I made this comforting soup the other day when it was rainy and gloomy. On rainy days, I long for some hot and steamy soup. This Filipno pesang isda (fish in ginger soup) was just what I was craving.
I have many fond memories of this soup. I remember my mom making this soup for me and my siblings when were not feeling well. She made this soup usually using dalag (murrel), which is a fish that is common in the Philippines. In this simple soup, the aromatics are sauteed and then water is added and boiled. Afterwards, the fish is added and then the vegetables in the last few minutes of cooking. The fish was cooked perfectly. This was the first time my husband tasted this soup and I am glad that he loved it!
Pesang Isda (Fish in Ginger Soup)
- 2 fish steaks , (red snapper or cod), about 1 lb 12 oz
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 lb bok choy (5 pieces)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion , sliced
- 1 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and julienned
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 8 cups water
- 2 green onions , thinly sliced
- Season the fish with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Slice each boy choy in half, rinse thoroughly under cold running water and then drain. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and ginger, and saute until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add the fish sauce and stir. Add the water and boil for 10 minutes.
- Add the fish and cook for 7 minutes or until the fish is almost done.
- Add the bok choy and cook for another 3 minutes. Season the broth with salt and pepper.
- Serve, garnish with chopped green onions.
Thanks for the recipe.. made me reminiscences my father’s cooking & life in the Philippines 🇵🇭.. very delicious and light..some recipes about pesang issa ; fish was fried first which I know no frying.
This recipe also brings back fond memories for me. Growing up, my mom used to make pesang dolag for us. My mom never fries the fish but I have seen some recipes that fry the fish first before adding to the soup.
I know fish is not fried, too
I tried this and threw in a few strands of string beans for more protein 🙂 I think I would try with pepper next time though….siling espada or red bell peppers
one of my favorite tagalog dish. I would love this with dalag or snakehead but its illegal to raise it here in US.
Growing up, my mom would make this soup using dalag too. She would specially made this soup for me and my siblings when we were sick. This soup brings so many memories for me 🙂
I saw dalag at the Seafood City market here in Union City, California. They are wildcaught in Canada.
I love the idea of this recipe, especially the ginger-based soup.
Yet, I currently live in an area of the world where bok choy is not readily available (Caribbean). Do you have any suggestions for a substitute?
You can use green cabbage or napa cabbage instead of bok choy. Napa cabbage has the same cooking time as boy choy but green cabbage needs more cooking time. If you are using green cabbage, you have to adjust the cooking time for the fish and cabbage. Cook the fish for 5 minutes and then add the quartered cabbage and cook until the fish is cooked through and cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes. Enjoy!