Seventeen years of marriage not only transformed me into a fish and veggie-lover, it also opened me to the Cebuano way of cooking. Which is a good thing, actually, because I easily tire of eating the same things, and I like seeing, tasting and cooking a variety of dishes.
Almost 4 years ago when we vacationed in my husband's hometown in No. Cotabato, we had this soup during one of the lunches and I immediately got hooked. When I asked what it was, they told me it was Turagsoy.
Back in Laguna weeks later, I hankered for the delicate interplay of spice, saltiness and the smoky flavor imparted by the Inihaw na Dalag. So I begged my husband to please find me a dalag, so I can make this soup. I got my wish. :) I made Turagsoy according to how I imagined it to have been done, based on the tastes I remembered.
However, while I came up with something good, I knew there were some flavors lacking and I knew I had to get the recipe and make the real thing. Luckily I eventually had the chance to ask the then-appointed cook, my brother-in-law, who happily gave me the recipe. I realized later though that the recipe he gave me is large enough to feed a large family of 10-12 people, maybe because my husband's family is large. Tee-hee. :)
Wanting to find out more, I tried googling Turagsoy and that's how I found that Turagsoy is actually the Ilonggo term for dalag (haluan in Cebuano), and that this soup is actually an Ilonggo dish called Linagpang nga Turagsoy.
Linagpang/Nilagpang, according to MyFilipinoKitchen is grilled meat soup. It is similar to the Cebuano tinuwa and the Tagalog pesa, but it requires any meat to be put in the soup (fish, chicken or pork) to be grilled first and is spicy.
LINAGPANG NGA TURAGSOY (Grilled Mudfish in Soup)
What's In It?
2 pcs. (approx. 1.5-2 kgs.) mudfish, cleaned
1 large piece (approx 1 kg) milkfish, cleaned
6-8 pieces tomatoes
2 large onions, peeled
5 stalks onion leeks, sliced into 2" lengths
1/2 to 1 hand ginger, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
2 large red bell peppers
4-5 bird's eye chili
shrimp paste, to taste
2 liters drinking water
Season the mudfish and milkfish with salt then grill them over hot charcoal until juices run clear. Grill tomatoes and bell peppers until slightly wilted.
Remove any charred portions from the fish', tomato and pepper skins. Slice bell peppers onto bite-size chunks. Cut the fish into smaller portions. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mash grilled tomatoes with the bird's eye chilies (if using). Set aside.
Boil water over high heat. Add in the sliced onions, ginger and bell pepper in a large saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add in fish slices, let boil then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Season with the mashed tomato-chili mixture and bagoong or uyap, Add green onions and/or leeks.
Let boil for about 1-2 minutes more, then check and adjust seasonings if needed.
Serve with rice.
1. Local names: Dalag/Turagsoy/Haluan (mudfish), Bangus (Milkfish), Alamang/Uyap (Shrimp paste), Labuyo (Bird's Eye chili)
2. Dalag is NOT hito (catfish). Hito has a leaner body than dalag and has more bones making it less suitable for this dish (it is better crispy fried or grilled).
3. The pictures above were taken when I cooked this dish yet without the recipe from my brother-in-law. That explains why the tomatoes appear sliced/quartered in the picture instead of mashed.
4. Some recipes do not call for the tomatoes nor the bell peppers to be grilled. I think that's okay, but grilling the vegetables imparts more flavor and therefore adds dimension to the soup so I'd go with grilling the vegetables too.