How to Cook Tinolang Isda

In most areas of the Philippines -- particularly in Visayas and Mindanao, two of the three main island groups -- the word "tinola" refers to a clear ginger- and onion-based soup, stew or broth. One of its variations is fish tinola, also known as tinolang isda. Traditionally made with freshly caught fish, it is best served when piping hot. It is highly regarded by the Filipino people for its pleasing aroma and nutritional value.

    Cut the fish into pieces. Clean the pieces and set them aside.

    Pour oil into a pot and heat it.

    Add chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes and ginger. Saute for about 2 minutes.

    Add the water and chopped tanglad to the pot. Bring to a boil for up to 5 minutes.

    Add the fish and the sliced chayote. Season with patis, salt and pepper.

    Reduce the heat and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until fish and chayote are cooked.

    Add the malunggay for garnish and turn off the heat. Serve hot.

    Things You'll Need

    • 2 fish, preferably swordfish or tuna
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion
    • 2 tomatoes
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 root ginger
    • 2 straws of tanglad (lemon grass)
    • 1 chayote, or vegetable pear
    • 1 cup malunggay (Moringa oleifera vegetable tree)
    • 3 cups water
    • Patis (Filipino fish sauce), salt and pepper to taste


    • The best time to make and serve tinolang isda is when the weather is cold.

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