I had this theory once that anything that could be done with meat, could also be done with fish. Well, of course, I was not 100% correct; only about 90% so.
Kaldereta is a traditional Filipino dish commonly cooked using goat’s meat. Other popular choices include beef and chicken. I figured that there was no reason why fish fillets cannot be substituted so long as they are firm enough when mixed with the sauce.
Which definitely meant that they could not be cooked by braising, since they would become soggy. The solution, naturally, was to pre-cooked them separately then allow them to simmer in the sauce for only a few minutes–just enough time for them to absorb the flavors. The entire procedure entailed extra effort, more dishes to wash and more mess than usual. But then, that’s probably because I was doing it for the first time. I’m sure there will be less mess next time since the experimentation stage is over.
Everyone was skeptical while the kalderetang bangus was cooking. But no skepticism was left when they started eating the dish for lunch.
1 whole bangus (milkfish), about 1 k. in weight
1/4 k. of potatoes, peeled and cut in wedges
1/4 k. of carrots, peeled and cut in wedges
1 tbsp. of finely minced garlic
2 onions, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. of tomato paste
1 c. of fish or meat stock
100 g. of sweet peas
2 chicken livers, boiled in a little water and mashed with a fork
3/4 c. of all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
1 c. of cooking oil
Cooking procedure :
Have the scales, gills and intestines of the bangusremoved at the market. Have it split down the back as for daing. With a sharp knife, cut off the spine. With tweezers, pull of the smaller bones. Season with salt and pepper and freeze for 30 minutes to make cutting easier. Cut the bangus into serving size pieces, about 2″ x 3″. Roll each piece in flour; shake off excess.
Heat the oil in a fryer. When smoking, deep fry the potato and carrot wedges until the outside is golden. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Reheat the oil until smoking again. Fry the bangus fillets in batches until golden. Do not cook to a crisp. Lift them out of the oil once the outside turns a fillets until the outside is a light golden brown. Do not cook to a crisp. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.
Pour off but 1 tbsp. of the oil and reheat. Saute the garlic, onions, bell pepper and tomatoes. Add the bay leaf. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are soft. Add the mashed chicken livers and tomato paste. Pour in the stock. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Add the carrots, potatoes and sweet peas. Bring to a soft boil. Add the fish fillets, carefully arranging them to make sure that each piece catches some sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes without stirring. Arrange on a shallow serving bowl and serve hot.