Experience Sizzling “Sisig” Filipino Dish
Sisig is a Filipino dish made from parts of pig head and liver, usually seasoned with calamansi and chili peppers. It is popular in the Philippines and is now gaining popularity worldwide. It can be consumed as an appetizer and a main dish.
Sisig was first mentioned in a Kapampangan dictionary in the 17th Century meaning “to snack on something sour” and “salad”. It usually refers to fruits, often unripe or half-ripe, sometimes dipped in salt and vinegar. It also refers to a method of preparing fish and meat, especially pork, which is marinated in a sour liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar, then seasoned with salt, pepper and other spices.
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Lucia Cunanan of Angeles City, also known as “Aling Lucing,” has been credited with reinventing sisig by using a sizzling plate to make the dish crispier. The Philippine Department of Tourism has acknowledged that her “Aling Lucing’s” restaurant had established Angeles City as the “Sisig Capital of the Philippines” in 1974. Cunanan’s trademark sisig was developed in mid-1974 when she served a concoction of boiled and chopped pig ears and cheeks seasoned with vinegar, calamansi juice, chopped onions and chicken liver and served in hot plates. Today, varieties include sisig ala pizzailo, pork combination, green mussels or tahong, mixed seafood, ostrich sisig, crocodile sisig, spicy python, frog sisig and tokwa’t baboy, among others.
According to Cunanan’s recipe, preparing sisig comes in three phases: boiling, broiling and finally grilling. A pig’s head is first boiled to remove hairs and to tenderize it. Portions of it are then chopped and grilled or broiled. Finally, coarsely chopped onions are added and served on a sizzling plate. Variations of sisig may add any of the following: eggs, ox brains, chicharon (pork cracklings), pork or chicken liver, and mayonnaise. Recently, local chefs have experimented with ingredients other than pork such as chicken, squid, tuna, and tofu.
Start to cook sisig by boiling the meat. Boiled the pork belly and maskara for 1 hour in medium heat. The meat needs to be tenderized so that it will be easier to chop later on.
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Also grill the meat after boiling. This will give it a good texture. There are no marinades or rubs needed here. Simply put the boiled pork belly and maskara on a hot grill, and then grill each side for 5 minutes or until is starts to darken.
It is chopping time at this point. Simply chop the belly and pig face into small pieces. Use a knife known as a cleaver to assist me in this step. It weighs heavy enough and has a sharp cutting edge that helps me chop easily. The size of the chopped pork will depend on your preference. You can go a bit bigger or chop it as fine as it can get depending on your preference. Set the meat aside after this step. It is time to cook it on the stovetop.
Started by sautéing the onions. Chicken livers were added afterwards. These steps can be interchanged just so you know. Let me explain. Chicken liver is an essential ingredient for my sisig recipes. It provides a good amount of flavor to the dish. These can be chopped or sliced into smaller pieces before cooking. Just not used in doing that, but you can. Cook it thoroughly and mash it right on the pan while cooking. These livers are easier to mash when thoroughly cooked, unlike pork or beef liver, which tend to get tougher. You can fry the chicken liver first until cooked all throughout. This will usually take 5 minutes. The other option is to do it as this recipe suggest. An easier option for beginners would be to chop the livers into small pieces before cooking. This makes mashing it easier.
Add the chopped pork into the mix. These do not need to cook long. Give it a nice stir for around 3 minutes just to ensure that all ingredients in the pan are distributed evenly. Add seasonings and spices afterwards. You have the option to add chili flakes at this point. Put seasoning to provide additional flavor to the dish. It can provide a good amount of flavor compared to regular soy sauce.
The final texture of sisig is somewhat mushy. Pig brains are added into the mixture in traditional recipes to obtain this. Good news! There are alternative ingredients. Mayonnaise is one. A good way to present sisig is to put it on a metal plate and serve while sizzling. This makes the dish more appetizing to the eye.
The annual “Sisig Festival” (Sadsaran Qng Angeles) is held every year during December in Angeles City, Pampanga, celebrating the Kapampangan dish. It started in 2003 and was made an annual festival by Mayor Carmelo Lazatin on December 2004 to promote the city’s culinary prowess. The festival also features a contest where chefs compete in making dishes, primarily sisig. Congo Grille, a restaurant chain in the country, was a winner in 2006.
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In 2008, the festival was put on hiatus following Aling Lucing’s death. Marquee Mall then incorporated the festival in 2014 by including it within their annual Big Bite! Northern Food Festival held every October or November.
The Angeles City Tourism Office organized a festival on April 29, 2017. The revival of the festival was in line with the Philippine Department of Tourism’s Flavors of the Philippines campaign. Now called “Sisig Fiesta,” the festivities were held at Valdes Street, Angeles City (also known as “Crossing” since it was a former railroad track), where Aling Lucing reinvented the dish.
The newly-revived Sisig Fiesta was a one-day event that will line up a Sisig sampler banquet, Sisig, and BBQ stalls, cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, and showcase Angeleño culinary talent through competitions. The event will also include live bands, dancing, and a night market.
1 ½ lbs. Pork belly
3 tablespoons Knorr Liquid Seasoning
1 lb. pig face maskara
4 ounces chicken liver
2 pieces onion
½ cup chicharon crumbled
3 tablespoons Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons onion powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon chili flakes optional
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 quarts water
1.) Boil water in a pot. Add pork belly and pig face. Cover and continue to boil for 1 hour in medium heat. Drain water and let the meat cool down.
2.) Grill boiled meats for 5 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and chop into small pieces. Note: feel free to mince the meat if preferred.
3.) Heat oil on a pan. Saute onion for 1 minute.
4.) Add chicken liver. Continue to sauté until thoroughly cooked. Mash the liver while cooking until it breaks down into small pieces.
5.) Add minced meat and chicharon into the pan. Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
6.) Add chili flakes, onion powder, and ground black pepper.
7.) Pour Knorr Liquid Seasoning. Stir.
8.) Add Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside.
9.) Heat a metal plate. Add butter. Tranfer cooked sisig onto the metal plate. Continue to cook until it sizzles. 10.) Top with more chicharon.
11.) Serve with calamansi or lime. Serve. Share and enjoy with white rice.
Video by Panlasang Pinoy