Tuesday, 22 October 2013 22:30

Fantastic Filipino fish recipe

Here’s one fun and super easy Asian fish recipe that will have your friends in awe – a Filipino fish recipe called Sinanglay for which you make little ‘parcels’ of fish, stuffed with tomato and onions, wrapped in a leaf and cooked in coconut milk with lemongrass. The flavors are mild and yet so exciting.

Here an adapted Sinanglay Filipino fish recipe version with ‘Western’ ingredients:

In the Philippines they originally use Taro leaves which grow in tropical climates - I use Swiss chard which I find adds much more flavor than Bok Choy leaves which are also an option for this fish recipe.

Traditionally a fresh, whole tilapia is wrapped – however, any frozen white fish works just fine, I like using Pangasius fillets in my fish recipe. Here a simple guide on your choices of fish.

You can use lemon grass to tie your parcels or just cooking string which you’ll remove before serving.

Ingredients for this Sinanglay fish recipe

  • 4 pieces of white fish (any kind, fresh or frozen),
  • 4 leaves of kale or chard (the bigger the better as you’ll need them for wrapping)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, fresh or canned, diced
  • 1 can of coconut milk,
  • 3-4 stalks of lemon grass (fresh is better but dried will do too)


  • Sautee your onion and tomatoes and let cool a bit
  • Cut your fish so you have two not too thick pieces per serving, season with some lemon juice and salt
  • Choose 4 large leaves, rinse, cut out the thick part of the stem and lay out flat
  • Layer fish – onion-tomato  stuffing – fish onto the leave, wrap and tie into little parcels with cooking string or lemon grass
  • Place into a large pot and cover with a can of coconut milk (dilute with some water if needed so it covers the parcels)
  • Add 2 – 4 stalks of lemon grass, if you are using fresh, grate the thick part at the bottom for additional flavor, use less if you’ve already used lemon grass to tie your parcels
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes and enjoy with rice. Sprinkle with fresh herbs like chopped cilantro. As a side dish you can serve steamed broccoli or extra sautéed chard. A glass of dry white wine will make the experience perfect!

If you want to see how the wrapping/cooking works for this fish recipe, watch this short video of a similar, non-Asian, even simpler recipe by the renowned American food journalist, author, and columnist Mark Bittman

If you loved this fish recipe and you’d like to learn more (about) Filipino cooking – there’s an interesting book called Filipino Recipes: The Insider’s Guide to Food in the Philippines by Peter Garant

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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