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[Recipe] Sinaing na Tulingan (slow cooked bullet tuna)

Whenever I am in Batangas province in the Philippines, I always look forward to eating certain dishes from the region. The top 3 in my list of must-try local dishes are: Lomi, Bulalo and Sinaing na Tulingan. Sinaing na tulingan is slow cooked bullet tuna using very simple ingredients resulting in a very flavorful dish (the main ingredient is just fish and brine all the other ingredients are optional).
Sinaing na Tulingan
The bullet tuna or tulingan is traditionally cooked for hours in a clay pot lined with a banana leaf at the bottom until even the bones in the center is so tender (the flesh remains firm). Some variations in cooking this dish includes lining the bottom of the pot with pork fat to prevent direct contact of the fish with the pot bottom, or placing sun-dried kamias or iba (scientific name Averrhoa bilimbi also commonly known simply as bilimbi, cucumber tree or tree sorrel) to provide that sour counterpoint to the dish. The braising liquid is usually reduced into a concentrated salty broth (also called patis but note that this is not the same as fish sauce also called patis which is from a fermentation process) that can be spooned over freshly cooked rice.

Leftovers can be fried until crispy or further cooked in coconut milk to add a further twist to an already flavorful dish.

In this version, I have used a pressure cooker to cut the cooking time from several hours (4 to 6 hours) to a little over 80 minutes.

1 and a half kilos tulingan (bullet tuna) cleaned cut in 2
10 pieces of sun-dried kamias or iba (scientific name averrhoa bilimbi
3/4 cup of sea salt
Banana leaf (sufficiently wide to cover the bottom of the pot) - optional
1/2 cup pork fat cut up in cubes - optional

Wash and soak the fish in water to remove the blood. Drain and soak in a brine solution for 30 minutes by completely dissolving the half a cup of sea salt to just enough water to cover the fish (it helps firm up the flesh of the fish), drain. 

While it is traditionally slow cooked in a clay pot over several hours, we can shorten the cooking time using a pressure cooker. In a small pressure cooker, place a low rack at the bottom of the pot to prevent the fish from burning and sticking. In the absence of a low rack, you can optionally use pieces of pork fat (it is traditionally used when using clay pots to cook this dish). Place a layer of banana leaves before arranging the fish pieces. Rinse the sun-dried kamias in running water to remove sand and other debris that may be present. Layer it on top of the fish. Sprinkle the 1/4 cups of sea-salt on top and add enough water to just cover all the ingredients. 

Fish and sun-dried kamias before adding the liquid and pressure cooking
Pressure cook for 70 to 80 minutes. Upon opening the pressure cooker, simmer further with the lid off to reduce the liquid to around half a cup. This results in a dark salty liquid that can be used to spoon over freshly cooked rice while eating this dish. 

This dish stores well in the refrigerator for reheating or fry the leftovers until crispy (or cook it in coconut milk) and enjoy it the following day. 


Unknown said...

Capitalize mo yung first letter ng genus. :-)

JEP said...

Oh thanks for the heads up. There fixed ;)