Home-made Tinapang Bangus

I’ve been meaning to post my mom’s home-made tinapang bangus [boneless smoked milkfish] since the beginning of this blog. But I was hesitant for a long time because this is one of the home-made products that we market locally. We have a tiny home-based food business by-order that we only do on a part-time basis. We usually only cater to close friends and relatives since they live close by.

My mom is a busy person, but when she finds the spare time, she would make tinapang bangus [which she learned how to make using an old Filipino cookbook] or achara [green papaya relish]. Ours is the plump version of tinapang bangus and not the skinny type, like those you can buy from the supermarket.

I am sharing this so you too can prepare tinapang bangus at home. It is easy and very delicious especially with matching achara. I will post the achara recipe once I find the time.

Here’s the recipe.


*for a kilo of bangus

Bangus or milkfish [size: 2-3 pcs per 1 kilo] – butterflied and boneless, with scales on

salt and calamansi juice

vegetable oil [if you like to use olive oil, it’s okay]

1/2 cup uncooked rice, tea [removed from 5 teabags], 1/2 cup brown sugar


Rinse the bangus in running water. Make sure there’s no more excess water on the fish before adding calamansi juice and salt.

Rub calamansi juice before sprinkling a little salt on the fleshy part of the fish. Marinate in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes. It is also okay not to marinate the fish prior to steaming as the flavors will be absorbed during the cooking process.

Steam the fish for 25-30 minutes. Make sure it is fully cooked by checking the fleshy part if it is already tender.


Steamed Bangus

Use large skillet (kawali or talyasi in Filipino) or a bamboo steamer in you have one. Rub a little oil on a grill (for the skillet) or on the slotted pots (if you’re using a bamboo steamer) for smoking the bangus, so the fish won’t stick.

Mix the contents of the teabags, rice, and brown sugar in a bowl. Add aluminum foil at the bottom pot of your steamer or on the skillet before adding the rice, tea, and brown sugar mixture. This prevents darkening and sticking of the mixture on the pot or skillet since it will take some time to smoke the bangus.


Rice, Brown Sugar, Tea Mix

Smoke the bangus until golden brown. The brown sugar and tea cause the golden brown color of the tinapang bangus. The rice adds the smokiness and complements the other two ingredients.

After cooking, rub a little oil on the outer part of the fish – on the scales and head – to make it glossy. You can eat the tinapa right away or within the day without the need for frying. Freshly cooked tinapang bangus shouldn’t be kept in the fridge right away if you intend to consume within the day.

If you’re planning to keep a batch in the fridge or freezer, it is best to wrap it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. It’s best to eat your home-made tinapang bangus within 2-3 days.

This fish dish is truly tasty and complements the spicy sweet-sour taste of achara. And the best part, you can eat with your hands with a mug of delicious brewed coffee.

Kainan na!