Ginataang Tilapia (Tilapia fillets cooked in coconut milk)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Calories per serving: 196 (at 4 servings, 1 fillet each)


I grew up eating tilapia with bones in them. I always thought they were really tasty that way. I always loved fried tilapia, with the skin all crisped up. My family and I used to eat them with rice and we dip the tilapia meat in fish sauce with calamansi (Philippine lemon) and a little bit of chili (usually grown in my father’s backyard).

Here in the US, you can really just get tilapia fillets. You can get them in Asian stores but they would be frozen. I’m not really a fan of frozen fish so I settle for the fresh fillets J

One of my favorite ways to cook the fillets is ginataan, that means cooked in coconut milk in Filipino language. If you like cooking in coconut milk, I hope you get to try this recipe.

What you will need are as follows:

1 lb of fresh tilapia fillets (about 4 to 5 fillets)

½ can (about 1 cup) lite coconut milk (I use A Taste of Thai)

1 tbsp fresh ginger (cut into thin strips)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh yellow onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper

1 tsp fish sauce

Ground black pepper, to taste

Canola oil for sautéing, about one tbsp.

Saute the garlic in canola oil in medium heat. Stir in the onion and keep sautéing for about 3 minutes, add the ginger and sauté all together for another 2 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and a dash of pepper and let simmer for about 3 minutes before adding in the tilapia fillets and the jalapeno pepper. If you wish to have more kick, slice the jalapeno into 2 to 4 and stir into the coconut milk while simmering. The fish should be cooked in about 7 to 8 minutes. Serve with jasmine rice or brown rice.

I have heard some friends say they don’t really like tilapia since they kinda taste like mud. Personally, I think cooking them down in coconut milk and ginger take away that “muddy” taste. Give me a shout when you try the recipe. It will be great to exchange ideas with fellow foodies for sure!

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3 Responses to Ginataang Tilapia (Tilapia fillets cooked in coconut milk)

  1. Lindsey says:

    MMMM I have to try this, I love coconut milk and I bet it’s great with the kick of the pepper and ginger!

  2. Carmen Metz says:

    This is really good and likewise, I grew up eating this menu over rice. the only difference was that being a Tagalog (from Laguna), we normally put a tablespoon of vinegar to give it a different kick! It is so delicious and here in the USA, I added spinach for the greens!

    • ellapichette says:

      Hi Carmen, love the idea of adding spinach! I grew up in Laguna but I haven’t heard about the vinegar trick. Will have to try that. Btw, sorry for the super delayed response. I’m just starting to get the page going again 🙂

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