I was never fond of tilapia. My taste bud was never raised to eat fish from man-made fish pond. Since I grew up in the southern part of the archipelago surrounded by seas, where fishermen catch fishes fresh from the sea, I find tilapia strange. I thought it taste like mud.
In 1997, our family moved to Pampanga where tilapia is a household favorite. Kapampangan usually fried the tilapia and served it with buro (fermented rice) and some veggies.
I would look at them with envy as they would eat tilapia with so much joy. I simply don’t appreciate it. But many things can change through time. I eventually learned to love tilapia and my taste buds seems to magically adapt to the Kapampangan taste. Tilapia doesn’t really taste like mud I realized, but the flesh is a little bland that’s why you have to seasoned it very well.
Today, I cooked ginataang tilapia with pechay (tilapia in coconut milk with pechay or Filipino bokchoy). My ingredients lack ginger so if you’ll cook this recipe try to add some ginger for added flavor and to lessen the fishy smell.
- 1 cup thick coconut milk
- 2 cups coconut milk for boiling (squeezed the milk from the gata the second time)
- magic sarap
- pechay or bokchoy
- salt and pepper
- chopped garlic
- chopped onion
- Arrange the tilapia in a saucepan.
- Put the garlic, onion and magic sarap.
- Pour the 2 cups of coconut milk for boiling.
- Boil the tilapia in a slow fire as not to break the fish.
- Add the pechay or bokchoy on top.
- Add the thick coconut milk.
- Let it simmer for few minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.