Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kinilaw na Tanigue A La Rene (Seer Fish or Wahoo Ceviche)

Seer fish as commonly called in India and Sri Lanka region and popularly known in Hawaii and other parts of the South Pacific including the Philippines as Wahoo, refers to fish that belongs to sub-family of the “Scombridae” simply known as Mackerel family. Seer fishes include such species as Indo-pacific king mackerel, streaked Spanish mackerel, spotted Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and as mentioned above, wahoo. In the Philippines, it is called “tanigue”, “tangingue” or “tanguegue” and considered a priced catch by fishermen and anglers alike.

They are pelagic fishes, fast swimming, predatory in nature and fight vigorously when caught making them a top favorites among serious saltwater anglers. Seer fishes which are mainly caught using hooks and lines are a delicacy in many regions of South and Southeast Asia. They have very sharp teeth, pointed head and should be handled with care when alive or when landing them into the boat. Wahoo is one of the more popular species in this group considered good eating. It can be fried, grilled, cooked stew like “sinigang” (stewed with natural souring agent) and “paksiw” (stewed in vinegar), steamed and as usually prepared in the Philippines, “kinilaw” which is very similar to ceviche of Latin America.

“Kinilaw” is basically marinating the fish in the juice of citrus such as calamondin (“calamansi”), lemon and lime or just natural vinegar with chopped onions, chilies and ginger. Some other vegetables such as tomato, carrots and cucumber can be added. It is then seasoned with salt and ground pepper. It is technically eaten raw but can be considered as actually cooked due to the action of the souring agent (citrus or vinegar) making it safe to eat.

Upon the arrival of two new members to our group from the Southern Philippines provinces of Bohol and Samar, “kinilaw” has become a regular table fare to us. Particularly with Rene who does not only love the dish but knows how to prepare it by heart. He has prepared “kinilaw” from all sort of fish like shad, scad, blue runner, queenfish, trevally, mackerel, tuna, sardinella, anchovies, etc.

During the joint birthday celebration of two (2) of our members Pareng Jun and Dong last week, “kinilaw na tanigue” was one of the food we prepared. While I have posted my version of “kinilaw na dilis” before and have prepared “kinilaw na tanigue” several times but not yet able to post it, let me share with you the “kinilaw na tanigue” as wonderfully done by Rene.

For the dish, we purchased a very fresh seer fish (“tanigue”) from the seaside fish store. About 1 and half kilo should be enough for a group of 7 hungry, heavy and hard-working Engineers. :-)

The set of other ingredients are – 3 medium onions, 2 pcs ginger, a handful of chili peppers, 2 pcs carrots, a dozen limes or “dayap”, 4 pcs medium tomatoes and salt and ground pepper to taste. Rene also uses MSG but it is optional, only if you wish.

The fish was thoroughly gutted, cleaned and drained. The tricky part of preparing this dish is the careful filleting of the fish in order to not damage the whitey flesh and retain its firmness.

It is then sliced into bite sizes, washed several times and thoroughly drained.

To prepare the other ingredients is just a matter of peeling, cutting, slicing and finely chopping. Just before developing a sore hand chopping, you’ll have these colorful heaps of vegetables and spices.

The final step is quite easy. In a non-reacting deep bowl, non-metal if possible, place the thoroughly drained “tanigue” slices. Add in all the other ingredients except citrus juice and slightly stir to mix everything. Extract juice from the lime and add into the mixture, slightly stirring to blend the flavor evenly. Seasoned with salt and ground pepper. Add MSG if you prefer. Don’t worry if it seems a little dry at first. It will render juice later on. Place inside the fridge for several minutes for the taste to fully develop.

Before serving, take it out of the fridge, stir lightly, taste and make final adjustment to the salt or ground pepper. When you are happy with the taste, serve immediately in a shallow bowl.

The dish goes well as an appetizer to stir up the palate or as bites with some drinks and even as viand with steamed rice. Enjoy!

With such tasty “kinilaw na tanigue” on the table, Rene has all the reason to sing a happy tune. After all, the group is assured of a deliciously exciting fish dish to enliven the joint birthday celebration. c”,)

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