After the decadence of the holidays and all the rich foods we devoured, our bodies were longing for simpler meals like this Tulingan sa Gata – Mackerel Tuna Fish in Coconut Milk and Vegetables. This was a family recipe which my son, Constante and I concocted and cooked together. I contributed this fish recipe to the cookbook Sariwa: Filipino Food and Stories Fresh from the Motherland by The Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity a few years ago when Aileen Suzara, one of the co-authors invited me to share this dish.
My late dad inspired this recipe. I’ve mentioned before in past blog posts how my dad enjoyed fish as an entrée so much and my mom cooked fish dishes nearly every day in my childhood home in the Philippines.
My father left us a legacy of a healthy lifestyle. My parents raised us on good, wholesome food cooked with produce my father cultivated and ingredients from our farm or grown in our backyard in my hometown, Tarlac. When we moved to America, I tried to raise my sons and feed my family the same way and I am constantly in search of the right ingredients to cook meals the way my mom taught me.
Tulingan is Pilipino for mackerel tuna– a small, thin fish which has a thick, white, meaty flesh. In this recipe, I boiled the fish first in water and seasonings. Then I added the cooked tulingan to the vegetable sauté and coconut broth. I have passed on this recipe to my son, Constante who like his grandfather enjoys fish dishes very often. This entree offers a savory-flavored fish simmered in a rich, thick broth of coconut milk with a saute of ginger, onions, garlic and vegetables. And whenever I cook and serve this Tulingan sa Gata to my family, I never forget what dad told me: If you ate right, then everything in your life falls in place.
Tulingan sa Gata - Mackerel Tuna Fish in Coconut Milk and Vegetables
- 1 pound tulingan (mackerel tuna fish) 3 to 4 pieces, cleaned, scales, intestines, & tail removed
- 1 whole onion chopped, divided, use half to boil the fish, rest for saute
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger slices sliced in 1-inch thin matchstick sizes fresh ginger
- 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce_
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 whole large tomato sliced
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup cubed kabocha squash cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 whole potato peeled, cubed
- 1 can (13.5 fl. oz) coconut milk
- 2 cups sliced napa cabbage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a medium-sized stockpot, over medium-high heat, combine the mackerel tuna (tulingan) with half of the onion, half of the ginger, fish sauce and enough water to cover the fish. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes till the fish is cooked. Turn off heat and set aside.In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. Saute the garlic and the remaining onions and ginger. Add the tomatoes to the saute. Cook for 5 minutes till vegetables are soft.Pour the vegetable broth. Add the squash and potatoes. Cover and continue cooking for 10 to 12 minutes till the squash and potatoes are soft.Add the fish, coconut milk and cabbage to the rest of the vegetables in the saucepan. Season with salt and black pepper. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes more. Do not allow the coconut milk to be on high heat or the liquid will curdle.Serve warm with rice.Cook's comments: If preferred, you may substitute tulingan (mackerel tuna) with other types of white fish like tilapia, sea bass, snapper, pompano or the like. You can also use fillets. The results are just as delicious. For best results, try to cook the fish the same day it was purchased.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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