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Tamarind Flavored Grilled Pompano and Sauteed Spinach with Sesame Sauce

Since we moved here in the US, I've set Friday as my laundry and cleaning day. You might be asking why Friday. Well it's for the simple reason that I want to devote Monday to Thursday in doing important things for my girls (esp. during school days) and I want to spend Saturday and Sunday just having fun with them and Ryan. I guess it's a valid reason, right??! So Friday it is. Because of the tiring nature of my Friday chores, I'm not in cooking mode on most Fridays. So it's either we eat leftover or I prepare frozen food or we just eat out. 

But last Friday, I was craving badly for grilled pompano. So, I called Ryan and I asked if he could come home early to do the grilling for me...and of course, he said yes. FYI, it is very seldom that he says no to my requests. (^.^)

After the phone conversation with Ryan, I prepared the pompano so it would be ready when he gets home. It was actually very simple to prepare with only 4 ingredients needed: salt, garlic, ginger and Knorr Tamarind Soup Mix. Ryan's aunt from Texas City introduced us to Tamarind Flavored Grilled Fish 2 years ago, and we've loved it since then. Her version has only salt & tamarind soup mix in it, but whenever I prepare it, I always add minced garlic and ginger for richer flavor.

I was thinking of a side dish that would best fit our Tamarind Flavored Grilled Pompano. I checked out what's in the refrigerator and when I saw the spinach, I remember about the Spinach with Sesame Sauce recipe of Nami (author of Just One Cookbook). But I thought of giving it added flavor by sauteing the spinach with garlic in sesame oil rather than just boiling it in that's what I did. But don't get me wrong, Nami's version is good...all her dishes are! Maybe I was just being a Filipino at that moment! Filipinos love sautéing, you know!

Ryan came home around 6p.m. and by 7p.m., we have this Tamarind Flavored Grilled Pompano and Sauteed Spinach with Sesame Sauce ready to satisfy our growling tummies! For me, nothing beats eating a good meal with your family after a tiring day!


For Tamarind Flavored Grilled Pompano
  • 2 pcs. whole pompano (1 lb each), cleaned
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp ginger. minced
  • 2 Tbsp Knorr Sinigang Mix
  • Salt

For Sauted Spinach with Sesame Sauce
  • 1 bundle spinach (about 1 lb, thoroughly washed and trimmed)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp roasted white sesame seeds
  • 1½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ Tbsp Cooking Sake
  • ½ Tbsp Mirin


For Tamarind Flavored Grilled Pompano
1. Clean pompano. Wash and drain. Sprinkle with salt and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
2. Rub each pompano with 1 Tbsp garlic and 1 Tbsp ginger then sprinkle each with 1 Tbsp tamarind soup mix. Let sit in the refrigerator for another 10 minutes.

3. Wrap in slightly greased aluminum foil separately.
4. Grill for 30 minutes at 275F.

5. Unwrap from aluminum foil in a serving dish. Serve immediately.

For Sauted Spinach with Sesame Sauce
1. Separate spinach stalks from the leaves and cut the stalks in 1 inch length. Set aside.

2. In a pan, roast sesame seeds until light brown. Grind using mortar and pestle (or any grinder) while still hot to bring out the flavor.
3. In a small bowl, mix ground sesame seeds with soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake. Set aside.
4. In a skillet over medium heat, saute garlic in sesame oil until light brown. Add spinach stalks and saute for a minute. Add spinach leaves and saute until just wilted but is still bright green. Remove from heat. Add sesame sauce and mix well. 

5. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve as a side dish. 

Wishing you all a wonderful first day of August!!!


  1. Hi Tina,
    You should have participated in our Kulinarya Cooking club challenge this month as its theme is SINIGANG. This is sinigang on a different take. Love the idea that it's grilled. Yeah you are right we just love sauteeing as Pinoys don't we haha. Good Morning and Happy Monday.

  2. Good morning Tina! Wow your pompano looks so delicious! I've never cooked tamarind flavored (I guess it's not typical Japanese flavor) but I like tamarind and it sounds soo good! Also, thanks for trying my spinach with sesame sauce recipe! You are right - Japanese food can be too simple and light, especially side dish. Your spinach dish looks delicious! I love garlic and sesame oil combo and use it for stir frying veggies all the time! Have a lovely week! ;-)

  3. This looks wonderful Tina, I really love fish and nothing beats grilled food:))
    Your whole meal look and sound really tasty!

  4. @Malou: I know hah! I've always been interested to join Kulinarya Cooking Club since the first time I saw Adora's button, but for some reasons, I always tend to forget about it. LOL. But I'll make sure to join the club today! :)
    @Nami: Simple and light is good, Nami! That's one reason why Ryan & I love Japanese food. :)
    @Sandra: Thanks! Coming from you, I'm so flattered! :)

  5. Glad you were able to satisfy your craving and post this lovely meal. Nothing like fresh grilled fish and you made a great choice of the seasoning-Yum!

  6. lovely combination with the fish and spinach looks wonderful

  7. What a super delicious meal! You already know that I like fish, right? I like that sinigang powder on fish. Isn't it just so yummy? The spinach is great, too.

  8. This looks good. I love tamarind and sesame. I recently blogged about Tamarind Sesame Chicken I had in a Thai restaurant in New York. They served it with Bok Choi this spinach looks delicious

  9. Hi Tina!! the veggies and fish look DELICIOUS. I am not sure where to get pompano fish. will it be possible if substitute pompano with fillet?

  10. I've never had pompano but it sounds wonderful grilled up with the tamarind flavor- great post!

  11. What a great idea for a light, healthy and tasty dinner! I love both the grilled fish (I really like tamarind... my husband has introduced me to it as we do not use it in Italian cooking) and the spinach side that you made. Yummy!

  12. @Gria: Any fish fillet would work, but won't be as tasty and juicy! You can get Pompano at most Asian stores. Try H-mart, Carrollton Plaza or Asia World Market. Btw, whole Tilapia is a good substitute.

  13. Beautiful presentation and so healthy!

  14. Love the colors! Very appealing to the eye. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing! =]

  15. This is a recipe my hubby will simply, esp the fish you have used is his fav. Will try out this and get his feedback. Btw, I too do my laundry on Friday, simply because I have to prepare for classes during the weekend.

  16. Great post!!! I love your adaptation of the spinach and the fish sounds really interesting. I will have to keep my eyes open for that Tamarind soup mix- don't know if it is available in our area. I never heard of this fish before- is it a mild fish or one with a stronger flavor?

  17. Wow Tina, that looks gorgeous! I love how you plated those delicious looking fish. Spinach on the side goes perfectly with it. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    Have a great week, Tina!

    ~ ray ~

  18. Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments! I really appreciate it!
    @Sarah: If there's a nearby Asian store in your area, you can find Tamarind soup mix there.
    Regarding the Pompano, it is a mild fish with firm texture and light meat like tilapia. I'm sure you'll like it.