Welcome to adobo-down-under!

Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shallow-poached tilapia in coconut milk with chillies

Fish  and seafood dishes are common  in the Philippines. Surrounded by large bodies of water at every corner, fish/seafood is a staple alongside rice. Several big canning companies abound in the western part of the country exporting tuna and sardines across the globe.  And the variety of edible fishes are a plenty that a weekday meal is not without fish.  Buying them straight from the market is the only way to get them fresh.   And they are fresh. No frozen from catch, but real fresh. And being Filipino, we love our seafood.  We love our fish.  Fresh.

Sadly, we can't get fresh tilapia in Sydney.  As these fresh water fishes are considered noxious (like pests, they multiply rather quickly) by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, cultivation of tilapia is banned in NSW as they pose a threat to other native fish species.  Although there are breeding populations in other states.

But this does not stop a Pinoy when he/she craves food from home.  So we get frozen cleaned tilapia form our local fishmonger, or the Asian/Filipino shops.  We just leave them at room temperature to thaw before cooking.

To make this  dish, you'll need:

400ml can of coconut milk

1 Spanish onion, sliced

1 knob of ginger, sliced into thin strips

1 or 2 pieces of fresh or thawed tilapia

2 long green chillies

2 birds eye chillies

1 bunch bok choy

1/2 cup chopped coriander

vegetable oil

In a shallow pot or skillet, heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and saute the onions and ginger.

Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Place the fish in the coconut milk, bring to a boil then bring to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the chillies and bok choy and continue to cook until the bok choy is soft.  Turn off heat.

To serve, using a slotted spoon or spatula, gently lift the fish onto a platter. With a spoon, scoop the sauce and pour on the fish.  Add the vegetables and chillies to the platter.  Garnish with chopped coriander.

For variation, you can also use cleaned whole snapper, bream or any white fleshed fish.

This is a lovely and simple dish that you can make any day of the week.  Its quick and easy and packed full of healthy (and spicy) ingredients.  You can omit the chillies all together, but add some more ginger for that extra punch.


  1. Will definitely try this. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Ibyang! Use snapper or bream if you can't find tilapia. It works just the same. xx

  2. I love the sound of this simple preparation for fresh fish!

    1. Thanks Jeanette. I believe the less we manipulate the food/produce in terms of preparation and cooking, the better it will taste. :D



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