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Steaks, Sarciado, Ginataan: The many ways to prepare fish this Holy Week |

Food and Leisure

Steaks, Sarciado, Ginataan: The many ways to prepare fish this Holy Week

Dolly Dy-Zulueta -
Steaks, Sarciado, Ginataan: The many ways to prepare fish this Holy Week
Bangus Belly in Teriyaki Sauce / Dolly Dy-Zulueta

MANILA, Philippines — Fish, fish and more fish! You are likely to be eating more fish than ever this Holy Week because you have decided to stay clear of meat and vegetables. 

You might run out of recipe ideas, though, because of having to prepare fish dishes meal in and meal out. There are practical fish recipe ideas that you may want to try.

What you can do with fish depends a lot on what fish you have on hand, and whether it is a whole fish, sliced, deboned, or cut into fillets. It also depends a lot on the texture and natural flavor of the fish.


The head can be made into Sinigang (sour soup) or Tinola (clear soup) to take advantage of the natural flavor of the exquisite deep-sea fish.

For easy Sinigang, use your preferred souring agent and, if lacking in flavor, adjust with a Sinigang mix. Complement it with vegetables like kangkong, string beans, tomatoes, okra, radish, or any vegetables you prefer.

For Tinola, enhance the fish’s natural flavors with ginger, chicken or shrimp cube, salt and pepper. Add raw papaya or sayote and some greens.

Salmon slices can be grilled and served with teriyaki sauce. These slices can also be steamed with lemon and herbs (such as thyme, tarragon and parsley) then served with a variety of sauces. It goes well with different sauces. A cream sauce with chopped dill should be good.

Another option is to cook the slices in oyster sauce. This dish is simple but delicious.

For a healthy salmon dish, you can simply poach the fish or bake it in parchment pouches with lemon slices, vegetables and aromatics.


Probably the most affordable fish in the country today, Tilapia or St. Peter’s Fish, is also one of the most versatile. You can cook it in many ways. The easiest way to cook it is to fry it.

Fried tilapia can be transformed into a number of different dishes with a change of sauce — Escabeche, Sweet and Sour, Tausi, Kinamatisan, Sarciado.

You can also make Paksiw na Tilapia with vinegar or Pinaputok na Tilapia by stuffing and wrapping in banana leaves before drying.

Tilapia can also be stuffed with chopped onion, tomatoes and ginger. Season it with salt and pepper, then grill.

It can also be cooked in coconut milk to make Ginataang Tilapia.

Another option is to turn the dish into Sinanglay by wrapping the Tilapia in pechay leaves and cooking it in gata (coconut cream or milk) with sautéed garlic, onion, finely diced tomatoes and chopped shrimps.

Bangus (Milkfish)

Aside from Inihaw na Bangus and Rellenong Bangus, there are so many dishes you can make with Bangus because this fish is very versatile. Some people just refrain from eating it because they say it has plenty of bones, but once you get the hang of it and know where to pick the bones, it will be easy.

To upgrade Daing na Bangus, use boneless Bangus and make gravy to go with it. Top it with fried garlic.

You can also prepare Bangus Steaks by marinating Bangus belly segments in barbecue sauce or powder then pan-fry them. 

It can also be made into Lumpiang Shanghai with flaked Bangus or Tinapang Bangus meat.

Sinigang na Bangus, complete with kangkong, tomatoes, string beans, radish and okra, is a top favorite.

Another option is to cut the Bangus into slices, fry them and make stewy or saucy dishes such as Escabeche, Sarciado, Sweet and Sour, or Tausi, just like with Tilapia. You can also cook it with mashed tofu to make Tochong Bangus.

How about Paksiw na Bangus? You can bake the Bangus in aluminum foil. Dab the foil with butter. Place the Bangus on the foil. Season the fish with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Brush the fish with butter and sprinkle with minced garlic. Cover it with grated cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

For those who love their Bisteks (braised dish in citrus and soy sauce much like a Beef Steak), they can try Bangus Bistek. You can cook the sliced Bangus like you would with a Bistek. As an alternative, you can chop up and cook the fish like Sisig to make Bangus Sisig.

Smaller Bangus can be made into homemade Bangus Sardines with either tomato or oil.

Galunggong (GG)

There’s nothing like simple fried Galunggong (mackerel scad or round scad). The fish is very flavorful, and frying brings out its natural flavors. It can stand on its own or serve as a perfect accompaniment to Guisadong Munggo.

Fried Galunggong can take on a different form if you add sauce to it, such as Escabeche, Ginataan, Sarciado or Adobo.

It is one of the best types of fish for Paksiw, as its firm meat holds well to vinegar, which is an acid. For variety, Paksiw na Galunggong can be fried into what is called Pakfry (Paksiw na Fried).

Galunggong can be grilled, smoked (Tinapa), steamed and flaked to make into fishballs or wrapped into Lumpiang Shanghai.

You can also have your Galunggong filleted and pan-fried in olive oil with garlic similar to the Rated GG dish of Sentro 1771.

Another option is to turn Galunggong into Daing by making butterfly cuts and then marinating these in vinegar, salt and pepper.

RELATED: Recipe: Salmon 'Pie' with California Raisins

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