12 Aug2007


I grew up in a Visayan household and I think we must have had paksiw na isda twice a week. And I hated it. I am not sure why I had such a dislike for this dish, since I liked fish, and certainly vinegar, and LOVED but LOVED paksiw na lechon, but I am thinking now this was a psychological aversion. It stuck with me for many decades, and only in the past decade have I taken a liking to paksiw na sapsap or bilong-bilong (those flat silvery fish) with vinegar. Mrs. MM is more the paksiw na isda afficionada, and I picked it up from her. So while shopping at the markets yesterday and hoarding native dayap from my suki, I was intrigued when another shopper stated that dayap was brilliant in paksiw na isda. I asked the man for more details of how he cooked the fish and he obliged by saying I should use the juice (not the rind that can have a bitter taste) and just proceed as I would normally do for a fish paksiw, without any vinegar.

I bought some fresh looking bisugo (red mullet) and once cleaned, stuck that in a pot with about 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed dayap juice, some water, slices of ginger, a couple of bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, smashed garlic and let it simmer over medium heat until the fish was cooked. We added a couple of finger chillies or siling mahaba a little late in the process but you could do that right at the start. We also threw in a few slices of dayap for visual appeal, but I wouldn’t do that again as it was slightly bitter. The result? Delicious. Different from a vinegar based paksiw but paksiw nonetheless. Great with a heaping mountain of white rice. And yes, best for breakfast for some reason… I am sure The Kid is thinking exactly the same thing I was thinking at age 11 when faced with a pungent dish of paksiw for breakfast… :) You gotta love it or hate it.



  1. lojet says:

    My favorite for paksiw/ inon-unan isda is mackerel and bangus but the oily fish is better. I use vinegar, garlic, slices of talong and ampalaya. It is superb paired with chicharon or lechon kawali and I imagine, with bagnet also.

    Aug 12, 2007 | 11:08 am


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  3. joy says:

    Like you, I hated paksiw and only lately that I started to enjoy paksiw. I wrap tilapia with mustaza leaves(for a bitter taste) put some vinegar, sili, ginger, garlic and slices of kamias. Superb

    Aug 12, 2007 | 12:28 pm

  4. kaye says:

    i also love fished cooked in vinegar but i would usually put a small amount of soy sauce, my hubby would tell me that it isn’t really paksiw but adobo.. as long as it’s paksiw for me and am the only one who eats it then there’s no problem.. hehehe! i also love the sapsap/bilog na isda you mentioned cooked pinangat with calamansi, onions and tomatoes with some water, salt and pepper and just let it cook then paired with lots of rice and a tall glass of coke.. yum!

    Aug 12, 2007 | 12:33 pm

  5. connie says:

    That is a really interesting use of dayap, but is does sound yummy.
    I think I’m one of those that love paksiw the isda, any kind at that, from the get-go.
    I especially love paksiw na bangus with ampalaya and loads of siling mahaba. Love it for breakfast with garlic fried rice, my favorite part is the belly or the head. Also love pinangat na galunnggong usually using kamias. If you added onions, tomatoes and fish sauce instead, it’ll be pinangat sa dayap. LOL.

    Aug 12, 2007 | 12:52 pm

  6. tulip says:

    I also hated paksiw na isda that uses vinegar as paasim. I rather have kilawin than that.I dont know why. But if it is with kamias or kalamansi, I like it. If its paksiw na pata or lechon I’ll love it.

    Aug 12, 2007 | 1:09 pm

  7. ntgerald says:

    My power breakfast is two fried eggs sunny side up, paksiw na tawilis or sapsap, and loads of rice.

    Bisugo I prefer freshly fried or sinabawan with tomatoes/calamansi plus sili, talbos malunggay and/or pechay.

    Aug 12, 2007 | 1:10 pm

  8. noemi says:

    all this comment, makes me drool.

    Aug 12, 2007 | 1:25 pm

  9. aro abe says:

    it goes well with garlic fried rice too…and your usual sili and patis tiltilan(sawsawan)

    Aug 12, 2007 | 5:30 pm

  10. Mangaranon says:

    I usually add eggplant and amargoso in my paksiw na isda and it is delicious because it gets steamed with it. Also, try to add batwan.

    Aug 12, 2007 | 8:03 pm

  11. edel says:

    i’m not fond of paksiw also but my hubby does.. so once in a while paksiw finds its way on our table.. tweaked my recipe a bit and added sesame oil and instead of bay leaf, i use basil and sukang paombong or sukang iloko, and patis instead of salt =)

    Aug 12, 2007 | 8:29 pm

  12. honey says:

    MM, try it without water, just dayap juice. cook at low fire and at the end, add some sliced onions. delicious!

    Aug 12, 2007 | 10:36 pm

  13. mrs m says:

    i love to do this with lots kalamansi juice and add a litle veggie oil and some spring onions. i call it pinangat sa kalamansi but hubby says it is called paksiw. whatever name it is, it’s always yummy with patis.

    Aug 13, 2007 | 12:02 am

  14. belle says:

    Paksiw tastes bad when done wrongly… Too much vinegar… Too little salt or patis… When the fish is squashed… I just hate it when it’s not done right… There’s more to paksiw than meets the eye. Like you I grew up in a Visayan household, where we used to make paksiw like 5 times a week, eww. Plus my dad has high blood pressure which drove all of us in fish hell. Not that I hate fish, I just still can’t figure out what on earth is wrong with them. Well, fish is cheap and what most Filipinos can afford. The paksiw I hated the most is galunggong. Strangely, sometimes I crave it. Is there something you call that, hating something but craving it sometimes? :D

    Aug 13, 2007 | 3:37 am

  15. Apicio says:

    I suspect that what turns off people most about paksew na isda as Belle’s preceeding commen touched on is when it’s done really wrong, ie cooked directly on a metal pot. Little can go wrong if cooked in an earthenware pot, enamel ware or even Corningware (MM’s stylish Le Creuset mini cocotte would be ideal here) as long as your are light-handed with the vinegar and the fire but please do not even bother with an aluminum pot because it makes paksew totally revolting and toxic. Using non-metal pot would even allow you to hold the paksew over for the next day when they taste the greatest.

    Aug 13, 2007 | 6:18 am

  16. chinkee says:

    Hi MM, if you have any leftovers the following day, try frying the fish to a crisp. There will be a lot of oil splatters everywhere but it will be so worth it to crunch into the flavorful fish bones and all :)

    Aug 13, 2007 | 11:03 am

  17. Cumin says:

    When I was small, my mother used to call me Miss Inon-unan. Obviously, I was a big fan! Some of the variations suggested here sound fascinating so I will be trying them out. Thanks, guys.

    Aug 13, 2007 | 2:02 pm

  18. lee says:

    In Bacolod it is pronounced with a shoo and not with a siw. Pakshoo… Like a good sneeze. Fish sneeze.

    Aug 13, 2007 | 6:54 pm

  19. connie says:

    I agree Apicio, that’s why paksiw and pinangat is traditionally cooked in a palayok back home, never in a aluminum or whatever regular casserole you have. It would just not taste right.
    A clay pot or a modern day dutch oven is the best pot to cook paksiw. With pinangat, I remember my mom even layering the bottom of the palayok with banana leaves so as not to burn the fish or make it stick to the bottom. Then she adds a bit of oil at the final phase of cooking, same with paksiw. I always love this with soy sauce for sawsawan.
    As for the vinegar, it’s always added in moderation, you can always add vinegar, but once you’ve over done it, you’ve basically messed it up.

    Aug 13, 2007 | 11:11 pm

  20. Maria Clara says:

    Sea bass is a good fish to paksiw. I will denitely try dayap juice for my next paksiw cook out. A day old paksiw na isda, binangonang baboy and garlic fried rice is fabulous breakfast fare.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 3:02 am

  21. erleen says:

    my mom usually uses calamansi for pinangat. fish, lots of calamansi juice, patis, onions, tomatoes.

    I always tell her that it is basically sinignag na isda sa calamansi na walang gulay.

    But I think I feel the reverse of what belle feels. I love paksiw na bangus. but usually after a typhoon and our area is awash with newly harvested bangus that is around P5/kilo, my dad buys so much bangus that we can no longer think of ways to cook it. One can only endure so much inihaw, paksiw, sinigang, prito, daing, tinoyoan….then repeat.

    Aug 15, 2007 | 7:22 am

  22. brenda says:

    My fave paksiw na isda is bisugo, galunggong and bangus–in that order. I also add slices of eggplant and ampalaya but only for paksiw na bangus. And I also add a little bit of oil in the final stage of cooking. I always use vinegar but I’d like to try the dayap as well. When I make paksiw na GG, I don’t eat it, but I will just stock it in the ref. Then fry until its crisp, great for breakfast. My ultimate fave is paksiw na bisugo with lots of white rice.

    Aug 15, 2007 | 8:31 am

  23. negi says:

    Instead of adding oil to the paksiw I mix butter into my very hot rice or fry my sinangag in butter- lifts the humble paksiw up to an entirely different level!

    Aug 20, 2007 | 4:03 am

  24. aries.. says:

    To those who don’t like vinegar in paksiw..because of the too much sour..I suggest try my recipe..and I’m pretty sure you’ll gonna love it!! How?? Just add coconut milk..they call it paksiw na may gata..how much coconut milk?? Depends on you..if you want to make your paksiw become thin or thick put half or 3/4 of the big can..but that is good for 4pcs of sapsap or 1whole bangus (milkfish) then continue to cook like a regular paksiw..this is still have a vinegar. I love it when I also put ampalaya..eggplant are optional. My husband don’t eat paksiw because of the sour flavor..but when he tried mine..he always ask for it over and over again.. Ehe’ you can also change your siling paksiw in jalapeno pepper for more spices..or if you want add some siling labuyo when you put your siling paksiw. That was verry yummy!!ummmm..

    May 14, 2008 | 1:54 am


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