After a hot, sticky day in Manila, nothing beats finding yourself in a bar with a cold bottle of San Miguel beer and hearty plate of sisig. Sisig dates back to the times of the Spanish occupation and is a much loved national dish. The classic version, in true Filipino nose-to-tail style, uses all parts of the pig’s head. Of course, this may not be for everyone, particularly if you’re a little more squirmish around offal and animal parts, but you can take inspiration from other versions which you can find across the Philippines, using chicken, seafood or also tofu for those after a meat-free alternative.
Time: 30 mins (prep), 1-2 hrs (cook)
Serves: 4 people
Equipment: 3x sizzling plates or frying pan, sauce pan, chef's knife, pestle & mortar, tongs, tablespoon
Simmer the pig's face and ears in a stock (recipe in my notes). Bring to the boil and leave to simmer until they become tender and pliable.
To a bbq/grill or griddle pan add the pork and liver. Begin to char your protein adding lots of flavour. Season with salt.
While the grilling is happening we are going to slice and chop the garlic, finely chop a red onion and crack your peppercorns, using a pestle and mortar if you need to. Chop the chilli.
Into a sauce pan add some oil and get it hot. Check the pork. Once the oil is hot add your onions and garlic. Add the cracked pepper and chilli.
Now add the vinegar along with soy sauce. Check your pork - if it's nicely coloured and crisp, remove it from the grill and start chopping it finely. Stir the vinegar so nothing burns.
Once the vinegar has reduced right down, remove it from the heat and if you have it, add your sizzle dish to your hob.
Add the chopped pork to a dish and add your soy and vinegar reduction giving it a good mix making sure its all incorporated. With this mix ready to go, add a knob of butter to your sizzle dish and then your pork on top. Add some more butter and then we are good to go!
Sisig has such a rich history in the Philippines and is a creative way of cooking sustainably and using everything from nose to tail.
- Soy sauce
- Sugar cane vinegar
We can use any type of pan here, I have a little bbq going with some charcoal but feel free to use what you have to hand.
Don’t be afraid to get some colour on your pork here.
I would think Sisig came about because of the reliance of sugar in people’s diets in the past. Filipino’s can have a sweet tooth and because of this people have often lost teeth! So my theory is they created sisig so people could eat pork and vegetables more easily due to the small dice!
Keep an eye on your pork while you chop your aromatics.
By now our pork should be blistering and colouring nicely.
Pepper is essential in this recipe and is a key flavour.
Sometimes you need to really force your way through the crispy parts of the pork.
I used a blow torch to remove any of the hairs on the pig.
If you don’t have a sizzle dish, use a frying pan.
Add the vinegar reduction gradually it can be over-powering and salty.
Make sure your sizzle dish is incredibly hot before serving.