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Utan - Food with Mae-8

Utan Bisaya

Mackerel and Vegetable Soup

What is Utan Bisaya also known as Law Uy

It’s a humble dish that is made with many vegetables and sometimes added with fried fish, salted fish or any fish available. It has a close similarity with other Philippine regional dishes such as dinengdeng or inabraw (Ilocos region), bulanglang (CALABARZON), and laswa ( Western Visayas).

I remember this dish fondly, when I lived with my Aunt in the Philippines (Leyte) while my parents worked abroad. They used to cook Utan, I remember them apologising because they think its ‘pobre’ food or poor food. But I loved it, you can taste the fresh vegetables, fish and the simplicity made it special. Eating this soup hot with some rice made me sweat! Haha! I added fish sauce with my recipes but hey only seasoned it with salt. It sounds bland but the freshness of the vegetables and fish made up for the flavours.

Utan - Food with Mae-8


1 large mackerel
200g pumpkin
150g okra
1 aubergine
3 tomatoes
150g green beans
1-2 stems lemongrass
2 thumb size ginger
1 medium onion
1.5 litre water
1-2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ teaspoons black pepper



In a large pot, pour some water and add all of the ingredients. Bring it to a boil on high heat. Once it’s boiling turn the heat down to low or medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and serve while it’s hot with some rice.

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