The palates of a Brit John Smith and a Pinoy Juan dela Cruz are as different as the iconic national fictional characters of the two – the sophisticated, well-tailored suited James Bond and the flamboyant, bikini-clad, knee-high booted, Darna. Imagining John trying out the authentic Filipino Sisig without hesitation or a grimace, is like imagining the sleek 007 garbed in Darna’s attire without as much of a chuckle.
Pardon the daft simile and analogy, but the contrast is thus as stark.
Coming to the rescue to bridge the gap in taste preference is Filipino Londoner Chef Rex de Guzman a.k.a. Le Happy Chef. Rex weans the British palate to Filipino flavors with his contemporary Filipino style of cooking.
LeHappyChef shares his recipe below, which is one of the dishes served at LUZON, a modern Filipino restaurant in London. According to restaurant director, Nadine Barcelona, the dish was an absolute hit.
Anglicized Sisig Recipe by LeHappyChef
2 kg pig head
250 g pork liver
1 Bouquet garni with aromatics such as bay leaves, black peppercorns and herbs
150 g white onion diced
75 g ginger, minced
3 whole green chili, minced
1/2 bulb garlic, minced
2 Limes Juiced – (to taste)
Yield: 15 appetizer portions
1) Singe the excess hair off the pig head and wash in water briefly.
2) Boil in salted water with bouquet garni until tender. Approximately 4 hours.
3) Remove from liquid. Flake the meat while hot, separating the fat from the meat as much as possible.
4) Chop up the ears and half of the fat about 1/2 cm in size, almost minced. Fry in a little oil until crisp. Be careful as it may spit. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
5) Sear the liver until rare. Allow it to rest then dice into 1cm cubes and toss to the mixing bowl .
6)Sweat the vegetables until just soft, season and fry lightly with the flaked meat and transfer to the mixing bowl.
7) Check seasoning, add more salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.
8) The remaining fat should be minced and whipped into the mixture to emulsify it.
9) Line the terrine mould with clingfilm and carefully build the terrine, piling and packing the meat in neatly. Close the clingfilm over the terrine and place a heavy weight on top. Place the terrine in the fridge and leave to set over night.
10) Carefully turn the terrine out on a chopping board and slice portions around 1-cm thick for a starter size.
11.) Fry one minute on each side with a little oil in a hot pan. Make sure to turn it just once. Be careful as the fat in the terrine can quickly breakdown and cause it to fall apart.
10) Serve immediately. I serve mine with pickled ginger, quail egg, sriracha mayonnaise, radish slices and nasturtium. Alternatively, serve it simply with a fried egg and some garlic rice, also known as Sisigsilog.