My Version of Burong Isda

This has always been a popular post of mine, from the many migrants all over the world missing something from home. I have talked about it and posted the recipe in the blog and still it tops my list always. But this was the first time I attempted buro here, first time on my own to make it. First time to be the one making it.

For the newbie followers here, burong isda is basically fermented fish. It serves as a condiment to Filipino, specifically to Kampampangan dishes. The taste is sour, and salty, as many dipping sauces in the Philippines are. The raw salted fish is layered in between cooked and salted rice. The fish may be filleted or not, depending on its size. Smaller ones need just to be butterflied because the bones get soft after cooking. This is fermented for about 9 to 11 days, I did mine for 15 days, because it is cooler here.

The process is quite easy though. It is getting the feel of it that is more difficult I think. My process was basically broken down into the following steps:

  1. Cook rice, and cool on a baking sheet (needs to be dry)
  2. Prepare the tilapia (or mudfish or catfish) by filleting if big, butterflying if small. Skin can be kept on. Salt and allow to drain and dry thoroughly.
  3. Season rice with salt. About pinch for every half cup. It’s all by feel.
  4. In a clean glass or plastic container, tightly layer rice, fish, rice, fish, rice. Each  fish layer should be covered by the rice. TIGHTLY PACK. Allow enough air circulation in the container by leaving a gap of an inch from the cover. Set in a dry area. Room temperature (in summer in Chicago) is minimum. Otherwise it won’t ferment.
  5. Every couple of days, squish on the top layer of rice. Press it down hard. Don’t break your container.
  6. On the 15th day, saute onion, garlic and ginger in copious amounts (I used about 1/3 combined of onion garlic and ginger, of the rice). Add the rice mixture and let this cook for a good 30 minutes until the rice is almost like paste. Keep in the fridge after cooking.

And that simple thing turned out pretty awesome! Below is what I used for this dish.

What I used:

1 big tilapia, filleted
2 cups of rice, cooked
salt

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