Pinaputok na tilapia is the ultimate seafood dish! Stuffed with tomatoes and onions and baked to perfection, this Filipino-style baked fish is easy to make, tasty, and budget-friendly. Delicious with steamed rice!
Looking for foolproof ways to cook fish? This pinaputok na tilapia is so easy to prep yet delivers tons of flavor. The fish is plump and tasty with juicy roasted tomatoes and onions for another layer of yum.
It’s a meal you’ll feel good serving the whole family! Not only is it delicious, but is also healthy and nutritious.
What is Pinaputok na Tilapia
Pinaputok, which means “to explode”, is a Filipino-style dish wherein a whole tilapia is stuffed generously with a mixture of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger until almost “bursting.” The fish is brushed with melted butter, wrapped in foil to adequately secure, and then oven-baked until moist and flavorful.
It’s usually served with steamed rice and choice of sawsawan such as calamansi and soy sauce, spicy vinegar or ensalada.
Tips on How to Make Filipino-style Stuffed Fish
- Not a fan of tilapia? Milkfish (bangus) or golden pompano will work well in this recipe, too!
- I season the fish with tamarind powder (sinigang mix) but you can substitute calamansi, lemon or lime. Another delicious option is marinating the fish in alcohol such as gin or rum with a few dashes of salt and pepper.
- I use tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger flavored with tamarind powder as stuffing but feel free to add other herbs and spices such as cilantro, green onions, and chili peppers if you want a bit of heat.
- Double wrap the fish to prevent juices from leaking out.
- For added aroma, wrap the tilapia in banana leaves instead of aluminum foil.
- I like the convenience of baking this in the oven but you can also pan-fry, steam or grill over hot coals if you prefer.
Give this fish recipe a try for dinner tonight. You’ll be amazed how such a simple dish can be so satisfying and delicious.
Want more easy fish recipes? This Baked Salmon with Tamarind Mayo Topping uses one special trick that makes it super moist and flavorful.
Pinaputok na Tilapia
- 2 whole tilapia, scaled and gutted
- 3 tablespoons tamarind base powder
- 2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 thumb-size ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Dipping Sauce
- Calamansi juice to taste
- soy sauce to taste
- Wash tilapia well, rinsing cavity well. Pat dry. Make a two or three slits across the body of the fish on both sides.
- Rub both fish all over, including the cavity, with 2 tablespoons of the tamarind base powder. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
- In a bowl, combine tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, the remaining 1 tablespoon of tamarind powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to distribute.
- Stuff each fish's cavity with tomato-onion mixture.
- Liberally brush the outside of both fish with butter and Individually wrap in aluminum foil, Double wrap to prevent juices from leaking.
- Place fish packets on a baking sheet. Bake in a 375 F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Serve hot with dipping sauce.