Chefs' Recipes

Watch: The Entree.Pinays make silog

Filmed at the height of Melbourne's lockdown, and in separate kitchens, the food-loving collective of Filipinas whips up one of the most comforting dishes from the archipelagic motherland.

Not even Melbourne's lockdown could dampen The.Entree Pinays' commitment to sharing their love and knowledge of Filipino food. In separate kitchens across Melbourne and Sydney, the collective of Filipinas – who were recently acknowledged in the GT Hospitality Honours List – guides us through the process of making silog, a staple of Filipino cuisine that's equal parts comfort food, and a freewheeling build-your-own-adventure meal.
The must-haves are sinangag (garlic fried rice) that's made, as with all good fried rices, with leftover cooked rice; itlog, the egg component, be it a fried chicken egg, sunny side up, or the exquisite richness of salted duck eggs; and a sharp sawsawan (dipping sauce or condiment) to tie it all together. From here, the possibilities are endless – the Pinays riff on variations with fish, longganisa (pork sausage) and a smoked-eggplant omelette, with bagoong alamang (a sweet-sour prawn condiment) to boot.
"[Silog] represents the ingenuity, resourcefulness, adaptability and evolution of Filipinos and our cuisine, from reducing waste and maximising utility of leftover rice for the sinangag, to the use of cured proteins using vinegars or a dry curing mix of salt and/or sugar, or to the pickling of vegetables to make atsara," says co-founder Fides Santos-Arguelles. "[These] techniques evolved from Filipinos' ingenuity as a result of colonisation, and even before days of refrigeration across markets and households in tropical heat."
Fire up the pan – it's silog time.
Words by Yvonne C Lam, video edited by Julia Gronowski
Camera operators: Ava Arguelles, Laura Arevalo, Patrick Hisshion, Shaun Blows, Rodney Guinto

Ingredients

Serves 2
Sinangag (garlic fried rice)
3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups cooked rice, cooled (ideally leftover rice cooked the day before, and placed in fridge overnight)
1 tsp salt
Itlog (eggs)
To serve: 2 eggs, fried sunny side up; or 2 salted duck eggs, boiled, peeled and halved (see note)
There are many sides to accompany silog, with The Entree.Pinays demonstrating some fish, meat and vegetarian options. Serve with sliced cucumber and tomatoes and bagoong alamang.
FISH: bangsilog with bangus**
1 bangus (milkfish) fillet with belly fat, deboned (can be substituted with tilapia, blue mackerel scad or Indian mackerel)
2-3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil, for frying
Marinade
½ lemon, juiced, or 1 tbsp calamansi juice (see note)
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 pinch ground black pepper
MEAT: longsilog with longganisa (cured Filipino sausage)
Curing mix
A 5:1:1 ratio of raw sugar, salt and annatto powder (see note). For example: 5 tbsp raw sugar, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp annatto powder, or make a bigger batch for later use.
60 gm (3-6 tbsp) curing mix (store remaining mix in airtight container)
500 gm pork mince
50 gm minced pork fat (optional)
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 gm ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil, for frying
VEGETARIAN: tortasilog with tortang talong (eggplant)
1 eggplant
1 egg
½ cup firm tofu, diced (optional)
2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil, for frying
CONDIMENT: bagoong alamang (prawn condiment)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tomato, chopped
3 spring onions, white and pale-green segments only, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 uncooked prawns, peeled, deveined and finely minced
1 tsp fish sauce
½ tsp white sugar
Chilli powder to taste
Note: Salted duck eggs and annatto powder can be found at Asian grocers. Calamansi, also known as green round cumquats, is not widely grown for commercial sale in Australia, but with luck, can be found at Filipino sari-sari (variety) stores, or grown by members of the Filipino community in their backyards.