This Inun-unan Recipe is a version of Paksiw in the Visayas region. A very simple dish made of vinegar, ginger, peppercorns and fish, this could be easily done by anyone who is just craving for something pungent and sour at the same time.
There are a lot of variations to this recipe, some would say that you should add water, some would say that there shouldn’t be water. Other sources would say that there shouldn’t be any vegetables like eggplants or bitter gourd into the dish, but some would still say that it is included. For this Inun-unan recipe, we will be using the bare and bones combination of vinegar, ginger and fish.
Inun-Unan Recipe, History, Tips and Preparation
Traditionally, Inun-unan is cooked in a clay pot (Palayok) as there is something with this earthenware that lends its earthiness to whatever dish that is put in there to cook. People would say as well that having earthenwares like Palayok would be a great investment, as it could be used in different dishes. However, since not everyone has access to this pot, your good old’ casserole is more than enough.
For the sole sahog of the Inun-unan, you need to have fish of any variety. Bangus and Tilapia are the first to come to mind. However, any fresh fish would fit this Inun-unan recipe. Also, this Inun-unan recipe does not include water, since, in the absence of water, the fish would be able to absorb and maximize the taste coming from the vinegar. If you really cannot help it, though, and would want some broth, go ahead and add some. Add ginger to eliminate the odor of the fish and long green chillies for the perfect spice to mix with the vinegar.
- any local fish (scaled, gutted, sliced into halves, and seasoned with salt and pepper)
- any local vinegar (store-bought ones are okay, too, but won't smell as good)
- crushed garlic (lots and lots of it. i.e. for a dozen medium sized fish, use 1 big head of garlic)
- sliced onions (lots and lots of it, maybe 2-3 bulbs)
- crushed ginger (lots and lots, like maybe a third of your palm)
- black pepper (crushed and corns)
- 1 tbsp of ginamos (fermented fish IF AVAILABLE)
- cayenne peppers (siling Espada, optional, or bird's eye chillies if you want to spike it up spicy)
- young mango leaves (1 per piece)
- used cooking oil (oil used to fry pork is preferred)
- Mix everything in a bowl, except for the fish, mango leaves, cayenne peppers, and used cooking oil.
- Adjust the taste to your liking.
- Add the fish and gently mix with your hand for 3 minutes or so.
- Wrap each fish with mango leaves and place in a thick pan or clay pot (include some of the spices if you like).
- Pour all the marinade on top including the cayenne peppers.
- Turn heat on medium and wait for it to boil uncovered.
- When it starts to boil, lower the heat to its lowest and simmer away covered for at least 1 hour or until the marinade is almost gone.
- Pour the used cooking oil before transferring the dish to a plate. Add some of the concentrated oily broth.
- Drizzle more used cooking oil upon serving.
- Enjoy with rice with the broth drizzled on it.
Partnered with Bagoong Isda or Patis, this Inun-unan recipe is perfect during the summer season as sour dishes can cool down the temperature of anyone who eats it (Sinigang comes to mind).
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