Pesang Isda, or Fish in Ginger Broth, is a simple everyday Filipino dish that is easy to make, budget-friendly, and deliciously savory! This hearty and healthy comfort food is great for rainy days, especially when served with lots of steamed white rice!
I love cooking and sharing dishes that are super simple and easy; even a novice cook can make them without a hitch! Just like my Bangus ala Pobre, Pork Giniling, Ginisang Labong and Adobo recipes. They've been tried and tested, and these recipes turn out delicious every time! Plus, ingredients are inexpensive, making them ideal for everyday lunch or dinner. This Pesang Isda is another simple and budget-friendly dish to add to the list!
What is Pesang Isda?
Pesang Isda is a Filipino dish made of fish cooked in a ginger-infused broth with vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage, and bok choy. This dish is said to have originated in China because the term pesa (白煠) means "plain boiled" in Hokkien. Traditional Pesang Isda preparation involves simply boiling the fish and vegetables in a ginger-flavored soup. It is so flavorful and packed with healthy goodness! You won't go wrong when serving this to your family.
- We used Red Snapper or locally known as maya-maya for this recipe.
- Aromatics- sautéed garlic, onion, and ginger are used to make the base of this savory broth!
- Seasonings- I used fish sauce, ground pepper, and salt to give the broth an umami-rich and well-balanced flavor.
- Vegetables- you will need to prepare quartered potatoes and cabbage and a bunch of bok choy or pechay for this. As most Filipino households have their own way of cooking Pesang Isda, other veggies may also be used. You may also use Napa cabbage, string beans, or even chayote (sayote).
- Water - you may also use rice wash as an alternative.
- Oil for frying
What Type of Fish to Use?
The most common fish used for this recipe is dalag or mudfish. But you can use any meaty medium to large-sized fish that you have on stock, such as tilapia, hito (catfish), or lapu-lapu (grouper).
- Some Pesang Isda recipes don't call for the fish to be fried first. However, frying the fish before boiling improves the flavor and prevents the fish from flaking.
- If you're making this recipe with different vegetables, always make sure to add the firm ones first and the soft, leafy ones last.
- Make sure to cut the potatoes in uniform sizes for even cooking.
- Separate the leaves of the bok choy, trim the ends, and wash them thoroughly to remove grit and dirt.
- A fish bouillon or broth cube can be added for a richer broth flavor, but normally not needed especially if you fry the fish.
How to Serve and Store
Serve hot with plenty of steamed rice for a filling lunch or dinner. If you're fond of dipping sauces, you can serve your Pesang Isda with a simple fish sauce (patis) or go traditional with miso sauce.
Place cooled leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat, place in a pot or saucepan over medium heat until heated.
More Filipino Fish Recipes
Pesang Isda Recipe (Fish in Ginger Broth)
- 1 kg red snapper about 3 pcs
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small onion sliced
- 2 thumbs ginger julienned
- 2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 medium potatoes peeled & quartered
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 small cabbage quartered
- 2-3 bunch bok choy leaves separated
- 5 cups water
- oil for frying
- 1 kg red snapper, saltCut the fish in half and thoroughly rub salt all over the fish.
- oilIn a frying pan, pour oil and then cook the fish over medium heat. Cook until both sides are golden brown.
- Remove from pan then set aside.
- 2 cloves garlic, 1 small onion, 2 thumbs ginger, 2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce, 5 cups waterIn a pot, sauté garlic, onion, and ginger until aromatic. Add the fish sauce and water. Stir to combine.
- 2 medium potatoesAdd the potatoes. Cover the pot and cook until potatoes are tender.
- ½ teaspoon ground pepperRemove cover and add the pepper, stir well. Add the cooked fish and the quartered cabbage into the pot. Cover and let it simmer for about 2 minutes.
- 1 small cabbage, 2-3 bunch bok choyRemove the cover then add the bok choy. Cover again and simmer for another minute.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot with white steamed rice.