Saturday, March 20, 2010

Idiot-proof Cooking and Creative Writing (Dish #2: Kinilaw na Tanigue)

I woke up early today because I wanted to go jogging at dawn. Incidentally, the best catch of the day- fresh Tanigue at very low price- is usually available at the wet market. Tanigue (King Mackerel) is best prepared the quintessential Visayan way which is "kinilaw". After working up a sweat, I went straight to the Tacloban public market still huffing and puffing from the run.

For P140 I was able to buy a 1 kilo whole fish. Without additional cost, I had the vendor fillet the fish (I can hardly slice a tomato, you can't possibly expect me to have the expertise of removing fish bones) before wrapping it. With a little instruction from Nanay, my 83 year-old grandmother who is visiting for the weekend, I was able to prepare a dish that brought up childhood memories of growing up in a coastal town.


1. Fresh Tanigue
2. Very sour vinegar (those commercially prepared are usually weak)
3. Calamansi
4. Tomatoes, chopped
5. Onions, chopped
6. Bell pepper (optional)
7. Ginger, chopped
8. Salt


Slice the Tanigue into cubes (or just as long as they are sliced into small pieces), soak in vinegar until it appears somewhat opaque (raw fish meat looks translucent). Then firmly squeeze the fish meat to remove the vinegar and place in a clean bowl. Add Calamansi juice making sure to soak the fish meat. Season with salt.

Wash the tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, and ginger, then chop, chop, chop! Simply add this to the fish and mix thoroughly. You may add more seasoning according to taste. Some prefer to add gata (coconut milk), but I like kinilaw with just the calamansi juice. Refrigerate before serving (oh well this is actually more of a personal preference).

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