Traditionally made with grilled pork head, cooking sisig with crispy pork belly makes it easy and doable for home cooks.
What is sisig, exactly?
The word sisig predates the sizzling chopped pork dish that it has become associated with. In the province of Pampanga in Central Luzon, sisig originally meant to snack on something sour.
An Augustinian friar recorded that the word sisig has been in use prior to the 18th century.
Sisig is more of a cooking process rather than just the dish. Sisig can be anything, but the keywords are: sour and snack.Sinupan Singsing: Center for Kapampangan Cultural Heritage
Green mango, guava and tamarind, for instance, are popular snacks in the Philippines. As with most dishes in any cuisine, sisig later evolved to include meat which was still served sour and eaten as a snack. But the sizzling pork sisig that caught the attention Filipinos outside Pampanga did not materialize until the mid-1970s.
Aling Lucing’s pork sisig
Back in the days when Clark Air Base in Angeles City was a busy U. S. Air Force hive, huge supplies of food were delivered to feed the American troops and base personnel. Because Americans were not fond of offal, pig’s heads were given away by the commissary.
An enterprising cook, Lucia Cunanan, fondly called Aling Lucing, boiled and grilled the ears along with the cheeks, chopped them, tossed them with onion, and seasoned the mixture with calamansi juice and vinegar. She served her concoction in her carinderia as an accompaniment to beer. And sisig, as we non-Kapampangans know it today, was born.
Crispy Pork Belly Sisig
- cooking oil for deep frying
- 600 to 700 grams pork belly boiled in salted water until tender, drained cooled (see notes after the recipe)
- 6 finger chilies
- 4 shallots
- 1 small can liver spread
- 8 to 10 calamansi or four limes, squeezed to get the juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning or substitute one teaspoon salt and half a teaspoon of pepper
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot and deep fry the boiled pork belly until browned and the skins are puffed.
- Scoop out the crispy pork belly and chop.
- Roughly chop five of the finger chilies, and thinly slice the remaining.
- Peel and chop the shallots.
- Add the liver spread to the chopped crispy pork and toss to distribute evenly.
- Add the chopped chilies and shallots, and toss.
- Sprinkle in the lemon pepper seasoning (or salt and pepper) and toss again.
- Finally drizzle in calamansi or lime juice (start with three tablespoons) and toss well.
- Taste. Add more salt and pepper, if needed, and the rest of the calamansi or lime juice for a tart and boldly flavored crispy pork belly sisig.
- Garnish with the sliced finger chili and serve with calamansi halves of lime wedges on the side.