Rellenong Bangus

Experts in the Philippines will complete the de-boning in minutes, but to produce a successful result I suggest the task is undertaken with patience. For a group of around six people choose a fish of around 3 kg. If you can find a Milk Fish, even if frozen, all well and good. But if not I would suggest a fish such as Sea Bass or Cod as a replacement. They are similar in shape even though the eating patterns of the two fish are different.

To start remove the fins, scales, guts and gills, but leave attached the head and tail, then wash the fish to remove any traces of blood. You now need to remove the inner contents of the fish, bones and flesh, without cutting through or damaging the skin. With a small sharp knife start removing the flesh from the skin from the head end of the stomach cavity, gradually work your way around both sides from head to tail until you reach the backbone. With kitchen scissors cut through the backbone at both end, now gently work around the bone to separate it from the body. Remove the flesh and bones and set aside. If flesh is still on the skin gently remove with a spoon. The worst is over! Coat the head and skin in lemon juice, soy sauce and pepper and set aside for later.

Now remove the flesh from the bones. Make certain that there are no bones remaining, then chop the flesh into small chunks, and place in a pan with 125 ml of fish stock. Place the lid on the pan and gently heat the fish. Meanwhile prepare the rest of the stuffing mix. In vegetable oil fry 3 chopped cloves of garlic and 1 chopped onion, until softened. Add 2 chopped skinned tomatoes, 60 ml lemon juice, 50 g of soaked raisins, 100 g of chopped ham and 100 g of cooked peas, and mix the ingredients. Add to the cooked fish and allow to cool slightly. Whisk two eggs and blend with the cooked fish and stuffing mix. Stuff the fish skin from head to tail and either stitch the join or seal with kebab sticks.

The task is nearly complete. In a large pan, lightly coated with oil, cook the fish until browned on both sides and the stuffing heated to 62 degrees Celsius. The fish will need to be turned once, so exercise great care so as not to break. Subject to the size of the fish, your pans or trays and your oven space, it can either be fried, grilled or baked in the oven. When cooked rest aside for a few minutes and remove the kebab sticks or the sowing thread. Place the fish on a serving platter and gently slice, at an angle of around 45 degrees, the fish into slices around 4 cm thick. Take to the table and serve.