I first tasted this dish in San Fernando, Pampanga. C.G. Garcia, a realtor in San Fernando had a restaurant and that is where I first tasted it. The original recipe of this dish was too oily (it was deep fried twice) and as usual, I tweaked it to make it healthier.
- 1 kilo fish fillet – labahita, ocean perch, sole – de-bone and slice into serving slices 2-inches x 4-inches or whole tilapia
- 1 tablespoon lemon or calamansi juice or mirin
- ¼ kilo tomatoes – blanch, skin, peel and cut into quarters
- 50 grams coriander – chop coarsely
- 2 cups onions – chop coarsely
- 2 tablespoons garlic – chop finely
- 2 lemon grass white stalks – chop finely
- 1 tablespoon ginger – finely chopped
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon finely crushed black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cassava (arrowroot) flour dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
Fish Preparation Procedure:
- Rub the fish fillets with lemon juice and lay out on over-proof serving dish lined with banana leaf.
- If you are using a whole tilapia, fry tilapia with a little oil, on both sides, just to seal it; about 1 minute per side.
- In a medium sized sauce pan, over low fire, pour in the oils (cooking and sesame) and sauté the onions, and garlic for about 2 minutes.
- Add in the ginger and lemon grass; continue sautéing for another 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and black pepper. Stir and continue simmering for 1 minute.
- Add the coriander and the cassava flour mixture. Cook for another minute and remove from flame.
- Pour sauce over the fillets and bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 180°C or 350°F.
- Serve with boiled rice.