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How to Make Sumptuous Fish Cardillo (Fish in Tomatoes and Egg) in Five Easy Steps

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Fish Cardillo is unique but very rewarding dish that combines rich flavors, ease of preparation, affordability as well as health benefits. This article teaches you how to make this popular FIlipino dish in just five easy steps.

Cardillo is a simple yet sumptuous fish dish unique to the Philippines. While its exact origins are unknown, its Hispanic name as well as the liberal use of garlic, onion, and tomatoes betray the dish's Spanish influence. This is further boosted by the fact that the Philippines was colonized by Spain for more than 300 years. Today cardillo is a dish served in almost every Filipino home. Its easy preparation, flavorful taste, aand affordability make it a favorite among many Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. This is a very healthy dish too - it is rich both in protein and vitamin C. Here are five easy steps you can follow to make delicious cardillo: 

1) Prepare Your Ingredients

fish cardillo - step 1

To make fish cardillo you'll need fish, tomatoes, four to six cloves of garlic, a medium sized onion, and a medium-sized egg. For the fish you can use white-fleshed, moderately firm varieties like mahi mahi, sea bass, grouper, Pacific perch, rainbow trout, or red snapper. For this particular dish I used a local fish called bisugo. If you have a bigger fish meats at hand you can slice it into smaller, more manageable fillets.

2) Get everything ready

fish cardillo - step 2

Rub some salt on your fish. For more flavor you can squeeze in some lemon or lime juice and let the fish sit for about 30 minutes (for this particular dish I used a local citrus fruit, the kalamansi). While letting the flavors sink into the meat, slice tomatoes radially and chop onions and garlic. Beat the egg in a small bowl until it is smooth.

3) Into the Frying Pan

fish cardillo - step 3

Heat a pan and add some cooking oil. As a healthier alternative olive oil can also be used. Once the oil is hot, put the fish into the pan. Fry each side until it is a nice brown color. If you are using fillets, dip the fish first into a bowl of cornstarch. This keeps the fillet from falling apart while enhancing the flavor of the fish. Set aside and drain the fish in paper towels or in a wire draining rack 

4) Saute

fish cardillo - step 4

Remove some of the excess oil from the same pan until only about two tablespoons are left. Add garlic and saute until it achieves a golden brown color. Add the onions and tomatoes as well as salt to taste. Saute until the tomatoes are cooked well. Add about half a cup of water and let simmer for about 3 minutes. For more flavor you can also add some tomato sauce and a teaspoon of fish sauce to the mix. Add the beaten egg and let it cook for a minute or two. If you prefer a more watery sauce, you can add more water until the sauce is a bit brothy.

5) Everything Together Now

fish cardillo - step 5

Arrange the fish in a serving platter and pour the tomato-and-egg sauce over it. This dish is traditionally enjoyed with a cup of hot steaming rice. Enjoy!

All pictures on this article are the author's own. 


Francina Marie Parks
Posted on Oct 9, 2011
Pearl Wilson
Posted on Apr 22, 2011

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Andi Allegre

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