Adobong Isda Sa Gata (Fish Adobo in Coconut Milk)

I was watching a Tagalog teledrama today when the female protagonist having her meal with her bare hands caught my fancy.

I immediately thought “man, she must be having fish for viand!” The village girl in me kicked in and I started craving for round scad (galunggong) fish pinangat for lunch but I knew it was impossible as this type of fish don’t swim in this part of the globe😞.

But then I thought, I’ve gotta have fish adobo at least and better yet one that is simmered in spicy coconut milk!

So here goes today’s lunch, king fish fillets Adobo sa Gata. No, I couldn’t find my favorite small fish so I have to content myself with its giant relative.🐟🐟🐟

I also don’t have fresh coconut milk but if you happen to have one, use the first squeeze which is pure and undiluted (kakang gata). Two coconuts will be enough for this recipe.


2 slices of king fish, divided, with bones and skin removed (yields 8 pcs)

1 head of garlic, minced

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger root

2 tbsp fish sauce

3 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp vinegar (I used coconut variety)

1 tsp brown sugar

ginger powder (optional)

3 tbsp cooking oil

1 cup of hot water

1 cup of coconut powder

6 pieces of green chilies



  1. Marinate fish in ginger powder, black pepper, vinegar and fish sauce for 15 minutes.
  2. In a shallow pan, fry garlic in oil until golden.
  3. Add onions and saute until caramelized.
  4. Add the minced ginger.
  5. Move them aside and in the center of the pan, lay on the fish pieces and allow them to fry on each until lightly browned. This will help the fish firm up a bit and hold their shape as they cook.
  6. Add in the marinade plus the soy sauce and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Dissolve the coconut powder in hot water and pour the mixture into the fish. Throw in the green chilies and simmer on medium heat, uncovered for another 10 minutes. Don’t flip the fish again as they might break and turn mushy.
  8. Add in the bokchoy and turn off the heat. Leave the pan covered. The residual heat is enough to wilt the greens and allow them to absorb some of that spicy goodness.
  9. As always, best served hot with boiled rice. Bon appetit!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s