Sigarilyas at tinapang bangus sa gata (winged beans and smoked milkfish in coconut milk)

If you’re done with leftovers from your Christmas Eve and Christmas day feasts, here is a dish that, in its simplicity, is the anti-thesis of cloyingly overabundant and lavish meals. Yet, despite the simplicity, this sigarilyas at tinapa sa gata, inspired by a dish I enjoyed so much at Romulo Cafe, is vibrant with flavors.

Perhaps, it is the smoked fish. Or, maybe, it is the the fusion of the smoked fish with the coconut milk. I really don’t know. I could have cooked a more generic sigarilyas sa gata with fatty pork belly but I don’t think the outcome would be this wonderful.

A very important tip before I start with the recipe: this dish is even better the next day after sitting overnight in the fridge.

Recipe: Sigarilyas at tinapa sa gata


  • 1 tbsp. of cooking oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. of grated ginger
  • 1 bird’s eye chili (labuyo)
  • patis (fish sauce), to taste
  • a bunch of sigarilyas (winged beans), about 12 pieces, cut diagonally into quarter inch slices
  • 1 boneless tinapang bangus (smoked milkfish)
  • 1 c. of coconut milk


  1. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan.
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  3. Over medium-low heat, saute the onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chili with a dash of patis until soft.
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  5. While the vegetables soften, flake the fish into fairly large chunks (discard the head, skin and tail).
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  7. Throw in the sigarilyas into the pan. Season with another dash of patis and stir.
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  9. Add half of the flaked tinapa to the sigarilyas. Stir.
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  11. Pour in the coconut milk.
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  13. Cook over medium-low heat, covered, until the sigarilyas is cooked through but still with a slight crunch, and the mixture is almost dry.
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  15. Toss in the remaining half of the tinapa, stir and cook, uncovered, for another minute.
  16. Taste and add more patis, if necessary.
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Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4