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Pesang Tilapia

We got back from Texas City last night...and after Ryan left for work this morning, I started unpacking, and took a nap after. We slept really late the whole time we were in Texas City so I felt I really had to get some good sleep, so the supposed to be nap turned out to be an all-day sleep. Hence, I'm so late for my Monday post. But better late than never, right??!!!

We've been to Texas City countless times already but for me, this last trip of ours is the most special of them all. Not only did we get the chance to spend time with Ryan's aunt's family again, we also got to join them in celebrating Ryan's cousin's birthday, and we got to see Ryan's cousin from British Virgin Islands whom we haven't seen for 5 years and also my brother's friend whom I haven't seen for more than 20 years. We didn't go out as much as we used to because of the hot weather (which is actually 10 degrees lower than the temperature here in DFW). We just stayed home most of our stay there but we all had a good time. Indeed, nothing beats sharing stories and laughter with relatives and friends whom you don't get to see often! Getting a break for the continuous "above 100F" temperature here in Dallas is also a good thing!

It's really very hot here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, you know! It's actually the 38th straight day that we're having above 100F temperature. But even during hot days like this, nothing can stop me from having soup. I just love it, and finds it really comforting regardless of the weather. In the Philippines, there is this soup dish that I really love which is called Pesang Isda (Fish in Ginger Stew). It is basically fish cooked in ginger broth with green leafy vegetables and sayote (pear squash). Lapu-Lapu or Miniata Grouper is the most commonly used fish for pesa in the Philippines. Cooking pesa differs from region to region. Some cook it with miso and some fry the fish first. This version that I'm going to share with you is the traditional way of cooking Pesang Isda in Batangas but I used Tilapia due to unavailability of Grouper here in our area. This is one dish that never fail to make my daughters eat more rice than usual! All of us just love it!

  • 2 lbs tilapia (or other white fish of your choice), cleaned and cut into serving pieces
  • 2 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 pcs sayote (pear squash), peeled, seeds removed and cut into wedges
  • 1 small Napa cabbage, washed, trimmed and quartered
  • 4 stalks green onions, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch length
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 cups water (or rice water
  • salt to taste

1. Sprinkle tilapia with salt. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute garlic, onion and ginger in vegetable oil until onion is almost translucent.

3. Add water. Bring to a boil. Add fish sauce and peppercorns. Let simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors in the soup.

4. Add fish and sayote. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sayote is almost cooked.

5. Add Napa cabbage and green onions. Simmer for about 3 minutes or just until wilted but still crisp.

6. Remove from heat. Serve hot with rice.


  1. Hmmm! I haven't had fish soup for a long time! I like how you you add lots of napa cabbage in it! YUM! Very light and delicious soup. The hint of ginger is my type of soup too. I'm glad you had lots of fun with family and relatives. It reminds me of fun times when I met my relatives in Japan...

  2. Thanks Nami! We really had fun in Texas City! It's always nice to see relatives & friends! :-*

  3. I love this soup,I like you added cabbage, enhancing the taste :)

  4. Perfectly light and flavorful seafood dish! Sounds so delicious. And it looks like you had tons of fun there too!

  5. Hi Tina! So glad you had a great time in Texas City with friends and relatives. For us, most of our gatherings with the other relatives who live slightly further away from us will be during the Lunar Chinese New Year and Mother's Day every year. I love all these gatherings with endless conversations with my grandmother, my closest cousin and aunties (mom's side, I'm closer to them since young)! :D
    I love light soup with lots of napa cabbage and I always add sweet corns for additional sweetness. :)

  6. Oh I remember when my mom would cook this soup - it was definitely one of my favorites! And you're right - it never failed, I ate most of the rice in the house with this soup =)

  7. Ooh that's what I need right now. ::coughing::

  8. I love soups any time of the year, also!! This looks great. I have been in the mood for a fish soup recently and the flavor of ginger with it sounds great. Glad you had a nice trip!

  9. This looks really good! I love new ways to cook fish. :)

  10. So glad you had a wonderful holiday! Your soup sounds marvelous~

  11. We absolutely love our fish here and especially tilapia because it is so easy and versatile to use in any dish! I love this pesang tilapia and can't wait to try it. Thanks for your sweet comment on my site yesterday! Hope you have a great day

  12. Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments! It's always nice to know that there are people out there actually reading my posts.
    You all enjoy the rest of the week! :-*