Sisig – Reinvented
What a crazy sounding name for a dish; sisig. As many of you might not be aware, but my father-n-law is Filipino, and a great guy to boot. Rarely do I get to sample authentic Filipino food with him, however this past vacation to California allowed me to do just that. As my sister-n-law, Cindy, recently had her second child, we paid a visit to Oceanside, California, where family and friends gathered for the baby’s baptism. My father-n-law catered in local Filipino food from a restaurant consisting of pancit, mixed vegetables, whole fried fish, garlic fried rice, and sisig. While other guests arrived, they also brought with them dishes such as whole fried garlic shrimp, fruit, egg rolls stuffed with banana and honey glaze, and plenty more. One thing that stood out to me was not only the whole fried shrimp, but sisig.
As I came back for seconds, thirds, and fourths, my father-n-law and his brothers and cousins chuckled and laughed and asked ‘You like that?, Do you know what is in there?”. I had no idea what was in there and was hesitant to proceed in finding the answer. As a cook, I wanted to know. I found out that it was made primarly of pig parts including the ear, tongue, brain, heart, and liver. I must admit that I did get a small sign of nauseousness, however I quickly wiped the image of ears and brain from my mind. What I really enjoyed was the overall flavor of sisig. It packed a punch with ginger, garlic, vinegar, peppers, and lemon juice. It was truly a delight in my mouth, something I compared to the flavors of a thai larb salad.
I informed my Filipino elders that I would go back and reinvent sisig, and that I did. I was able to invite some local Filipinos over for my Friday Fish Fry last night, and as an appetizer, I served the sisig with cold beer. Both Sonny, Jen, and Mark said the flavor was spot on, and nearly ate the entire plate of sisig!
- Pork Roast with fat; marinated with a bit of soy sauce, salt and pepper
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 cup of water
- Juice of one lime
- Half of a large onion, minced
- 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 4 thai peppers, minced
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 3 tbs vinegar
- 1 glove of garlic, minced
To prepare the pork, I simply heated a large pot and added the olive oil. Keep in mind that when I sliced the pork roast, I kept some of the fat from the top of the roast to help with the texture that would replace the ears, snout, and other pig items. I then seared each side, and added a cup of water and slow cooked the pork for roughly 45 minutes. Once the pork was cooked, I removed it from the pot and set aside to let cool. In the meantime, in a bowl, I added the lime juice, garlic, ginger, vinegar, peppers, onion, and pepper. Once the pork is cooled, chop into very small pieces and mix into the bowl. I recommend you let this salad marinate overnight, or at least four hours. The outcome is a reinvented salad that packs a punch with fresh flavors. To my Filipino elders, thank you for the authentic sisig!