Tinowang Isda is a Visayan soup dish prepared with fleshy white fish alongside leafy vegetables cooked in water infused with ginger, onions, tomatoes and spring onions. Basically, this is the Tinola of the Visayans, where cooking procedure and ingredients are almost similar to each other. I said almost similar because there are key differences between Tinola and Tinowa apart from that one letter that sets them apart. While both words refer to soup, in Visayas this soup is exclusively using only fish or seafood while the Tagalogs refer to all other kinds of soup of which chicken is the most popular one. Ingredients and preparation is slightly different as well, Tinola starts by sautéing garlic, onions and ginger while Tinowa is like sinigang where you put everything in the pot, vegetables used may vary because of the regional produce.
Cooking Tinowa is easy, you can use any fish that you want but it works well with the likes of bangus, pompano, lapu lapu, talakitok and maya maya. Vegetables can also vary where kangkong, pechay, repolyo or malunggay can be utilized. Today we will be making it with talakitok together with some pechay, a really comforting dish specially during cold nights.
- 1 large piece talakitok (trevally), around 1 kg, cut into sections
- 1 bunch sweet potato tops or pechay, trimmed
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- 1 thumb sized ginger, sliced
- 1 large medium onion, sliced
- 4 stalks spring onions, sliced
- 3 pcs white section of lemongrass, pounded
- 3 pcs long red chillies, sliced
- fish sauce
- freshly ground pepper
- In a pot add 4-5 cups of water together with tomato, ginger, onion, lemongrass and red chillies. Bring to a boil.
- Once it is boiling add the talakitok, turn down heat to medium then cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the sweet potato tops or pechay, and spring onions. Season with fish sauce and freshly ground pepper. Simmer for 2 more minutes.