This fish cardillo recipe is pretty much what every Filipino family uses, I think. But for those who don’t know, this is the usual way that this fish dish is prepared. And I love it so much. I will also tell you a little something about my childhood and how this fish cardillo recipe relates to my growing up. This dish would also be a perfect addition to your Lent menu, as I know many of you do not eat meat this time. Read more.
Kitchen Hack: You may also want to use your leftover fried fish for this dish. For example, you may fry several pieces of for dinner. Set aside some for fish cardillo for lunch the next day. That’s re-inventing leftovers, so that you only fry once and make two dishes.
Fish Dishes Prepared During my Childhood
I grew up as an only child for about nine years until my brother came along. During these times, the subdivision we lived in only had a few houses in the neighborhood so playmates were also sparse.
Plus, my parents were also quite strict so I don’t get to play in the street with the other kids. Though we were not really rich, I was pretty much sheltered during my childhood.
Among the usual things we eat are fish dishes because we had several vendors who would sell fish in the morning and afternoon around the village. We can have the freshest catch of the day, which we would usually cook immediately.
Sometimes, we had fried fish, escabeche, lamayo (fish butterflied and dried in the sun), tinola, with black beans, grilled, and yes, cardillo.
I really love cardillo — it’s flavors, the texture, and maybe how it looks? haha Not really sure. But I know that it’s a good way to extend one piece of fish so that it can feed like a family of four. That is why I am sharing our fish cardillo recipe with you.
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Our Homestyle Fish Cardillo Recipe
You may use other kinds of fish, I think, but ever since I can remember, we only cook bulaw or kitang for the fish cardillo.
- 2 pcs. fish, preferably kitang (a.k.a. bulaw)
- Cooking oil
- 1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
- Water for the clear broth
- 2 eggs, seasoned and beaten
- Green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
Note: Ginger is very important because it removes the fishy taste and smell. In Filipino, it removes the lansa.
- Clean the fish by removing the innards. Rinse well and drain. Slice into the meaty part or slice the fish into serving portions. Season with salt.
- Fry the fish slices in shallow oil until the skin is crisp. Drain excess oil and set aside.
- It is best to use a different clean skillet to put the fish cardillo together. Heat a little oil and fry the ginger until the edges are brown and the oil is aromatic.
- Add the garlic and stir-try for about a minute. Next would be the onions and saute them until translucent, which is about another minute.
- Stir-fry the tomatoes for about 2 minutes. Add some water that’s just enough to cover the tomatoes. Bring it to a boil and season with some salt to taste. You will eventually see red-orange little circles forming in the water. That’s the essence of the tomato. You may want to mash the tomatoes to let all that fleshy part mix in the water.
- Put in the fish and let the broth continue boiling. If you think that the liquid is not enough to have some fish broth, you may add some HOT WATER. Start with 1/2 cup and adjust seasoning.
- When the broth is boiling again, turn the fish on the other side and pour the beaten egg around the liquid. The eggs will cook almost on contact.
- Let the egg cook for about 2 to 3 minutes more while the broth is boiling.
Shared During Family Meals
This fish cardillo recipe is best served hot with rice so we cook it about a few minutes before eating. Of course, you can fry the fish earlier. You may even use leftover fried fish from the day before.
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That is because fish cardillo is one of those dishes you can do to transform fried fish. I just love the sweet and acidic properties of tomatoes enhancing the flavor of the fish broth. It makes the simple fried fish more exciting.
Moreover, for a big family, this extends the family budget. Fish can already be expensive nowadays. Frying one fish for each family can already cost quite a lot.
But with fish cardillo, you may cut up the fish into several slices and serve one slice for each member along with some broth and eggs. It is already a healthy and filling dish when eaten with rice.
To make it more nutritious, you may add a handful of malunggay leaves, just after you add the eggs.