Ease of preparation
- 3 cups (720 ml) of cane vinegar
- 6 cups (1.4 L) of water
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of crushed peppercorn
- 2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of bird’s eye chili pepper, finely chopped
- 6 lemons, sliced
Crispy Garlic Bits
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) chopped garlic
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 large Milkfish, cleaned, deboned, scales removed, and butterflied
- 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) crispy garlic bits (see above)
- 2 bird’s eye chili peppers, thinly sliced
For the marinade
- In a large bowl or flat dish with high sides, whisk together the cane vinegar, water, crushed peppercorn, crushed garlic, coarse sea salt, bird’s eye chilli, and lemons.
- Add the milkfish. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate from 5 hours to overnight.
For the crispy garlic bits
- Add vegetable oil to a frying pan until it coats the bottom and heat over medium-low.
- Add chopped garlic and cook until golden-brown, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, let cool in pan, and set aside for garnishing fish.
For the fish
- Remove milkfish from marinade, let excess drip off, then lightly pat dry.
- Add vegetable oil to frying pan over medium-high heat, making sure it coats the entire bottom of the pan.
- Once oil is hot, add milkfish to the pan, skin-side down. Sear until brown and crispy, then flip and sear the other side until light brown and crispy on the outside, but still juicy on the inside.
- Turn heat down to medium-low until fish is just cooked through.
- Remove milkfish from pan, let excess oil drip off, then plate skin-side down. Sprinkle with crispy garlic bits, and serve with seasoned vinegar for dipping, and bird’s eye chili on the side.