If you’re done with leftovers from your Christmas Eve and Christmas day feasts, here is a dish that, in its simplicity, is the anti-thesis of cloyingly overabundant and lavish meals. Yet, despite the simplicity, this sigarilyas at tinapa sa gata, inspired by a dish I enjoyed so much at Romulo Cafe, is vibrant with flavors.
Perhaps, it is the smoked fish. Or, maybe, it is the the fusion of the smoked fish with the coconut milk. I really don’t know. I could have cooked a more generic sigarilyas sa gata with fatty pork belly but I don’t think the outcome would be this wonderful.
It’s a pretty easy recipe. Sauté the aromatics and while they soften, flake the fish.
Add the sigarilyas and half of the fish to the pan.
Pour in the coconut milk, cook until quite dry then stir in the rest of the flaked fish. You’re adding the fish in two batches so that by the time the dish is cooked, you’ll have fish pieces that have retained their shape. Chances are, the first batch of fish will soften to a much during cooking. So, the second batch is to make sure that, with every spoonful, you’ll get distinguishable pieces of fish.
A very important tip before I start with the recipe: this dish is even better the next day after sitting overnight in the fridge.
Sigarilyas at tinapang bangus sa gata (winged beans and smoked milkfish in coconut milk)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- one-inch knob ginger grated
- 1 bird's eye chili chopped
- patis (fish sauce) to taste
- 1 bundle winged beans (sigarilyas), about 12 pieces, cut diagonally into quarter inch slices
- 1 boneless smoked milkfish (tinapang bangus)
- 1 cup coconut milk
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan.
Over medium-low heat, sauté the onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chili with a dash of fish sauce until soft.
While the vegetables soften, flake the fish into fairly large chunks (discard the head, skin and tail).
Throw in the winged beans into the pan. Season with another dash of fish sauce and stir.
Add half of the flaked smoked milkfish to the winged beans. Stir.
Pour in the coconut milk.
Cook over medium-low heat, covered, until the winged beans are cooked through but still with a slight crunch, and the mixture is almost dry.
Toss in the remaining half of the smoked milkfish, stir and cook, uncovered, for another minute.
Taste and add more fish sauce, if necessary.