Pesang dalag (stewed mudfish) is regional Filipino dish whose main ingredient is mudfish, a freshwater fish and vegetable soup, with optional add-ons.
Mudfish is not generally found in a typical Filipino market, perhaps due to the more complex process of cleaning and cutting that’s quite easy with salt water counterparts. The taste will largely depend on the freshness of the fish catch and how well it’s cleaned — removal of gills, scales, innards and other secretion to remove fishy odor.
This pesang dalag recipe includes miso dipping sauce.
For the main dish
- 1 whole dalag (mudfish), scaled, gutted and scrubbed well to remove the slime, and cut to serving size pieces
- 1 bunch of pechay or a combination of pechay and repolyo
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- 3 to 4 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
- patis (fish sauce), to taste
For the miso sauce:
- 1 cup of yellow miso
- 1 onion
- 1 tomato
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil
- Patis, to taste
- Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and tomato,
- Cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften a little.
- Add the fish. Pour in enough water to cover.
- Add peppercorns. Bring to the boil.
- Remove the froth that forms on the surface as it will make the soup cloudy.
- Prepare the pechay. Wash, cut off the root ends and, if rather large, cut right across the middle.
- Add the pechay to the pot, pushing the leaves down. Season with patis to taste.
- Continue boiling for a minute then cover the pot and turn off the heat. Both the fish and greens will continue cooking in the residual heat.
- While the fish is almost cooked in the residual heat, prepare the miso sauce.
- Finely slice an onion, chop a tomato and three cloves of garlic. Heat about two tablespoonfuls of vegetable oil and sauté the garlic, onion and tomato until they start to soften.
- Add the miso and stir. The mixture will appear much too dry at this point. Take some of the broth from the pesa and pour into the miso mixture little by little, no more than a few tablespoonfuls at a time, until the mixture is of the desired consistency.
- When the consistency of the miso sauce is just right for your taste, add patis to taste.