Patricio’s Cevicheria Gives Us a Step-by-Step Guide on How to Prepare KilawinNovember 30, 2014
Cooking is both a culture and a science; for example, ingredients used in a dish are native to a place, and the process itself determines how the food will be transformed. Kinilaw or kilawin is the perfect display of this. This seafood-in-palm-vinegar dish is almost as old as our country’s complex history. The vinegar itself is what breaks down the seafood’s protein, and thus cooks the meat or as Filipinos would put it, “niluto sa asim.”
Kinilaw dates back as far as the 10th to 13th centuries AD: a 1987 Balangay excavation in Butuan city found tabon-tabon halves used to cut fish bones in the same way we now prepare kinilaw. Any kind of seafood can be cooked in kinilaw—any uncooked fish, shrimp, or other kinds of edible sea creatures. Pia Roa of Patricio’s Cevicheria stresses that the fish needs to be very, very fresh. She also advises never to use industrial scale vinegar.
Particular steps of preparing kinilaw vary in different parts of the Philippines. In Bohol, fishermen prefer to wash the fish in tuba. The wild onion seyboring is found in the kilawin of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. Pia also shares that gata is usually mixed into the kinilaw of Southern Visayas provinces, while the ones in Mindanao only use suka. Whatever your preference, the folks at Patricio’s Cevicheria showed us that it’s not that tricky and it only requires the freshest of a few ingredients. Read on to see the steps required in preparing kinilaw.
Step 1: Prepare your ingredients.
For this kinilaw, we used sukang tuba, gata, and fresh calamansi juice. Chop one whole tomato, ginger, red and green pepper, green onions, and red and white onions for your vegetables. Tuna should be cut into bite-sized pieces.
Step 2: Place the tuna pieces into the bowl.
Add the sukang tuba to the fish. Then add ½ cup of the gata. Mix the suka and gata with the tuna.
Step 3: Add the onions, ginger, and the red and green peppers.
Step 4: Toss all of the added ingredients together.
Step 5: Add two tablespoons of calamansi juice or squeeze two slices of calamansi.
Step 6: Toss all of the added ingredients together.
Step 7: Transfer the tossed ingredients to a plate for serving.
Step 8: Add the sliced tomatoes on top of the dish and serve.
Feel free to add the sliced labuyo according to your preferred spice level! Can you guess how hot we like ours?