24 Jul2007


Gosh that is a long name for a dish. I got so much grief for publishing a photo of hanging frogs, I wonder if fish head soup falls into the same “ewww factor” category. Somehow, I don’t think so, or at least I hope it doesn’t. The taste of this Green Mango and Salmon Head Sinigang was utterly marvelous, scrumptious and rice-a-licious. I have been meaning to attempt a green mango sinigang (as part of my quest to do as many types of sinigang as possible) for a while, but the comments in my recent sinigang posts and the purchase of some very reasonably priced frozen salmon heads sealed the next experiment…

I peeled and sliced up about three green and rather sour mangoes. In a pot with water, I added the mangoes and boiled this for about 10 minutes to extract the sourness… I then added some sliced onions and salt. Next, I added several defrosted salmon2salmon heads, siling mahaba (finger chillies) and some ground white pepper and when the fish heads were cooked, I added kangkong and turned the heat off. For something so simple to make, this tasted utterly delicious. It is obviously a hybrid sinigang since we have no salmon in our rivers or seas (except some tropical like pink fleshed fish), but the oiliness and richness of the salmon meat with the sourness of the broth was really very good; definitely a recipe I will try again, and maybe some other vegetables to give it more oomph…



  1. noemi says:


    Jul 24, 2007 | 10:31 pm


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  3. Apicio says:

    We chanced on a cache of heads of freshly caught sockeyes being given away once in a salmon run in Northern BC and the Canadian fisherman begged us to just please take them without letting him know what we were going to do with it.

    And remember the Jack Nicholson character at being served tuna head at Sam Houston’s place saying, “I’m glad they don’t serve chicken this way.” Well in real-life Chinatowns they do and ducks too, why do you think they call it Peeking duck.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 12:09 am

  4. esh says:

    A family friend just got back from a week long deep sea fishing trip in Alaska over the weekend. He came back with seafood bonanza of filleted salmon and halibut. When the boat crew were cleaning and filleting their catch, he asked the boat captain if he can take the fish heads with him instead of tossing them back in to the ocean. The captain was more than happy to oblige so our friend ended up with ALL the fish heads from the rest of the group. Yes, just like you, we enjoyed our fresh sinigang salmon fish head as well.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 1:11 am

  5. Maria Clara says:

    I love big fish heads especially the skin around the bones. They have lots of substance. When I cook big fish heads, I cut them into chunky cubes with sharp clever with full arm dexterity to ensure the cut will go through to keep the meat intact and smooth bone edge cutting. Next time you make this dish try frying the fish in high heat first until light brown only and use the second rice washing water. Saute with fresh cooking oil your onion, tomatoes and add some two tablespoons of miso paste before adding it to the water and your souring agent – mangoes, the fried fish and lastly your favorite green veggies for sinigang. It lifts up the dish to another level.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 1:17 am

  6. MRJP says:

    We used to cook fish heads too, back in the Philippines. But my mom usually would chop them into pieces so that they dont look like fish heads in a bowl of soup :) she would also remove the mouth area so that the sharp teeth wont be part of the sinigang and nobody will see the fish teeth in the soup.

    Fish heads are very tasty. I like it better when my mom puts a little sliced ginger and a spoon of fresh bagoong alamang, kangkong and siling haba. It was always a hit with whatever souring agent she used. Sometimes she uses kamias, too. Love it! Try Gindara heads for your sinigang. They are delicious too.

    I also love broiled fish heads and “tuna panga”, they are so tasty! We used to go to that restaurant near Forbes Park (I forgot the name of it, it starts with a T… probably it is closed by now) to eat some grilled tuna panga and tuna belly. Yum!

    Jul 25, 2007 | 2:26 am

  7. Jdawgg says:

    Try not to serve it like the way you have it in the picture to the Americans. The’ll absolutely go bunkers (seems like the fish is ready to you, instead or you eating the fish)

    Jul 25, 2007 | 2:54 am

  8. brenda says:

    I love fish head sinigang especially the part around the bones and the marrow, or is it called fish brain? I havent tried using green mangoes as souring agent though but it sure looks good except that it seems like the fish is staring back at you with such pity in their eyes… I would agree that its better if you slice or cut them into halves before serving. And I like my sinigang hot, so I usually cut the siling mahaba while cooking and pair it with patis with siling labuyo (birds eye chilies) as sawsawan with lots and lots of rice! Yummyyyy..

    Jul 25, 2007 | 3:07 am

  9. brenda says:

    ooopppssss… I meant try to slice or cut them before cooking, not before serving.. oh, and aside from kangkong, I always put raddish in my sinigang, whether its fish or pork and top it with sliced tomatoes after turning the heat off.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 3:15 am

  10. shalimar says:

    we get fresh salmon all the time the other day the chef bought a whole salmon the head gone to bin
    i just showed him yr post and he said no wonder sha you are a loco poco .. he is just too english hehehe

    Jul 25, 2007 | 5:36 am

  11. elaine says:

    Being cautious as not to put anything to waste, I wonder if using fish heads in soup broths is purely ours, or not…but it truly is very flavorful in sinigangs and if you go around the scout area in quezon city, there are even rows of “eateries” that serve fish heads sinigang or what they call “ulo-ulo”..I’m not a big fan (my husband IS, though)but I truly enjoy the broth, it’s very flavorful. Using green mangoes is very unique, and will definitely try it.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 6:16 am

  12. millet says:

    mmmm, must try! pass the patis, please. i’m with you in the quest for the different kinds of sinigang.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 6:38 am

  13. cwid says:

    Has anyone tried cranberries as souring agent? A friend told me she uses this sometimes but I have no idea if the broth turns out as good as the sampalok sinigang.

    Halibut heads are also really good, especially for sinigang sa miso.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 7:05 am

  14. Myra P. says:

    MRJP, you must be referring to the original Trellis on McKinley. Of course thats long gone now… but Trellis lives on in UP village. Fyi :)

    Jul 25, 2007 | 7:08 am

  15. Marketman says:

    Hello,?!, shows you how much I still have to learn…I never thought to cut up the heads, I thought they were too stunning whole and would serve well that way… duh, I guess cutting them up into more manageable pieces makes sense… I still like the peeking out of the water effect… :)

    Jul 25, 2007 | 7:11 am

  16. solraya says:

    I like them whole too and not cut up. When they are in small pieces, I get the impression of not being fresh.

    Can’t wait to try this

    Jul 25, 2007 | 7:30 am

  17. Maria Clara says:

    cwid, I have not used fresh or frozen cranberries in sinigang. I believe with their level of tartness they will make a good souring agent for fish, shrimp and chicken sinigang. Something to explore in my next sinigang adventure especially during the Christmas season their color blends well with the holiday! I used rhubarb though as a souring agent for my fish and shrimp sinigang. It is very good but it is not good with pork and beef. I do not know why.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 7:33 am

  18. mrs m says:

    it’s salmon and trout time here in bc, they’re cheaper than usual so we can have sinigang or barbequed fish everyday if we want to. for my sinigang sa sampalok veggies, i put in rapini (italian broccoli), baby okra, labanos, kangkong if i can’t find good rapini and the siling pari. so tasty with the vietnamese patis and sili for the dip.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 7:57 am

  19. Cumin says:

    Too many ulo-ulo restaurants for fish heads to have a strong ewww factor! A friend taking graduate studies in the UK on a tight budget said she survived by asking fish heads from fishmongers who were only too happy to give these away. Green mangoes are also a great souring ingredient for Thai green curry fish.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 9:11 am

  20. lee says:

    I’ll be a happy man if my magic carpet ride drops me off to these places where they give away fish heads for free.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 9:49 am

  21. DADD-F says:

    I don’t care about the Americans. I like the fish heads the way they are. Mas masarap at mas enjoy kainin. Though cutting them up into smaller pieces for a more practical purpose rather than merely about aesthetics, I can understand.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 11:37 am

  22. nang says:

    i love salmon AND green mangoes! i can’t wait to try this out.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 2:15 pm

  23. nunosapunso says:

    they sell salmon heads here at 1 euro/head….never bought them as I didn’t know what to do with them (also how to eat them).

    Jul 25, 2007 | 5:11 pm

  24. tercer says:

    Actually, it isn’t uncommon for Europeans and North Americans to use fish heads to make fish broth for soups. The only difference I have seen is that Filipinos include the heads when serving the dish, whereas Euros and Americanos remove/dispose of them after cooking. This is true too for other Filipino favorites that make use of unsightly parts like oxtail soup, etc.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 7:05 pm

  25. suzette says:

    probably nice to add some tomatoes for color…might find it hard to feed the kids with this if presented that way!

    Jul 25, 2007 | 10:28 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    suzette, while I agree about the color, a previous comment suggested the tomatoes would alter the essence of mango flavor…will have to try other vegetables sometime in the future…

    Jul 26, 2007 | 6:42 am

  27. bernadette says:

    thanks for the hilaw na mangga idea as a souring agent. I have so many jars of burong mangga here and my hubby does not share my enthusiasm in eating them. he said the idea of making them into sinigang might just make him try it again :-)…said he’s reminded of how his mother cooks rhubarb. I love salmon heads with memories of autumn days in New York where we’d have them as cocido!

    Jul 26, 2007 | 9:25 am

  28. CecileJ says:

    Hahaha! The photos look like the salmon were some kind of prehistoric creature emerging from the prehistoric
    swamp ready to make dinner out of some unsuspecting mammal! Camouflage pa niya yung kangkong leaves and siling haba!

    Jul 26, 2007 | 1:30 pm

  29. Apicio says:

    One tiny end-note to naming this dish in Pilipino. Would it not be dead on (if it matters at all and even if no less of a mouthful) to call this dish “sinigang na ulo ng salmon sa mangang hilaw (or mura).” Dahil sa ang isinigang mo ay ang ulo ng salmon at isinigang mo naman ito sa mangang hilaw.

    Jul 26, 2007 | 7:55 pm

  30. MRJP says:

    Myra P, you’re right! It was Trellis! Cecille J, they actually remind me of those shark movies hahahahah…

    Jul 27, 2007 | 10:41 am

  31. perkycinderella says:

    I cook sinigang in every country I lived and tried many souring variations. Basta maasim puede na.

    Jul 28, 2007 | 12:56 am

  32. Marketman says:

    CecileJ, I do like the “JAWS” effect. Apicio, you are probably correct, my pilipino is horrific, barely passed it in fact, always used the my family only speaks Cebuano excuse growing up… :)

    Jul 28, 2007 | 6:02 am

  33. rianne says:

    ohh…this is absolutely a “must-try” dish! two thumbs up for this, MM!!!

    Jul 29, 2007 | 4:28 am

  34. buckythetarayslayer says:

    My sister who’s a flight attendant in Qatar told me that Pinoys there would ask for fish heads from the market and they gave it away lang. Once they caught on that Filipinos actually ate em they started selling them.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 5:06 am


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