Pompano and Green Papaya Soup
Inspired by a chicken soup called halang-halang, the heat of the chilies in this pompano and green papaya soup is balanced by the natural sweetness of freshly-squeezed coconut milk.
- 1 whole pompano about 800 grams, cleaned and gutted
- ½ small green papaya
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 onion peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic peeled crushed
- 1 thumb-sized piece ginger peeled and finely sliced
- 3 to 4 finger chilies cut into halves
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk
- patis (fish sauce) to taste
- Cut the pompano into three portions.
- Cut off the skin of the green papaya, scrape off the seeds and cut the flesh into two-inch cubes.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot.
- Saute the ginger, garlic, onion and finger chili until softened and fragrant.
- Pour in about a cup and a half of water and season with fish sauce.
- Add the green papaya and bring to the boil.
- Add the fish and bring to the boil once again.
- Lower the heat, cover and simmer for ten minutes.
- Pour in the coconut milk and boil, uncovered, for about a minute.
- Taste the broth and add more fish sauce, if necessary.
- Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with toasted garlic bits and finely sliced onion leaves (or fried shallots), if you like.
- Serve at once.
A single 800-gram pompano is enough for three persons. Add cubes of green papaya, chayote or upo (bottle gourd) to make it even more filling. Isn’t the fish called pampano and not pompano? Whether you call it pompano or pampano, it’s the same fish species in the Trachinotus genus of the Carangidae family. Updated from a recipe originally published in 10/08/2010.