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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kinilaw/Kilawin (Fish Ceviche)

On a rainy Sunday when all we wanted to do was go to the beach, the next best thing is to have the illusion of being there. And no we’re not talking about wearing swimming gear while lounging on our porch with the pouring rain as a backdrop. For us, nothing beats giving that “beach touch” than preparing and eating kinilaw, our version of the fish ceviche. I just bet that the mere thought of it is making you wish you’re at the beach right now. Well, we do too but it’s still raining like crazy outside so that’s still out of the question. Anyway, what we had for lunch certainly transformed a gloomy day!

The kinilaw or kilawin na isda here in the Philippines is like a blank canvas, where the only things that are mandatory are the fish and the vinegar. Having lived in several places across different regions in the country thanks to my Dad’s work perks, I have picked up and incorporated a variety of styles for my kinilaw. If I may say so myself, it’s the best one I’ve ever had. And Van agrees which, considering that she doesn’t like eating anything raw except for salad, says a lot! So, I’m not changing anything in this recipe anytime soon.This dish is not difficult to make since it only involves mixing all ingredients together. The tedious part is preparing the spices but the result is worth all the trouble — aesthetically and palatably. You can use any type of fish of your preference but the best ones in my experience are sea bass or tuna. Just make sure you get a fresh fish.

Kinilaw is a fantastic appetizer and a great drinking buddy. It goes well together with a main dish of grilled pork belly, as the picture above can attest. So, what to do on a rainy Sunday? Get inebriated, with some beach mate food for company! Happy Sunday everyone!


Kinilaw (Fish Ceviche)
  • 1 pound fish fillet, cubed
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 2 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and finely minced
  • 3 green tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup calamansi juice
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup coconut vinegar
  • ½ pound pork rind, crushed
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Bird’s eye chili, to taste

1. Wash the fish and remove any remaining bones and skin. Cut into bite-sized cubes. Place the cubed fillets in a medium bowl and pour in ¾ of the vinegar. Mix well and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Drain and squeeze the fish to remove any moisture. This procedure washes the sometimes overpowering “fishy taste” of the fillets.

2. In a large mixing bowl, place all ingredients except the pork rind and mix well. Season with salt, black pepper and bird’s eye chili according to your taste. Chill for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add in the crushed pork rind minutes before serving to avoid being overly soaked.
4. Grab a bottle of beer or your preferred drink of choice and chill out!





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