracion. I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more about me)

19 Responses

  1. rose z says:

    i cook the same thing, but instead of baking it, i boil the kalamansi and toyo together, then put in the bangus to absorb the flavors…. well, maybe by trying your way, i will know the difference….
    thanks so much for your site/s…. congrats on this new one!

  2. Connie says:

    hi rose z. this is a limited engagement only blog hehehehe

  3. Haayy, you make my mouth water… I can imagine just biting over that bangus belly fat. My sister and I always fight over it. Thanks, thanks, thanks!

  4. sam says:

    I really appreciate this blog Con! As you know I’m very much NOT a seasoned cook. So your recipes and suggestions will come in very handy this season.

  5. Connie says:

    More recipes coming up, Sam. I’m more of a New Year person kasi than a Christmas person. :)

  6. Llewelyn says:

    I Love your recipes complete with explanations. The explanations are really useful. Mas okay ka pa sa cookbook. More power and I look forward to more of your recipes…

  7. emy medina says:

    will definitely try this one…the tips are beneficial…
    by the way …what is gindara?…i’d like to try the kilawin also…
    thanks again!!!

  8. Mina says:

    I suppose I can also do this with Tanigue? Are there any adjustments required if so?

  9. Mina says:

    I was fortunate enough to have gotten a few pieces of tanigue from the supermarket this morning. I cooked it using this recipe and it was a blast! My husband and son loved it and requested for a repeat performance soon! A few of my friends got to taste it and they were all praises as well. Thanks so much as I’ve always wanted to cook this recipe.

  10. Riza says:

    Thank you miss Connie for sharing this recipe. Naubos ang ang rice sa rice cooker. Katatapos lang ng aming dinner and I got nothing but praise from my kasambahay. Thank you so much!!! I will always visit this site. shi shine.

  11. Muriel says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.
    Cooking becomes so much easier.

  12. experimentachef says:

    Tried this today and it was a hit!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  13. jean says:

    I cooked this recipe early this morning and my husband said “ito yung luto na matagal ko ng hinahanap!” Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  14. sweetnovember says:

    i just found this recipe today and decided to try it and guess what,i loved it and my hubby,too! it tasted so good i wanted to cook again maybe tomorrow since i still have another bangus belly left in the fridge ^_^
    thanks! God bless….

  15. Kate Go says:

    Hi Connie, we tried this last night and everyone loved it! Thanks for the recipe :)

  16. Milguilz says:

    I have seen your bangus belly steak recipe and I am so much interested to cook it here at Fresno California but what is the substitute of the 12 pcs of kalamansi juice coz there are none here, only lemon and lime. Pls guide me what to do. thanks. I will cook also your overwhelming reply of your very10 delicious Baked Macaroni.

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