Sinugno Recipe (Grilled Tilapia in Coconut Milk)

With its fragrant aroma and flavorful meat, it’s not a surprise that tilapia is currently the most cultured freshwater fish in the Philippines. They also come second in culture volume after the country’s national fish, bangus or milkfish, not to mention it’s one of the fish species sold at a very affordable price. All this makes tilapia one of the most common ingredients in regional cuisines.

The tilapia are perfect for dishes that can served on any occasion, may it be on birthdays, fiestas, or even at Christmas parties. Of course, you can’t just serve one cuisine every time you host an event. So if you’ve run out of tilapia dish to cook, here’s another recipe you can try—the sinugno or grilled tilapia in coconut milk.

How to Prepare Sinugno or Grilled Tilapia in Coconut Milk

The sinugno recipe originated from the Quezon province where coconuts and its by-products flourish. And if you are familiar with sinanglay, another Tilapia recipe, then this one won’t be hard since the process is very similar. The only difference is that instead of stuffing the tilapia with spices, the fish is grilled for flavoring. The grilled fish gives off a smoky flavor, which balances out the creaminess of the coconut milk.

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Sinugno Recipe

In making sinugno, here are the ingredients you will be using:

  • 6 Tilapia
  • 4 cups of thick coconut milk
  • 2 cups of thin coconut milk
  • 3 bunches of mustasa (mustard leaves)
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ginger knobs, chopped
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper taste
  • Chili flakes (optional)


  1. Rub salt and pepper all over the tilapia and put in on the grill. How you do the grilling is really up to you. Once cooked, set them aside.
  2. Get a pan and sauté the onion, garlic cloves, and ginger knobs together.
  3. When the onion turns translucent, pour both thick and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Then simmer until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Add the mustard leaves (or petsay, whichever is available) to the concoction. The more vegetable leaves you add, the better. This will add to the recipe’s nutritional value and earthy taste.
  5. Season the sinugno with salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Grab a teaspoon and taste the recipe as you add the seasoning until its taste satisfies you.
  6. Upon serving the sinugno, you can add some chopped red chili or chili flakes for added favor. The spicy kick to the sinugno will amplify the hearty taste of the coconut milk and the tilapia.

And like any other Pinoy food, sinugno is best consumed with steaming hot rice. Now you can enjoy a decent, sumptuous meal with the family without hurting your budget.


Watch the video below


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