No special occasion, just a regular dinner for tonight courtesy of my Bicolano father, Papa On who sure cooks well. The dish isn’t exactly Ilonggo nor Bicolano but since its main player is the fish called Lison—another Ilonggo favorite, I’m featuring the recipe here. Perhaps it has Chinese roots. (Pardon my imperfect photo; i was a minute late in catching the dish in all its glory. Our men found it too good to resist. )
Anyway, you will need:
1 whole fish, medium-sized (we’re using Lison for this; you can also substitute it with Lapu-Lapu)
ABC or Ahos, Bombay, Camatis (Garlic, Onion and Tomatoes)
slivered Pidada (bell pepper) or
½ can of Tausio (black beans)
1. Season the fish with just a little salt and pepper. Lay on a sheet of aluminum foil wide enough to wrap the fish in. Before sealing, distribute about 5 ginger slices all over side A of the fish. Make sure the fish is securely sealed in so its juices will not drip out while steaming. Steam for 20-30 minutes depending on size and thickness of fish.
2. Prepare the quick and easy sauce: Saute the ABC in that sequence. Don’t overcook the tomatoes. Add the drained black beans. Stir around for a few minutes and add the peppers last. Now, we’re ready to set-up.
3. Remove fish from the foil. Arrange on a dish and pour your blackbean sauce all over.
P.S. The saltiness of the blackbeans is a nice counterpoint to the soft white meat of our steamed fish. Papa On says that the imported black beans have a nicer consistency making our sauce a little more “saucy.” If unavailable, the local brands will do just fine.
P.S. 2. I just realized upon writing this blog that we Ilonggos have something similar in our traditional menu but the procedure is different. We call that dish “Tinausiohan nga Isda” or Fish with Tausio. (check out the recipe).