Sinigang na Ulo (Fish Head in Tamarind Broth)
You might be wondering why you see fish heads in Asian shops and why Asians buy them.
No it’s not for cats or any pets in that regard, it’s for human consumption. Though you might think you can’t get any meat out of it well you’re wrong as it packs a good amount of meat and it is also filled with Omega 3 packed fish fat which is prized by Asians. You might be also thinking why not buy the meaty part and the ones without bones, well they taste different it’s like comparing chicken thighs with chicken breasts. Due to its taste, texture and economic situation of Asia this ingredient is used commonly in Asian dishes like Chinese Fish Head Soup and Malaysian/Singaporean Fish Head Curry.
Philippines is no different that is why we have this dish called Fish Head sinigang, basically it’s a fish head cooked in a tamarind based broth. Any fish head can be used but usually we use larger types of fish so you get lots of meat from it. This dish might have started because of some ingenious reasons to feed poverty stricken families, it’s not the case these days as this dish is expensive when ordered in restaurants, I even remember there are restaurants that specializes only on this dish and there is always a massive ordering queue in the fast food court. While it might freak-out a lot of people this is definitely a tasty dish and if you love seafood this should not be missed out.
- 3 large Hapuka heads (or any large fish)
- 1 packet Tamarind Mix (Sinigang Mix)
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 bunch mustard greens
- fish sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 litre water
- In a pot onions and tomatoes then pour water. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling add fish and tamarind mix, simmer for 5-10 minutes (or until cooked). If the fish head is too large you might need to cook each head individually and increase the time.
- Add mustard greens then simmer for 2 more minutes.
- Season with Fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper