Its about to rain and the sky is all grey and gloomy instead of following my original plan of posting another homemade ice cream recipe today, I thought of sharing with you a comforting fish and vegetable soup. Its called Sinabawang Isda. Sinabawan came from the root word sabaw which means soup. Its a dish Ive first tried when I was in Davao, and is very similar to a dish Ive featured before called Pesa. In both dishes, fish is cooked in boiling rice water with ginger and an assortment of vegetables. The only difference I know is that Sinabawang Isda has no onions and has less ginger compared to pesa and theres no sautéing involved. 

Sinabawang Isda is a dish thats very easy to prepare. Just put everything in a pot of boiling rice water (or plain water)...add some seasoning...wait for a few minutes and voila! You have a delicious, healthy and very comforting meal in no time!


  • 1 big fish about 2 lbs., cut into serving pieces (I used red snapper)
  • 6 cups rice water (water used in washing rice before cooking)
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced
  • about 2 cups green papaya, cut into wedges
  • 10 pcs. okra, stems and tips removed
  • about 2 cups small pechay, washed and trimmed
  • 4 stalks green onions, cut into about 2 inches long
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Sprinkle fish with salt. Let sit for at least 15 minutes. In a large saucepan, combine rice water, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add papaya. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add fish and okra. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until fish is cooked. Season with salt and pepper to suit your taste.

3. Add pechay and green onions. Simmer for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat. Serve with hot rice.

Note: Other fish that can be used are tilapya, pompano and lapu-lapu(grouper) Other vegetables that can be used are sayote (pear squash), upo (bottled gourd), sigarilyas (winged beans), Napa cabbage, dahon ng sili (chili leaves), spinach and saluyot (jute leaves).

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