Catfish and miso sour soup
This recipe would have been posted a lot sooner had I been able to find more information about kanduli. I never really thought it was just another variety of catfish. In fact, I didn’t realize there was more than one catfish. The only catfish I know is called hito and it’s dark gray to black in color, not silver to light gray. But after several days of on-and-off searching for the English name of kanduli — I got the same thing. Catfish. So, I’m done with the searching. The recipe is more important than the name of the fish anyway. Just remember, this dish does not use the black catfish Filipinos call hito. Kanduli is silver to light gray and, like the hito, it has cat-like whiskers too.
Serves 4 to 6.
1-1/2 k. of kanduli (about two whole fish), sliced into serving size pieces
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 c. of yellow miso (available in vegetable stalls in wet markets and in the chilled section of most supermarkets)
about 250 g. of fresh tamarind
about 200 g. of mustard leaves
patis (fish sauce), to taste
about 3 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil
You can have the kanduli cleaned and gutted by the fish monger and do the cutting at home or you can ask the fish monger to save you all the trouble by doing a complete job on the fish. I had mine cut in the market. If you’re lucky like me and your kanduli has fish roe, the soup will be even more wonderful. Just wash the kanduli and drain.
If the mustard leaves are rather large you can cut them into halves after trimming the root ends. Otherwise, just cut off the root ends and use the leaves whole.
That’s what yellow miso looks like. You may want to read about different kinds of miso before deciding whether yellow miso is absolutely essential for cooking this soup or whether you can substitute another variety.
Wash and boil the tamarind in about two cups of water and extract the juice (see related entry on how to extract tamarind juice).
Heat the cooking oil in a pot and saute the garlic, onion and tomatoes.
When the garlic, onion and tomatoes start to soften, add the miso. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables liquefy some more and the mixture turns a bit pasty.
Pour in the tamarind juice. Season with patis to balance the sourness. If you think you don’t have enough liquid, or if the broth is much too sour, dilute with water.
Add the fish. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat cover and simmer for about ten minutes.
Add the mustard leaves and simmer for another three minutes.
Ladle the soup into your favorite soup tureen or serving bowl and serve at once.