Saturday, June 21, 2008
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Milkfish (Bangus)
Here's another recipe featuring one of our favorite fish - the Bangus (Milkfish)! Milkfish in Tamarind Soup was featured previously here.
Milkfish are large silvery fish with forked tail, and a sharp snout. According to the Wikipedia, it is also known a Chanos Chanos, and the sole living specie of the Chanidae fish family (other family members are already extinct.) Milkfish are aplenty here in the Philippines. It is already cultivated in fish ponds across the archipelago. It is the country's national fish, after all. This fish has delicate taste and soft texture, similar to Bass. It has lots of healthy fish fats making it a family favorite. The only bone we have against this fish is that it has lots of bones!!! It is not difficult to debone this fish, because all the bones are all neatly lined up anyway. But it will still take time. So if you want to eat this fish in a more convenient way, buy the deboned version.
There are many "forms" of milkfish available in the market. There's the fresh milkfish, with bones and all. There's the deboned whole milkfish, milkfish fillets, milkfish belly, marinated milkfish, smoked milkfish, etc. And now the newest milkfish product to hit the market is the bottled milkfish fillets and belly in oil.
It is indeed very convenient to have this bottled version. Just open it and serve with rice, it makes a yummy, flavorful, and filling meal. And without the bones to bother us at that. However, to use this milkfish in a pasta dish would be perfect! The bottled sauce is flavorful and spicy - perfect for a pasta sauce.
These are the Milkfish Belly pieces taken out of the bottle. The black parts are edible and yummy. Those are the fish fats. My kids would often save those best parts for the last...
I used whole wheat pasta for this dish. Whole wheat products are healthier, with higher protein content than the regular pasta. Of course its texture would be grainy as well. At first, the kids did not like the 'graininess' of whole wheat pasta. We experimented on different brands and finally settled on this one.
1 bottle milkfish belly, spanish style in corn oil
1 pack (350gm) whole wheat spaghetti
4 T minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
5 tomatoes, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
handfull of basil, cut
5 T olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Mash 1 to 2 pieces of milkfish fillets, set aside. Reserve the rest of the milkfish belly/meat.
3. Heat up the cooking pan or skillet. Pour the oil from the bottle into the cooking pan. Cook onion and garlic in the oil until fragrant but not burnt.
4. Add the tomatoes. Simmer for around 2 minutes for the flavors to develop. Add the mashed bangus meat. Saute for a while. Add the bell peppers. Add the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil. Turn off heat.
5. Arrange pasta on the serving platter. Top with the sauce, then add a reserved milkfish belly on top. Alternately, you can add all the pasta into the pan and mix the pasta with the sauce inside the pan - for easier, less messy mixing. Serve into individual plates topped with the remaining milkfish belly meats.
I am submitting this pasta dish and the featured milkfish to the HomeGrown Gourmet, hosted this month by Joy through Cooking. Milkfish, being the national fish of this country is truly home-grown. :)