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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ginataang Tilapia with Bell Chili

While looking for a red snapper I stumbled upon the last of the tilapias in a fish stall in QV market. Tilapia is a freshwater fish with very tasty white flesh, very common in the Philippines, and missed terribly! After this great find, Sunday brunch plans had to be changed to make way for a Filipino dish called Ginataang Tilapia ("Ginataan" is from the word "gata" meaning coconut milk).

This dish is usually spiced with a long green chili. However the bell chili (a newcomer in the garden) had interesting shaped fruit to offer, so it had to be sampled!





To make this quick and easy dish you will need:

tilapia (serve whole for effect, or cut up if preferred)
garlic (how much of it is up to the cook's preference, but for this dish 5 cloves were smashed and minced)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 inch ginger, sliced
chili, sliced
1/2 cup coconut milk
a bit of water
salt or fish sauce to taste

There are different approaches to this, but as far as I can remember my mom's cooking :
Line the base of a heavy pan with half of the ginger, garlic, onions and chili. Lay the fish on top of this, then sprinkle the remaining aromatics on top of the fish. Place on top of the stove over low heat for around 10 minutes or until the fish begins to slowly steam. Pour the coconut milk and add some water (to your liking), season, increase the heat and let simmer or bubble away for another 15 minutes (flip the fish if the liquid does not cover it entirely).

Serve with hot rice.

The bell chili had medium heat and was quite tasty. According to some sites, the fruit begins as green, becomes purple then deep red.


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