It was only lately that we realized that Kinunot na Pagi elevated into a family favorite. My papa would always prepare Kinunot everytime he would chance upon fresh pagi (sting ray) in the market. When I was a child, I thought then that the dish was a for adults only, its too spicy and hot... and its not hotdog, nor pork nor chicken therefore its not for me. Things changed when my papa prepared a milder version of the kinunot.
I don't really know which part of the Bicol region the kinunot originated, but at Donsol, from where my papa was raised, aside from butanding (whale shark), there is also plenty of sting ray. "Kinunot" in Tagalog means "hinimay" (flaked) and "pagi" is sting ray. Some would substitute the pagi with pating (shark). I still prefer the pagi though.
I will share with you the recipe taught by no less than my papa, but first let me give you some tips. You don't find much pagi in the market. If you dont know how it looks like, the market vendor might make buy shark meat instead! usually sold in cuts, pagi got plenty of small soft cartiledges, its got smooth spotted skin. Avoid "mapanghi na pagi" we only want good quality meat.
1/2 kg pagi
1 coconut grated (set aside the kakang gata)
1 cup malunggay
1 medium sized onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
small ginger, crushed
3/4 cup vinegar
5 pcs siling haba, sliced
2 siling labuyo
salt and pepper
1. Boil the cut pagi and ginger for 10-15 minutes or until meat can be easily pulled from the cartilages. (Tip: Adding ginger takes the "lansa" / strong fishy taste off seafood dishes)
2. Drain the water and let it cool. Peel skin off and flake the pagi by pulling the meat from its cartilages.
3. Combine pagi flakes, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the pagi flakes to the marinade.Completely drain off vinegar after an hour.
4. In a medium heat, combine coconut cream, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Stir continuously. After about 5 minutes, add the pagi flakes and malunggay. Simmer until coconut milk is almost dry.
5. Add the kakang gata (thick coconut cream), sliced siling haba and siling labuyo (you can adjust the proportions to suit the hotness of your dish. Simmer again until coconut cream is thick and almost dry.
- Always add the kakang gata just before the dish is done.
- DO NOT ADD corn starch or flour just to thicken - its a major sin in cooking gata dishes.
Enjoy your kinunot.
Did you find this post helpful? Share your Kinunot experience, would love to hear from you.
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