As in kilawin, in Tagalog. But it is kilayin in Pampango. It has nothing to do with kilay (eyebrow), but has a lot to do with uric acid. It’s like adobo, but not quite. It is definitely a kind of stew, but again it’s not.
Kilayin is a regular dish in my Inang’s kitchen for as long as I can remember. Inang was how I called my grandmother on my mother’s side–mga purong Kapampangan–as opposed to the usual Lola, which was how I called my grandmother in my father’s side, who hails from Masbate. A contrast of tastes, huh? Ginisa (sauteed) for Kapampangans versus ginataan (cooked in coconut milk) for Masbatenos!
I had the luxury to have a taste of kilayin again, served from Thursday but till Sunday this past Holy Week. You see, kilayin tastes better when it’s older. Sunday was best to eat it not only because it was three-days old, but because it was Easter already.
Kilayin is made up of pig’s organs:heart, liver, lung, and pork, cooked in vinegar, water, garlic, pepper, and chili. The stew is set aside when tender and drained from the remaining sauce. And then garlic, onion, and chopped lung are sauteed until brown. Then the drained stew is added to the pan until everything is golden brown. The remaining sauce is poured and then simmered until thick.
Now you see why it has a lot to do with uric acid. And why it’s not exactly adobo since there is no soy sauce. And not stew, since there’s sauteeing at the last step. Kilay has nothing to do with kilayin, obviously.
Dominant tastes are that of the vinegar and the liver. With steaming boiled rice, kilayin is a knockout. The mild spicy sauce is usually sprinkled on the rice to the point of soaking it, and then together with the meats, kilayin is gobbled by the mouthfuls by hand. Superbly addictive.
I haven’t dared cook this but I will someday especially that my eldest daughter has acquired a taste for it. A visit to Tarlac is not a visit for her without her favorite kilayin.
Check out any kapampangan kitchen. It will have kilayin stewing.