We needed a good, wholesome easy home cooked meal quickly. So this Sinigang na Pompano with Lemongrass was perfect for dinner.
We had a medical emergency in our family the past week so I was offline for a few days. But the reality is no matter what happens in your life, you still must eat.
My family loves the freshness of fish and sea foods when I cook what was purchased the same day. The pompano fish is popular in Filipino cooking. So I am always glad when I can find it in the markets here in America. The pompano I bought was between 1.5 to 2 pounds which was the right size for our meal. A pompano is a flat-bodied fish, roundish in shape and usually fits a regular pan for cooking. The fish has a silvery skin and when cooked has a sweet, mild flavor.
Here in America, the pompano is harvested in many states from Virginia to Texas and primarily in Florida according to internet sources like seafoodsource.com. We personally enjoyed a couple of hefty, tasty pompanos at last year’s Food Wine Conference in Orlando, Florida, thanks to generous sponsors Ocean US Foods who supplied this wonderful fish.
I cooked the pompano with vegetables Sinigang-style. Sinigang (say “see-kneeh-gang”) is a Filipino tamarind clear-broth stew. The beauty of this all-in-one meal soup is that you can put everything together in a stockpot and leave it alone to cook for a few quick minutes.
A good sinigang has a very tart, sour, tangy flavor to it. I’ve mentioned before if your face puckers up and you wince at the first sip of the sour soup, then it is good sinigang. Since I don’t have fresh tamarinds in my backyard here in my suburban American home, I use tamarind concentrate as a souring agent. This time, my sister in the Philippines suggested I add lemongrass as an additional souring ingredient.
Lemongrass is also known as “tanglad” to Filipinos. It is a tropical plant that grows in Asia, Africa and Australia and used in many culinary dishes. Nowadays fresh lemongrass can be found in large markets here in America. This herb which looks like a long, stiff scallion stalk has the scent of lemons with hints of ginger. I use it a lot for teas, soups, curries in meats and seafood dishes.
As I swirled the bubbling broth with my ladle in the deep stockpot, the varying vegetables of tomatoes, eggplants, kangkong (water spinach), radish, onions and sitaw (long green beans) nestled snugly next to the plump pompano. I knew this was going to be a meaty, heavy, filling meal which we would enjoy with a bowl of steaming jasmine rice.
Sometimes good food just lingers on your palate for a long time.