How to Cook/Prepare Kinilaw Na Tuna

This vinegar-soaked fish dish is one of the most popular pulutans among Filipinos. The word kinilaw means to cook in vinegar but technically, the dish is not actually cooked since there is no heating or boiling involved. It is the strong solution of the vinegar that gives the fish its opaque appearance and its “cooked” texture.

The practice of soaking fish and meat has long been in use by Pinoys long before the 19th century. It is the primary way of preserving food, using salt and vinegar as the main “preservatives.” This is where classic Filipino dishes such as kinilaw, adobo and tapa originated.

Tuna is not the only fished that can be used for kinilaw. Tanigue (sea bass), Lapu-Lapu (Grouper) and Talakitok (Cavalla) are only some of the fishes that you can use.


¼ kilo tuna

Peeled and crushed garlic

Peeled and slice ginger

1 white onion, sliced into thin strips

2 green peppers

1 bell pepper, green or red

1 cup of vinegar

¼ cup calamansi juice

1 cup coconut cream

How to Cook:

1. Wash the fish and remove traces of skin and bones. Slice into small cubes.

2. Put the fish in a bowl and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Then pour the vinegar and mix thoroughly. Cover the mixture and let chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

3. After chilling, drain the fish. In the bowl, add the chili peppers, bell pepper, garlic, calamansi juice, onion and ginger. Mix these well with the fish and let chill for about 20 minutes.

4. Pour coconut cream all over the fish and mix well. Serve the dish cold.


    • You can use white onions instead of red ones for your kinilaw. The sweetness of the white onions provides a tasty contrast to the sourness of the calamansi extract and vinegar.
    • When eating the fish, try to include a piece of onion with each mouthful. This will make the taste of the kilawin even better.

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