WEEKEND CHEF | Recipe: Fried ‘bisugo’ with homemade Asian-style sauce

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Fried Bisugo in Sweet Chili Sauce with Pineapple and Bell Pepper by Weekend Chef. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.
Step 5. Mince garlic, julienne the bell peppers, and slice finger chili thinly. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

Bigudo. Sea bream in English, it is one of the most common types of fish that Filipinos use for food. It is good simply seasoned with salt and pepper and fried to a golden crisp. It is also often made into paksiw or pinangat. The fish can likewise be cooked into sinigang or daing. Some even turn it into dried fish to prolong its shelf life. Simple recipes, all natural flavors, perfectly delicious. But if you keep doing the same thing, it eventually gets predictable and boring.

Since I like bisugo but I have always had it fried or paksiw, I know for sure that fried bisugo is really good but I wanted to come up with a unique sauce that would go well with it. I scanned the pages of cookbooks and recipe booklets and googled recipes on the Net, and quite a few caught my attention.

Since I was leaning towards Sweet and Sour Sauce before I thought of coming up with something different, I decided to work on a sweet chili sauce with pineapple and bell peppers. It’s easy and practical—just season the fish with salt and pepper, dredge in flour and fry until golden, then make the sauce using store-bought sweet chili sauce and pour it over the fish. Serve with hot, freshly cooked rice, and it’s a delicious and ‘sosyal’ feast.

Fried Bisugo in Sweet Chili Sauce with Pineapple and Bell Pepper

Ingredients
2 pcs. big bisugo (sea bream)
salt and pepper to taste
all-purpose flour for dredging
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 pc. each red and yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 pc. finger chili, sliced
vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup UFC Sweet Chili Sauce
1 tsp. patis (fish sauce)
1 small pouch Del Monte Pineapple Tidbits
1-2 Tbsps. vegetable oil
chopped spring onion

Directions
1. Score the fish.

Step 1. Score the ‘bisugo.’ Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

2. Season with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.

3. Fry fish in hot oil until golden.

Step 3. Fry fish in oil until golden brown. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

4. Remove and set aside.

5. Mince garlic, julienne the bell peppers, and slice finger chili thinly.

Step 5. Mince garlic, julienne the bell peppers, and slice finger chili thinly. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

6. In a small bowl, combine sweet chili sauce, fish sauce, the juice/syrup from the pineapple pouch. Mix well.

7. In a small saucepan, heat oil for sautéing. Add garlic, then the julienned bell pepper. Pour in sweet chili sauce mixture. Add finger chili or Jalapeño slices. Let boil. When boiling, add pineapple tidbits, and simmer for a few minutes more.

Step 7. In a small saucepan, pour in sweet chili sauce mixture. Add finger chili or Jalapeño slices. Let boil. Add pineapple tidbits, and simmer for a few minutes more. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

8. Plate fried bisugo. Ladle sauce over fish. Sprinkle with chopped spring onion. Serve hot.