Filipino Catfish in Coconut Sauce (Guinataang Hito)

The combination of coconut milk, soy sauce, and vinegar stamps this gentle dish as distinctly Filipino. Pretty much any mild white fish can be used with great results. It is also a great way to cook shrimp and mixed seafood. Served it over boiled white rice to soak up the flavorful sauce.

Guinataang Hito – Fish Fillets in Coconut Sauce

This dish from the Philippines produces a tender, moist fish swimming in a smooth coconut sauce. Although original recipe is based on catfish, any delicate white fish fillet like sea bass, snapper, even sole works well. Shrimp and scallops also take beautifully to this gentle sauce.
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Course: Brunch, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Philippines, Southeast Asian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • large frying pan


  • lb Catfish fillets (or similar white fish)
  • ½ cup Vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Chopped scallion
  • 5 tbsp Cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • cups Coconut milk
  • 1-2 small Red chili peppers, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • Cook Fish – Wash fish fillet and pat dry with paper towels. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and fry on both sides until golden brown. Gently transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard cooking oil.
  • Make Sauce – In same pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add scallion and garlic. Sautee about 1 minute until soft. Immediately add vinegar, soy sauce, coconut milk, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the fried fish and chilies. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 3 minutes more to allow the flavors to blend. Serve hot with white rice.

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