The Happy Home Cook: Ginataang Tilapia

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Ginataang Tilapia (Photo by Rene Astudillo)

Ginataang Tilapia (Photo by Rene Astudillo)

I never liked eating fish when I was growing up. But the only reason was because I didn’t like to deal with the fish bones. There were at least half a dozen occasions when a fish bone got stuck in my throat and my mom would ask me to eat a fresh banana to get it out! But when the “technology” of de-boning and filleting fish became more widespread, my whole attitude towards fish changed completely.

One of my favorite fish dishes is tilapia (in the Philippines, the larger tilapia is called “pla pla”) with coconut milk (gatá ng niyog).  It serves both as soup and as an entrée.  It is especially delicious when served hot with steamed rice!  This same dish can be cooked with catfish or any other white fish.

With the supermarket convenience of fish fillets and canned coconut milk, cooking this dish is truly a breeze!


3 medium tilapia fillets, cut into bite-size cubes
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium onion, peeled and cubed
2 medium fresh tomatoes, sliced into quarters
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 can, coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups, broccoli florets
1 cup, sliced crimini mushrooms
Fresh cilantro for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot or wok
Add the garlic and heat until golden brown
Add onions
Add the tilapia fillets and mushrooms and stir constantly
Add salt and pepper to taste
Pour the coconut milk and let it boil, stirring constantly with the pot uncovered
Reduce to medium heat before adding the broccoli
As soon as the broccoli florets turn dark green, turn the heat off and add the fresh tomatoes
Let it stand for a minute or two before serving in a bowl.  Garnish with fresh cilantro
Best served with steamed white or brown rice.

(Makes 4-6 servings)

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Rene Astudillo

Rene Astudillo

Rene Astudillo is a blogger and a marketing consultant.

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