During the Lent season, most Filipinos give up eating meat on Fridays for six weeks. This is why I cooked Salmon sa Gata â€“ Fish in Coconut with Vegetables. I picked salmon for this recipe because it was conveniently what I purchased at the market. But you can also use other fish varieties you prefer.
In the Philippines, it is not uncommon to use coconut in most home cooked meals. â€œOne tree can yield hundreds of coconuts each season,â€ according to the cookbook Coconut Kitchen by Regina Tolentino Newport. Filipinos refer to the the coconut tree as the â€˜tree of lifeâ€™ because all its parts â€“ the fruit, the leaves, trunk, the pith (heart of palm) and roots are used to sustain life.
At my childhood home in the Philippines, coconut trees lined the four corners of our house. They grew lush and abundantly yielded as much coconut as my mother needed for cooking and more. Inspired by a recipe shared by Panlasang Pinoyâ€™s Vanjo Merano when I interviewed him for a write-up on Positively Filipino, I cooked my version of fish in coconut in the Instant Pot. You can also cook this recipe the traditional stove-top way if you prefer â€“ I offer the process in the procedure below.
Back in my American kitchen, I used the Instant Pot to cook this main dish because it cuts cooking in nearly half the time. So, I get the chance to walk away and do other stuff. Once ready, the thick, sultry, sweet aroma of the broth laced with coconut surrounded the salmon fillet and greens. After a few bites, the spicy notes from the siling labuyo (birdâ€™s eye chilies) kicked in. I poured it on a mound of steaming white rice and all was right in the world. Weâ€™ll be enjoying this meal even beyond Lent and Fish Fridays, thatâ€™s for sure.
Instant Pot Salmon sa Gata - Fish in Coconut with Vegetables
- 3/4 pound salmon fillet
- 1 teaspoon salt to marinate fish
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper to marinate fish
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 whole tomatoes sliced in quarters
- 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 to 2 pieces siling labuyo (bird's eye chilies) optional
- 1 cup coconut milk canned or fresh
- 1 cup sliced green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- boiled rice for serving
- Prepare salmon fillet by marinating it with a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper for 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
To cook in the Instant Pot
- Click Saute function on the keypad.Add oil to the inside pot. After 1 to 2 minutes, when oil is hot, saute the garlic, onions and fresh ginger.
- Add the tomatoes and the patis. Mix ingredients to blend.
- Add the salmon fillet. Pour the broth. Add the siling labuyo (bird's eye chilies).Click Cancel to turn off Saute function.
- Close and lock the lid in place. Set the steam release valve to a Sealing position.Click Manual and cook on High Pressure for 7 minutes.
- When the buzzer sounds to announce cook time is done, do a NPR (natural pressure release) for 5 to 8 minutes, allowing the steam to come down on its own.
- When the float pin drops, it is safe to unlock and carefully open the Instant Pot. Add the coconut milk, green beans, and spinach. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir gently to blend everything.
- Return the lid and lock in place. Press Keep Warm function for 8 minutes so vegetables cook and coconut milk flavor sets in.Press Cancel to turn off. Unlock and open the lid. Serve dish warm with rice.
To cook on the stove-top
- Marinate the fish. In a large saucepan, add the oil. Saute the garlic, onions, ginger, tomatoes and patis (fish sauce). Add the salmon fillet and chilies. Pour the broth. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.When salmon is cooked completely, pour the coconut milk. Add the green beans and spinach. Season with salt and black pepper. Cover and continue cooking for 8 minutes more for vegetables to cook. Serve warm with rice.
Notes on the Instant Pot
- 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 multi-cookers/pressure cooker brands, please consult the product manual.
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.Â Buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com – sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multi-cooker that cooks in high and low pressure. I was not paid by the Instant Pot company to mention the product or brand nor endorse it. This is not an ad. My views and opinions are my own.