Chef Ed Grajo works as Hospitality Consultant servicing various hotels and restaurants. He is a Chef Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Kitchen Academy in Sacramento and Center of American Studies in Manila. He was also the Banquet Chef at Meritage Hotel and Resort for the last 5 years.
Chef Ed graduated with a B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA. He also completed the Arts in Garde Manager program in Contra Costa College, French Culinary School in Sausalito, CA and Post Graduate Studies in Culinary Arts at Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, CA.
WHEN it comes to innovative cuisines that are distinctively Filipino, Pampanga ranks first among the provinces in the Philippines that make great tasting delicacies especially when it comes to animal meat like pork and beef.
Among its most sought after dishes is the sisig, which is a Kapampangan term that means “to snack on something sour.” Sisig usually pertains to unripe fruits that are naturally sour like mangoes, guavas, tamarinds that are dipped in vinegar like unripe papaya.
Sisig rose to popularity when Lucia Cunanan of Angeles City, Pampanga, reinvented it in 1974. Lucia earned the moniker “Sisig Queen” because of her innovative technique of boiling the pork’s head parts together --- snout, brain, and ears as well as its liver--- first before chopping and seasoning it with vinegar, calamansi juice, chopped onions, and chicken liver. It is served on a sizzling plate seasoned with calamansi and chili peppers. Thus, coming up with the term “sizzling sisig.”
Lucia’s sisig became so much of a sensation that her open-air eatery paved way for people from all walks of life to walk in and eat regardless of its modest ambience. Aling Lucing’s eatery also paved the way for the Department of Tourism to endorse and promote Angeles City as the “Sisig Capital of the Philippines. This then drove natives to hold an annual “Sisig Festival” every December, since it started holding one in 2004. Chefs from all over the country compete in this festival with their own take of the popular foods, especially sisig.
Today, local chefs have come up with their own version of sisig by replacing the pork with chicken, tofu, tuna, and squid. Other variations of this famous dish also include adding supplemental ingredients like eggs, mayonnaise, ox brains, and chicharon or pork cracklings.
Sisig is usually served as an appetizer and paired with alcoholic beverages because of its sour taste and crunchy bits. It is also goes well with rice.
Enjoy your sisig!
2 lbs pork (face, ear, cheek, tongue)
2 lbs pork liempo
1/4 cup liver; broiled and cut in cubes
1 tablespoon garlic; minced
1 small onion; chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon red bell pepper; chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 kalamansi; sliced
3 siling labuyo; chopped
Salt or fish sauce to taste
Boil all pork meat with thyme, rosemarie, bay leaves, salt and pepper, until tender “al dente”, grill and then cut in small cubes. Set aside
Sauté garlic, onion, red bell pepper. Add liver and pork. Season with salt, vinegar, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer until little sauce is left. Adjust seasoning according to taste.
Garnish with kalamansi, and siling labuyo on a sizzling plate. Squeeze the kalamansi and stir the chopped siling labuyo over the plate if desired.
Catch us again next week for another recipe that you'll surely love. Don’t miss it!
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