This vegan “fish” recipe is not your average “fish” recipe, nope, this is vegan bangus (bung-ohs), which is a delicious Filipino fish dish! But the best part is, there is no actual “fish” in this recipe. This version is made out of tofu and is flavored with a vinegar-salt-pepper marinade. It’s quite delicious, packed full of flavor, and tastes like the real thing. And of course, it’s easy to make, using only a few ingredients, and can be prepped ahead of time. Enjoy this dish with a serving of garlic fried rice, and some vegan eggs, and you have yourself a delicious meal.
In Tagalog, bangus (bung-ohs) translates to milkfish. And this particular recipe is known as DAING NA BANGUS. Daing (dah-eeng) is simply a process that uses a wet marinade to cure and ferment fish, normally using vinegar and salt. So in translation, daing na bangus is marinated milkfish. Traditionally, when Filipinos cure fish, it’s salted and soaked under the sun for a day or two. However this makes the fish tough, but using a wet marinade helps with the texture of the fish. But in this vegan version, it’ll just serve as just a marinade, which brings out a lot of flavor in the end product.
Before turning vegan, seafood was the hardest thing for me to give up. I’ve always loved seafood, but seeing the effects of what it does to the ocean made me want to stop eating it. There are times when I do miss eating fish, which is how I started experimenting with this recipe. Daing na bangus is my favorite Filipino fish dish. It was a very common dish my parents cooked, and I can see why. It’s so easy to make and cook. I just loved the flavor that the marinade gave to the fish. Garlicky, peppery, salty, and the acidity from the vinegar round everything together.
So, in Filipino culture, it’s served as a breakfast dish and I know what you’re thinking…Fish for breakfast? Well, in most Asian countries, fish is normal to serve early in the day! And it’s no different in the Philippines. Anyway, I used to eat it with garlic fried rice along with some sort of fried egg. And in the Philippines there’s a term for this food pairing, called bangsilog, meaning bangus and itlog (eht-lohg / eggs). But for this vegan bangus version, I eat it any time of the day, with garlic fried rice, some vinegar dipping sauce (it’s a Filipino thing), and that’s it! Sometimes, I pair it with some vegan eggs (like JUST egg), if I want that bangsilog experience.
This is inspired by Sam’s Vegan Salmon Recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.
Prepare the tofu by pressing and draining it with a tofu press. Cut the tofu in half, turn it over on its side and cut in half again. You should have 4 flat tofu steaks.
Working with one piece of tofu at a time. Place chopsticks on both sides of the tofu, this will prevent you from cutting all the way through. Slice the tofu partway through repeatedly about 1/8″ apart to give it that “flakey” texture. Repeat for the rest of the tofu slices. Be careful when handling them as they are fragile at this point.
Next, in a deep baking dish pour a bit of the marinade at the bottom. Then place your tofu into the dish, score side up, and pour the rest of the marinade on top. Cover the dish and allow the tofu to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, but for best results, overnight in the fridge.
When your tofu is ready, and gently remove the tofu pieces from the marinade (be careful as they will be fragile) and remove any peppercorns or chunks of garlic that stick. Cut the nori into 4 strips that are a 1/4 inch bigger than the tofu pieces. Then cut 4 more strips that are half the size of the tofu. This half piece will represent the “belly” of the milkfish.
Working with one strip of nori at a time, dip it into the marinade and stick it to the back of the tofu. Fold up the excess to have it stick to the sides of the tofu. This will prevent the nori from shrinking when you cook. Then do the same to the smaller strip, but place it on top of the tofu. Repeat for the rest.
If you’d tried this recipe out let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @flouredframe and don’t forget to tag me when you create my recipes! Happy cooking!
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