First off (for my Western readers), "bangus" is milkfish. It is not common here in the US, in fact, I could only get it from the Asian store. Maybe because they are commonly found in the Pacific, and I imagine it costs a lot to export them. So I can only buy them frozen (I really miss fresh ones!).
I don't know why this dish is called "bangus ala pobre." Some say that it is because this dish originally uses lesser quality (beef) steak cuts, therefore the term "pobre" which literally translates to "poor" in Spanish.
Some say that it is from the French word "poivre" which is pepper - the fish is cooked with lots of pepper in it.
Whatever the real meaning is, we might never know. But here is what I know - we thoroughly enjoyed this dish. It was delicious, and the caramelized onion added a sweet depth to the meal. And of course, the garlic bits are my favorite part. It also didn't hurt that we used belly steaks - the best part of the fish!
What you need:
2 bangus belly (about 200g each)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 large Vidalia onion, cut into rings
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Canola oil
salt and pepper, to taste
toasted garlic bits (optional)
What to do:
Season fish (both sides) with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Lightly fry the fish until slightly brown. Remove from pan and keep warm.
In the same pan, add onion rings and cook until caramelized (about 2 to 3 minutes).
In a small bowl, combine lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Mix well.
Put the lightly fried fish back into the pan (with the caramelized onion rings). Pour the lime juice / soy sauce mixture on top of the fish. Let simmer for about a minute, or until heated through. Serve with sprinkled toasted garlic bits on top.
Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks:
1. DO NOT overcook fish. It will dry up and become hard. Don't be scared if you didn't fry it to a crisp - it would still cook when you simmer it with the liquids.
2. Don't like onion too much? Slash the amount in half. (I just happen to love onions so I put a lot in this dish!).
3. Use calamansi or lemon to substitute for lime.