On my father’s list would be a staple of vegetables, fruits, beef, pork and seafood(squid/pusit, fish/lapu-lapu, galunggong, tuna, tilapia). After an hour and a half of going around and getting our supplies, my father would take me to an old greasy Chinese restaurant, which is within the same building, for a merienda(snack) of siopao, beef mami and Coke. (No, this is not Ma Mon Luk. But that is a different story.)
My father taught me how to clean the tilapia. So again there is the traditional way, and there is a new way. I will show you the new way. At the end of the blog, there will be a section called A TIlapia Story. There, I will share with you how things were done before(when I was still living in Marikina and other parts of Metro Manila for 43 years) and how things are done here in Toronto(where I am living now for almost over a year). So if you’re up to it, you can read on after cooking.
Let’s get cooking.
2 pc. Tilapia
Salt and Pepper(Asin at paminta)
Part 1: Preparing and cleaning the Tilapia
Part 2: Prepare the filling:
Part 3: Putting it all together
- Stuff the filling in the belly of the Tilapia.
- Place the Tilapia on the aluminum foil. If you still have filling, just place it on top of the Tilapia.Roll in the aluminum foil. I suggest that when you roll the Tilapia in the foil slant it a bit almost 30 degrees.
Placing the Tilapia parallel to the width of the foil usually limited wrapping for the Tilapia.
Part 4: Grilling
Depending on the size of the Tilapia, and the heat of the stove grilling will take around 30-40 minutes.
If you want a simpler, no fuss grilled tilapia. Just place the tilapia over the grill. No need to put tomatoes and onions. It will be cooked in 20-30 minutes.
After 40 minutes, the Tilapia is cooked! Enjoy this dish a dipping sauce(saw-sawan) of soy sauce and lemon(or Philippine kalamansi).
A TILAPIA STORY
Tilapia is one of the most common fish in the whole world. It is also the most abundant! In the Philippines, next to galunggong in popularity and affordability is the Tilapia. Next to the Tilapia is the bigger Bangus(Milkfish)
In the late 70’s to the early 80s, when we buy Tilapia, my father just checks for freshness(red gills and bright clear eyes, and presses the belly to check if it is still firm). He puts his choices on the scale tray, and the vendor places the tray on the scale for weight. My father pays for it and the transaction is done.
Cleaning of the Tilapia is done at home. Cleaning also depends on how you will cook the Tilapia.
Fried: Remove gills(hasang), innards(bituka), fins(palikpik), and scales(kaliskis). Put a slice on the back-side then add salt.
Grilled: Remove gills(hasang), innards(bituka), fins(palikpik). Put a slice on the back-side along the back fin. Make sure that the cut goes deep into the belly of the fish.
There are times when father cleans the Tilapia with salt(a salt rubdown) if he feels that the Tilapia is slimy(malansa). My mother-in-law cleans her Tilapia almost the same way but she rubs the Tilapia against a stone(stone-rub)!
In the late 80’s until I left in Manila in 2010, when I buy Tilapia, I just tell the vendor to clean the fish and the how I will cook it. Linis-prito(Clean for frying) or Linis-Ihaw(Clean for grill) or sometimes Linis-Fillet(Clean and fillet).
In Toronto, everything is different, obviously! There is Tilapia here. Unfortunately, it is not as good as the Tilapia in the Philippines, just as a matter of fact. But since this is what we have here, might as well work with it, as they say. I have bought the fresh Tilapia from the Chinese section in the Greater Toronto Area but it smelled “fishy”. I bought the live ones but it still doesn’t taste right. Our best choice so far for the freshest best tasting, “fishy”-free smell Tilapia is the boxed, frozen, cleaned imported from Taiwan Tilapia!
That’s how it is here. Cheers! Happy grilling.