How to cook Kinilaw na Tuna or Raw Fish Salad

Kinilaw na Tuna or Raw Fish Salad is an appetizer dish that is usually consumed as “pulutan”; it is best served along with cold beer. This recipe does not involve any manual cooking but the tuna meat is semi-cooked once served. This is made possible by the acids in the vinegar (acetic acid) and calamansi or lemon juice (citric acid). These mild acids slowly cook the fish meat when soaked for a few hours.

This recipe is popular in places where fresh seafood is abundant. Why fresh? Only the freshest tuna slices (or any white fish meat) can be used for this recipe for best results. Since the acid does not entirely cook the fish meat the way frying or steaming does, it is possible that an unpleasant taste might develop in the mixture if not so fresh fish meat is used – your mouth and tongue might also feel itchy.

I love to have this appetizer especially when cold beer is around. Just like the Ceviche (a similar dish wherein the fish meat is marinated only in citric acid), there is nothing like a semi-cooked sour fish appetizer to refresh my palate.

Of course, there are several variations of kinilaw around. Some of you might have your own version, how about sharing it with us?

Try this Kinilaw na Tuna recipe and don’t be shy to send-in your feedback.

Kinilaw na tuna

Kinilaw na tuna


2 lbs tuna; skinned, deboned, and cubed
1  1/2 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons ginger, minced
1 large red onion, minced
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Place the cubed tuna meat in a large bowl then pour-in 3/4 cups of vinegar.
2. Let stand for 2 minutes then gently squeeze the tuna by placing a spoon on top applying a little pressure.
3. Gently wash the tuna meat with vinegar. Drain all the vinegar once done. This will help reduce the fishy smell.
4. Add the remaining 3/4 cup vinegar, calamansi or lemon juice, ginger, salt, ground black pepper, and red chilies then mix well.
5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
6. Top with minced red onions and serve (you may also add the red onions with the rest of the ingredients in step 4).

3 thoughts on “How to cook Kinilaw na Tuna or Raw Fish Salad

  1. Pingback: CNN: 50 Filipino foods that define the Philippines | Philippines Food Recipes

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