Sisig QC ala-Erwin

LIGA

I was a ‘Makati’ boy. I grew up and studied in a private school where “Conyos” were almost always front and centre. It was probably with their ‘good’ looks or their Spanish style, ‘Rafael Nadal’ charm that made an ordinary Joe like me, and maybe most of my friends, rejects and reserves to deal with our own personal inhibitions. We were nobodies, and no matter how much we tried to please girls, who at that time were hitting puberty quick-time, the ‘chicks,’ as we now learned to say, just won’t buy our still boyish, naive approach. We thought we had needed some Spanish-Fly as a trap to lure these gorgeous, transforming human beings. It was such an unforgettable sight to behold!

We were, therefore, branded as outcasts at that time when the term ‘outcasts’ was not even popular yet; up until ‘Survivor’ came out in 2002, and the word had started spreading like wildfire. It was not until third year HS that I and my buddies found ourselves and each other, and by our senior year, the school which adopted us since kindergarten, was starting to become a part of everybody’s history. That was a major relief. A year later, my friends then became my friends forever, and life moved on in separate ways.

Looking back, the feeling of being watched by our guardian Saint over secluded gates, grills and fences felt like jail. Moreover, I personally felt that the environment I was in was not really the best for me, and if I had crossed the boundary to the pedestrian walk to reach the outside world, which was just a leap and a hop away from the walls coming from the fields, made me a total sinner. And upon capture by the Patron Saint’s angels, the school’s Patron Saint Himself was there waiting for my return to give me 199 lashes; if I weren’t successful crossing the border between heaven and hell.

The school didn’t exactly portray the reality of life outside as it shunned me and maybe many of its students from real facts as seen on the daily news. It was crazy out there, and I was ill-prepared when I stepped out of the cages. I also didn’t like the fear the priest had ingrained in my head growing-up, and today, whenever I see a Spanish priest, I see a friar cloaked in a 21st century inspired outfit smiling with a sparkle in his teeth.

What made me like the school was its close vicinity to Makati, and Makati at that era was the frontrunner in commercial development. Through the course of my banking career, and after landing my first ever job in the same area, I gained some real, simple, laid-back, down-to-earth good friends along the way. From these friendships, however short or lasting, made me realize the facts of life, and how life was meant to be lived-difficult. From there, Makati became my playground again as it was back in HS. It was time to enjoy the after 5PM love affair with beer and ‘pulutan.’ Of course, ‘chicks’ were never off my radar as I learned the proper way of approaching, charming and winning their much sought after affection. Most of all, I also enjoyed the thriving bar scenes, and the growing food choices the area had to offer, despite my meager pay.

In the advent of Gerry and Congo’s Grills in the 1990’s, and other watering holes before them the names I couldn’t recall anymore, there was only Jazz Rhythms in the early to late 1980’s. I took my first date to this place together with my new found buddies. It was the place to be in, and in this particular watering hole, it served the infamous ‘Sisig;’ fatty, oily, greasy and heavenly. Whether they were chicken, beef, fish or pork, they had them on their menu. From then on, ‘Sisig’ became the only Filipino dish I had long for (with exception to Crispy Pata, and other healthy deep-fried concoctions gutted from the pig). Whenever I had a chance to visit, I always made certain to at least eat this devilishly delicious dish before I leave.

Let’s fast forward time to about ten to fifteen years after. When I returned to the Philippines about three years ago just in time to be engaged to my now ex-wife, I re-visited ‘The Makati Business District’, as it was now called by many. To my surprise, the place had been turned upside down and turned over again like a well-done steak. Everything I knew was gone and new ‘more exciting’ watering holes I haven’t even heard of had begun popping out from every corner space available within and outside the district, and each one of them had ‘Sisig’ as part of their menu. Even Italian inspired restaurants, which regularly and commonly served pizzas, pastas, lasagnas and bruschettas caught the craze. I was stunned! For one, Italy did not have a ‘Sisig’ dish? They had what you called a Porchetta, but it was definitely not a ‘Sisig,’ and it was served as a sandwich alongside, what else, a Peroni Beer. I was definitely alienated, and I knew I didn’t belong here anymore. My love for ‘Sisig’, however, remained loyal. I visited some places and tried Krocodile’s version in the newly constructed Greenbelt Mall (of 6 now and counting) and was able to imitate the taste as it was served to me. Took me three trials, but found the right combination. That forbidden love for the dish was not the end of it all. The ‘Sisig’ I had prepared as tasted from Manila three years ago was ‘The Makati-Style Sisig;’ as I’ve branded it now; pan-fried and/or deep-fried, and sauted in a heavily greased pan, and served on a sizzling plate with more grease and aromatics, of course.

While chatting on-line, a former colleague of mine, who used to live in the QC area and now residing in the northern part of the US, introduced me to a new style. I called her version QC style. Why? Makati was my playground back in the day while QC was hers, and when she told me how she prepared her ‘Sisig,’ I instantly fell in love with it the second time around. I tested it once, and have been doing it over and over again since.

This is her ‘QC’ version; a much healthier version:

Ingredients:

1 lb Lean Pork (with a little connective tissue)
1 Spanish Onion
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
2-3 Birds’ Eye Chilis
Filipino Soy Sauce (or Toyomansi)
1-2 Pieces of Green and Red Bell Pepper (combination of both, depending on size)
A couple of Limes (Calamansi, kung swertihin)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
One Egg (or two)

Marinade: To Taste
1-2 Cups of Filipino Soy Sauce
2 Limes
3-4 Cloves of crushed Garlic
1-2 Birds’ Eye Chilis
Finely Chopped Onions
Salt & Pepper

Instructions:

  • Slice and score the meat to appropriate grill sizes before marinating.
  • Marinate the pork overnight in the fridge or longer, depending on the chosen meat cut.
  • Pull out the marinade from the fridge and leave the marinated meat at room temperature for faster cooking. Grill the pork cutlets until they caramelize (Quick Grill). Make sure the grill is extremely hot before starting.

  • While grilling, start dicing and mincing the bell peppers, Spanish onions (‘Sisig’ cut) and garlic.
  • When done, remove the pork from the grill pan, tent it with a tin foil, and set it aside to rest for at least five minutes. Pour the juices back to the grill pan as it rest.
  • Start chopping the meat into ‘Sisig’ size portions.

  • On the same grilling pan, sweat the onions and bell peppers on low to medium heat. Add a little water or stock to help them sweat. Add the Birds’ eye chilis and minced garlic, and return the finely diced pork back into the grill pan. Season with salt and crushed black pepper.

  • Dowse with Toyomansi or with a combination of Filipino Soy Sauce and freshly squeezed Limes
  • Season, season, season. Taste, taste, taste.
  • On separate pan, cook an egg as desired, and top it on the ‘Sisig’ before serving. The egg can also be cracked and topped on the grill itself together with the dish, and can be served as is (in the absence of a Sizzling Plate).
  • Stir or (make ‘halo-halo’) until the egg yolk oozes and mixes with the entire ‘Sisig.’

Optional Toppings: Liverwurst, about a tablespoon added before the egg, and a little mayo to make the entire dish creamy and decadent.
Table Sauces:
Knorr Toyomansi, Toyo, Worcestershire, Sriracha or Tabasco
Garnish: Lime wedge and chopped Cilantro

 

LIGA AT CERVEZA

An appreciation for food was introduced to me a bit late in life. For one, I was allergic to crustaceans and that reaction alone inhibited me from savouring and eating the most succulent dishes I know I will never taste in my lifetime. I can cook and smell them, but someone had had to taste them for me. From there, I resorted to simpler and more straightforward cooking of whatever I can find in the meat, fish and vegetable aisles of Canadian and Oriental groceries; mixing and matching sauces, spices and ingredients. I had really no choice but to learn other dishes totally foreign sounding to me just to satisfy these needs and cravings. It also introduced me to a new approach to living a ‘life’, eating properly and appropriately enough during the day, and appreciating newly discovered parts and parcels of the pig which were considered rubbish and most often discarded in many first world countries, but loved and praised by others.

MGA MUNTING PAHABOL

  • Make sure to season your grill pan ahead of time to achieve perfect caramelization of the meat. It is alright if the meat is only partially cooked since it will be diced and returned back to the grill pan. Resting and tenting the meat are very important steps. If it were diced and cut straight from the grill, all the juices will seep out.
  • Dice the bell peppers, onions, garlic and chilis for two batches: one for the sweating part of the cooking process, and the other as additional garnish when the meat is nearly cooked; to save time.
  • I had Cilantro in the fridge and thought that it would perfectly match Toyomansi, Sriracha, Worcestershire, and the Lime wedge.
  • I really hate Mayo. I use and see it everyday, and I feel like throwing up after tasting it. I don’t trust canned, processed meat much like the Liverwurst found in many Oriental Supermarkets. I would rather have a Pate from my butcher served with crackers and mustard or have the same served ‘on the side’ ‘to make halo-halo’ with the ‘Sisig’ later. ‘Gets?’


FTFBadge

4.0 from 2 reviews
Sisig QC ala-Erwin
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Lean Pork (with a little connective tissue)
  • 1 Spanish Onion
  • 2-3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2-3 Birds’ Eye Chilis
  • Filipino Soy Sauce (or Toyomansi)
  • 1-2 Pieces of Green and Red Bell Pepper (combination of both, depending on size)
  • A couple of Limes (Calamansi, kung swertihin)
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • One Egg (or two)
  • 1-2 Cups of Filipino Soy Sauce (for marinade)
  • 2 Limes (for marinade)
  • 3-4 Cloves of crushed Garlic (for marinade)
  • 1-2 Birds’ Eye Chilis (for marinade)
  • Finely Chopped Onions (for marinade)
  • Salt & Pepper (for marinade)
Instructions
  1. Slice and score the meat to appropriate grill sizes before marinating.
  2. Marinate the pork overnight in the fridge or longer, depending on the chosen meat cut.
  3. Pull out the marinade from the fridge and leave the marinated meat at room temperature for faster cooking. Grill the pork cutlets until they caramelize (Quick Grill). Make sure the grill is extremely hot before starting.
  4. While grilling, start dicing and mincing the bell peppers, Spanish onions (‘Sisig’ cut) and garlic.
  5. When done, remove the pork from the grill pan, tent it with a tin foil, and set it aside to rest for at least five minutes. Pour the juices back to the grill pan as it rest.
  6. Start chopping the meat into ‘Sisig’ size portions.
  7. On the same grilling pan, sweat the onions and bell peppers on low to medium heat. Add a little water or stock to help them sweat. Add the Birds’ eye chilis and minced garlic, and return the finely diced pork back into the grill pan. Season with salt and crushed black pepper.
  8. Dowse with Toyomansi or with a combination of Filipino Soy Sauce and freshly squeezed limes.
  9. Season, season, season. Taste, taste, taste.
  10. On separate pan, cook an egg as desired, and top it on the ‘Sisig’ before serving. The egg can also be cracked and topped on the grill itself together with the dish, and can be served as is (in the absence of a Sizzling Plate).
  11. Stir until the egg yolk oozes and mixes with the entire ‘Sisig.’
Notes
Optional Toppings: Liverwurst, about a tablespoon added before the egg, and a little mayo to make the entire dish creamy and decadent. Table Sauces: Knorr Toyomansi, Toyo, Worcestershire, Sriracha or Tabasco Garnish: Lime wedge and chopped Cilantro 1. Make sure to season your grill pan ahead of time to achieve perfect caramelization of the meat. It is alright if the meat is only partially cooked since it will be diced and returned back to the grill pan. Resting and tenting the meat are very important steps. If it were diced and cut straight from the grill, all the juices will seep out. 2. Dice the bell peppers, onions, garlic and chilis for two batches: one for the sweating part of the cooking process, and the other as additional garnish when the meat is nearly cooked; to save time. 3. I had Cilantro in the fridge and thought that it would perfectly match Toyomansi, Sriracha, Worcestershire, and the Lime wedge.

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About The Author: Erwin

When I was growing up, my parents and I used to eat out and try different restaurants after celebrating the Sunday Mass. Moreover, during the course of the summer break, I had the opportunity to see some places which, when looking back, I had never realized how lucky I was as a teen to be able to travel. My family and I went to Europe and some parts of the United States, and what I saw along that path of my life inspired me to become a 'Chef.' The 'whites' they wore for me, during those growing-up and finding 'myself' years, portrayed a sort of fascinating and powerful figure in an extremely sophisticated, higly inviting and invigorating work place; and still maintain an unblemished and clean uniform after a very busy service. That picture of a 'Chef' stuck to my head for so many years. True enough, with meager resources left to spend for the youngest, that dream never happened. Life went on. I went to university and studied an insignificant course, Business Management, and after graduating, I ended up working as a Credit and Financial Analyst in the banking industry in Manila; slugging it out in the corporate arena in Makati. It was the first taste of being called a 'yuppie' and was almost always looking forward to an after-office eating and drinking extravaganza in the expanding and growing Makati Business District; and, of course, the weekend. Anyway, forging ahead to my life today, that dream as 'Chef' stayed in the back of my mind all the time that when I left the Philippines for Toronto in 2003; and after finally settling down on my own in 2005, I had started studying Professional Culinary Arts Courses in the City College to get that almost long-forgotten 'dream' going again. It was a Continuing Education Course, and more or less, students who have also shifted careers or who were trying to find work (like myself) as a newly landed found ourselves working with pots, knives and fire which I believe and I felt, everyone in class have never, ever touched during their past, professional lives. Since then, I have been working in and out of different kitchens; flipping eggs and hamburgers, grilling steaks, shoving bread and chicken in a 500'C oven, and almost anything that can be either deep-fried or toasted just to serve hungry, sometimes pesky, customers. I became a 'grease' cook; a short-order cook with no definite place of employment, and definitely not a 'Chef.' My articles are based on the after-thoughts of my past and present day experiences in this fast-paced, starkling, and sometimes disheveling kitchen environment. I never imagined that a kitchen 'worklife' turned that way as against the 'Ideal' environment I had thought about for years. No regrets. During this journey, I've discovered food which I've never thought I'd be able to taste. I learned to appreciate wine and travel more; now that I have understood the culture of food to society. That was non-existent when I was growing up. This journey has not ended. I'm still discovering and still learning. It's a tough industry to be in and for what's next or for where I'll finally end up in remain a sordid mystery.

Discuss - 15 Comments

  1. Kim,USA says:

    Oh my I can do this the recipe is easy to find and easy to cook. Thanks for sharing!

    Kim,USA

  2. Tetcha says:

    I haven’t tried cooking pork sisig from scratch because I don’t know how. Now I will try to whip up this pork dish at home using your recipe. Thanks for sharing! Here’s my FTF entry: http://www.delightmyappetite.com/2012/02/eating-healthy-at-cafeteria-verde/
    Tetcha recently posted Eating Healthy at Cafeteria Verde!

  3. Luna Miranda says:

    lean pork for sisig sounds interesting. i couldn’t imagine sisig without pork fat.:p love it with mayo and lots of onions. sisig is still the best pulutan.:p
    Luna Miranda recently posted Sky-watching from Triboa Bay/SWF

  4. Thess says:

    I was never a fan of sisig because it’s greasy and well…not good for my bp…but your recipe, I’ll try anytime!
    Thess recently posted Corned-beef-rice wrapped in Omelette

  5. Dhemz says:

    ayay! magaya nga ito…ang galing! would love to try this one….:)

  6. wow I love the way how you prepared it, your pictures makes me go to mang inasal to order sisig. Visiting from FTF
    Sahm’s Dining Diary recently posted FTF # 8 : Varieties Of Chocolates

  7. Iska says:

    I tried Erwin’s recipe a couple of nights ago… awesome! Quite different from the classic sisig but if you are one who stays away from ulo or tenga ng baboy or pig’s brain (or even the slightest traces of pork fat like my stepson), then this is for you :-)

  8. wow! I never thought you could use something else for Sisig aside from pig ears.
    FoodTripFriday recently posted FoodTripFriday#151

  9. KM says:

    ang sarap nito! when i tried to cook sisig i couldn’t find pig mask or ears as well and so i used whatever pork meat available na lang. mas masarap pa din sana kung tenga or mukha, pero okei na din :D thanks for sharing this recipe, i’m going to give sisig another try and will follow your recipe this time ;) wish me luck!
    KM recently posted MINI CRESCENT DOGS AND SPAGHETTINI DINNER

  10. maiylah says:

    this is a healthier alternative! we normally don’t put mayo…instead we use lots of calamansi, toyo and tabasco before wolfing everything down. lol. yummy pulutan; but wouldn’t hesitate eating that with rice (or a yummy loaf), too! :)

    thanks much for sharing over at Food Friday, Iska and Erwin
    maiylah recently posted I agree…

  11. sisis looks very delish Bro :-) makes me drool too :-) Visiting late from Food Trip Friday, hope that you can return the visit too.
    Jessica Cassidy recently posted Colorful mix of peppers

  12. love the pork when it is on the grill :-) Visiting late from Food Friday, hope that you can return the visit too.
    Jessica Cassidy recently posted Colorful mix of peppers

  13. […] everybody else was happily hugging and holding each other’s hands on the corridors of my Conyo riddled high school, I was in one corner concentrating on finishing my Algebra and Geometry […]

  14. […] like a flu virus. My first ever attempt to make one was using marinated lean pork similar to most Pinoy BBQ dishes and grilling it thereafter. It was a healthy a sisig so to speak with less grease involved […]

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