How to cook Sinanglay na Tilapia
Sinanglay na Tilapia Recipe is a dish that originated in the Bicol Province, a Philippine region where coconuts and chili peppers are abundant and Manang Nita’s birth town. The recipe calls for a fish, usually tilapia, stuffed with salsa of onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chili pepper, traditionally wrapped in pechay or taro leaves and stewed in freshly squeezed pure coconut milk – very much similar with other “ginataan” dishes
Sinanglay is a fish-based dish coming from the Bicol region and it coming from Bicol region; one can already assume that the recipe will have coconut milk in it as part of the stew. With its main ingredients being Tilapia and the coconut milk, at first look, you will think that sinanglay is just Ginataang Tilapia. However, the preparation for Sinanglay is miles different.
What distinguishes Sinanglay na Tilapia from other recipes is that before stewing the tilapia into a pot full of coconut milk (or reverse), you need to first cut and gut the tilapia and stuff it with the other ingredients such as sliced ginger, onions and tomatoes much like how you would stuff the Tilapia in Pinaputok na Tilapia. However, once you’re done with stuffing the Tilapia, unlike in other recipes where you can leave it unsewn or uncovered, in sinanglay recipe, you will have to cover up the Tilapia with Gabi or Pechay leaves and tie it up with lemongrass stalks so that the filling will not burst out once you start simmering it in the pot.
Sinanglay na Tilapia Ingredients by Pinoy Recipe dot net:
- 6 pcs. small to medium sized tilapia, descaled and gutted
- 1 bunch pechay or taro leaves
- 2-3 cups kakang gata ng niyog (freshly extracted coconut milk) (see tips) or ready-to-use coconut creme in can
- 4 small tomatoes, finely diced
- 2 small red onions, finely diced
- 1/2-inch ginger, minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 pcs. red chili pepper, minced
- 4 pcs. calamansi limes
- 1 tbsp. lemongrass stalk
- 12 pcs. lemongrass or pandan leaves (for tying)
- 1-2 tbsps. patis (fish sauce)
- salt and pepper to taste
Sinanglay na Tilapia Cooking Procedure:
- In a small bowl, make salsa by combining the tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, red chili and calamansi juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well, slightly mashing the ingredients with clean hands to allow the flavors and juices to come out. Set aside.
- Make a lengthwise incision (about 1/2-inch deep) on the dorsal part of the fish, from below the head down to the tail. Thoroughly wash the tilapia under running water until no more trace of blood is visible. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Season with salt and pepper the flesh and the inner portion of the fish. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the salsa mixture and fill in the openings of the tilapia. Wrap the fish with pechay leaves, making sure that the open areas are covered and the stuffing are intact. Tie 2 strands of lemongrass around the fish to secure the pechay wrap. Do the remaining ingredients with the rest of the fish.
- In a large saucepan, arrange the wrapped tilapia side by side on a single layer. Pour in the coconut milk, just enough to cover the fish. Add the lemongrass stalk. Bring the liquid to a boil and then set to simmer for about 10 to 20 minutes, carefully flipping the tilapia halfway through to evenly cook the fish. Using a slotted spoon, occasionally ladle the sauce on top of the fish during the cooking process to avoid curdles from forming. Season with fish sauce.
- Remove from heat once the sauce is reduced and almost rendering fat. Transfer on a platter and serve with hot steamed rice. Enjoy!