How To Cook The Best Sinuglaw

Just when you thought Filipino cuisine could not get any more surprising, we are here to prove you wrong! With a variety of flavors the archipelago has to offer, Sinuglaw came to be! Hence, we’ll give you a glimpse of what island flavor is by teaching you how to cook sinuglaw!

This unexpected combo dish is best for unconventional foodies! However, we assure you that it is truly worth a try. One bite will never disappoint!

Well, we will cut to the chase, and let’s talk about everything to love about Sinuglaw!


What is Best Sinuglaw

Sinuglaw is a combination of two Pinoy cooking methods in Visayas and Mindanao, namely, sinugba and kinilaw. The former term means grilled and refers to a pig’s belly grilled (inihaw na liempo) cut into smaller pieces. Meanwhile, the latter means “raw” and refers to the recipes of the same term made by soaking raw fish in vinegar to cook. 

(Photo Credits to: Life gets Better)

The origin of the term gives an idea of how it is prepared. One has to make kinilaw first, then add chops of grilled pork belly to make Sinuglaw. It sounds weird, but it is just the way it is, and it didn’t come to disappoint!

The English translation of Sinuglaw is grilled pork belly and fish ceviche. You can serve it as an appetizer or viand in the main dish. Recipes like this are also present in Pinoy’s boodle fight to enjoy with family and be eaten by hand. 

To give you an idea, Sinuglaw is a tasty and refreshing menu. The fat and oil from the pig’s belly that is grilled complements well with the acidity of the kinilaw mixture and the freshness of vinegar-cooked raw fish. 

Besides, the aromatics and seasonings such as onions, chilies, and pepper provide a depth of flavor that calls for more rice! The addition of radish and cucumber gives additional freshness and crunch to recipes like this.

Further, it is usually prepared during summer as most families, and even groups of friends go to the seaside to relax. The ingredients are more than enough to make one’s mouth water. 

The Visayas and Mindanao regions have included Sinuglaw in their diets. You can find it in most restaurant menus, and for sure, it is one of the specialties! Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao even hosts a culinary show which features this delicacy annually. 

Sinuglaw is an embodiment of Filipino creativity. The locals have mastered the basic culinary formula that transforms two recipes of opposite kinds into a flavorful fusion!


Ways To Cook Sinuglaw

(Photo Credits to: Ang Sarap)

As previously mentioned, Sinuglaw is one of its kind due to its unique preparation method. It takes two ways to cook Sinuglaw: making the kinilaw and grilling the pork. 

Hence, let us first focus on the way to cook the kinilaw mixture. Unlike other cooking methods, the fish is soaked in vinegar (also known as fire liquid) for a period of time to cook. The acidity in the liquid that penetrates the raw meat kills the bacteria and breaks down the meat protein. 

What makes kinilaw transform into sinuglaw is the addition of chopped grilled liempo. However, the way of cooking the sinugba by grilling can be replaced by other cooking methods such as cooking the meat by turbo grill or baking the pork. This alternative method is ideal for those who avoid the heavy smoke caused by the traditional grilling method. 

But in terms of flavor, char grilled liempo is the best option to mix with the kinilaw. The smoky aftertaste enhances the flavor of the pork and the well cooked fat immerses well in the vinegar used in kinilaw. The contrasting flavors make a uniquely delicious and addictive dish!


That the ingredients must be fresh is already a given, and a matter of common sense. Still, because of differences in regional cultures, availability of ingredients, and personal preferences, there can be innumerable variations to the basic formula elements.

Variations 

Filipino’s Tofu Sinuglaw Recipe

In this variant, all you have to do is alternate the pig’s meat with crispy tofu. It will amaze you as to how tofu and fish go well together as a combination. Just prepare it the usual way, and you are all set.

Filipino’s Sinuglaw na Tuna and Pork Recipe

If you are craving a sashimi-grade tuna and this kind of dish, well, it is the perfect time to make a combo out of these two. Our suggestion would be to cook the sinuglaw first and add the tuna if you are serving it already to maintain that sashimi vibe with the tuna. 

Sinuglaw sa Balimbing(Star Fruit)

Eating this kind of dish will surely make you drool for something fresh. If that is the case, why not just infuse the refreshing ingredient in your dish? We know that this dish has cucumber as a refreshment to start with, but you can also add star fruit as an alternative to cucumber. Don’t worry! The flavor is as magnificent as well. 

Hot and Spicy Sinuglaw

Of course, who would forget our friends who have a penchant for spicy flavors? We agree that a fantastic burst of flavors is happening inside our mouths whenever that spicy flavor kicks in. In that case, all. You have to slice up some chilis and incorporate them into the dish. Mix them well and let the heat coat every meat. 

Sinuglaw sa Mangga

Green Mangoes have that special power to let you dive into dishes with an amazing appetite. So you can incorporate it in the dish directly or leave it at the side and let your diners eat them the way they want it with this kind of dish. 

Ginataang Sinuglaw

This kind of dish is amazing as it is. However, Infusing it with coconut milk and letting it simmer overheat will surely elevate this dish. In this case, we can’t guarantee that you will watch out for that strict diet because you will surely munch on up to your fill.  

Sinuglaw na may Puso ng Saging.

Puso ng saging also goes well with grilled meat and seafood, so having it alongside this dish will be wonderful. 

Sinuglaw na Kambing

If you are tired of eating the usual meat available at the market, like pig’s meat, chicken, and beef, you can try goat’s meat. We assure you that it will be as amazing as the other meat types for recipes like this. 

Sinuglaw is a combination of fish ceviche and grilled pork, mixed together to make a wonderful tasty dish.  This can be an appetizer, pulutan, or main dish. And when it comes to the ingredients, I think you will wonder and will become curious of the fruit called tabon tabon.  It’s only indigenous to places in Visayas and Mindanao. So those living in Luzon are not familiar with it, the fruit is oval in shape and the color is brown.

It resembles the chico fruit but when you slice it the core looks like a walnut or like a brown colored brain. It is said to remove fishy taste and odor and prevents upset stomach. Since the fish is raw and only marinated in vinegar, you really need to remove the fishy odor and taste using the tabon tabon. But you can substitute it with grated coconut if none is available in your area.


Troubleshooting The Recipe

  • We can’t blame you if you went overboard with acids to ensure that your anchovies are well cooked. However, if recipes like this become face-crumpling sour, balance the acids with some sugar or spice! To do so, add some chilies or sprinkle a little amount of white granulated sugar according to your liking.
  • While a recipe like this turns out salty, balance the sodium by adding diced fruits (green mangoes, carambola, pomelo) and some kilawin variants mentioned above. 
  • Sprinkle some calamansi or lime juice to fight off the unpleasant aftertaste, especially if the fishy stench stays in recipes like this even when the fish is already cooked with acid.

Trivia

(Photo Credits to: Pinterest)

Pork Belly

Pork belly is a boneless cut of fatty meat from the belly of a pig. Fresh pig’s belly offers not only high-quality protein from the lean cuts but also substantial micronutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. However, fresh pig’s belly generally consists of about 30 % fat, with saturated fatty acids representing half of this value. Pork belly or boned ribs is high fat that means eating too may result in the overconsumption of fat in your diet.

For those concerned with the fat content of pig’s belly, careful boiling in cooking can be taken care of cooking, reducing the number of calories you consume eating pig’s belly. However, while boiling may reduce fat content, it may lower the nutrition value you can expect to get out of a pig’s belly.

In general, the pork belly you eat is taken from a male pig of large to medium size high-grade pig’s meat.

Tambakol Fish (Yellowfin Tuna)   

Tuna is incredibly nutritious and packed with protein, healthy fats, and vitamins — but it should not be consumed every day. Try to avoid eating albacore or yellowfin tuna more than once per week. Tuna doesn’t contain any carbohydrates, fiber, or sugar.

Fats

Tuna is high in omega-3 fatty acids but low in overall fat, containing less than 2 grams per can for “light” tuna. Different varieties of tuna, however, have different amounts of fat.2

  The following common varieties are listed in order from most to least fatty: fresh bluefin, canned white albacore tuna, canned light tuna, fresh skipjack tuna, and fresh yellowfin tuna. 

Protein

Tuna is very high in protein. A can of tuna provides 42 grams of complete protein with all of the essential amino acids.

Radish

A 1/2-cup serving of sliced radishes contains about 12 calories and virtually no fat so that they won’t sabotage your healthy diet. They are the perfect crunchy snack when the munchies strike. High on Nutrients: Red radishes are packed with Vitamins E, A, C, B6, and K. Plus it’s high on antioxidants, fiber, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, and manganese. And each of these is known to keep our body in good working condition. Radishes contain 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving and may help reduce breast cancer risk in older women.

Cucumber 

There are just 16 calories in a cup of cucumber with its peel (15 without). You will get about 4 percent of your daily potassium, 3 percent of your daily fiber, and 4 percent of your daily vitamin C. They also “provide small amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and vitamin A.

Ginger

Since ginger may fight germs, illness, inflammation, and cancer-causing molecules, taking a little bit every day can support your overall health. Ginger is a natural root, so drinking it will also give you added nutrients. The same anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger can also reduce the risk of chronic disease. A 2016 review even linked regular ginger intake with lower cholesterol and blood sugar compared to a placebo. Don’t consume more than 4 grams of ginger on any given day in any form. People with heart conditions, diabetes, and gallstones should talk with their doctor before taking ginger as a supplement.

Ground Black Pepper  

Sometimes called the “king of spices,” black pepper has been a culinary staple. “It may also enhance the absorption of some nutrients. Black pepper and its active compound piperine may have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Laboratory studies suggest that black pepper may improve cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and brain and gut health.

Salt 

We Need Salt in Our Diet — But Not Too Much.

The essential minerals present in the salt act as important electrolytes in the body. They help with fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle function. Some amount of salt is naturally found in most foods. It’s also frequently added to foods to improve flavor.

Vinegar

Vinegar may modulate acid/alkaline balance and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the stomach. Fast-forward to today, and vinegar shows promise as a tool to improve blood sugar control and blood lipid (or cholesterol) levels. Vinegar helps enhance the flavor of foods, but it is very low in calories. White vinegar may have significant health benefits due to its acetic acid content, including blood sugar control, weight management, reduced cholesterol, and antimicrobial properties.

Calamansi

Calamansi has good amounts of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin C, which is essential to building immunity. It provides immunity against viral and bacterial infections. Drinking this juice helps build immunity against the common cold, flu, and fever. Citrus fruits like calamansi and lemons in specific have strong detoxifying effects on the body. This food assists the liver in wiping out the toxins in the bloodstream.

Green Chilies

Green Chili: Like its red counterpart, green chilies are also rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Thus it helps improve your eyes, skin, and immune system. Just remember to store green chilies in dark and cool areas. Otherwise, they will lose their Vitamin C content. Green chilies are those peppers that don’t grow fully and are harvested before they mature. They are extremely low in calories and almost fat-free, making them a wonderful ingredient during weight loss programs.

Cayenne Pepper 

Modern herbalists also use cayenne to activate the circulatory system as a cold and flu treatment. In one tablespoon (5 grams) of cayenne pepper, 44% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. cayenne peppers is generally safe to eat. However, if you take blood thinners or blood pressure medication, check with your doctor before trying cayenne peppers or capsaicin cream. Cayenne and other hot chili peppers have been praised for their health benefits since ancient times. All chili peppers contain natural compounds called capsaicinoids. These are what give the spicy fruit its anti-inflammatory properties.


Tips

  • If you are sensitive to spicy food, omit the chili and black pepper. 
  • Also, there is an important reason for rinsing the tuna only briefly with vinegar and serving it immediately after preparing. 
  • If you let the tuna sit in the vinegar for too long, the high acidity will start to break down the meat’s tissues. The tuna will begin to turn white as though it has been exposed to heat. 
  • The taste and texture of the tuna change at this point, making it less palatable. So eat up while it’s fresh and ready.
  • Nonetheless, kinilaw is served when the vinegar hasn’t thoroughly seeped through. Once it does, the dish can turn rubbery depending on the main ingredient. Hence, in its perfect form, it should be closer to the raw state. Most food enthusiasts I’ve asked will only accept this form of the dish and discount others that involve cooking over fire.

Best Served With

Recipes like this deserve a wonderful pair on the table. This is to highlight the amazing flavor of this dish. As you browse further, you will see the amazing dishes that go well with this kind of dish. 

Rice

Of course, any meat dish goes well with a wonderful serving of rice. We know some other regions don’t usually eat rice as a staple, but we suggest you try it as well and see for yourself why Pinoys love to pair everything with rice. 

Atchara

Atchara is always perfect for cleansing the palate for grilled dishes while you are eating this kind of dish. 

Toyomansi

Having Toyo Mansi as a dip for dishes like this is a must because it adds flavor to the grilled meat. 

Ensaladang Talong 

Everything grilled goes well together. Grilled meat and grilled eggplant is a sure summer dish. 

Itlog na Maalat

If you are out for a swim at the beach, grilled food is always on the menu. Dishes like this are perfect for a summer getaway as a salted egg. 

Pako

Pako or fiddleheads taste refreshing, and it will surely go well with dishes like this. 


Conclusion

Who told you that you can’t have two dishes at the same time! This dish will prove them wrong!

Who knew that the marriage of “Inihaw na liempo” and “Kinilaw na Tuna” would produce such a fine offspring? This dish, though simple and easy to make, is something to die for.

Like I mentioned above its a dish of total opposites, it’s raw and it’s cooked, its meat and its seafood, it’s an appetizer and its also mains, its soft and its crunchy, its served warm and cold. Is there any dish similar to this? Let us know?

For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!

sinuglaw in a bowl
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Best Sinuglaw Recipe

If you are craving a top menu that is perfect as a snack, a side dish, or a meal combo in one, then this meal is ideal for you. Browse further for the ingredients and instructions, cook, and enjoy!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Pork Recipes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 597kcal
Cost $5-$20

Equipment

  • Griller
  • Charcoal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Pork Belly
  • 2 pcs Tambakol Fish sliced
  • 1/4 cup Radish cubed
  • 1/2 cup Cucumber cubed
  • 1 tsp Ginger julienned
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Vinegar
  • 2 pcs Calamansi extracted
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 tbsp Green Chilies cut horizontally
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper sliced thinly

Instructions

  • In a pot, boil the pork belly in 3 cups of water. Cover and simmer for 20 mins.
  • Then, remove the pork from the pot and cut into thin slices. Set aside.
  • Clean the Tambakol (fish) by removing the skin and its fish bones. Cut into cubes and marinate in vinegar. Set aside.
  • Get a medium size bowl. Put the pork together with the radish, cucumber, ginger, green and red chilies, black pepper, salt, vinegar and calamansi. Mix well.
    Note: Follow the chronological order of the ingredients.
  • Then add the marinated fish on the bowl.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 597kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 60g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 643mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 187IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
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