Khok: Easy sisig

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THERE is a time for everything, according to King Solomon.

We have all the time to shiver and panic and be afraid. We also have to have time to laugh. We need time to pray. The Lenten Season is here.

With this holy day comes the norm of having fish dishes on the table. To make the meal more attractive, try this sisig dish using fish.

Sisig originated in Pampanga. The original recipe calls for parts of a parboiled pig’s head, spices and flavorings. It is cooked under high fire and often served with fried egg. Play with this recipe and make it your own.

The sisig version here does not use a sizzling plate, the restaurant way of cooking this food. Most households do not own a sizzling plate, so to make the dish more accessible to the ordinary household, I prepared the dish on wok.

Ingredients: Two cans tuna, drained; one each red and white onion, chopped; one red bell pepper, chopped; two pieces siling espada (siling pangsigang or finger chili), minced; one tablespoon soy sauce; one tablespoon oyster sauce; one tablespoon lemon juice or to taste (you can also use lemonsito (kalamansi or calamondin); salt and pepper to taste.

If you like other spices, feel free to do so. This is a dish that can stand a lot of experimentation.

Procedure: Heat heavy pan then add olive oil or oil of choice. Saute onions and bell peppers till fragrant but not yet wilted.

Add the drained canned tuna and saute to mix.

Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce, stirring constantly. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Add the siling espada and toss to mix.

Turn off the heat then add the lemonsito juiced. Adjust the taste before serving.

Place the sisig on a pretty plate and top with fried egg.

Now that we have finished cooking the dish, let us look at the history of sisig based on what Wikipedia has fed me.

The earliest mention of sisig was in a Kapangpangan dictionary in the 17th century. It is variously described as a snack or a salad. The main ingredient is pig’s head, minced and flavored with a souring agent such as lemons or vinegar. No other region in the Philippines can claim to be the originator of sisig. Let me lift what Wikipedia said: “The city government of Pampanga, through its City Ordinance 405, Series of 2017, declared Sizzling Sisig Babi (Pork Sisig) as an intangible heritage of Angeles City.”

I have tasted very many ways this marvelous dish was made. Mushroom sisig has an earthy taste. Beef, chicken and squid all have their unique flavors to make the sisig one-of-a-kind. Tofu absorbs well whatever flavorings you use and so it still works as a dish to drink beer by. Besides, it has a vegetarian feel that removes whatever guilt you feel after a long night of drinking with your buddies.


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