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Ginataang Bangus - Milkfish in Coconut - Instant Pot + Stovetop

Ginataang Bangus - Milkfish in Coconut is a Filipino dish of fish and vegetables cooked in coconut milk. Filipinos are familiar with the bangus (milkfish) variety, common in the Philippines, which has a thick, meaty texture. Start with sauteeing the fish in fresh ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes, and simmer it in broth. The addition of coconut milk at the end makes for a flavorful, and fragrant entree. This is an Asian in America recipe by Elizabeth Ann Quirino.
*I shared two alternative ways to cook this: in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop. Cooking time indicated here is for the Instant Pot, which is less time than stovetop cooking.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time23 mins
Total Time43 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Ginataang Bangus Instant Pot
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 408kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Instant Pot multicooker - 6 quarts
  • Large saucepan - if cooking stovetop


  • 2 pounds whole bangus (milkfish); cleaned, gutted, scales removed, sliced into 4 parts; or use fillets; Ask fish monger to clean for you.
  • 1 Tablespoon calamansi juice, to marinate fish
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to marintate fish
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, to marinate fish
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, to coat fish
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 whole white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 knob (1-inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled, sliced in thin strips
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves; or 2 medium-sized whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth; or water
  • 1 to 2 pieces siling labuyo (bird's eye chilies); optional
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For serving:

  • steamed rice


To prepare bangus

  • Wash fish and run it through running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
    Marinate the fish, especially the inside flesh with calamansi juice. Then rub the salt and black pepper all over. Marinate the fish for 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

To cook bangus in the Instant Pot: (option 1)

  • Click the Saute function on the keypad.
    Coat the fish with a tablespoon of cornstarch all over, and set aside.
    Add oil to the inside pot. After 2 minutes, when oil is hot, saute the garlic, onions, ginger, and tomatoes.
    Pour the patis.
    Add the bangus and braise the fish for 5 to 6 minutes till the outer skin turns light brown.
    Pour the broth. Add the siling labuyo (bird's eye chilies).
    Click Cancel to turn off the Saute function.
    Close and lock the lid. Set the steam release valve to a Sealing position.
    Click Manual and cook on HIgh Pressure for 10 minutes.
    When buzzer sounds, do a Natural Pressure Release for 5 minutes, allowing the steam to come down on its own.
    Carefully unlock the lid and place it on a dry, safe place on the counter.
    Pour the coconut milk. Add the baby spinach. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.
    Close and lock the lid again. Press Keep Warm function for 5 minutes, so spinach cooks and wilts in the residual heat.
    Press Cancel to turn off. Unlock and open lid.
    Place the cooked Ginataang Bangus in a serving platter. Serve warm with rice.

To cook on the stovetop (option 2):

  • Marinate the fish in calamansi juice, salt and pepper for 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
    Coat fish with cornstarch.
    In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, saute the garlic, onions, ginger, and tomatoes. Pour the patis. Add the fish slices and braise till light brown in color.
    Pour the broth. Add the siling labuyo (chilies). Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
    When bangus is cooked, add the baby spinach, and pour the coconut milk. Season with salt and black pepper. Lower heat to medium. Continue cooking for 5 minutes more.
    When fish is done, arrange on a serving plate. Serve warm with rice.

Instant Pot Notes:

  • After the initial Saute function, it takes about 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat before the HIgh Pressure cooking time begins. For other multicookers/ pressure cooker brands, please consult the product manual.
    *This is not an ad. I was not paid to endorse the Instant Pot.

Cook's comments:

  • If you don't have bangus (milkfish), you can substitute sea bass for this recipe. Sea bass has a similar texture of a thick, meaty flesh, which is also sweet-flavored, like the bangus.
    When I buy fish, I always ask the fish monger to clean, gut the insides and intestines, remove the scales, and slice the fish in fillets. It is a free service, and one you should take advantage of in case you haven't yet.

Copyright Notice:

  • Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided  in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
    Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE Asian in America recipes on this blog,  my original recipes, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]


Serving: 100g | Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 37g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 624mg | Potassium: 495mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2813IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 3mg