Pesang Dalag recipe features tasty fish, potatoes, and vegetables cooked in a ginger-flavored broth! It’s a refreshing and filling soup that’s perfect year-round.
After eight long years, I was finally able to go home to the Philippines for a three-week vacation last month. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to have recipes ready and automated to publish while I was away. I figured I could post fresh content there, but I didn’t anticipate the sub-par internet connection in my home province.
Trying to go online was such a frustrating, miserable ordeal I just gave up altogether. To top that, in my haste to get to the airport on time, I forgot my camera’s charger and this pesang isda was one of the three photos I was able to take before my battery went kaput.
Ugh, the missed opportunities. I ate so many great foods and met so many good people I could have taken pictures of.
Oh well, if nothing else, I am glad I was able to take a picture of my mother whom I love dearly and of this soup which was absolutely glorious. Living abroad and being used to frozen seafood, buying the mudfish alive and flapping wildly from the wet market, and savoring its meat minutes after was such a delightful experience.
Freshness really makes a big difference in food, most especially fish!
What is Pesa
Pesa is a type of Filipino dish or method of cooking wherein fish or chicken is cooked in a ginger-flavored broth. It includes potatoes as well as vegetables such as cabbage, pechay, and spring onions.
The boiled soup is traditionally served with rice and miso sauce for dipping. It’s a light and refreshing yet hearty and comforting dish that’s enjoyed year-round.
How to make miso dipping sauce
- In a wide pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil.
- Add 1 chopped onion, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 chopped tomato, and saute until softened.
- Add fish sauce and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add 1 cup yellow miso and stir to combine.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to achieve desired consistency.
- The recipe calls for mudfish (dalag) but you can also use any white-fleshed meaty fish such as maya-maya cod, red snapper, or tilapia.
- While the fish and potatoes can be cooked straight in the broth, pan-frying them first adds an appetizing color and keeps them from falling apart when cooked in the liquid.
- For extra depth of flavor, swap the water with rice washing.
Give this pesang isda recipe a try; it’s a simple yet nutritious and delicious meal the whole family will love. Looking for more delicious soups? Try the classic chicken tinola!
- 1 whole large dalag (mudfish), gutted, scaled, cleaned and cut into serving parts
- salt and pepper to taste
- canola oil
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and julienned
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 5 cups water
- 1 bunch pechay, ends trimmed and leaves separated
- 1 small napa cabbage, ends trimmed and leaves separated
- 2 stalks green onions, ends trimmed and cut into 4-inch lengths
- Rinse fish under cold running water and drain well. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a wide pan over medium heat, heat about 2-inch deep of oil. Carefully add fish and cook, turning as needed, until lightly browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
- In a wide pot over medium heat, heat about 1/4 cup oil. Add potatoes and cook until lightly browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
- Remove excess oil except for about 1 tablespoon. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and cook until softened
- Add fish sauce and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 seconds.
- Add water and bring to a boil.
- Add potatoes. Lower heat and simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes or until almost done.
- Add fish and continue to cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until fish is cooked through and potatoes are tender.
- Add pechay and cabbage and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender yet crisp.
- Add green onions and continue for about another 30 seconds.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.