This pan-fried whole fish with tofu-egg salsa is a modified sarciado dish. Sarciado literally means “with sauce” but in Filipino cooking, it generally refers to any dish with a sauce made with chopped onions and tomatoes. With fish sarciado, it isn’t uncommon to add beaten eggs to the sauce. I went a step farther and added chopped firm tofu and onion leaves.
To make the pan-fried whole fish with tofu-egg salsa I used kitang. According to a paper from Academia, kitang is the Visayan name of spotted scat, spadefish and butterfish. But that’s more of an aside because any not-so-thick fleshy fish like sole or rabbitfish will work well for this recipe.
Pan-fried whole fish with tofu-egg salsa
- 1 large kitang or your fish of choice, about a kilo
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced
- 1 large onion or 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 plump and juicy tomatoes chopped
- fish sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped firm tofu
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced onion leaves
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
Score the fish on both sides.
Heat the cooking oil in a non-stick pan. Pour in the beaten egg and cook until set. Scoop out the egg, transfer to a chopping board and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Reheat the cooking oil and lightly fry the fish to sear both sides.
Push the fish to one side of the frying pan. Saute the chopped onion in the hot oil. When it starts to turn soft, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir in the chopped tofu.
Push the fish to the center of the frying pan, moving the vegetables around it. Pour in a quarter cup of water. Season with 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls of fish sauce. Sprinkle liberally with ground pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.
With a large slotted spatula, lift the fish and transfer to a serving platter.
Add the chopped egg to the vegetables and tofu. Cook until the egg is reheated. Season the salsa with more fish sauce and pepper if necessary.
Pour the salsa over the fish. Sprinkle with the chopped onion leaves and serve with hot rice.