My fifteen-minute fish soup made with boneless bangus belly fillets, shallots, tomatoes, garlic and onion leaves. It went into the kids’ school lunch boxes.
There is much confusion about the nature of shallots as the name is often interchanged with scallions. In Southeast Asian cooking, shallots refer to small red onions; scallions are the onion leaves. In Filipino cooking, shallots are sibuyas Tagalog (Allium ascalonicum) which would make them “authentic” shallots as being one of the two species of the Allium plant that are considered true shallots.
Shallots are not absolutely necessary for this soup dish as sweet white onions will work just as well. But whole peeled shallots in the soup adds a more interesting texture and appearance to it.
Crush and peel the garlic. Peel the shallots. Dice the tomatoes. Cut the onion leaves into one-inch lengths.
Cut the bangus belly fillets into serving size pieces. How large or how small depends entirely on you. I normally cut each fillet into four portions.
Heat the cooking oil in a pot. Saute the garlic, shallots and tomatoes for a couple of minutes or until the tomatoes start to soften and render color. Pour in the fish broth. Season with patis. Bring to the boil. Add the bangus belly fillets, allow to broth to boil again, lower the heat and simmer for about three minutes. That’s really all it takes to cook the fish. Most people add the fish to the pot before pouring in the liquid but when you’re cooking fillets as thin as bangus belly, that’s a sure way of overcooking the fish. I like my fish to cook almost as soon as it goes into the pot so that there is less chance that the meat will fall apart.
Add the onion leaves to the pot. Sprinkle with pepper. Stir gently and simmer for about 30 seconds longer.