Since I first sampled this salmon belly sinigang at Gerry’s Grill, I’ve been dreaming of cooking my own version at home. Gee, it was a very satisfying dinner we just had. Actually, I have a weakness for fish belly and it doesn’t matter what kind of fish–tuna, bangus (milkfish), blue marlin, tangigue, maya-maya and, of course, salmon. I especially love grilled tuna belly. :)
According to some friends, there are countries where the fish belly is thrown away. In some of my cookbooks, part of the tips in cleaning, cutting and preparing slices of fish is cutting off the belly, especially the section that contains the most amount of fat. In the Philippines, fish belly is a delicacy. In fact, when buying bangus in the supermarket, the belly fillets cost much much more than whole bangus. In wet markets, bangus belly is not sold separately. You have to buy the whole fish. But with bigger fish like tuna, blue marlin and tangigue, the belly is sold by the kilo.
The salmon belly I used for my sinigang were bought from the supermarket. Price Smart and Shopwise are the only local suparmarkets that sell them as far as I know. They are already pre-cut into 1 to 2-inch wide strips.
350 g. of salmon belly
1 onion, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
1/2 head of garlic, minced
2-3 pieces of gabi (taro), peeled and cut into 2×2-inch cubes
1 bunch of kangkong (leaves and upper stalks only)
1 bunch of talbos ng kamote (kamote tops)
1 eggplant, sliced
3 green chili peppers
1 pack of “sinigang” mix (I used tamarind-based) good for 1 liter of soup
1 tbsp. cooking oil
salt or patis (salted fish sauce)
Cooking procedure :
Wash the salmon belly and drain. Set aside.
Heat the cooking oil in a big saucepan or casserole. Saute the garlic. Add onions, chili pepper and tomatoes. Stir until onions are transparent and tomatoes start to crumble. Add 1 liter of water and salt or patis. Add the gabi. Bring to a boil. Simmer until the taro is almost tender. Add the eggplant slices and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour in the sinigang mix. Next, add the fish and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the kangkong and talbos ng kamote (leaves only). Simmer for another minute then remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.