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Chef-Approved Kinilaw Na Tanigue For The Love Of Linggo Ng Wika

Among local Filipino dishes here in the tropics, one of the crowd favorites by local shores teeming with fresh fish at even the smallest Philippine resorts is, Kinilaw na Tanigue. It's an alternative way of cooking fish without heat.  The acid in the vinegar (and calamansi juice—if you add it like we do) starts a chemical process that slightly cooks the fish. This particular recipe was given nods and praise in a home where it was served to some of the most revered chefs in Manila.



The key to the success of this is preparing it only in the minutes before your guests arrive just in time for appetizers.  Don't leave the fish swimming in vinegar too long before service.  After almost five minutes of acid cooking, the vinegar is strained and replaced with a wash of calamansi juice. Get the recipe below and step-by-step process as well.


KINILAW NA TANIGUE (Long Jaw Mackerel Fish Kinilaw)

Serves 3 or 4 as appetizer


  • 1 fresh tanigue slice, about 1/2 kilo, cut into 3/4-inch cubes or diced slightly smaller
  • 8 shallots or small onions, sliced
  • 4 green finger chilies (sinigang chilies), sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sliced ginger 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped spring onions or scallions
  • 1 tablespoon sliced fresh kaffir lime leaves
  • 8 calamansi for juice  
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup white vinegar, or enough to submerge the fish (preferably Silver Swan brand)
  • 1 to 2 small labuyo chilies, cut open, optional
  • sea salt or rock salt 


1. Cut fish into four sections before dicing into 3/4-inch cubes, removing the skin and bones.



2. Slice the onions, finger chilies, ginger, and kaffir lime leaves. Chop the spring onions. 


3. Squeeze the juice from the calamansi


4. Prepare enough white vinegar to submerge the chopped fish. 


5. Leave the fish in the vinegar for about 5 to 6 minutes.


6. Strain the vinegar (don't try to taste the leftover vinegar, throw it out). 


7. Combine the vinegared fish with the onions, chilies, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, and spring onions. 


8. Add salt as needed, a strong dash should be enough.


9. Add the calamansi juice. The citrus flavor will brighten the dish.


10. Mix in about a tablespoon of new vinegar.


11. Garnish with a couple of whole small chilies to make it look pretty and serve!


Photography by author, prepared by author assisted by Ninfa Nochete