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Piyalam Istah

  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Filipino


Piyalam or Piyalam Istah is a Filipino dish from the Tausug ethnic group prepared with stewed fish cooked with turmeric, ginger and lemongrass.


Units Scale
  • 2 pcs medium sized pompano, scored (or any fish you want)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 thumb sized turmeric, peeled and pounded
  • 1 thumb sized ginger, peeled and pounded
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pcs lemongrass, white part pounded
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 pcs red chillies
  • fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • salt
  • oil


  1. Prepare your fish by seasoning it with turmeric powder, outside and inside the cavities. Set it aside for 5 minutes then rinse it in running tap water. Drain well then season with salt.
  2. In a wok heat oil for shallow frying then pan fry pompano on medium heat for 7 minutes on each side or until golden brown and edges are crispy.
  3. Using the same wok, remove all but 3 tbsp of oil, sauté garlic, red onion, ginger and turmeric.
  4. Add the tomatoes then cook until tomatoes are soft.
  5. Add the lemongrass, chillies and the fish, pour water then bring it to a boil. Cover the wok, then simmer in low heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Season with fish sauce then serve.