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Pesa (Fish in Miso Soup)

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  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Filipino


Pesa is one of the least popular dishes in the Philippines, a humble dish usually made out of boiled fish with miso and vegetables like cabbage and tomatoes


  • 1 1/2 kg fish (white and fleshy type, bone and head in)
  • 1/2 small cabbage, chopped
  • 3 bunches pak choy
  • 1 stem leeks
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb sized ginger, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup yellow miso
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • fish sauce
  • 6 cups water from rice wash (You can do this by rinsing the uncooked rice and reserving the liquid)
  • 8 pcs 1×1 inch nori squares
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • oil


  1. Season your fish with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. In a wok add oil then once it’s really hot lightly fry the fish, remove from wok then reserve oil.
  3. In a pot add some of the reserved oil, sauté garlic and red onion in medium heat until onions are soft. Add ginger and tomatoes. Continue to stir fry until tomatoes are cooked.
  4. Add 6 cups of rice wash water, miso and peppercorns then bring to a boil.
  5. Add the fish then gently bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
  6. Add Pak choy, cabbage, leeks and nori and continue to simmer for additional 4 minutes.
  7. Add fish sauce according to your taste.