“Pesa” connotes a clear, gingery broth that’s been simmered a while in tomatoes, onions and seasonings. The delicate, delightful ginger-lemony aroma blended with a bit of fish sauce, is the perfect base for a good seafood stew like this Pesang Salmon-Filipino Fish Stew in Ginger Broth with Tomatoes and Spinach.
Salmon fish in “pesa” is a flavorful all- in- one soup stew that’s good for any day, any season all year long.
Our family has religiously observed the Lenten season and Fridays has often been a challenge for me. On Fridays, I get extremely hungry during the day when we have to abide by practices of fasting and abstaining (from meat). So, I think hard for something hearty, filling and very delicious for the Friday evening family dinner.
Pesang isda (fish pesa) has always been a winner for us. I can switch the main fish ingredient to different types available. Usually, I add tomatoes, onions and spinach to the fish broth as the recipe calls for it. Often I add a bunch of potatoes to fill us up. There are no hard and fast rules to this recipe. Just boil, simmer and enjoy it.
Pesang Salmon - Filipino Fish Stew in Ginger Broth
- 1 Tablespoon lemon or calamansi juice
- 1 pound salmon fillet
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 whole white or yellow onion chopped
- 2 whole garlic cloves chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 whole fresh tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
- 6 cups hugas bigas (rice wash water) or use vegetable broth
- 2 whole potatoes peeled, quartered
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- steamed rice for serving
- Marinate the fish with the lemon or calamansi juice. Pierce the fish all over so juice penetrates. Cover and keep refrigerated for 15 minutes before cooking.
- In a large stockpot, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil.Saute the onions, garlic, and ginger. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes till soft.
- Pour the patis (fish sauce). Add the salmon fillet and potatoes.Pour the hugas bigas (rice wash water) or else the vegetable broth. Season with salt and black pepper.Cover and let the broth boil. When broth boils, lower the heat to a medium simmer. Cook for 20 minutes till fish is done.
- Add the spinach. Stir and combine with ingredients. After the spinach wilts and softens in 1 minute, turn off heat.Serve warm with steamed rice.
- Hugas bigas or rice wash water is often used in Filipino stews for flavorful broths. To obtain, wash the rice grains before cooking. Collect the second rice washing by placing rice grains in a sieve or collander. Pour the rice wash to soup broths.This recipe works well with other types of fish like tilapia, pompano, dalag (mudfish), catfish. You can use fillets or a whole fish. When purchasing fish, ask the fish monger to fillet the fish or if using a whole, to clean and gut the fish for you. This is a free service which I often use.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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