Sinanglay na tilapia is a dish that originated from Bicol, a region known for its heavy use of coconut milk and chili peppers in cooking. In this recipe, gutted tilapia are stuffed with a mixture of onions, tomatoes, and ginger and wrapped with pechay, mustard or gabi leaves. The prepared fish parcels are then tied with strips of pandan and gently cooked in coconut milk spiced with peppers. The pandan not only serves to secure the fish but also infuses the sauce with its earthy flavors.
This is definitely a rich seafood dish that calls for mounds of steamed rice as an accompaniment. The fish comes out moist and flavorful while the thick coconut sauce with delicious nuances of pandan flavor is absolutely to die for! Let’s eat!
- 2 medium sized tilapia, cleaned, scaled and gutted
- 2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
- 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon tamarind powder ( or 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
- 2 bunches large pechay leaves, stems trimmed
- 4 (each about 1 foot long) pandan leaves
- 2 (13.5 ounces each) cans coconut milk
- 2 finger chili peppers
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash fish and make sure innards are completely removed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a bowl, combine tomatoes, shallots, ginger, and tamarind powder.
- Rinse pandan leaves under cold running water and pat dry.
- Divide tomato-onion mixture and gently spoon into the belly cavity of each fish. Wrapped fish with pechay and tie with pandan leaves to secure leaves and filling.
- In a wide pan, arrange prepared fish in a single layer. Add coconut milk and chili peppers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until fish cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced (it will further reduce as it stands). Serve hot.
Tools/Supplies You Might Need for the Recipe: (dislosure: affiliate link)
Frozen Pandan Leaves – 7oz (Pack of 1)