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Pesang Salmon- Fish Stew in Ginger Broth with Sotanghon Noodles

Pesang Salmon comes from the word "pesa", a classic Filipino fish or seafood soup which is simmered in a clear broth. The Asian flavors of fresh ginger, garlic, onions and ‘patis’ (fish sauce) make it a superb soup to enjoy. I added vegetables like bok choy and tomatoes and sotanghon (transparent cellophane noodles) to make it an all-in-one meal. It didn’t take long to make this on a weeknight. It also makes for a great weekend family meal. Serve it with steamed white rice and a dipping sauce of ‘patis’ with lemon. This is an Asian in America recipe by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. Serves 2 or up to 4 if paired with rice.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time21 mins
Total Time41 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Filipino Pesang Salmon Sotanghon Soup
Servings: 4 people
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • 1 Large Stockpot


  • 1 pound salmon fillet
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice about 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces sotanghon (cellophane) noodles; about 2 cups after soaking in water
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 whole onion chopped
  • 1- piece (1-inch) fresh ginger peeled, sliced thin in slivers
  • 2 whole large tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 to 10 cups rice wash or water
  • 2 cups bok choy or Chinese cabbage, washed, trimmed, shredded coarsely
  • ½ teaspoon salt for broth
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper for broth
  • 1/4 cup patis (fish sauce) divided, use 2 Tablespoons
  • 1/2 piece lemon about 1 Tablespoon, for dipping sauce
  • for serving: steamed jasmine white rice


  • Prepare the salmon fillet (thawed) by marinating with lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 (do not marinate fish longer than this).
  • Pre-soak the sotanghon (transparent noodles) in a medium sized bowl filled with water for 15 to 20. Do not soak the noodles longer or they get too mushy. When noodles are soft, drain the water and set aside to add to broth later.
  • In a large stock pot, over medium heat, add the cooking oil. When oil heats up in 2 to 3 minutes, saute the garlic, onions, fresh ginger and tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes till onions and tomatoes soften. Add the patis (fish sauce).
  • Pour in the  rice wash or water. Cover and turn heat to high so the broth boils. When the broth is boiling, add the salmon fillet and turn heat to a medium. Cover again and continue cooking till salmon is thoroughly done. This should take about 12 minutes.
  • While the broth is simmering, add the pre-soaked sotanghon noodles. If desired, cut up the salmon fillet in large chunks, about 2-inch squares.
  • Add the shredded bok choy and cook for 3 minutes more. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve the soup with a dipping sauce of patis (fish sauce) sprinkled with fresh lemon juice, and boiled jasmine white rice.
  • Cook’s comments: if salmon is not available, use tilapia, cat fish, shrimps or other fish fillets preferred. Feel free to add other vegetables like potatoes, sayote (chayote), fresh spinach, cabbage or whatever is in season.
  • Ingredient for soup broth: to make rice wash, see my previous blog posts on how to make ‘hugas bigas’. In the Philippines, we call rice wash 'hugas-bigas'. I have shown how to obtain rice wash and keep the broth in a previous blog post – this is an age old cooking tip from Filipino mothers and generations before them.

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