Pinaputok Na Tilapia
Tilapia is a very popular fish. Among Americans, filleting the fish is the preferred method of preparation.
In the Philippines, as in other Asian countries, tilapia and other fish are prepared, cooked and served whole, which can pave the way to unique recipes like this delicious Pinaputok na tilapia. Pinaputok means to allow to burst or explode.
In this recipe, a whole tilapia is stuffed with a mixture of tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger to almost “bursting” and bathed in tamarind and melted butter. The stuffed fish is then wrapped in foil to fully secure and baked until super moist and flavorful.
Other ways of cooking this recipe is through pan-frying, steaming or grilling.
1 whole tilapia, scaled and innards removed
1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind base powder
1 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon butter, melted
1 large tomato, diced
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 /2 thumb-size ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Dipping Sauce:
Calamansi juice to taste
Soy sauce to tast e
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Thoroughly wash the tilapia, inside and out. Pat dry. Make two or three slits across the body of the fish on both sides.Rub the fish, inside and out, with 1 tablespoon of the tamarind base powder.
In a bowl, combine tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of tamarind powder and 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
Stuff the fish cavity with the tomato-onion mixture. Liberally brush the outside of the fish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Individually wrap stuffed fish with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake fish for 25-30 minutes or entil the fish is cooked through. Serve warm with dipping sauce.