Inun-unan is the Visayan version of paksiw na isda, a popular Filipino fish recipe cooked with vinegar, garlic and cayenne pepper. Other ingredients can be added according to the cook’s preference. Ginger may be added as well as sugar. The addition of sugar in this recipe is somehow likened to paksiw na baboy but without the soy sauce that would turn the dish to deep brown to blackish.
Other modifications of inun-unan would include adding bitter gourd or eggplant or both. Inun-unan with ampalaya would somehow give a blend of bitter and sour taste and sometimes, if the technique is properly done, a balance of flavor would be achieved.
In this special inun-unan recipe, the tamarong fish is cooked with a twist. The twist here is that it wouldn’t use a typical fermented ingredient to bring sourness to the dish. Instead, it would use green mango as a souring agent.
The green unripe mango with its acidity that can bring sourness if added to a certain recipe replaces the usual vinegar to deliver the conformed taste.
Aside from the green mango, which in Visayan is called manggang hilaw, a liter of rice water would be used as a special liquid mixed with other ingredients. However, this kind of liquid is optional. But if you ever decide to use it because you get curious, please use the rice water after washing the rice for the second time.
The addition of eggplant provided an improved taste together with the spices such as cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Of course, add salt to taste.
Cook for 30 minutes after bringing all the ingredients. You may use banana leaves on top of the ingredients before covering it with the usual cover of the cooking ware.
Overall, this inun-unan sa manggang hilaw is a more nutritious variety, using an alternative to vinegar to bring sourness to the dish.
Try to cook this kind of recipe and taste for yourself the delectable sourness of the meal and how to balance the flavor if eaten together with warm white rice.