Saturday, March 19, 2016

Pork Sisig (Sour and Spicy Chopped Pork Belly, Ears and Liver)

This week's regional specialty is from Pampanga, a province in Central Luzon (Region 3) in the Philippines. Central Luzon is considered as the "Rice Granary of the Philippines.   The region contains the largest plain in the country and produces most of the country's rice supply.  It is consisted of Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.

Sisig is a Kapampangan (a dialect in Pampanga, Philippines) term which means "to snack on something sour."  It usually refers to unripe fruits like mango, papaya and others that are served as snacks or appetizers.  The fruits are commonly dipped in salt and vinegar.  Sisig is also a preparation method for fish and meat in which it is marinated in vinegar or lemon juice with salt, pepper and other spices.  Sisig also refers to a dish made from parts of pig’s head and liver that is seasoned with calamansi (native lime), onion and chili peppers.  It is a popular appetizer and main entree or viand (an entree that goes with rice) in the Philippines. It also pairs well with beer and is considered to be the most popular appetizer in the country. 

Today different versions of sisig includes sisig ala pizzailo, tuna, milkfish,  green mussels or tahong, mixed seafood, ostrich sisig, crocodile sisig, spicy python, frog sisig and tokwa't baboy, among others. 

Here's my sisig recipe that is very close to Aling Lucing's.  Raw egg is a very good substitute to ox brains.

The dish, sisig  was first concocted in 1974 in Angeles City Pampanga by a restaurant owner named Lucia Cunanan. The original recipe was consisted of boiled and chopped pig ears and cheeks seasoned with vinegar, calamansi juice, chopped onions and chicken liver and served in hot plates (sizzling plates.)

Preparing sisig comes in three phases: boiling, broiling/grilling and frying.  A pig's head is first boiled to tenderize it then broiled or grilled to remove hair.  It is fried to give it a crusty or crunchy texture.  When hot plates are not available, all the chopped meat are quickly fried on the pan to warm it then coarsely chopped onions are added right before serving.  Traditionally ox brains are added to the mix in the third phase of cooking it as a binding agent.  Alternative ingredients such as raw egg, chopped grilled liver, chopped pork cracklings, and/or mayonnaise are added to it to add more moisture and thick consistency to the otherwise dry dish.  

Pork Sisig

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Yield:  8 servings


  • 8 cups of water
  • 8 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 knob of ginger, crushed
  • 4 pieces of bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoonn whole peppercorns
  • 1 pound pig ears
  • 1½  pounds pork belly
  • 1/2 pound chicken liver
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  •  2 tablespoons green onions, chopped (optional)
  • 1 whole egg per serving, raw
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise per serving (if using)

  • 1 piece lime or lemon (or 3 to 5 pieces calamansi)
  • 1 whole chilli pepper


  1. Bring water to a boil in a stockpot over high heat. Add garlic, ginger, bay leaves, vinegar, salt and pepper.  
  2. Put the pig’s ears and pork belly in the boiling water and simmer for 1 hour or until tender.
  3. Remove the boiled ingredients from the pot and drain the excess water.
  4. Pan fry the boiled pork belly for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crunchy.  
  5. Broil or grill the boiled pig ears for 10 minutes or until grill or broil marks are present.
  6. Broil or grill the chicken liver for 10 minutes or until well-done.
  7. Chop the pig ears, pork belly and liver into fine pieces.
  8. Combine all the chopped meat and liver. Mix in soy sauce and pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Stir fry the chopped meat and liver for 5 minutes.  (Skip this step if using a hot sizzling plate.)
  10. Put the mix in a hot (sizzling) plate or a serving platter.
  11. Top with onions, green onions and raw egg or mayonnaise.
    Toppings and farnishings for the sisis
  12. Garnish with, chilli pepper and a slice of lemon or lime.
  13. Serve hot.


* Liver is a critical ingredient in sisig.  You can omit the pig's ears but not the liver because it adds a different flavor to the dish.

*  If you are uncomfortable consuming raw egg, substitute it with mayonnaise.  Ox brains and raw eggs are used in the dish to add moisture to it.
*  Do not chop the chilli peppers for garnishing as the seeds will make the dish extremely spicy.  You can deseed it and then chop it instead.


  1. Well detailed mam dhang...since pork is not allowed here..i will make the tuna sisig.

  2. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I love sisig so much! my all-time favorite pork dish :)