Hi, everyone, I am really taking advantage of this surprisingly extended warm weather to use most of my pocket garden harvest. So I will use bittermelon leaves, lemon grass and green peppers from my garden to complement our dish and it is famously called ‘Tinola.’ In our native tongue it is called,’ Tinolang Pompano sa Sayote at Dahon ng Ampalaya.’ A soupy fish dish that will warm not only your body but also your soul as the flu season begins. Let’s first gather up our ingredients.
1 huge Pompano fish
3 cups rice washing
2 huge and plum tomatoes (sliced)
a thumb-sized ginger (julienned)
1 Chayote (thickly sliced)
1 green bell pepper
3 pieces small hot green peppers
2 shallots (sliced)
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 stalks lemon grass (smashed)
lots of bittermelon leaves (soaked in water/drained in a colander)
1. Have the fishmonger in the fish market clean and slice the Pompano fish as to your preference. Inspect the fish and wash them properly and drain in a colander. Season well with salt and set aside.
2. Rinse 3 cups of Jasmine rice in 3 cups filtered water and save the 1st washing as soup base for this dish. After 2 more washings, drain the rice, add 3 cups filtered water and cook in a rice cooker.
3. In a huge and deep cooking pot, add the ginger and tomatoes then pour the rice washing and let it boil for 5 minutes, add the shallots, the lemon grass and fish sauce and re-boil for 10 minutes until the tomatoes are wilted.
4. Add the sliced chayote, bell pepper and hot peppers for few minutes until the chayote is slightly tender.
5. Add the fish slices, gently submerge into the broth for 2-3 minutes until cooked. Add the bittermelon leaves, Cover the pot and turn off the stove. When ready to serve, open the pot, submerge the wilted leaves into the broth then gently gather up the fish in a serving soup bowl and pour out the broth. Serve the fish and the chayote in individual soup bowls and pour the broth on top. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice.
As always, Masarap! The blending of the lemon grass and the chayote is flavorful!