Dear sweet moms and parents! April here helping you relax into motherhood from my tropical island home.
Today we’re cooking one of the Philippine’s most iconic and beloved dishes – sisig. This spicy minced pork concoction perfectly captures the spirit of Filipino street food: boldly flavored, affordable, and incredibly delicious. This is a great pork recipe that’s good for special occasions or as “pulutan” and appetizer.
According to recent history, sisig originated in Pampanga and consists of grilled or roasted chopped pork face meat (cheeks and jowls), and boiled or scrambled eggs, spiced with chili peppers and garlic. There’s a lot of argument about the “original” sisig and the Pampanga Pork Sisig by Aling Lucing being hailed as the said :original. But emerging research such as this (yes,from Tiktok, lol) brings to light another POV on the story of sisig. The name sisig is derived from the Pampanga verb “sisigan”, meaning “to sour”, referring to the act of adding a souring agent to the food.
So the original version of the pork sisig was essentially a salad-like dish, made by marinating the chopped pig’s head parts in vinegar, calamansi juice (Philippine lime), and various local spices. The vinegar was used not only as a flavor enhancer but also as a preservative to prolong the shelf life of the dish.
Over the years, sisig continued to evolve. In the 1970s, Lucia Cunanan, popularly known as Aling Lucing, a culinary genius and the “Sisig Queen of Pampanga,” played a significant role in transforming sisig into the sizzling and flavorful dish it is today. Aling Lucing’s version of sisig included grilling the pig’s head parts after marination, adding onions, and serving it on a sizzling hotplate. This innovative approach added smoky flavors and a more enjoyable texture to the dish.
As Aling Lucing’s sisig gained popularity, it spread beyond Pampanga, reaching other parts of the Philippines and eventually finding its way into restaurants and eateries across the country. Today, sisig is a staple in many Filipino households and is also a popular dish in Filipino restaurants worldwide.
On the streets here, sisig is typically sold by roaming vendors who grill the meats over open flames, chop it finely and serve it sizzling in steel pans. The aroma alone is enough to lure hungry locals and tourists alike!
How to Cook Sisig at Home
If you’re wondering how to cook sisig at home, it’s easy enough, (Well, it is labor intensive and has a lot of steps but easy enough for the average cook. You can also have the older kids help cut the sisig as this is our assignment when we were young, lol) You can start by buying pork face at the local market. They’re usually cheaper than regular meat and cleaned with the hair already removed by the butcher. For this homemade sisig recipe, you’ll need minced or chopped pork face meat (cheeks and jowls). If these cuts are unavailable, use pork shoulder instead. This is kasim andhas a bit of fat so that your sisig will not end up dry.
The procedure is to grill the boiled pork first before cutting it into pieces. The key is finely dicing the meat into very small pieces for maximum flavor.
For the marinade, combine chili garlic sauce, calamansi juice, soy sauce, and black pepper. Toss the minced pork in the marinade and let sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavor.
Next, pan fry it in oil until browned. Stir frequently so it cooks evenly.
Finish with minced onions and add chopped liver for extra richness. You may also crack an egg over it if you desire, either sunny side up or scramble and mix into the hot chopped pork meat. Serve sizzling on a platter with rice for a true taste of Filipino street food bliss!
Optional extras to sprinkle on top include toasted garlic, crispy chicharron and calamansi wedges for squeezing. Green Chili Sisig uses minced green chili peppers instead of chili garlic sauce for an even spicier version.
And depending on your preference, you can also add slivers of the controversial mayonnaise wildly vilified as being not “original” enough.
Here’s the step by step recipe on how to cook sisg at home!
I hope my take on this beloved sisig recipe brings moment of joy and unity around the table with your fam, mama. To get this cooking tutorial emailed to you along with toddler activities, simply sign up for my newsletter below!
Relax and enjoy,