ISTA' TIYAPA HA BUNUT (Grilled Fish using coconut Husk)

To grill fish using a coconut husk has been part of the Tausug daily life. Most likely those of them who have experience the life in the rural areas. In Jolo and Basilan for instance, almost every morning there are a lot of fishing boats unloading their catch fishes in wharfs. By that time, you don't need plenty of money to buy fish, the fish is very cheap compare to those sell in the market. Its up to you what sort of fish do you like to buy.

With this sort of recipe, I prefer a large stripe mackerel (Lumahan). The Lumahan aside from the yummy taste of its flesh, its skin would protect the flesh from fire and smoke. With that, the texture of its flesh wouldn't be burned. If the skin of Lumahan burned thoroughly its juice would be dried and its delicious taste would also be gone. Make sure if you grill any kind of fish don't let the fire burn their flesh, just the skin.

Here are steps to follow if one wants to try to eat Fish in Tausug way.
  • 1 large striped mackerel (Lumahan)
  • Ginger  1 thumb
  • Turmeric  1 thumb
  • Garlic   3 cloves
  • Salt   1 tablespoon
  • Chili Pepper     2 to 5 pieces (Optional)
  • Big Onion    1 piece
  • Calamansi or Lemon  2 pieces
  • Small unripe mango 2 pieces (optional)
  • Salty soy sauce
  • Coconut husk Enough to cook the fish


Step 1:

  • Clean the fish
  • Pound the Turmeric mix with salt, garlic, ginger and pepper on mortar.
  • slice the lemon or calamansi
  • Slice the mango into small pieces
  • Place or rub the stomach of a fish with the pounded spices
  • Put the coconut husk in the grill then burn it.
  • If the grill is already hot place the fish on top.
Step 2: make a sauce

  • Put the sliced mango on a small plate, if you like to include the mango, if not, just squeeze the lemon on a plate.
  • Add soy sauce and chili pepper.
  • Its up to you to add more spices on your sauce. What I mention here is just a typical sauce make by the Tausug.
To experience the full Tausug style of eating grilled fish do buy Siyanglag, piyutu or biyanban in any Tausug foodstall if you are living in Sulu Archipelago. If you are in other parts of the world its up to you to prefer that, I already put on this blog on how to make a siyanglag. Sooner i'll be adding on how to make a biyanban and Piyutu too.

Enjoy the yummy taste of grilled Lumahan!