I bought half a kilo of small salay-ginto (yellowstripe scad). I wrapped each fish in pechay (Chinese pei tsai, a sibling of bok choy), arranged the wrapped fish in a single layer in the pressure cooker, threw in chopped red onions, tomatoes, garlic, chilis and ginger, and poured in just enough coconut milk to partially cover the fish. One hour later, Speedy and I had pressure-cooked yellowstripe scad with coconut milk for a wonderful lunch. We finished everything you see in the photo above. That’s not all of the fish though. I set aside three whole fish to send to my mother-in-law. She loves the way I cook fish.
But why pressure cook the fish? So that even the bones are edible.
See, the most serious reason I missed my pressure cooker was because I love, love, loooovveee pressure cooking small bangus (milkfish) until every bit of it is edible — bones and all. You know, sardines style. Now that my pressure cooker is back in action, it is seeing a lot of action. When Speedy and I went to the market, I went hunting for small bangus intending to pressure cook a large batch with thick tomato sauce. To my dismay, I couldn’t find small bangus. I asked one vendor after another if selling them had been banned but no one knew. Frustrated as I was, I was not going to give up. I decided that I could use some other small fish.
Those are yellowstripe scads, cleaned and gutted. You may optionally cut off the heads.
Any large leafy vegetable will be good for wrapping the fish. I am personally enamored with pechay; I prefer it over other cabbage varieties.
To make it easier to remove the fish from the pressure cooker without breaking them, I positioned a rack upside-down inside the pressure cooker. The feet of the rack served as handles to pull out all the fish after cooking.
I just piled the leaf-wrapped fish on the rack as neatly as I could.
Spices were added, coconut milk was poured in, the pressure cooker was sealed and the cooking began.
A little over an hour later, the fish were tender and moist. The bones were so soft that they were completely edible.
- 1/2 kilogram yellowstripe scad or any small firm fish, ideally, each three to four inches long; cleaned and gutted
- 1 large bunch pechay leaves
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 4 small red onions sliced
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 large knob ginger thinly sliced
- 2 bird’s eye chilies chopped
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
Toss the fish with 1 tsp. of salt.
Cut off the white stalks of the pechay (reserve them as they are very good for stir fried dishes).
Wrap each fish with one or two pechay leaves.
I suggest that you put a low rack in the pressure cooker before adding the fish. That way, you can just lift the rack when the fish is done without danger of breaking the delicate fish to take them out of the cooker.
Arrange the fish, in a single layer as much as possible, on the rack.
Add the ginger, chilies, garlic, onions and tomatoes.
Pour in the coconut milk. Drizzle the 1 tbsp. of fish sauce over everything.
Put on the lid of the pressure cooker and turn the heat to high. Once the valve starts to whistle, lower the heat to a simmer and count one hour.
Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to subside, about ten minutes. Remove the cover, lift the rack and arrange the fish on a platter.
To the vegetables that have settled at the bottom of the pan, add the coconut cream. Bring to the boil and cook until thickened. It should take no more than a minute or two. Season with more fish sauce.
Pour the sauce over and around the fish.
Serve the pressure-cooked yellowstripe scad with coconut milk hot with rice.