I’d like to convince myself that you, my beloved readers, spent this past month wondering about my extended absence. Yes. No?
After eight long years, I was finally able to go home to the Philippines for a three-week vacation. 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 we had in Tarlac. Trying to go online was such a frustrating, miserable ordeal I just gave up altogether. And to top that, in my haste to get to the airport on time, I forgot my camera’s charger (found it still in the socket when I got back) and this pesang dalag was one of the less than a dozen photos I was able to take before my battery went kaput. Ahh! The missed opportunity of good food and great people! 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 in fish.
- 1 whole mudfish gutted, scaled, cleaned and cut into serving parts
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and quartered
- 1 small onion peeled and sliced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 knob-size ginger peeled and julienned
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 5 to 6 cups water
- 1 bunch pechay ends trimmed and leaves separated
- 1 small napa cabbage ends trimmed and leaves separated
- 2 to 3 stalks green onions cut into 4-inch lengths
- Season fish with salt and pepper to taste. In a skillet, heat about 2-inch deep of oil on medium heat. Fry fish, turning once or twice, until lightly brown. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
- In another pan, heat about 1-inch deep of oil over medium heat. Deep-fry potatoes until lightly brown and tender. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
- In a pot, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions, garlic and ginger and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add fish sauce and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil. Add fish and potatoes and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until fish and potatoes are fully cooked through. Add pechay and cabbage and continue to cook for about 2 to 3 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.