Filipina In A Southern Kitchen

Cod Sinanglay | Coconut Poached Cod Wrapped in Mustard Greens

Traditionally, Fish Sinanglay or Coconut-Poached Fish Fillet Wrapped in Greens is prepared with whole fish. Its cavity is stuffed with tomatoes and aromatics such as gingers, onions, garlic, lemongrass etc. The fish is wrapped with big pechay (bok choy) then poached in coconut milk with ginger, onions and chilis. This Bicol Region (Central Philippines) dishes best served with rice. 


On the Fish

I used cod fillet instead of the traditional whole fish because I want it to be easy for my husband to consume it. The gnarly fish bones intimidate him. haha. It is important to note that whole fish makes up a more flavorful dish so I augmented mine with the addition of seafood broth. 

On the leaves

I used mustard greens because it was in season and the size was perfect (at the time). Feel free to substitute any leaf as long as it has the large capacity to wrap the fish. Double or triple the leaves you must as this acts as a protection while it’s cooking. It also helps you lift the fish out more confidently, without the fear of the delicate meat disintegrating.

On cooking

I had to unlearn some ways in cooking fish since it is a delicate meat. Boiling, I noticed, makes the fish dry so poaching or simmering is the way to go. Visually, you are looking at barely-there bubbles (poach) to very very fine bubbles (fine simmer), OR in Tagalog banayad na pagkulo.

You will know the fish is ready to put in the coconut milk once you start smelling the aromatics as they simmer. Let it simmer for about three to five minutes before putting the fish so that the flavors are infused in the milk

Put the fish in and cover. Check once in a while to make sure that it is not boiling. 

On Serving Fish Sinanglay 

Gently lift each fish from the pan and into a pasta plate or a shallow bowl. Then spoon out the milk onto the side of the plate. Serve with chilis and rice. Fish Sinanglay is also best served with a condiment of fish sauce, chili and lemon or lime. Enjoy!

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Cod Sinanglay | Coconut Poached Cod Wrapped in Mustard Greens

Mia Estolano-Levert
Traditionally, Sinanglay is prepared with whole fish. Its belly or cavity is stuffed with tomatoes, ginger and onions, then wrapped in Pechay (Bok Choy), then cooked in coconut milk with ginger, onion and chilis. Super simple and super quick. It is important slow simmer or poach (banayad na pagkulo) so that the tender meat of the fish remains intact.
The wrapping of fish also protects it from disintegrating, and makes it easier to serve. This Bicol region dish is best eaten with rice 🙂
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 2


  • 10 inch (small) saute pan


  • 2 4 oz cod fillet
  • 4 pcs mustard leaves, enough leaves to wrap the cod around
  • 1 inch ginger thinly sliced, divided in 3
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onions or shallots, divided in 3
  • 1/4 cup sliced leeks or lemongrass divided in 3
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup coconut milk or half a can
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2-3 tbsps seafood broth or lime/lemon with water optional
  • chilis for serving


  • Pat dry fish, then season with salt and pepper.
  • Lay mustard leaves flat. Put half of the aromatic on the leaves: garlic, ginger and shallots.
  • Put the fish on top of the aromatics. Wrap and tuck the ends of the leaves on the bottom. Repeat with the other fillet.
  • Infusing flavors: Simmer coconut milk, ginger, galic, leeks and onions with salt and pepper for 15 minutes until it
  • Lay fish with the tucked leaves under on the pan.
  • Fire should be lmedium low. Partially cover. Let it fine simmer for about 15 minutes, spooning liquid over the fish on the last 3 minutes.
  • Once fish is cooked (it should register 145F on your thermometer), serve with rice and sliced chili.


Option to use other big greens, like mustard greens, bok choy or napa cabbage.
You may use other types of fish. 2-3 Tilapia fillets can be wrapped in one leaf. Adjust cooking time of using thinner slices . 
Adjust liquid if using a bigger pan. 
Keyword cod, fish, seafood

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