RECIPE: Bulanglang

Bulanglang is a vegetable stew. It’s different from pinakbet in that it is more watery and includes dark leafy vegetables. Many Filipinos will also contrast the two in terms of the type of bagoong used as flavoring — pinakbet has bagoong alamang (shrimp paste) as an ingredient, while bulanglang has bagoong isda (fish paste).

Some say pinakbet requires the sautéing step for the vegetables, while bulanglang is more like simply boiling the vegetables. And that bulaklak ng kalabasa (squash flowers), small ampalaya (bitter gourds), and fried fish are essential for bulanlang. Opinions vary!

The recipe here is just one version.


2 tablespoons lard
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup onions, minced
1/2 cup red tomatoes, sliced
2 cups rice washings

one medium-sized milkfish
sliced crosswise into four pieces

1 cup squash, diced
1 cup eggplant, diced
1 cup ampalaya, sliced into strips
1/2 cup malunggay leaves
1/2 cup kangkong tops
1/2 teaspoon ginger, chopped

3 tablespoons of bagoong


1. Use the lard to saute the garlic, onions, tomato and ginger.
2. Add the two cups of rice washings. Bring to a boil.
3. Season with the bagoong,  and add the milkfish.
4. Simmer for five minutes and remove the fish.

5. Add the vegetables starting with the squash, which takes the longest to cook. The leafy vegetables should be added last.

6. As soon as the vegetables are done, remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish.

7. Place the fish on top of the vegetables. Serve as soon as possible.

Bulanglang is a very flexible dish. You can vary the vegetables according to your taste.