Siyagul, a special type of seafood

The Best of Halal Home-Cooked
Muslim Filipino Dishes

With MARIA FHEBIE ORTIL

IT is now on the 14th Digital Edition of the Philippine Muslim Today and we continue to feature among the delicacies of the Tausug of the People of Lupah Sug or Sulu.

SIYAGUL
Serves 4-5

In this issue we would like to feature the Tausug delicacy known as Siyagul, a special type of seafood. Usually the main ingredient is the Page or ray fish, or it is usually spelled as Pagi a Tausug term for Ray Fish.

Abdulaziz H. Hamsain, a Tausug Chef who authored The Best of Halal Home-Cooked Muslim Filipino Dishes has listed Siyagul as one of the Tausug delicacies. However only few households cook Siyagul simply because Ray Fish is not sold everyday in the wet market. Most of all there are species of Ray Fish that are listed endangered.

Dr. Filemon G. Romero, an oceanographer based at the Mindanao State University in Tawi-Tawi explained that species of Ray Fish known as Mobulid ray is a genus of ray belonging to the taxonomic  family Myliobatidae (eagle rays).  Species of this genera are often collectively referred to as “devil rays”, “flying mobula” or simply “flying rays”.   

Scientifically, according to the Dr. Romero the mobulid rays belong to one family called Mobulidae, which contains two Genera; the Mobula Rays (9 species) and the Manta Rays (2 species). They are cartilaginous fishes (no bones)  and characterized by diamond shaped bodies and wing-like pectoral fins which they use to propel themselves through open water. 

The giant mantas a called pagi sanga or pagi bulan.

They are classified in the  Red List of  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)  as Vulnerable and  listed as  Appendix II under  Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species.  

In Tawi-Tawi,  there is an existing mobulid fishery which is not distinguished with mantas.  While the exploitation of other rays like the kyampaw is not banned, the exploitation of this species still continues because they are as source of food as  native delicacy like siyagul pagi  and source income for the fisherfolks. 

Ingredients
-1 kilo ray fish (pagé)
-1 medium-sized onion chopped 
-3 cloves garlic minced
-1 cup of coconut milk
-3 green peppers
-2 tbsp pipis itum (refer to pipis itum recipe)
-2 inches minced turmeric
-1/4 tsp black pepper powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-Oil

Procedure:
Cut the ray fish into medium-sized cubes.
Place ray fish in a large pot..
Add water and allow it to boil.
Remove from the pot once the meat is tender.
Strain then set aside.
In a clean pot, sauté the following ingredients: garlic, onion, black pepper, turmeric, and pipis itum.
Add the ray fish in coconut milk then mix well.
Add an amount of salt depending on taste then cover.
Lastly, add the green pepper (optional) then serve.
** Siyagul is best served at any meal of the day..

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