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Ginataang Tilapia with Malunggay

The ginataang tilapia with malunggay is a hearty and simple dish made by simmering the soft and tender tilapia in a creamy coconut sauce made healthier with malunggay leaves. If you want to make your ginataan dish much healthier but got no extra budget for veggies? The malunggay tree of your kapitbahay is there to solve your problem. This recipe will guide you to make ginataang tilapia with malunggay with easy and simple step. Best partnered with hot steaming rice. Yum!


Malunggay is a tree that grows anywhere. It can be in your backyard, in your kapitbahay’s backyard, or even at the side of the road. We are not really sure how they get there but the most important thing is that we have an instant veggie to add to our dishes. Bulanglang? Add malunggay. Sinigang? Add malunggay. Tinola? Add malunggay. There are so many dishes which can be made better and healthier by adding some malunggay.

Why is malunggay considered healthy? Would you believe that the malunggay leaves, a non-citrus fruit, has 7 times more vitamin C than oranges? You read it right! Aside from this, the malunggay leaves are also packed with other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You will find many health supplements enriched with malunggay.

The mostly used part of the malunggay tree in cooking is its leaves. The leaves are round and small, and would really test your patience when picking them one by one. It was an easy but a time-consuming job. So whenever my lola is going to cook some tinola, she gets the malunggay leaves beforehand and lets me “himay” the leaves. It was really fun unless you’re tired. You don’t really need so much leaves for a dish since too much might give a bitter aftertaste.


During our tipid days, we really try to gather some ingredients from the garden to save money. Luckily we have a malunggay tree in our backyard. We had too much red meats lately so we shifted with fish recipes. Ginataang tilapia is one of the best dishes you can make with a tilapia (and other types od fish). I usually add some sayote to my ginataang tilapia but I had just used sayote from the earlier dish. So I got some malunggay leaves just to still provide a healthy veggie ingredient to the ginataang tilapia.

If you wanna know how to prepare ginataang tilapia with malunggay, continue reading and follow the simple steps below. Happy cooking!


Making the ginataang tilapia with malunggay is very easy. Before you start, it is better to prepare the malunggay leaves first so your cooking will be continuous. Picking the malunggay leaves one by one is a big task, but you’ll enjoy it.

Start by getting the freshest tilapia you can get. Best if you buy a live tilapia one. Clean and prepare the fish by taking the guts and gills out and remove the scales. Before frying, score the body of the fish to let the oil sip in it more. Also, rub it with some salt to extract its full flavor. Then, simply fry until both sides are brown and looking yummy.

When done, let’s prepare the sauce. Start with the aromatic base and then add the coco milk or cream. In this recipe, I used a packed coconut milk instead of the freshly squeezed one. You may chop the red chilies or keep it whole. Add the malunggay leaves and stir. These leaves are thin and cook very quick within seconds.

Add the fried tilapia and coat them with the creamy coconut sauce. Simmer them until the fish absorbs the sauce. You can serve them right away or cook it a little longer until some oil renders from the coconut milk. Enjoy this with a lot of hot steaming rice! Yum!

Ginataang Tilapia with Malunggay

Course: Fish Recipes




  • 1 kilo tilapia (gutted and cleaned)

  • 200 ml coconut milk

  • 1 onion (sliced)

  • 2 thumb of ginger (sliced)

  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)

  • 3 pieces red chilies

  • Pepper to taste

  • Fish sauce to taste

  • Bunch of malunggay leaves


  • Clean and wash the tilapia. Remove the scales and the guts. Score the body and rub with salt.
  • Heat some oil in a pan for frying. Fry the tilapia for a few minutes. Flip to cook the other side. When brown on both sides, remove the fish from the pan. Let them cool and set aside.
  • Remove much of the oil from the pan. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and then saute for a few minutes until light brown. Add the red chilies and coconut milk. Let it simmer for a few minutes until almost boiling. Add the malunggay leaves and stir a bit to cook. Season with fish sauce and pepper.
  • Add the fried tilapia back to the pan and coat them gently with the gata sauce. Allow it to cook for a few minutes until some oil renders from the coconut milk. After 1 to 2 minutes, turn the heat off.
  • Transfer the ginataang tilapia to a serving plate and serve it with some newly steamed rice. Yum!

Ginataang Tilapia with Malunggay Recipe (TAGALOG)


  • 1 kilo ng tilapia (nilinis at natanggalan ng lamang loob)
  • 200 ml gata
  • 1 sibuyas (hiniwa)
  • 2 thumb ng luya (hiniwa)
  • 3 butil ng bawan (hiniwa ng maliliit)
  • 3 piraso ng siling labuyo
  • Paminta
  • Patis
  • Dahon ng malunggay

Paano Gawin:

  1. Ihanda at linisin ang mga tilapia. Alisin ang mga kaliskis nito at lamang loob. Lagyan ng hiwa ang katawan nito at pahiran ng asin.
  2. Magpainit ng mantika sa kawali. Iprito ang mga tilapia ng ilang minuto. Baliktarin ang mga ito para maluto ang kabilang side. Kapag brown na, hanguin ang mga ito at alisin sa kawali. Isantabi.
  3. Bawasan ang mantika sa kawali. Ilagay ang sibuyas, bawang at luya at igisa ng ilang minuto hanggang maging light brown. Ilagay ang siling labuyo at gata. Hayaan itong maluto ng ilang minuto hanggang malapit nang kumulo. Ilagay ang mga dahon ng malunggay at haluin. Timplahan ito ng patis at paminta.
  4. Ibalik ang pritong tilapia sa kawali at lagyan ito ng creamy sauce. Hayaan itong maluto ng ilang minuto hanggang magmantika ang gata. Pagkatapos ng 1 – 2 minuto, patayin ang apoy.
  5. Ilipat ang ginataang tilapia sa serving plate at ihain ito kasama ng mainit na kanin. Yum!
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