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Rellenong Bangus with SPAMô (Filipino-Style Stuffed Milkfish with SPAMô)
Teresita Y. Jimenez, 3rd Place Winner, Round Two, 2004 Great Island Style SPAMô Cook-Off

1 can SPAMô Lite
1 large Milkfish
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small carrot, cubed
1/2 can of green peas
1 small box of raisins
Ground pepper
1 egg
1/4 tsp flour
Vegetable oil for frying
1 large tomato for garnish

Scrape and clean fish. Gently pound fish to loosen meat from the skin using the flat side of a knife for pounding. Break the big bone at the nape and on the tail. Insert the handle of an aluminum kitchen turner through the fish neck. Gently scrape down the handle between the meat and the skin. Scrape down to the tail, going around and on the other side of the fish. When you feel the meat is entirely separated from the skin, remove the handle, squeeze and push out meat (including the big bone), starting from the tail going out through the head. This way, you will be able to push out the whole fish meat without cutting an opening in the skin.

Marinate skin and head of fish in soy sauce. Set aside. Boil the fish meat in a little water. Drain, and when cool pick out the bones. Flake the fish meat. Mash the SPAMô gently and set aside.

Saute garlic until brown, then add the onions. When the onions are just clear, stir in the fish meat, mashed SPAMô, carrot and peas. Season to taste with salt and ground pepper. Add raisins.

Transfer the cooked mixture to a plate to cool. When cool, add the egg and flour stirring just to combine. Cool. Cook, then, add raw egg and flour. Remove the fish skin from the soy sauce and stuff using the milkfish mixture. Close the fish by sewing or using toothpicks or skewers. Fry the fish in the vegetable oil turning one. Cool before slicing.

Place the fish on the serving platter and replace the head. Garnish with sliced fresh tomato and serve with catsup.

Yield: Approximately 4 to 6 servings

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