My friend Mike just got back from the Philippines. He had some terrific food and met some amazing people. This is his favorite dish. He made it for me and it was awesome. So fresh and light, it was very satisfying but did not leave me feeling too full. It was a great example of how this and many Asian cultures, eat healthily, respect their bodies and take advantage of all the great local flavors. The profile in this dish is amazing. We in the southwest will recognize it’s cousin, Ceviche, but it has distinct Asian flavors and, served over rice (and with the alternative coconut milk), can have a very Asian presentation.
I was tasting this (mentally) for days afterwards. Thanks, Mike.
KINILAW (Raw Tuna Salad)
2.2 lbs. Fresh Sushi-grade Tuna, cut into about 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped ginger
1/2 cup finely chopped red or white onions
3 Lemons (use the sour ones)
1 cup Rice vinegar
Cayenne pepper and salt to taste
Cucumber (seeded and sliced thin)
Alt: coconut milk and or coconut wine
Rinse the fish with water once and with vinegar once but swiftly. Put in a bowl. Sprinkle on top the ginger and the onions. Squeeze out the juice the lemons on the mixture. Add the Vinegar, the cayenne pepper (crushed) and salt to taste.
Mix everything slowly so you don’t crush the fish. Refrigerate and let marinate for about 30 minutes. Serve next to or on top of rice.
Garnish with thin sliced cucumber and lemon.
NOTES: Make sure you use a sushi-grade tuna. One you can essentially eat raw. This marinade will “cook” the fish with the acid in the lemon and vinegar, but with no heat, it is important to use a sushi-grade. When done, the inside of the tune will be raw-looking nd outside will be a light pink, similar to seared tuna.
In some parts of the country, they use the local coconut wine (tuba) instead of vinegar. If you use a strong vinigar it will cook the fish almost right away as soon as you pour it over the dish. The idea is not to cook the fish entirely. It should still be pinkish inside so as to keep it soft and tasty. In some parts of the country they add about 1/2 cup of coconut milk to remove the fishy taste of the fish. In other parts they add slices of cucumber to the dish. Some add slices of fresh tomatoes too. This dish goes perfectly well with Tuna, Mackerel, Cod or any meaty fish. Some even use the small fishes like sardines without the head and tail and sliced lengthwise. This can however be very inconvenient because of the bones. Any kind of fish can be used and the fresher the fish the better.
You can add shrimp or crab (both cooked before marinating) to this. Also I think squid (precooked) would be great if you wanted to stretch the dish and not use so much tuna as the tuna (the right tuna) can be expensive. In addition to the onions and ginger, green onions chopped smll would be good or maybe even radish (Mike used some radish and it was great!)
This dish is used as an appetizer. It goes perfectly with Mango smoothie or any drink of your choice. Some take it though as a main dish with rice.
I might try some chopped cilantro or chopped jalapeno. Also, I think you could drain this some and put it on small won ton crackers as an appetizer. I used about a tablespoon of chopped fresh mint and it went well with the lemon.