Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 54: Inun-unan / Paksiw or Sinaing na Isda (Fish Stewed in Vinegar)

Being a Tagala, I'm used to the Tagalog way of cooking Paksiw na Isda (usually Bangus) which is "masabaw".  When I moved to the Visayas, I learned a different take on Paksiw called "Inun-unan".  It's not soupy like its Tagalog counterpart, rather the sauce is almost dried up and whatever little that is left is actually sought after like liquid gold (all the yumminess is there) to be strewn over hot rice.

This post is dedicated to my Visayan friends who are now abroad and would like to re-acquaint themselves with an all-time favorite...

1/2 kg fish (Bilong-bilong, Tulingan/Mackerel, Bariles/Tuna)
150 grams pork fat or 2 tbsp canola oil 
2 pcs bay leaves (laurel)
1/2 head of garlic, crushed
1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
1/4 cup fish sauce/patis
1/2 cup vinegar (white or tuba variety)
1 small red bell pepper, julienned
1 tsp black peppercorns or 1/2 tsp ground pepper 
2 pcs eggplant, sliced (optional)
3-5 pcs siling pansigang/haba (optional)

In a thick casserole (a native palayok works best), layer the ingredients in this order: pork fat or oil, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, fish and bell pepper slices. Then pour the fish sauce/patis and vinegar and sprinkle peppercorns/pepper on top.  Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes then switch fire to low.  If you wish, you may add the eggplant pieces and chili fingers (for heat), simmer on low for another 15 minutes. Take care not to let the sauce dry up too much.  Serve with hot rice.


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