Burong Isda Recipe

Since this seems to be a common request for a more detailed reciple (since I really hardly gave anything out on this post), I shall be posting this online. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Burong Isda

Buy the following ingredients

4 kilos of fresh water fish
2 kilos of masarap na rice โ€“ we use jasmine
Rock salt


The only rule my mom kept reiterating to me throughout the whole conversation was everything should be kept clean, otherwise, it might ruin the fermenting process.

Fish preparation:

The fish can be any fresh water fish, though we use at home is tilapia, since it is cheap and readily available too. My mom said you can use mudfish also. We use the small to medium sized tilapia, and we come out with around 12 pieces of fish for the 4 kilos.

Clean the fish thoroughly and slice it daing style. You can have this done wherever you buy it, but we prefer to do it at home. Less cross contamination with other germs. If you are unable to find the smaller fish, you may opt to remove the middle bone of the fish, and even the head. We donโ€™t do this, but you can if you want to.

Drain the fish properly, we lay them flat on the colander or the cookie cooling rack with a tray underneath. After this has drained, salt it like when you make daing, enough to season thoroughly. Then, allow the water to drain again. You may do this in the refrigerator to keep bugs away.

Rice preparation:

Cook the 2 kilos of rice, but not malata. Just cook it properly.

Allow the rice to cool on a tray and ensure that no flies set on the rice. Once itโ€™s cold, season the rice with rock salt like when you make sinangag.


Using a container like a Tupperware or something with airtight lids, do layer the rice and fish.

Put one layer of rice, about an inch, and ensure that the bottom is completely covered by the rice, and squish it to compress the rice. You may use a sandok or another utensil to compress it properly, just please make sure itโ€™s clean. Follow this by the fish. Usually, we have two pieces of fish per layer, but if the size of the fish makes it difficult to arrange the pieces, you may cut the butterflied fish into two so you can manipulate the pieces better. Squish again, and with every layer you put into it, ensuring that you end the layers with the rice.

The container you use should be almost full, with just an inch of air from the rice to the cover. Close tightly and set aside.

Preparation and Cooking

The buro will be fermented for a total of 8 to 10 days. It depends on the sourness level you want. We sautรฉ by the 8th day.

Every 3rd day since the buro was made, open it and squish the items down even further. Note that this will really smell like itโ€™s fermenting. Every time we make it, I still am a bit turned off by the smell of the buro (but I do love it) whenever my senses are not ready for it.

On the 8th day, prepare lots of garlic, onions and ginger with the ginger around double in volume of either garlic and onions. Also, have on hand lots of oil, we use canola, but any vegetable oil will do. There should be enough oil in the pan when youโ€™re cooking it that some oil are floating on top.

Saute the aromatics, followed by the buro. If you left the bones in, you may have to remove some of the bones that did not soften enough to eat. This will take a while to cook through, but be patient and keep it on low fire. Mix it around every few minutes to cook it through and so it wouldnโ€™t burn. Taste. You may need to salt it more or add msg. Cool, then refrigerate.

We just reheat enough to eat for one time ๐Ÿ™‚

My mom tells me also that before, the fermenting would take around a month, but that would use copious amounts of salt to preserve everything, which would make the buro too salty, but the long fermentation ensures that the bones, head and every part of the fish disintegrates into the buro.


63 thoughts on “Burong Isda Recipe

  1. Thanks, this is great. I tried to make some last week I think i put too MUCH salt coz it was toooooo salty that you can’t eat the buro. I will try to make anothe batch tomorrow and follow your recipe.

    1. I always wonder how my mom balanced it that there’s enough salt to preserve it and at the same time, not so much that it turns out salty. The thing is, you can always add more salt to the mixture when you’re cooking it, but could never take it back. ๐Ÿ™‚ And don’t worry, my mom had a handful of trial and errors too before finally perfecting it. Just that there is not an exact recipe ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. can you please ask your mom if the mold is part of the fermenting..i opened the jar and saw white mold on the surface..

      1. So this advice is totally unorthodox. But I did ask my mom and she said to just remove the moldy area and continue fermenting it. Maybe the fish wasn’t drained enough, meaning still too wet, when the layering was done. And proceed as usual.

        I on the other hand have read somewhere that molds, even if you remove the moldy part, will still leave traces on the food. Given that this will be cooked, I don’t know the effect on the molds, quality and taste. But we have never encountered molds. I’m a bit iffy, personally.

  2. hi! thanks for posting this recipe. just wondering why is it necessary for the container to be almost full when fermenting it? what if it’s not?

    1. My Mother’s Logic: IF it’s almost full, there would be only as much air being allowed to circulate in the container.

      Of course, that has no studied scientific bias. I guess more air more room for the “good” germs to allow the whole thing to ferment? And that might cause it to become too sour? Honestly, I am guessing here. If you do try it out with it not being too full, please do give me a heads up. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have tried to fight my mom’s logic on most insanely mundane stuff, it’s just not worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Mayroon akong tindahan sa Milano (TALIPAPA Filipino, Asian Food Mini Market) gusto kong kumita ng extra naisip baka puede ito sa mga kustumer ko dahil tanong ng tanong kung magkakaroon at makakagawa ako ng Burong Isda (tagilo sa amin sa Pampanga ) hindi ako talaga marunong gumawa ng commercial na Buro pero sa gawa dito sa bahay Oo ano pa ba ang mga mabubuting paraan para safe aat masarap ang gagawin try ko ang recipe mo kung mabenta sasabihan at ngayon pa salamat sa inyong lahat diyan.

    1. I guess just make sure everything is clean and properly handled. Ensure that everything that needs to be cooked thoroughly are cooked, and no mishandling or cross contamination of sorts. I’m not sure how you plan on selling the buro. But maybe in sterilized jars would be good ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck on this ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I made buro, pero i dont think na nagefeferment sya, i mean di naman nabubulok as supposed to ferment., pero parang wala lang., parang preserved lang kasi i leave in san francisco at ang lamig ng panahon., so parang nasa loob sya ng fridge… Its been 3 days., i dont want to open the container., peri walang pinagbago sa itsura eh..

      1. Hmmmm. I have never thought about the weather and the effect on buro fermentation. I think one give away is the smell. It doesn’t look any different for me usually, until I begin to smell it. I think it will eventually ferment, but may take longer though. Trial and error, maybe. Try to cook a portion of it after a week or so and see if it differs. Or maybe keep it in a warmer place? ๐Ÿ™‚ like near the stove?

      2. 6 weeks na un processing ng buro ko, so far., i can see juices, at medyo amuy buro na siya.. I think 3 more days… Ill let you know…

      3. I hope this will turn out well. ๐Ÿ™‚ My mom made a batch especially for Christmas. We’re going to have a strictly Filipino themed meal on Christmas day itself, for my aunt who just arrived from the States. Our menu involves lots of of fried fish, grilled talong and buro ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Odd. We actually never encountered molds in all the times we made buro. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Although you are still going to cook it, I recommended removing all of the area near the mold. I think this is why my mom keeps reiterating to make sure that everything is clean. The salt should have been enough to preserve it and kill any molds. Maybe there’s not enough salt on the rice?

  5. I just heard about burong isda today which I became curious, then google, and no idea about it until I found your blog. My question(s): Is the rice used in the process of the buro – part of the buro? Will the rice be included when the buro is being cooked? Pls advise. Thank you. -good job by the way-

    1. It becomes part of the buro. It’s almost like a rice paste once cooked. ๐Ÿ™‚ You include it when you saute the whole thing after the fermentation. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for dropping by!

      1. Thank you! And you’re welcome. Keep doing what you’re doing by educating us of authentic recepies. Blessings to you, your mom and love ones. God bless.

  6. Can you please give me the recipe of Burong Hipon… i really like these and i tried it once but it was turn bad. Do i need to cook the rice as in cook ready to eat or it’s like lugaw? Thank you….

    1. Hi Jen ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sorry but I really am not sure how Burong Hipon is made. But from random conversations with my aunts, it’s the same technique, but you use tiny shrimp, like an inch long, preferably the fresh ones that are still jumping!

      You cook the rice, like for eating, before fermenting it with the seafood. Then after fermentation, you saute the whole thing, cooked rice and raw fish together and it becomes like a wet steamed rice or a really dry porridge ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. This is just one dish I could not manage to taste much less keep down ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    It started when I was little and another relative was eatng buro with gusto. Curious I took about a tablespoon and began eating, just when I thought I liked it I asked our relative what it was and he said with a straight face “oh it’s Cat vomit” (Yeah it was a joke but it was also mean). You could just imagine what that would do to an 8 year old boy. Now, whenever I smell or see buro I always associate it with well…

    My wife is from kapampangan descent and they typically have buro during family get-togethers and I they have learned not to offer me any so as not to ruin my appetite. While I have no problems with eating other fermented food items such as Kimchi, my dislike for buro is I guess just more mental rather than anything else. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    1. how traumatizing for a kid! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was not until I was about 15yo that I did try it. But up to now, the smell still makes me feel ill when it’s opened during the middle of its fermentation. I manage to accept the smell of it once it has been cooked more. My sister, though, completely doesn’t eat it. It’s really acquired taste, I think. Either you hate it, or love it.

      Do you know how disappointing it is to cook a feast for all my relatives, but once my mom tells them that we have newly made buro, and they request fried fish instead of my wonderful pasta/stew/random experiment, it saddens me! (TOTAL RUN ON SENTENCE). But I’ve come to terms with them loving buro. ๐Ÿ™‚ As I think your wife’s family does! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I made it and i put too much salt but fixed it by adding vinegar. now i have leftover uncooked buro, can i still cook the rest after 1 week ?


    1. I recommend you cook it all and just keep it in the fridge ๐Ÿ™‚ otherwise, it would just become more sour everday! my mom keeps hers in the fridge for a couple of weeks and it doesn’t go bad ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Thank you for posting this! Iโ€™ve never really liked buro when i first tried when I was about 4 or 5, but i tried it last month and I was hooked on it ever since! The Filipino store where I buy Buro from wonโ€™t be making any Buro for 6 months! because the Person who makes the buro went on vacation. Iโ€™m wanting to have buro soo much! Iโ€™m going to use this reciepe. Thanks again!

  9. Thank you for posting this! I’ve never really liked buro when i first tried when I was about 4 or 5, but i tried it last month and I was hooked on it ever since! The Filipino store where I buy Buro from won’t be making any Buro for 6 months! because the Person who makes the buro went on vacation. I’m wanting to have buro soo much! I’m going to use this reci

  10. Hello ,thanks for rhe recipe.๐Ÿ˜Šanyway pwede kaya gamitin ung large size na tilapia at fillet nlang ilagay baka kasi matigas na masyado ung buto o pwede din kahit d fillet?ano po sa tingin nyo?salamat ulit….๐Ÿ‘

    1. I think we’ve done that na hindi tinanggal yung buto agad. But tinanggal din namin yung buto nung linuluto na kasi hindi natunaw. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mas madali siguro pag pinafillet! ๐Ÿ™‚ Go try ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. brown rice will not work since it doesn’t have the enzymes in the gluten to break down the fish as white rice or sweet rice. Another thing, i notice you didn’t mention angkak, or red yeast rice. Isn’t that a critical ingrediant to help the fish ferment?

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe of buro. I was craving for that long time ago but i could’nt find any buro in a filipino store here in our place. Now I made my own only today, oh my god cant wait anymore! I’m too excited to see the result. Thank yo so much again and god bless you!

  12. So, I checked my buro couple minutes ago and same as them may amag nga and not fermenting yet. Today is already 11th day, maybe because our place is too cold negative 36 for the past few days, maybe it takes a month or more before it ferment. I’ll let you know for sure about the result. Salamat uli sayo!

    1. My aunt was unable to ferment hers in Illinois as well during the cooler weather. Maybe putting it beside the heater to allow it to rot. But we never experienced molds in our buro. I don’t feel safe with molds forming actually. So i am not sure what to suggest.

  13. hello clarissa I just got my pasalubong from PH I would like to know how long will buro last when it is stored in fridge? Will it last for atleast a month?. Tnx.

  14. Hello, today is the 6th i made my buro, no smell yet. And the appearance is exactly the same. I live near san francisco but its summer now- yet its too cold for “buro” i guess

    I worried that i under salted mine. Hopefully it turns good

    I was reading the other comments and one of th noted that theres white stuff in the buro she made, honestly I think its yeast (as suppose to molds)- which is save to eat.

    Im really excited how my buro will turn out. Although I think I have to waith at least 2 weeksnin total.

    1. Thank you for this info. i really didn’t know about this! And good luck on your buro. I know you can lengthen its fermenting if the temperature is kind of low ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. What color would the thin layer of yeast be as opposed to the color of mold? That was good information since I plan on making isdang buro for the first time. Thanks for the info FRUGALSHUTTER

  15. My father wouldn’t touch the buro my lola makes (or any buro from any source for that matter. Yep, he said it looks like cat vomit. I was 7 when I heard him made that observation.

    That did not keep me from tasting it. It was delicious. My Lola taught me to have it w steamed mustasa, the indigenous hito from Candaba and hot steamy rice.

    My lola used a clay tapayan when she is making buro or bagoong. The fouler it smells as it ferments, the tastier it is when cooked.

    I’ll try your recipe, Clarissa. The batch I made last month came out too salty.

    San Diego, CA

  16. i made my buro just like the way you did the first two was a great hit.. so i made again the 3rd time it turns out a little bit sweet, the 4th time it is really sweet prang my sugary taste.. what’s wrong. i ferment it for 7 days does it mean na kulang pa ang days to ferment? i thought it was the onion at first pero nagluto ako w/ out onion pero still sweet. what went wrong?? pls help.

    1. Hi Malou! I really am not sure since this has never happened to anybof our batches. Maybe the kind of rice changed? Or maybe the time of the year you made it was different? The only other reason I can think of is if you accidentally used sugar instead of salt!

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