Inaloban a Isda

Our dish today is from the Maranao cosine where it can be found in the Mindanao on the lands surrounding Lake Lanao The flavours of this dish is quite unique if compared with the common Filipino dishes due the use of spices, where dishes in this cuisine is strongly influenced by neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, where dishes are spicy, sometimes hot and richer in flavour compared to the Tagalog cuisine.

Dishes in the Maranao cuisine are commonly in vibrant yellow colour from turmeric where they believe that it has medicinal properties (which I agree) that help keep them healthy. Most dishes are grilled and cooked in coconut milk, apart from turmeric they also use a lot of palapa, a pounded paste made from sibujing, chillies and ginger. Also, since this cuisine is of Muslim origin dishes are Halal hence proteins of choice are usually seafood and chicken.

Today we will be making Inaloban a Isda and it perfectly embodies the Maranao cuisine, all of its qualities are present, like coconut milk, palapa, turmeric and grilling. It’s like the ginataang isda but better, good flavours with a nice spice!

Inaloban a Isda
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2-3
  • 2 pcs medium fish (tilapia or snapper)
  • 1 bunch pechay
  • 1 large red capsicum, sliced
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • 2 pcs shallots
  • ½ thumb sized turmeric, thinly sliced
  • fish sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • oil
  • 6 stalks spring onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp ginger paste
  • 5 pcs birds eye chillies, finely chopped
  1. In a large mortar combine all palapa ingredients together, pound it with a pestle until its paste like in consistency.
  2. Grill the fish in high charcoal heat for 4 minutes on each side.
  3. While fish is grilling, in a wok add oil then sauté shallots, cook for 2 minutes then add palapa and turmeric, continue to stir fry for a minute.
  4. Add coconut milk and red capsicum then bring to a boil. Simmer in low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Add fish, pechay and coconut cream, then continue to simmer for 5 more minutes.
  6. Season with fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper then serve.



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