Garlic stuffed ikan bulus (silver whiting)


Bulus is a fish that has become a staple in our kitchen. It’s commonly called silver whiting (sillago sihama) and it’s a wee little fish. The largest ones are not much bigger than a sausage. It’s easy to cook (always a plus point) but relatively expensive at RM 19.90 per kg.

Damn, I’m starting to sound domesticated aren’t I? Prices of fish indeed…

ikan bulus

Anyway, I say relatively because there are a lot of other species of fish like catfish, kerisi, gelama etc which comes in under the RM 10 price point and this is double that. It comes up to about RM 1 per (small) fish. However, what bulus (silver whiting) has in its favor is that most of its weight is fish meat – there’s no large head or bones to take up excess weight.

silver whiting

The flesh of ikan bulus is also sweet and has an almost silky texture so it’s worth the price premium. πŸ™‚


Silver whiting is best served marinated and deep fried with corn flour. It’s also wise to ask the hypermarket people to descale and gut the fish so you don’t have to do it yourself.

Our marinate sauce:
Light soy sauce
McCormick Season-All salt
Heinz brown sauce

bulus marinate

Just marinate the bulus using the ingredients above (or change it depending on what you have in your kitchen cabinet) and sprinkle some finely chopped raw garlic on top. Leave this for about 30 minutes.

Anyway, have you noticed that all the garlic has disappeared in the photo below? No, we didn’t discard it, there’s a trick here that we use to make it taste better.

bulus corn flour

Stuff the raw chopped garlic into the (gutted) fish’s stomach right before you spoon the corn flour over the silver whiting. It’s a simple but neat touch that gives you a tasty surprise when you bite into it. πŸ™‚

We use Brown & Polson corn flour (the ones that come in a rusty hued can) to coat the bulus. This is a product that goes back ages. I remember seeing cans of this in my grandma’s kitchen. Heh!

frying fish

Slide the garlic stuffed fish into hot boiling oil and flip it once in a while. It only takes 3 minutes to cook due to the size and with that amount of cooking time, it’ll be crunchy enough to eat whole – bones, head and tail.

garlic stuffed ikan bulus

It’s delicious!

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32 thoughts on “Garlic stuffed ikan bulus (silver whiting)”

    • Yeah, the Northern Whiting species of fish is pretty good. πŸ˜€

      It’s quite abundant too from what I’ve read so I’m not sure why it’s expensive compared to other fishes.

    • Yup! It has very fine bones, you can eat it if it’s deep fried. πŸ™‚

      I love steamed fish too! Especially the ones they serve at Chinese banquets with just soy sauce. It only works when the fish is very fresh though.

      Is the part of India you’re in landlocked? I had a lot of great seafood in Sri Lanka. πŸ˜€

      • Not really, Mangalore is pretty much beside the sea. But, they don’t have much fish here and seafood here are expensive!
        And we can’t find good seafood during rainy season.

        • Ah! I see! Okay, will read more about Mangalore and plan for a trip down there. It sounds quite interesting! πŸ™‚

  1. couldn’t help laughing at the domesticated tone your blog’s taken on recently. it’s a pretty good change though hehehe. keep it up! =P

    • Haha! I know right! 😑

      I sometimes miss the crazy days we had back when I was in Kuching. I still remember all the hard partying and drinking we did, Irene. Heh!

      • haha yeah sometimes i miss that… but i think we’ve all come a long way. i quit smoking and rarely drink now by the way. 20 year old me would be horrified at how boring i’ve become! =P

        • Heh! Same here! πŸ˜€

          I’ve quit a lot of stuff (but unfortunately smoking is not one of them) and toned down on my drinking too.

          It’s not boring, we’re just evolving. πŸ˜€

  2. HB, when a guy taken so interest in cooking must be a reason you try to impress a nice someone in your life. Showing her you could make a wonderful husband that know how to cook also. For some husbands do not cook well or hardly at all so could not help wife out when needed. They do not help feed the children when hungry have to wait for mom to do so.

    • Heh! It’s nothing like that. I love cooking and so does she so it’s a shared common interest. πŸ™‚

      I find grocery shopping fun too. The only thing I hate about cooking is washing all the dishes after. 😑

  3. Hi Huai Bin, it seems like you have taken on food and self-cooked meals as your writing content these days πŸ™‚ Not that it’s anything bad, it just somewhat feels different from what you used to write about.

    • You know, I nearly wrote something entirely different today dee. πŸ™‚

      However, I can’t find the photos – it must have been in another external HDD so I wrote about this instead, which was what we had for dinner.

      Well, it’s going to be a mixture from now on – a bit of everything for the content, with the occasional trip down memory lane (or at least the kind of stuff I used to write). πŸ˜€

      Thanks for reading!

    • Haha! Well, it’s good enough for me. πŸ˜‰

      I cooked a bit when I was studying in Australia too – they have this pre-chopped garlic in lemon juice that comes in a glass container. Very convenient – just scoop some out when you need garlic. πŸ™‚

    • I think our home cooked meals tend to be high in sodium and cholestrol at times. πŸ˜‰

      I’m trying to eat more vegetables though…unfortunately dinner tonight didn’t have any, just fish, chicken and clams. πŸ˜€

      Yeah, I’m actually eating more rice now that I’m cooking regularly than in the past.

    • Heh! Well, I like cooking and roaming the aisles of the hypermarket, not sure if that makes me more domesticated these days. πŸ˜‰

      It might be an option considering I’m in my 30’s now but yeah, that’s a real commitment that I have to be really sure of before I do it. πŸ™‚

      On a totally different topic, I have missed baking, used to do that.

      Hey, this reminds me of a baking project I did with my ex-girlfriend…so the first “current format” cooking posts on started in the first half of 2004.

      That was earlier than I thought. LOL!

    • Yup! It’s not exactly cheap though – most other fish is cheaper than silver whiting e.g. the common ones goes for RM 7-8 per kg compared to RM 19.90 per kg for this species. It’s closer to salmon at RM 22 per kg.

      The cheapest “fish” that I like is this 50% fish 50% binder fillets you get from the frozen section of the hypermarket Now that’s simple, cheap and delicious. I think it’s about RM 6 for two packs of 3 large fillets each. πŸ˜€

      I also like catfish – which is cheaper than silver whiting but unfortunately most of its weight lies in its head and bones so I’m not sure if it’s cheap if compared weight for weight in terms of fish flesh. πŸ™‚

  4. Dude that’s not finely chopped garlic, ha ha ha.

    Anyway, good effort. Did you know, if you mix ghee into the oil, bloody hell, it will taste 10 times better, you will definately get a root or my name is not Rocket.

    A wedge of lemon in the gut won’t go astray too but will be a real bitch to deep fry. Shallow fry maybe? Two minutes tops ok.

    • Heh! It’s finely chopped enough by my standards. πŸ˜€

      Hmm…working with ghee eh? It would be nice, I’ll love to buy a can of that stuff. I’ve used pork lard to cook before, that’s very tasty as well.

      You mean sticking a lemon into the gut BEFORE deep frying it? That’s new to me, I’ve gotta try that.

      Cheers bro! πŸ™‚

  5. If I understand your question correctly Krishan I’ve aggregated this information from a variety of sources all of which, I believe, We have sourced and/or linked to in the article. You can check the authenticity of every single by clicking by or looking to the report. Whilst I trust each of the data hence, why I have passed it on these should only be used as guidelines to use like a starting point as, in my experience, the brand and the category impact the results.

  6. I can eat fish the 24 hours a day…EVERYDAY! But my family is vegetarian, so, I can not cook fish at home.

    And watching your frying fish pictures…you have special ways to torture people.
    I would be there!!!


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