Comforting Filipino Appetizer for Special Occasions -Smoked Milkfish and Bihod Pie with Croutons

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Filipino appetizer?

If you landed here because you’re looking for a Filipino appetizer for special occasions, this is it! Filipino Appetizers are usually pulutan or “hand food” designed for drinking. So we have our famous sisig, crispy pata, and all sorts of “menudencia” or innards that are either fried, inihaw, or soup such as papaitan.

But this Bihod recipe is actually more of a pre-dinner appetizer, (medyo sosyal!) usually served for special occasions such as Christmas. This is a seafood putok batok recipe, if there’s such a thing, so be careful not to eat too much ha ha!

I’m posting this Filipino Appetizer by Chef Jessie from last years’ cooking class at the Christmas Menu at The Maya Kitchen Culinary Elite Series. This Bihod pie is a superb appetizer for a Filipino Christmas Menu just like as Chef Jessie prepared it but can also be used for other occasions you might have that needs to have a bit of a Filipino Flavor.

Wondering what a bihod is? Bihod is “fish roe” or simply fish eggs in English. There are the different kinds as I have learned. Those caviar types, the ones used for Japanese sushis, and the one we’re talking about here -the more common fish eggs.

Is there a difference between the two? It usually depends on where you get your product from. Let’s use the definitions of both fish roe and caviar to establish a basis for comparison.

Definition of caviar: A delicacy consisting of salt-cured fish roe of the Acipenseridae family.

Definition of fish roe: the fully ripe internal egg masses in the ovaries, or the released external egg masses of fish and certain marine animals.

They’re also supposedly very healthy and rich in Vitamin’s A and D. Or maybe not. Do your research, lol. In any case, they’re definitely very good for the soul.

In Marinduque where I grew up this is called Bihod like in Visayas. In Filipino, it is simply itlog therefore you have itlog ng tuna, etc. For us near the sea, this is hardly a treat. It is a common occurrence for me to get fish with bihod but when I came to Manila, it is very rare for me to find bihod in a fish! I didn’t realize then that a simple fresh fried fish or inihaw with a mass of bihod is so special.

Whenever we go by the beach, there’s usually a manong or two selling their fresh catch and mostly there would be the fish roe tempting anyone to buy for the most delicious treat. (Of course I’d usually feel guilty for eating millions and millions of fish in one seating). :D

Comforting Filipino Appetizer for Special Occasions -Smoked Milkfish and Bihod Pie with Croutons 1

What I found better in Manila though is that if you’re early enough in the market, you can find blobs of bihod, like really huge! They are sold per kilo and sometimes I feel like my eyes would pop from these special Pinoy delicacies. I’ve only been to the Paco Market and Pasig Market though. im not sure about the other markets. Chef Jessie mentioned sourcing from as far as Rizal and Antipolo.

This bihod pie recipe uses a ring mold. If you don’t have that, you can just use a fresh can you just emptied, remove the covers and use it as a mold – such as hmm, a Maling or a Purefoods can. Be careful though! Use a can opener for a cleaner cut.

Also, choose the best smoked milkfish or tinapa!

The smoked milkfish tasted awesome with bits of the Bangus and bihod. The bihod tasted earthy and different.  I was surprised by how I liked the combination of cream, smoked fish, and bihod. We also got a taste of Chef Jessie’s famous artisan bread (not in this picture) and it was so good , even without the dip!

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