After Christmas and New Year holidays, do you feel you've had enough of the leftovers? I feel the same way. I needed something to break away from it. The first craving I had was a very Pinoy fish dish.
Sinampalukang isda. Some would think of it as sinigang but it is not sinigang.
It is a soup dish of fish in tamarind broth, ginger, chilis, onions, tomatoes, radish leaves or pechay, and of course fish. Okay, it is like sinigang (hahaha). It usually calls for tilapia but I opted for sea bream. It is a completely hearty meal. Of course, to be eaten with hot steaming rice and sawsawan (a mixture of fish sauce and green chili)
The original dish calls for fresh raw tamarind but since it is hardly available where I am, I used powdered tamarind. The difference is that fresh raw tamarind gives this dish a thick broth distinct from sinampalukang isda my parents used to cook for us, unlike powdered tamarind. (oh well ex-pat life)
So, how to cook it?
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 medium-size sea bream cut in thirds
thumb size ginger (sliced)
1 small onion (roughly sliced)
1 tomato (roughly sliced)
1 bunch of radish leaves or pechay
3 long green chili
powdered tamarind - depends on how sour you want it to be
1 cup of rice water (3rd washing)
salt or fish sauce to taste
1. In a pot, add rice water, and let it boil.
2. Add ginger, onion, and tomato, and simmer for 3-4 minutes
3. Add fish, radish leaves, and chilis
4. When the leaves are wilted (not soggy) add tamarind powder, stir, and cover.
5. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or when you know the fish is done.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with rice at sawsawan.
The best part, eat with your bare hands.