A friend cooked this for me once when the only Filipino fish soup I knew was sinigang. I thought she had forgotten the souring agent but I was wrong. For those who do not like the sourness of the ubiquitous Filipino sinigang, this is a nice, mild alternative. It is delicately spiced like your grandmother’s tinola (or chicken soup) and actually, it is exactly the same as chicken tinola except that you use fish instead.
When I saw the Pesa recipe on the Overseas Pinoy Cooking Blog, I was immediately intrigued not to mention hungry! I just had to make it and luckily, I had one leftover tilapia in the freezer. I felt a lunch time soup coming on. Yes, even when it’s ninety degrees and humid outside, I craved to have this soup.
- 1 medium tilapia, cut in half
- ½ cup of chopped Leeks
- 1 inch of fresh Ginger root, sliced into medallions
- ½ head of a small cabbage, sliced (or any green leafy vegetable you like)
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn
- 6-8 cup water (the original recipe from OPC called for rice water or the water you used to rinse rice before cooking)
- 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
- Salt (to taste)
- In a pot large enough to hold your soup, heat the cooking oil and sauté the ginger and leeks for a couple of minutes.
- Pour in the water or rice water and add the peppercorns.
- Bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors in the soup.
- Add the fish, cover and let it cook for another ten minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Add your vegetables and cook only until they are wilted. You don't want it overcooked.
- Turn off heat and serve.
BY THE WAY, if you look at the original recipe, it was recommended that this dish be served with a miso dipping sauce. That’s what’s in the smaller dish in the photo above. I must say, that ‘dip’ is perfection! Recipe for it will follow.