Step 1: Wash the fish and remove the gills and gut. Wash as many times as possible to get rid of the blood. Slice the body crosswise to about half an inch thick and halves the head. Again wash the cut up fish and drain several times. It is suggested to liberally season the fish with salt at this point.
Step 2: In a palayok or earthen pot, or if you don't have one , a stainless casserole or pot, spread the dried bilimbi and garlic on the bottom. Properly arrange the fish on top of them. Evenly sprinkle the ground pepper and the remaining salt on top of the fish and slowly pour water to about its level or slightly lower.
Step 3: Over medium heat, cook the fish with the lid on. When the liquid has started boiling lower the heat and continue simmering until the meat is tender. Cook on a really low heat for the sauce to avoid drying up. You can add hot water as necessary, half a cup at a time. Cook until a delicate slightly salty sauce remains.
Step 4: This is basically sinaing already and ready to be served in a meal, but since our object is with gata (coconut cream), we have to continue. Prepare about ¾ cup coconut cream and 2 pieces green finger chilies.
Step 5: Pour the coconut cream, place the chilies on top and continue cooking for about 8 minutes more. If you want a saucy dish, stop when you think the creamy sauce is just about the right amount for you.
Step 6: Continue cooking until the coconut cream is already rendering some oil and there is barely sauce that remains.
Step 7: Transfer the dish to a shallow bowl and serve immediately with steamed rice. Prepare several mound of rice as you will surely need it. Enjoy!