Recipe: Sinaing n Tulingan (Sour Tuna)

Tulingan is a Filipino staple, a poor man’s meal actually, but almost everybody loves it.  Tuligan, I guess is from the family of tuna or mackerel, when not cooked properly can be deadly.

This dish is prepared with the following ingredients (the portions are what we prepared but you can certainly change according to volume):

Tulingan 2 kls (about 5)
pork belly sliced thinly
kamias (fresh) dried kamias can be used sliced horizontally 4-ways

After cleaning the fish, gut and gills removed and washed thoroughly so that no traces of blood can be seen. The innards, fat, intestines are cleaned separately and included on top. Pat dry with paper towel.

Once dry, slice horizontally in the middle, without going through the bones though. Put enough salt on the opening and press down gently (my brother was not allowed to do it, as my mom said, “he’s too strong, it’s going to break the fish).

We have a pot for this kind of fish preparation, just our idiosyncrasy, the pot is a coated pot, that way no fish smell gets stuck to it.  Your bottom pot should have the pork belly, hopefully will cover the whole bottom of the pot, the pork belly renders the fat that sort of protects it from burning. Then the kamias, which is the souring agent (some folks use vinegar or dried kamias.

Kamias, by the way is also called blimbi,  I think it is from the star fruit family. This fruit being a tropical fruit is widely grown in Asia, in fact we have a tree in our backyard.  Here’s a picture of the kamias fruit.


Once everything is potted, add enough water, maybe halfway to the pot,  no need to salt, as the fish has been salted quite generously.  Simmer for at least 3 hours. A word of caution though, the kitchen is going to smell,  only while cooking, even with the exhaust fan on. It is best to light  a candle to mask the smell if not totally eliminate. My mom doesn’t refrigerate and continues to simmer on the second day.  Because the cooking process is a bit uberly, she tends to freeze it in small packages  (heck we can’t have it everyday. no matter how good it is :)). The finished product.  Notice that the sauce has turned brown, that signals that it is cook. A prudent blogger will probably towel off the sides for a cleaner picture, but I am not the type, I wanted to show you how it really looks (translation, a little laziness).


Some folks add this to veggies cooked in coconut milk or fry it for breakfast. I enjoy it as is with grilled eggplant.

Care to try?



2 thoughts on “Recipe: Sinaing n Tulingan (Sour Tuna)

  1. Missed that one…grandma used to slice the fish in the middle and flatten it before piling them in a clay pot, slow cooked until the bones are soft enough like sardines. The sauce is best poured over steaming rice and…there you go, bon appetit!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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