|Kinilaw (kilawin) Raw Tuna Salad|
Kinilaw means to “cook” in vinegar. It’s not really cooking since there is no heat involved. But soaking fish or some other seafood in a strong vinegar solution turns the meat opaque and gives it a texture of having been cooked.
There are a variety of fish that can be used for making kinilaw. Tuna, tangigue or tanigue (sea bass), talakitok (cavalla) and lapu-lapu (grouper) are only some of them. I used yellow fin tuna for my kinilaw.
Heres a favorite delicacy served in the Southern parts of the Philippines. Each area however uses ingredients norrmally found exclusively in the area only. The preparation however remains the same and the ingredients listed here are the ones commonly used in most areas.
There’s really nothing complicated about making this wonderful Filipino dish. You season the cubed fish fillets with salt and pepper then soak them in strong vinegar. Of course, you add some spices to perk up your kinilaw.
Here is a simple recipe:
1 kg Fresh tuna; cubed
1/2 cup Finely chopped ginger
1/2 cup Finely chopped onions
2 Lemons (use the sour ones)
1 cup Vinegar (use the one that is strong)
5 cloves of garlic minced
2 pieces siling mahaba chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
optional: add 1/2 cup coconut milk or evaporated milk
Rinse the fish with water once and with vinegar once but swiftly.
Put in a bowl. Sprinkle on top the ginger and the onions.
Squeeze out the juice of 2 lemons on the mixture.
Add the Vinegar, chillies, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
Mix everything slowly so you dont crush the fish.
Refrigerate for about 30mins to an hour, then serve.
NOTE: In some parts of the country, they use the local coconut wine (tuba) instead of vinegar. If you use a strong vinegar it will cook the fish almost right away as soon as you pour it over the dish. The idea is not to cook the fish entirely. It should still be pinkish inside so as to keep it soft and tasty. In some parts of the country they add about 1/2 cup of coconut milk to remove the fishy taste of the fish. In other parts they add slices of cucumber to the dish. Some add slices of fresh tomatoes too.