Cooking tilapia or cichlid fish is quite challenging as it has some strange aftertaste if it wasn’t well cleaned and cooked properly because it’s mostly grown in freshwater. Tilapia is a cheap, mild-flavoured fish. A lot of people love to eat tilapia because it’s relatively affordable and doesn’t taste a very fishy. Pairing tilapia with coconut milk and ginger will actually help to omit the weird taste or “dirt-like” taste of tilapia. With this recipe, I’m going to guarantee you that this is the best tilapia dish you’ll ever taste in your entire life. Just try it!
Ginataang tilapia or stewed coconut milk tilapia is a popular tilapia dish. This is a kind of stew of fish cooked in coconut milk with a little vinegar, onion, garlic and ginger. You might even add some chilis if you want to make this recipe more spicy. Yum! There are some ginataang tilapia that doesn’t use vinegar, but the advantage of using vinegar helps reduces the smell of fish and taste the same as with ginger. It will enhance the taste of the dish as well. This classic ginataang tilapia dish has a high calcium content that helps in the formation and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. It is also high in vitamin C, which helps to absorb iron efficiently in the body.
HOW TO COOK GINATAANG TILAPIA WITH PECHAY
It’s very quick and convenient to prepare this recipe. Some recipe used to fried tilapia first, but I’m cooking tilapia with coconut milk for this recipe. If you have your own way of cooking the fish, go ahead and prepare it that way. I began by cleaning and removing the tilapia scale. By removing the innards of the fish, cut them from the upper portion of the fish, not from the belly, and wash them well. Then season the tilapia with salt and rub well so that the salt can absorb easily. Season the fish from one side to the other.
After seasoning, set aside the fish. In a bowl, we’ll make fillings for our fish by combining diced tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped garlic, minced ginger and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it well. Fill the fillings on the belly of the fish and the head of the fish. Set aside the remaining fillings. I put a whole piece of pechay in a plate and wrap it to the tilapia. Just enough to cover the tilapia. But this part is just an optional method. It’s up to you whether or not you want to wrap it.
Place the chopped pechay in a frying pan and arrange the tilapia properly on top of the chopped pechay. Add the remaining fillings. Spread the remaining fillings well. Add the vinegar and the water to boil. At this point, we’re not going to add any salt as we’ve already seasoned the tilapia. Turn the heat on in a medium heat and let the water boil. Add the coconut milk when it is boiled.
Turn the fire to low heat and simmer for at least 5 to 8 minutes. I scoop and occasionally pour over the coconut milk on the tilapia while simmering. This method will help you add the flavor of your coconut milk to your tilapia and will also help you cook your tilapia evenly, as we will not turn the fish because it could crush your tilapia because of its delicate meat. Scoop and pour the coconut milk for at least a minute. Then cover the pan and simmer for at least 5 minutes. Add pepper, fish sauce or salt to taste.
Fish sauce can be optional ingredients, but this will help to improve the flavor of your fish. But if you don’t want to use a fish sauce or a patis, it’s all right. You may also add any chilis at this time if you want to make this recipe spicy. Then continue scooping and pour the coconut milk again on your tilapia for at least a minute, then cover the pan and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thick.
Once it’s reduced and thickened, scoop and pour the coconut milk over your tilapia again for a minute and turn off your fire and our ginataang tilapia with pechay is ready to serve. This recipe is best eaten while it’s warm. Enjoy it!
Ginataang Tilapia with PechayCuisine: Filipino
Stewed tilapia fish wrapped in pechay cooked with coconut milk
2 pieces (around ¾ kilo) Tilapia, Large (scale removed and cut in the back)
2 bunches (tali) Pechay / bokchoy or Musta
1 ½ cup coconut milk
3 pieces Tomatoes (diced)
1 piece onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
2 tablespoon vinegar
½ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Fish Sauce to taste (optional)
- Season the fish with salt from one side and to the other side. Rub the salt to evenly spread the salt.
- For the fillings, in a bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped garlic, minced ginger, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Put the mixture inside the fish and in the head part of the fish.
- Set aside the remaining fillings.
- For an optional method, place a pechay on a plate and wrap the tilapia with the pechay.
- Chopped the pechay and place it in a frying pan and arrange the wrap fish on the frying pan.
- Add the leftover fillings, vinegar and water. Let it boil in medium heat fire.
- Once it is boiled, add the coconut milk. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 to 8 minutes in a medium heat fire.
- Scoop and pour the coconut milk over the fish occasionally to cook evenly.
- Cover again the pan and simmer for at least 5 minutes.
- Add pepper, fish sauce (patis) or salt to taste. Taste the sauce for your preferred saltiness. You may add chilies on this part if you want it to be spicy.
- Continue scoop and pour the sauce over the fish.
- Cover the pan and simmer until the sauce reduced and thickens.
- Scoop and pour the sauce again over the fish and turn off the fire.
- Serve while it is hot. Enjoy!
- If you want to make this recipe spicy, you can add some fresh chilis.
- To keep the pechay from unraveling, you can secure the pechay with a piece of pandan tied around the fish. The pandan does not only act as a string to keep the pechay in place, but also gives a mild taste to the coconut sauce.
How to Cook Ginataang Tilapia with Pechay (TAGALOG)
- 2 pirasong Malalaking tilapia (around ¾ kilo) (nakaliskisan na at may hiwa sa likod para sa filling)
- 2 tali ng Pechay (or Mustasa)
- 1 ½ cup gata
- 3 piraso kamatis
- 1 sibuyas
- 3 butil ng bawang
- 1 kutsara luya (gayat ng pino)
- 2 kutsara suka
- ½ cup tubig
- Asin at paminta pampalasa
- Patis (optional) idagdag ayon sa panlasa
- Linisin mabuti ang isda. Alisin ang kaliskis at laman-loob. Kapag malinis na, lagyan ng asin ang tilapia. Ipahid ito sa buong isda kasama na ang ulo. Itabi muna habang gumagawa ng palaman.
- Para sa palaman, pagsamahin ang ginayat na kamatis, sibuyas, bawang at luya. Timplahan ng asin at paminta. Pagsamahin Mabuti.
- Ilagay sa loob ng isda ang pinaghalong palaman. Lagyan din ng palaman ng ulo. Itabi ang natirang palaman.
- Ibalot ang tilapia sa dahoon ng pechay (pero optional step lamang ito, pwedeng hindi na ibalot).
- Ilagay ang nabalot na tilapia sa kawali. Isama na rin ang natirang palaman at pechay. Saka ilagay ang sukat at tubig. Pakuluin sa katamtamang apoy.
- Kapag kumukulo, hinaan ang apoy (para di magbuo-buo ang gata). Ilagay ang gata at lutuin ng mga 5 to 8 minutes. Habang niluluto, ibuhos ang sabaw sa ibabaw ng tilapia para pantay ang luto.
- Lagyan ng patis ayon sa alat na gusto. Lutuin ng mga limang minuto pa o hanggang sa lumapot ang sabaw. Maari maglagay ng sili kung gusto ng maanghang. Kapag malapot na, hanguin.