Food & Drink

Restaurateur Happy Ongpauco Tiu Shares an Easy Fish Recipe

Preparing for holiday potlucks just got a little easier.

With close to a dozen dining concepts under her helm, restaurateur Happy Ongpauco-Tiu has many culinary tricks up her sleeves. She grew up in the kitchens and service floors of restaurants such as Barrio Fiesta, Isdaan, Bakahan at Manukan, after all. Now, the visionary behind Happy Concept Group, which boasts of a portfolio of bespoke private dining catering services, Hawaiian BBQ, Mom Made, World Topps, and most recently, The Grid’s Le’Chon stall, is continually growing her culinary empire. Despite this, she remains keen on sharing a few of her own personal recipes with the public. Two years ago, she and some of the top names in Manila’s dining scene published some of their family’s heirloom recipes in a cookbook entitled Legacy. A few days ago, Tiu shared her own recipe for a fish creation that will, thankfully, aid us in the hectic preparations for the wave of holiday dinners and potlucks coming our way. 


Here is her recipe for a Thai-inspired Steamed Fish with lemongrass and chili, which she claims goes well with freshly cooked jasmine rice:

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu (@happyongpauco_tiu) on



1/2 tsp chicken bouillon

1 /2 cup boiling water

3 limes, get juice from the two pieces and slice the third piece for garnish

1 tbsp granulated sugar

7 garlic cloves, minced

2 or 3 red chilies (best with Thai chili if available), finely chopped

1/4 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

1/4 cup spring onions finely chopped (optional)

2 tbsp fish sauce

4 to 5 stalks lemongrass, bruised

Whole fish (multiply sauce by 3, if cooking 3 pieces of fish)


1. In a bowl, dissolve chicken bouillon and sugar in hot water.

2. Add in garlic, coriander leaves, spring onions, lime juice, garlic, and fish sauce. Mix all together and set aside. (You may also adjust the sauce according to your taste using ingredients above).

3. Prepare your steamer. Place Glad Cook and Bake sheets inside the steamer container and leave it overhanging on the sides. This makes it easier to handle the fish when cooked. (My mistake here is I forgot to put the sheets, so the bottom part of the fish semi-broke when I transferred it to the platter—Glad Cook and Bake's strong and heat-resistant paper assures us that it won’t tear up and our fish will be in its perfect form).


4. Season fish with very little salt and some pepper, and a few tablespoons of the sauce made then put lemongrass inside the cavity.

5. Place the fish inside steamer and cover for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish is fully cooked.

6. When cooked, lift up the bake sheet with the fish and discard the liquid.

7. Place the fish on a serving plate and pour the sauce on top. Add more cilantro as garnish.

View More Articles About:
Recommended Videos
About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Features Editor
Hannah is originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
View Other Articles From Hannah
Latest Stories
For starters, good quality and design are aspects they will appreciate.
The first-ever Filipino Netflix movie imparts nuggets of wisdom to the social media-crazed generation.
Because the holiday season isn't complete without a movie marathon.
Looking to grow your own vintage watch collection? Start with these classic picks.
Her portrayal of a masked mercenary in this month’s Rise of Skywalker is one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets. Keri Russell prepares for the big reveal at a brownstone in Brooklyn, a galaxy far, far away.
Take a ride on a train through Asia or take a trip to a champagne chalet, the options are endless.
Alcohol-free traveling is an emerging trend, but there’s much more to this phenomenon than meets the eye.
It comes complete with jewels, corgis, banquets, and etiquette lessons.
Load More Articles