Pinaputok na Tilapia (Popped Tilapia in banana leaves)

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Serves/Makes: 4-6 servings


  • 1 whole large size tilapia, about 2 pounds
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 stem Chinese celery or a bunch kinchay, cut in 1 inch long
  • 1/2 thumb ginger, julienned
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • Few drops sesame oil (optional)


  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 chilies (optional)


  1. Scale, clean and remove gills from tilapia.
  2. Wash tilapia under cold running water well, rinsing cavity well. Pat dry.
  3. Make a 2 or 3 slits across the body of the fish on both sides.
  4. Rub the fish all over (including cavity) with salt, ground pepper, and butter.
  5. Stuff the fish with tomatoes, onions, celery, carrot and ginger.
  6. In one square of banana leaves or aluminum foil, add some tomatoes, onions, celery and ginger in the center and spread evenly. This will serve as the bedding for the fish.
  7. Place the stuffed tilapia fish in the center. Add some remaining stuffing on top of the fish.
  8. Add oyster sauce and sesame oil inside the stuffed fish and the on top of the fish.
  9. Cut another square of aluminum foil and cover it to the fish. Wrap tightly by simply folding all edges of foil and make sure it’s tight as possible.
  10. Bake (grill or fry) in oven at 375°F (190°C) for approximately 30 minutes or until the wrapper is inflated and close to popping.
  11. For deep frying: heat oil then submerge wrapped fish till done or for about 30 minutes.
  12. For steaming: boil water then placed the wrapped fish atop the pot. Steam till done or for about 30 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven.

Serve the Pinaputok na Tilapia hot with sliced lemons on the side and dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Credits to: all-fish-seafood