Fish Kinilaw

1 kilo  white meat fish (tuna, labahita or bangus), skinned and deboned
½ cup  vinegar
1 thumb-sized  ginger root, cut into fine strips
1 cup  onions, chopped
½ cup  tomatoes, seeded and chopped
¼ cup  green onions, chopped
½ cup  vinegar
1- 2 tsp.  salt
2- 4 small hot chilis, pounded
½ cup  dayap juice or calamansi juice
½- ¾  cup  coconut cream

Wash the skinned fish and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Add ½ cup vinegar to rinse and gently wash the fish pieces in vinegar.  Squeeze vinegar out.

Add ginger, onions, tomatoes, green onions, ½ cup vinegar, salt and chilis.  The amount of chilis will determine how "hot" your kinilaw will be.  And the ½ cup dayap juice or calamansi.  The dayap gives a better flavor than calamansi.

 Add salt and allow the marinated fish to "cook" in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.  Correct seasoning.  The fish flesh will turn white.  Just before serving add the coconut cream, and serve at once.

Kinilaw na isda is basically raw fish salad.  What makes the standard kinilaw different from the Japanese sashimi is that the raw fish is almost "cooked" by the vinegar that is used to soak the fish for a while before being squeezed out.  Finely chopped ginger and onions are usually added, spiked with hot chili and flavored with calamansi and salt.
Variations, however, are many.  Coconut milk is sometimes added for some fish like the tanguigue not only for a richer quality but also to take out the fishy taste.  Some people prefer toasted shredded coconut meat with their kinilaw.  A Davao version is very plain bariles (large tuna) fillet that uses a minimum of vinegar and so maintains its raw red color.
And then there are those who like their kinilaw with mayonnaise.  This variation seems to take rather seriously the American definiion of raw fish salad.  But done by an expert, the result is one that blends well the sour taste from the vinegar and the sweet taste of the mayonnaise.


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