Table Recipes: Kinilaw na Tanguigue

By franco on 15 March, 2009

Table Recipes: Kinilaw

In the lexicon of Pinoy food, there is nothing like kinilaw.

Admittedly, other cuisines have their own versions of curing fish with vinegar, liquors, herbs, salts and spices. But the kinilaw is proudly our own. Even as a child, I remember loving this dish. I loved the tangy flavor of the vinegar-infused coconut milk, the firm sweet bite of the fresh fish quickly followed by hot zing of the red and green chilis. I would pile a healthy serving of kinilaw on my plate and spooning the coconut milk/vinegar dressing on my steaming hot rice. My mother would warn me not to eat too much at one go but I usually wouldn’t listen. Sorry, mom.

Luckily, I haven’t suffered anything more serious than a grumbling tummy from my ‘raw’ fish love. But I digress…

This recipe is not a reinvention. Instead I’m experiment with the plating for this dish. Instead of cutting the fish in cubes, I quartered the fillets of tanguigue and sliced them as thinly as possible. I dressed the plated pieces of cured fish with the coconut milk mixture and garnished the dish with matchsticks of red bell pepper and ginger. With this dish, I am creating a kinilaw that is more reminiscent of a beef carpaccio than the usual mass of vinegar-soaked white fish.

My cookbook du jour, Kulinarya, emphasizes three points: First, always use the freshest of fish. Next, make sure to use white vinegar that is of the best quality. And lastly, when combining ingredients always use bowls made with non-reactive materials.

Following these guidelines, you are assured of a dish that celebrates the best that sea can provide and avoid those irksome rumblings in the tummy.

Good eats.

Kinilaw na Tanguigue
Adapted from Kulinarya: A Guide to Philippine Cuisine

  • 250 grams tanguigue, quartered, then thinly sliced
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 6 pieces shallots, sliced in thin rounds
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 pieces bird’s eye chilies, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 pieces green finger chilies, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 black pepper, finely ground

Marinade the slices of tanguigue with 1/2 cup of vinegar. Once the fish has turned opaque, discard the marinading vinegar and set aside the cured slices of fish.

In a glass or ceramic bowl, mix together the remaining vinegar and the coconut milk. Add the cured fish slices, shallots, bird’s eye and green chilies, salt, pepper, half of the ginger and half of the red bell pepper. Chill in the refrigerator.

To serve, transfer the slices of tanguigue to a plate. Pour the vinegar/coconut milk on top of the fish and garnish with the remaining matchsticks of ginger and red bell peppers.

serves 4




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  • MARCH 16, 2009 4:42 AM

    mrslavendula said...

    wow! my hubby would love this, looks easy enough for someone like me who's not so kitchen savvy!

    thanx for posting the recipe!

  • MARCH 16, 2009 12:26 PM

    Justin said...

    so this is something like a Peruvian ceviche? the fish is raw and the vinegar cooks it slightly?

  • MARCH 18, 2009 3:06 AM

    wysgal said...

    After spending a week eating ceviche in Nicaragua ... I'm feeling a little inspired to try out making something more "local." Not so sure how easy it'll be to get spanish mackerel in the US though.

  • MARCH 18, 2009 9:59 PM

    Franco said...

    Hello Mrs. Lavandula. It's a very simple recipe. Just really need to make sure to use the freshest fish and handle it properly.

    Hello Justin. Never had peruvian ceviche. But I guess if it like every other former Spanish colony's ceviche, I'm sure there are very similiar. :)

    Hey wysgal. Nicaragua? You do end up in the oddest of places.:P But I did read that Nicaragua is becoming travel destination of note lately. Anyway, try any other firm, white fish or try using white anchovies.

  • MARCH 24, 2009 12:11 AM

    Justin said...

    I was under the impression that ceviche was a Latin American thing, I have not heard of a strictly Spanish variety.

    Peruvian ceviche is the new craze amongst "foodies" in the US. It's kind of like the "new sushi," not just because its raw fish but because its current level of popularity is similar to that of sushi in the 1980's.

  • MARCH 24, 2009 1:47 AM

    Franco said...

    Hey Justin. You are right about ceviche being a Latin American concoction. But many people tend to forget that the Philippines was a Spanish colony (like many Latin American nations) for a very long time. So it's no surprise that our food would be greatly influenced by our Spanish colonial trading partners - primarily Mexico :)

    I find it amazing that dishes around the world can be so similiar yet so different at the same time. :)