Je Tries to Cook: Ginataang Tilapia

If you ask me to choose between eating fish and vegetables, I’ll say the latter without batting an eyelash. If other parents have to force their kids to eat vegetables, that one was never a problem of my parents. It’s not that I don’t eat fish. I actually do, but let’s just say that my taste buds don’t get excited when fish is served for dinner.

Every person has a certain degree of weirdness. And here’s mine: it’s so hard for me to eat “wet fish” - wet in my definition is anything that isn’t fried or grilled. Pinatay ninyo 'yung isda at inalis sa tubig, tapos ibabalik nyo sa tubig? Anyareh?!

So when my mom asked me to cook dinner when that starlet habagat was hitting the entire Metro Manila, I wasn’t so excited to head to the kitchen. First because if she asks me to fry or grill the fish, I may like eating it but cooking it is not challenging! Who get’s challenged with frying fish?! Second, if she asks me to create a “wet fish” dish, it may be challenging to cook but I’ll definitely not enjoy eating it. LOSE-LOSE scenario for me.

When my mom showed me the ingredients, I knew that it would be the second scenario. The only consolation I had at that time was the fact that my husband loves eating fish! Opposites do attract. Kulang na lang tubuan ng hasang ang asawa ko sa sobrang hilig sa isda! :p


DSC_08513-4 cloves of minced garlic
1 medium-sized thinly-sliced onion
3 pieces of siling haba/siling pansigang
thinly-sliced ginger
1-2 tsp of minced turmeric (luyang dilaw)

My father is deeply in love with turmeric. Ever since he heard all the health benefits of turmeric or luyang dilaw from a health-oriented TV show, he makes sure to put it in any dish that requires ginger. I’m warning you though that turmeric causes terrible stain especially on your knife.

DSC_0854cooking oil, seasoning granules (optional)
2 tbsp patis

DSC_0859 5 pieces of tilapia
2-3 cups of coconut cream (kakang gata)
pechay and malunggay


1. In a hot pan, sauté the onions. Once the onions become translucent, add the minced garlic. Shortly after, add the ginger, turmeric and fish sauce (patis). I only added 2 tablespoons because my mom already salted the tilapia before freezing. Believe me, it’s the best smell ever! And I’m not being sarcastic. :)

2. Pour in the coconut cream, and add a sprinkle of the seasoning granules. Make sure that you’re cooking in low heat. My mom told me that the coconut cream or kakang gata is the first pressing (unang piga) of the coconut. Make sure you get this fresh as it gives the dish a distinct hint of sweetness.

3. When it’s already simmering, add the tilapia and the siling haba. Call me dumb but I had to ask my dad how to know when the fish are already cooked. According to him, you have to wait until the eyes of the fish pop out. I know you already noticed by now, yes I was cooking under my parents’ supervision! It was raining hard so we couldn’t afford to lose our dinner just because I messed up. =))

DSC_0871 Another reason I don’t like eating fish. I had this strange feeling that they are looking at me. 
Kawawa naman sila! :|

4. Add the pechay.

5. After 30 seconds, add the malunggay. Cover the pan and wait for a minute before turning off the heat.

Since my husband was dismissed earlier from work, he had the chance to eat it right away. According to him, it tastes really good. Siyempre naman, subukan lang nyang sabihin na hindi masarap, Sky Flakes na ang kakainin nya habang buhay! Seriously, it’s not bad for a first-timer! :)

DSC_0879 Bagsak na naman sa presentation! =(


  1. It looks yummy, Je! Ako naman I like fish pero dito parang mas mahal pa sya sa meat, kaya meat nalang ako.. haha! And I'm scared of cooking oil splats so I very rarely do fried fish.

  2. I will ask Abbey to cook this.. :)
    tapos balitaan kita..

    - Will

  3. I will ask Abbey to cook this.. :)
    tapos balitaan kita..

    - Will

  4. Maudey, I also hate frying. Wala ng challenge, masakit pa matilamsikan ng mantika :p

    Will, don't kill me pag di masarap ha :))

  5. It looks yummy, Je! I must say you're getting better in cooking, in fairness! *apir!* 100 ganda points yan sa mga wifey! Hahaha!


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