Di Masarap Maanghang Wednesday: Kinilaw na Tilapia

Kilawin or kinilaw is a dish that I have been craving for yesterday as I searched for restaurants in Eastwood that can possibly serve it. But with the help of a friend, what seemed to be something I cannot accomplish because I'm still stuck at work, he supported me instead; and along his way to Eastwood to fetch me after my shift, he volunteered to do my role of buying ingredients for Di Masarap Maanghang: Wednesday.

At home, Kinilaw was often made with small dilis, tanigue but for last night I don't think I can settle for those kinds of varieties considering the limited resources in the supermarket where bf headed to.
For those who might ask: "Why do you like buying ingredients at the supermarket?" My answer is that we always opt to go to late night supermarkets for ingredients because we are not sure if we can find any fresher ingredients in wet markets after 10:00PM.

We both decided to buy tilapia instead, one that I never thought can be used for kinilaw. But we were always into making something out-of-the-box plus it's cheap at P99.00 a kilo so our final decision was made.

Just a tip: when buying other, more unusual types of fish for kinilaw, it's best to have it cleaned, and prepared into fresh fillets from the fish monger instead, most especially if to fillet a fish is something that you might have difficulty doing. To make it even better, request to have it packed with ice when buying the fish to retain its freshness as soon as you get home from the supermarket.

Here are the ingredients for my simple version of Kinilaw na Tilapia:

1 kl. tilapia, cut into fillets
3 tbsps. ginger, minced
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
5 red finger chillies, minced
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tbsps. sugar
juice of 2 pcs. calamansi

Cut fish into bite size pieces and mix everything together. Cover and chill it for at least 5 to 10 minutes for up to an hour to marinate everything before serving. Remember, kinilaw is fairly flexible when it comes to ingredients so what I shared is just my basic version. I added ginger to stabilize the flavor of the fish, garlic to bring out its flavors and onions to give that thin crunch. Calamansi is an important ingredient as well, but vinegar is actually good also by itself. And I used sugar to balance out the strong flavor of the vinegar and marries all the flavors together.

Adjust the amount of chillies according to your preference as well. In our case, we don't mind the heat so we always max out on chillies :)

You can also do away with other combinations like adding sweet red pepper, crispy pork rind or bite size pieces of inihaw na baboy for added crunch/texture and complexity.

Last night's menu: Kinilaw na Tilapia
Maybe adding vodka or other type of hard alcohol would also add some depth.
Hmm, that gives me an idea :)

Have a great kinilaw experience!

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