Among Cebuanos, tuna is referred to as bariles, the vernacular for water drum. Bariles because the body of one adult tuna is so huge, the diameter could be as round and large as a water drum. Could be as heavy, too. The average bariles weighs about 50 kilos!
And now, a short narration from my husband, who was born and bred in North Cotabato:
"Ang GenSan (Gen. Santos City, South Cotabato), highway ng tuna. Doon dumadaan ang tuna papuntang Pacific Ocean. Sa dami ng tuna na dumadaan, puedeng magtago ka na lang sa bato, pagdaan ng tuna, sapakin mo sa panga!"
Hahahahaha! Maybe that's where Manny Pacquiao trained early on. :)
Anyway, the tuna used in this recipe is from GenSan, one of his pasalubongs from his latest homecoming. Usually sinuglaw uses tilapia, but since we had frozen tuna belly we used that instead.
SINUGLAW NA BARILES
What's In It?
- 500g tuna belly, sliced diagonally into 4-5 large chunks
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 knob ginger, peeled and sliced
- 3 to 5 pieces siling labuyo
- 2 bunches pechay, washed and bottoms removed
- 1 cup tap water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper corns, ground coarsely
- 1 cup coconut cream (kakang-gata)
Line a deep pan or sauce pot with the onions, garlic, ginger slices and sili. Top with the tuna belly chunks. Pour in water, fish sauce and vinegar. Sprinkle with black pepper corns. Cook over moderate heat. DO NOT STIR until the mixture boils.
Add in coconut cream and stir a little to allow the ingredients to meld. Turn down heat and let the mixture simmer for 3 minutes or until the sauce gets reduced a little. Top the mixture with the pechay leaves, cover and let simmer for one minute, or until the leaves sweat. Remember to keep the leaves crisp and green.
Serve hot with steamed rice, and some fried tuna belly if desired: