Paksiw na Bisugo or Stewed Threadfin Bream in Vinegar is a favorite dish of mine. Unfortunately, this type of fish is not available here in my neck of the woods. In my 20 plus years of living in the Northeast I have yet to find this in any marketplace. So every time I go back to visit family in Manila, my mom never fails to make me this dish. This is a very simple rustic dish that also brings to memory lazy Saturday brunch with family eating longganisa and paksiw; that is our favorite paring mind you.
This was the one she prepared last September on my last visit. My mom said it is best to use a non-reactive pan when cooking food with vinegar or acid. That is why she prefers using a ceramic pot when making paksiw.
This is how my mom prepares it. Arrange about 4-5 pieces of bisugo on the bottom of your pot. Then add a thumb size piece of ginger sliced into slivers and a couple of pieces of siling haba or finger chili. To it add just enough water to cover the fish and about 1/4 – 1/2 cup cane vinegar. Season with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt. Cover and cook over medium heat. Once it starts to boil uncover and let simmer for about 5 minutes without stirring. This will prevent your dish from having the raw taste of vinegar or being too sour when it’s done.
Then add one piece of Asian eggplant sliced then cover and cook until fish is done or for about 5-8 minutes more.
Paksiw taste better when eaten the day after. You can serve it room temperature or hot. I love to eat this with garlic fried rice and with a dipping sauce of patis (fish sauce).