How To Cook The Best Bulanglang Na Isda

Bulanglang isn’t that very popular with Filipino in some regions compared to Sinigang variants, although it is one of the comfort foods, especially during the rainy season. Filipino’s love for stew and soup dish are evident in their cuisines. 

And with that note, we will help you to cook the best Bulanglang na Isda that you can easily pull for a quick lunch fix.

As mentioned above, this dish isn’t that popular with a lot of Filipino. It’s an easy choice when pulling out a simple recipe to make during busy weeknights, despite it being relatively simple to make.

So, in this segment, we will guide you on how to cook Bulanglang na Isda the simple way, but before we dive into its umami taste, let us take a closer look at what is Bulanglang na Isda and know its origin.


What Is Bulanglang Na Isda

(Photo credits to: Lola Kusinera)

Bulanglang is a dish with many variants and is prepared in different ways in different regions, but in some places, the basic ingredients remain the same. There are both non-vegetarian and vegetarian variants of this dish.

Although quite often rebutted, the origin has been traced back to the Katagalugan Region of the Philippines, where vegetables and fruits have always been plenty. The main ingredients of the non-vegetarian adaptation of this dish, the Milkfish (bangus), is also naturally found in the region. 

In Batangas (a region in the Philippines), where Bulanglang is famous the most, it is the easy pick dish to pull in almost every household. The essential ingredients for this delectable, comforting soup for the vegetarian version are pechay leaves, malunggay leaves (moringa), over-ripe guava, garlic, squash, finger pepper, root ginger, onion, whole pepper, tomatoes, and okra (ladies’ fingers).

On the other hand, the non-vegetarian version, Milkfish (bangus), or any other fish is sliced and added.


Ways To Cook Bulanglang Na Isda

(Photo credits to: Lola Kusinera)

Instant Pot

cooking in an Instant Pot could make or break your dish, especially in your first try. That is why, with this equipment, you only need a few minutes to cook this dish. You can put all the ingredients inside or fry the fish first to give your Instant Pot Bulanglang na Isda another distinct texture. 

In no time, you will have your dish ready under a few minutes of cooking time. This Cooker could be the best option when you need to pull a quick dinner fix on busy weeknights dinner. 

CrockPot

this is another equipment in your kitchen that would bring glorious moments in your kitchen experience. To use this equipment, you need to decide what level of temperature is fitting for your dish. Not only will this determine your cooking time duration, but also the doneness of this dish.

Putting together a dish like Bulanglang na Isda can make that weekday meal more special that would make you enjoy Sunday lunch with the family without stressing too much in the meal preparation.

Pressure Cooker

pressure cooker is the only equipment here that uses a stove (if you don’t have the electric one). As this appliance doesn’t have any knob to set your cooking time, it is fine to look halfway inside the Pot to see how your dish is doing (although you’re not supposed to), for now, this is okay.

Place all your ingredients inside the Pot with the proper amount of water for the soup. It might help to fry the fish first so that it won’t fall off or disintegrate when you overcook it a little. 

Slow Cooker

same function with the CrockPot. This equipment typically has a knob where you can set your temperature. Like any other electric cooker, where you can put everything inside and walk away, Slow Cooker does it.

The wonder-Pot like this will make your dish moist and super healthy, and that’s the beauty of slow cooking. Make your Slow Cooker Bulanglang sa Isda that would capture your taste buds on every spoon you take.


You might be wondering how you can turn this dish into a more exciting meal. Here, we listed down some versions where you can cook it better. These variants will surely bring happiness to the table.

Vegan Bulanglang

Since Bulanglang originally means “boiled vegetable soup,” we can safely assume that it is pure veggies at first before it evolved in a lot of different versions. 

For our vegan friends, you can eliminate all the animal meat products used in this recipe, use only the veggies, or choose whatever vegetables suit your liking. 

Follow the same procedure of cooking it, and you’ll have your savory in rich soup Vegan Bulanglang.

Bulanglang with Inihaw na Bangus

Bulanglang with Inihaw na Bangus (Milkfish) will be a knock out version of this dish. In this adaptation, you need to grill the whole fish, while your Bulanglang is cooking. Do them concurrently to save time and not to let the other go cold while the other is cooking up.

When the fish is grilled, please put it on top of your Bulanglang, do a nice little plating and serve hot. This version will wake your sleepy mind at lunch with its bursting flavors and savory. The contrasting tang and umami will be too much for your own good that you will come back for more.

Bulanglang with Halaan

If you have a fetish for seafood, then this version will make you scoop for another bowl repeatedly. The umami from the fish paste (bagoong alamang) is already an excellent booster of the base flavor, add clams to it, and it will be a blast. 

The flavor from the clams will give you gustatory revelation. This is the version that does not only soothe your hungry cravings but will also soothe your soul on one slurp of the soup.

Bulanglang with Shrimp

Bulanglang with Shrimp plus shrimp paste is the version of this dish you didn’t see coming. To give that country vibe, cook this in a palayok (clay pot), and you will have the best meal of your life. The freshness of the Shrimp in a hot veggie soup will make saporific of everything on your plate.

Serve this with a bowl of hot plain rice, and you will have a gustatory burst inside your mouth. 

Bulanglang na Bangus sa Bayabas

This version is closer to Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas, only that this medley of veggies are done in a different way of cooking with the distinct ingredients such as the fermented Shrimp. You want to mash or soften the guavas to extract its juice and dissolve in the soup.

This adaptation would give this version a sweet and yet savory flavor of boiled vegetable soup, another comfort food that will satisfy you through all seasons. 


Troubleshooting

If this dish is entirely unfamiliar to you, chances are you might find yourself messing it up, but do not worry. We got you. We listed some interventions to help you get through it.

  • Too bland – if this happened, remember that you’re using shrimp paste (alamang)? Add some more of it by little and taste as you go or if you find it a little too salty, you may use table salt instead.
  • Soup too runny – if the consistency of your soup is too runny for your liking, you may add some more okras or taro (gabi). With these vegetables, your soup could have perfect consistency the way you want it.
  • Overcooked veggies – If this occurs, you may get out all the vegetables from the soup to prevent it from further cooking. Please place it in another container. 
  • Soup too salty – if the soup is too salty, more than you can tolerate it, you can add more water to it or take out some portion of the soup and add water. Adjust the taste by adding seasoning or aromatics.

Trivia

It is essential to know what’s in your food. Here in Eat Like Pinoy, we make sure you know what nutrition you are getting from each of the ingredients. So, here is the breakdown of the vitamins and minerals you can consume in a bowl of this delectable comforting soup.

  • Stringbeans string beans, snap beans, or green beans are rich sources of vitamins K, C, and A, fiber, and folic acid. String beans may block the carcinogenic effects generated when grilling meats at a high temperature. Individuals who love grilling their meat to charred should increase their consumption of green vegetables.
  • Squash – even though squash is considered a vegetable from a botanical perspective, they are broadly treated as fruits as they hold the seeds of the plant. The vitamin present in the yellow squash called folate helps remove unhealthy metabolism byproduct is known as homocysteine accountable for stroke and heart attack. 

It is also known to have a good effect on skin, hair, and nails. Being loaded    with minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins, squash is quite beneficial to the external organs of the body.   

  • Okra (lady’s finger) – Okra is a flowering plant recognized for its edible seed pods. 

Okra is grown in tropical and warm climates, like in South Asia and Africa. Okra is a  good source of vitamins K1 and C.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that supplies your total immune function, whereas  vitamin K1 is also a fat-soluble vitamin that is recognized for its role in blood clotting.

  • Malunggay leaves (Moringa oleifera) – recent studies show that Malunggya leaves may help in blood sugar and cholesterol reduction. It also may have excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. 

Moringa leaves are also incredibly nutritious and are beneficial for people who lack in essential nutrients.

  • Shrimp paste (Bagoong alamang) – among other fish paste, shrimp paste is relatively high in DHA. DHA is responsible for the neural development of an infant during its first few years. Shrimp paste has an acid component that performs a vital function in retinal development and the brain. 

Surprisingly, it plays an essential role in inhibiting heart disease, arthritis, stroke, and non-dependency on insulin for diabetic persons. This fact may be associated with the presence of crucial water-binding solutes such as peptides, proteins, and carbohydrates. 


Tips

 To help you make better Bulanglang na Isda, here are some tips we provided just for you.

  • Since we are using shrimp paste in this recipe, you may add ginger to your soup to get rid of the lansa (fishy smell or taste). On the plus side, your soup will become even more nutritious.
  • To avoid your fish from disintegrating on your soup, try frying it first. Although this will only help so much. The best way to stop it from happening is the right cooking time.
  • Slow cooking will make the fish bones melt in your mouth. So if you have one, use it! It is one of the healthiest cooking methods, too.
  • Saute the fish or clams or whatever meat you are using to make this dosh in fish sauce before adding other ingredients and water to boil it. This style will enhance the umami of your Bulanglang.

Best Served With

Soup is a one-pot-wonder. It is healthy, has a healing effect, and is comforting, especially during the rainy season. Soup is always best when partnered with another dish or other types of foods. So here we listed down some food that could be paired well with your Bulanglang na Isda.

  • Inihaw na Isda – the smoky flavor and the savory taste of this soup will be a heavenly combination that will bring your lunch to another sapid experience.
  • Fried Chicken – the crunchiness of the chicken and the velvety soup that is your Bulanglang na Isda is the pair you won’t believe is the best-tasting pair. The contrasting texture of these two meltings in your tongue will give you a swirl of emotion. 
  • Baked Mussel – there’s no other word for this combination but scrumptious! These pairs will be screaming, “eat-me!” right in your face. 
  • Fried rice – rice is a staple food in the Philippines; it means that every dish will always be paired with it. If you have a leftover of rice, try frying it, adding mixed veggies (green peas, carrots, and potatoes), and savor each bite.
  • Shanghai – shanghai has a crispy outer layer with a super flavorful and soft internal part. Shanghai is a mix of veggies and meat. This should be a perfect pair for this delectable soup as it will form layers of flavors and texture in every spoonful. 

Conclusion

Soup, as one of Filipino’s comfort foods, should not be too difficult to make, but not too simple as it may appear bland and without effort poured into it. Here, we have provided you with some variations and methods for making a delicious soup with your signature touch.

 We hope we encouraged you to make this soup as an easy pick whenever a need for soup arises. And if you did, please hit us in the comment section below, and don’t forget to rate this recipe! Thank you for reading through. 

For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!

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5 from 1 vote

Best Bulanglang na Isda Recipe

A traditional soup in the Philippines made of various vegetables and partnered with fried milk. A savory and healthy dish to serve in your next meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Seafood Recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 1kcal
Cost $5 – $20

Ingredients

  • 1 pc Bangus (Milkfish) sliced, fried
  • 3 pcs String Beans sliced
  • 1 slice Squash small size
  • 3 pcs Okra (Lady's finger) sliced
  • 1 bunch Malunggay leaves
  • 1 pc Onion diced
  • 1/4 cup Bagoong alamang (Fish paste)
  • 2 pcs Tomatoes sliced
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 pc Eggplant sliced

Instructions

  • Debone the fried fish. Set aside.
  • In a pot, boil 3 cups of water with onion, tomatoes, fish paste and deboned fried fish. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the squash and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Then add the stringbeans, okra, eggplant, and malunggay leaves. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Serve while hot!

Nutrition

Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 10mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 27IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg
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