Fish Head Soup With Coconut Cream (Ginataang Ulo ng Isda)
- Clean the fish heads; remove the gills (you can ask the fish monger to do this for you). If the heads are rather large, you can chop them into halves.
- Peel and thinly slice the shallots.
- Crush, peel and finely mince the garlic (it’s easier to peel garlic after crushing the cloves first).
- Peel and grate the ginger.
- If you want the chilies to bite but not scorch, slit them open lengthwise, scrape off and discard the seeds.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot that should be wide enough to hold the fish heads in a single layer to ensure even cooking.
- Add the garlic, shallots, ginger and chilies. Cook until fragrant (about a minute over medium-high heat).
- Add the fish heads in a single layer.
- Pour in about a cup of water, season with fish sauce or salt then bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes (longer if they are rather large). The water need not cover the fish heads — the heat from the steam is enough to cook them.
- Turn up the heat to medium and pour in the coconut cream. Bring to a gentle boil. Continue cooking the fish, uncovered, for a few minutes. Taste the soup and add more fish sauce if necessary.
- With a large spoon or spatula, lift the cooked fish heads and transfer to individual soup bowls. Pour the broth and spices over them and garnish with sliced scallions.
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