Ferment This: Burong Mangga, Mustasa, and Hipon to Prepare at Home

June 4, 2017

There is much to be said for fresh ingredients—its flavor is always crisp, unmarred by age. But getting these at their peak leaves you a very small window of opportunity, and once you get get your hands on some prime ingredients, the clock starts ticking. It’s only a matter of time before they go bad. Thankfully, pickling fruits and vegetables can be easily done to prolong their shelf lives. The flavors of the ingredients change, but in a way that enhances and allows for other flavors to complement the fruits and vegetables you’re preserving.

The buro is considered as a condiment in local cuisine, the pickling process can be applied to different fruits and vegetables, though the processes in preparing each varies. In this article, we tackle three buro recipes: pickled mangoes, pickled mustard greens, and fermented rice. Burong mangga preserves the sweetness of mangoes and transforms its crispness to a more pliable texture without compromising all of its crunch. The kapampangan balao-balao calls for fermentation; this recipe allows for what is essentially spoiled rice to be enjoyed. Its strong yeasty flavors takes some getting used to, but when coupled with spicy mustard leaves, the soft, mushy rice becomes more palatable for the uninitiated. Burong mustasa allows the spicy mustard leaves to take on other flavorings. In this recipe the siling labuyo gives it spice, while black peppercorns lends its aroma and rounds out the saltiness of the greens. The buro can act as a condiment during your meals, lending its flavor to an otherwise simple meal; similar to how atchara brightens any meal it accompanies.

The processes in preparing these three different types of buro vary. One depends on a brine while the two other recipes require more handiwork than expected—but nothing that can be difficult for someone who is learning the ins and outs of cooking. There’s a lot of science that goes into fermentation, and for a novice it can be intimidating, especially when botulism is a risk. But your worries can be easily put to rest once you follow important bottling guidelines, and at the very top of that list is making sure the bottle is clean and heated in a hot water bath. Now that you know how to make your own buro the only way to keep you from preparing bottles of the stuff is waiting for the right time to get the best produce.

Burong Mangga

Yield: 450g (1 jar)
Time: 3 days of fermentation and 30 minutes of actual cooking


  • 2 tbsp rock salt
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 3 cup water
  • 3 pcs mango, around 600g


  1. Wash a 750ml glass jar and sterilize with boiling water.
  2. Combine salt, sugar, and water in a sauce pot.
  3. Bring to a boil and cool down brine.
  4. While brine is cooling, peel and and seed mangoes.
  5. Cut into 2 cm thick slivers and arrange into clean and sterilized jars.
  6. Pour cooled brine over mangos and make sure they are completely submerged.
  7. Seal jar and leave in room temperature overnight to start fermentation.
  8. Store in fridge.

Burong Hipon (Balao-Balao)

Yield: 5 cups
Time: 5 days (5 days fermentation, 1 hour cooking)


  • 250g shrimp
  • 2.5 cups rice, uncooked
  • ½ rock salt


  1. Wash and sterilize a glass jar by boiling.
  2. Steam rice according to packet instructions until cooked.
  3. Once cooked lay out rice on a try and allow to cool down.
  4. Wash the shrimp and pat dry.
  5. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, mix thoroughly with a clean metal spoon and mash roughly to allow juices to flow.
  6. Using disposable gloves (to mitigate any chance of bacterial or fungal contamination), add the rice in the shrimp bowl and mix through until rice is coated with the shrimp.
  7. Pack in sterilized jar a little at a time, ensuring there are no air pockets between the rice.
  8. Cover buro with cling wrap. Making sure the plastic touches the surface of the rice (this ensures no aerobic bacteria or fungal spores are allowed to grow.)
  9. Seal jar tightly with lid and place in a cool dark place.
  10. Leave out for three days and put in the fridge for an additional two days.
  11. To cook, just sauté some onions, garlic and ginger in oil and add buro. Cook rice through and season to taste (½ onion, 1 small tomato and 2 teaspoons of ginger for every cup of buro)

Burong Mustasa

Yield: 500g (1 jar)
Time: 4 days ( 4 days fermentation, 30 mins cooking)


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp rock salt
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorn
  • 1 kg mustard greens, around 3 large bunches (wash and throw out any yellow or rotten leaves)
  • ¾ tbsp rock salt
  • 2 pcs bird’s eye chili, split in half lengthwise


  1. Wash and sterilize a jar (along with some baking weights or marbles).
  2. Mix one tablespoon salt, water, and black peppercorn together in a pot.
  3. Bring to a boil and allow to cool.
  4. Chop the mustasa into two inch pieces.
  5. Sprinkle with the leftover salt and leave for 30 minutes.
  6. When 30 minutes has passed, you will see the mustard greens will have changed color and given up a lot of their liquid.
  7. Put some disposable food grade gloves on and squeeze out excess water from greens.
  8. Place squeezed greens in a bowl and mix with the bird’s eye chili.
  9. Pack into jars, little by little with the cooled brine ensuring that no air pockets form between the leaves and ensuring that all the mustard is submerged
  10. Place plastic wrap over surface of brined mustard and weigh down with some marbles or baking weights
  11. Seal and leave unrefrigerated for three to four days. Check daily to ensure all leaves are submerged.
  12. When desired level of fermentation is achieved, place jars in fridge.
Bernice Escobar SEE AUTHOR Bernice Escobar

Bernice loves to get nerdy about food and making people hungry. In her free time, she attempts to play with her anti-social cat and fantasizes about all things sweet.

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