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Recipe: Cook Pinaputok na Tilapia at home |

Food and Leisure

Recipe: Cook Pinaputok na Tilapia at home

Dolly Dy-Zulueta -
Recipe: Cook Pinaputok na Tilapia at home
Pinaputok na Tilapia / Rafael R. Zulueta

MANILA, Philippines — Are you looking for ways to cook Tilapia (St. Peter’s Fish) aside from simple frying and grilling or whipping up saucy dishes like Escabeche, Sweet and Sour, Sarciado, Tocho and Kinamatisan? You can cook Pinaputok na Tilapia, which is impressive but not difficult to make.

Why is it called “pinaputok”? It is because the fish is wrapped in banana leaf and then aluminum foil, and when it’s fried in hot oil, the popping sound that it creates is like tiny bombs going off in all directions.

A few years ago, the chef of the seven-hectare, Bali-inspired garden resort Cintai Corito’s Garden in Balete, Batangas, showed how to prepare Pinaputok na Tilapia in a media event.

Pinaputok na Tilapia


500 grams Tilapia (St. Peter’s fish)

5 grams salt

2 grams ground black pepper

50 grams calamansi juice

40 grams chopped onion

40 grams chopped or julienned ginger

50 grams chopped tomato

20 grams roughly chopped onion leeks

15 grams chopped spring onion

45 ml. soy sauce

10 grams oyster sauce

20 grams butter chunks, at room temperature

1 liter cooking oil


1. Wash, pat-dry and butterfly the Tilapia. Make slits on the back of the Tilapia, on both sides of the spine, and gently pull down to the belly part without tearing off the meat. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Squeeze the calamansi juice into the fish and rub all over to marinate.

3. In a bowl, combine onion, ginger and tomato.

4. Add the onion leeks, spring onion, soy sauce and oyster sauce.

5. Mix well.

6. Spoon the mixture into the flaps or “wings” of the Tilapia.

7. Place the Tilapia on a piece of banana leaf laid over a sheet of aluminum foil and spoon more of the tomato mixture over the fish.

8. Put butter on top.

9. Wrap the Tilapia in banana leaf.

10. Wrap aluminium foil around it. Fold and pinch edges into a pouch to seal tightly so the natural juices stay inside when the fish is cooked. Heat oil and deep-fry for 20 to 25 minutes or until done.

RELATED: Steaks, Sarciado, Ginataan: The many ways to prepare fish this Holy Week

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