Sinugno (Grilled Tilapia in Coconut Milk)

Ginataang Inihaw na Tilapia

Sinugno (Grilled Tilapia in Coconut Milk)

Sinugno is grilled tilapia cooked in coconut milk.

I was able to try this dish at Palaisdaan Restaurant when we went to Lucban, Quezon for the Pahiyas Festival in 2012. I made a mental note to try and replicate this dish at home the moment I’ve tried it….

Guess what? It took me two years before I was able to do it…LOL!

It was  actually just a spontaneous thing, peanutbutter and I was doing the grocery and then we saw this two tilapia hanging around like it was no big deal. We decided to buy them and turn them into Sinugno. The grocery doesn’t sell fresh coconut  (which I love!), we decided to just buy canned one instead.

This is the first time I used (and ate) canned coconut milk and I’m not happy with the result. It wasn’t creamy and doesn’t have that certain je ne sais quoi as fresh ones, if you know what I mean (wink* wink*).

Lesson learned from this recipe:  Canned coconut milk is a no no!Only use fresh coconut milk from your suking magni-niyog sa palengke.

Sinugno (Grilled Tilapia in Coconut Milk)

Sinugno is a healthy and flavorful Filipino fish dish. The grilled tilapia gives a smoky flavor that balances out the creaminess of the coconut milk. You can add chili flakes or bird’s eye chili to give it a little kick  which I’m sure will make it all the more perfect to pair with steaming hot rice.

The original recipe calls for mustard leaves (mustasa) but we couldn’t find any so I used pechay instead.


Ginataang Inihaw na Tilapia

  • Author: Peachy Adarne


  • 2 Tilapia
  • 2 cups thick coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 1 bunch Pechay (or mustard leaves)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 knob ginger, sliced
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • pepper to taste


  1. Rub salt all over tilapia and grill until almost done. Set aside.
  2. In a pan, sauté onion and ginger until onion becomes translucent.
  3. Pour coconut cream and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer until sauce has thickened. Add the grilled tilapia.
  5. Add pechay (or mustard leaves) then simmer until the leaves are cooked.
  6. Season with salt.
  7. Serve with steamed rice on the side.

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37 Responses

  1. I like this recipe with coconut milk, but if it’s not available, you can cook it with just vitsen, tomatoes, onions. In Visayas, it’s called Linagpang. You can use chicken too.

  2. Mom has cooked the same recipe for us just last week. This one’s for keeps. I love everything with coconut milk. 🙂

  3. I’ve cooked Picadillo and I think they have the same ingredients the only difference is the way it was cooked and presented. The Tilapia fish that I’ve cooked was wrapped with Pechay and I filled the stomach with ginger, onions, and garlic. 🙂

  4. This is easy enough. So after the coconut milk boils, do I put in the fish? I wonder what mustasa tastes like. I have never tried mustasa before, I believe.

  5. I see that dish all the time, but I didn’t know it had a name hehe. And yes, I noticed that dishss cooked with processed gata don’t nearly taste as good as the real one!

  6. You know, just last week, I experimented with Tilapia. I also cooked it with coconut milk (sachet). The only difference was.. it was fried, not grilled. And I didn’t put some veggies.:) Lol. It tastes okay but I’m sure yours is better. 🙂

  7. I am learning to make fish lately, I was never a big seafood eater till recently so I am looking for recipes and coconut is a big hit in our house.

  8. We love tilapia but my family will only eat it fried or filleted and fried 🙂 I like to eat tilapia with gata. Someday, when my kids are mature enough to eat dishes with coconut milk, I’ll try your recipe 🙂

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Hi, Peachy here!

I'm a foodie mommy living in the Philippines. I'm a mom to two daughters named PURPLE SKYE and PERIWINKLE MOONE and wife to a loving husband I fondly call peanutbutter♥. I am a foodie by heart, a coffee lover and a froyo and yogurt junkie. Learn more →






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