For several months now, I’ve been hearing about this start up company called Omsom. From Food and Wine to Vogue to Epicurious, it keeps showing up in all my buzzy food media. Founded by the daughters of Vietnamese immigrants, Omsom aims to bring authentic and complex South Asian flavor to the home cook in under 30 minutes- you just supply the veggies and protein. I’m always happy to support Asian women entrepreneurs, but after the devastating events in Atlanta last week, it seems more important than ever to amplify and support their voices. So, I ordered their Southeast Asian starter pack to see what all the fuss was about.
The first thing you notice is Omsom’s packaging: bold, bright, and colorful. It really lives up to their motto of “loud and proudly Asian”. Each starter pack also comes with recipe cards. The sisig starter has cane vinegar and calamansi puree, two Filipino ingredients that can be hard to find. Calamansi is a tiny little citrus fruit that has a sweet zest but intensely sour juice.
What is Sisig?
Sisig isn’t widely known outside of Filipino communities, probably because traditional sisig is made from the parts of the pig that we rarely use here, and may be a bit squeamish eating. Pig’s head/ears/snout are combined with some chopped pork, then stir fried with intensely aromatic ingredients. As you can probably guess, it’s a dish that was created to use up all of the scrap meats that remain from lechon (roast suckling pig) and other pork dishes: a wisely frugal way of avoiding food waste! Sisig is considered a bar snack so it’s almost always served with ice cold beer-which is something we can all get behind…
Let’s (Loudly and Proudly) Go!
For my version of sisig, I went with ground dark chicken and chicken gizzards to add a similarly earthy flavor, while making it more accessible. Don’t skip the gizzards! They add interesting texture and depth to an otherwise soft dish, but if you’ve never cooked with them before don’t worry, I will walk you through prepping them.
First, peel off any ‘skin’ if there is any, it will be greenish and leathery. Next, remove the cartilage between the lobes with a knife. The cartilage is pretty hard to chew, almost like a rubber band, so it’s best to remove it. And finally, cut the gizzards into smaller pieces so they are easier to cook and mix into the ground meat.
Once the gizzards (we really need to come up with a more appetizing name) are cleaned and prepped, it is time to start cooking. This is a simple stir-fry that starts with lightly browning some onions to boost the flavor. The key when stir-frying/sautéing ground meat is not to touch it before it has had a chance to brown. Moving it around as soon as it hits the pan is a recipe for disaster. You’ll create a soupy mixture that’s bland and takes forever to dry out. Don’t be scared to leave it alone!
These packets from Omsom are called starters for a reason-they are meant to be a starting off point for you to customize dishes to your taste. They give you the hard to find ingredients in one convenient package, and you bring the rest. My family likes a lot of seasoning and assertive flavors, so I added plenty of salt and lots of lime juice and threw in some extra chilis as well. Salty, citrusy, spicy-that’s our jam.
Punch Up The Flavor!
At the very end, raw eggs are stirred in, which is traditional and necessary. They create a very loose scramble that gives the dish body and structure. Once you’re about ready to serve, it’s time to add whatever additional flavors you want. Stir in some may0nnaise if you want added creaminess. Jazz up your finished Sisig with the reserved chopped onions for some crunch, lime juice or a splash of vinegar for tang, and chili flakes or hot sauce if you want more heat. As with most dishes Asian, feel free to serve it alongside some steamed rice as an accompaniment. And don’t forget the beer!
This was a really fun cooking experiment, and Omsom has lots of different starters available. Try some today to both support a small family business, and expand your repertoire of Asian dishes. If you try my take on their sisig, we want to hear about it! Leave a comment down below, rate the recipe, and of course tag us in your insta pics @funkyasiankitchen.
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- ½ large red onion, finely chopped divided
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 2 packets Omsum Sisig Flavor Seasoning
- 1 pound ground chicken (preferably dark meat)
- 1 pound chicken gizzards
- 2 eggs
- 1 lime, cut into quarters
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
- 1–2 red chilis (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- First clean the gizzards. Peel off any hard skin if there is any (it will be leathery and slightly greenish). Next trim off the white band of cartilage between gizzard sections. Then cut the gizzards into small pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a heavy 10 inch skillet over high heat. Add the oil and ¾ of the chopped onions, saving the rest for garnish.
- Stir fry for 1 minute, constantly moving the onions around. You want the onions softened and slightly browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for 10 seconds.
- Move the onions to the side of the pan and add the chicken and the gizzards.
- Let the meat brown for 2 minutes before breaking it up and stirring (Ground meat has a tremendous amount of liquid. If you start stirring the meat when you add it to the pan you will end up with a ton of liquid in the pan).
- Break up the meat with a wooden spoon or chopsticks and continue to cook on high heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to cook off the majority of the liquid.
- Add the spice paste and stir it into the meat. Taste the mixture and season with salt, pepper, and chilis as desired. Add mayonnaise if using and stir it in.
- Make a well in the middle of the meat mixture and crack the eggs into the well. Turn off the heat and stir the mixture gently. The heat from the pan will gently cook the eggs making the dish rich and saucy.
- Add the remaining onions and serve with the limes.
Keywords: sisig, omsom, filipino food