Jan 29, 2007

Guyabano (Soursop)

Acquired tastes -- the hallmark of growing old. Once upon a time, I hated finding in my lunch box a jar of guyabano shake/juice which well-meaning mom made for me. Seven, eight years old, and your beverage world is all about Tang.

Thirty-three, and I find myself liking -- no, loving -- coffee. And green salads. And craving for vegetables. And yes, guyabano.

Guyabano, like its relative durian, is the caviar of fruits. You either love it or hate it. I'm on the love side now.

I shook with excitement when I saw it in the Carmona Public Market. I checked with the vendor if it could be eaten right away. When she said yes, I paid her P40.00 for my 750-gram treasure.

At home after snapping a few shots (just so I can tell you), I sliced the guyabano open, sprinkled one slice with a few grains of salt, then slipped away a few moments to salty-sweet-sour heaven.

Jan 25, 2007

Ginisang Munggo and Prinitong Bugyo

"Ano ho'ng tawag, diyan?"
"Bugyo. Flying fish."
"Ano ho'ng luto diyan?"
"Paksiw. Saka prito."
"Sige, pabili nga ho ng kalahati. Pero wag n'yong putulin yung nguso, para makita ng mga anak ko."

I do not trust myself with buying fish. Checking for freshness, what's good for what isn't exactly my forte, and so it is my husband who buys fish. But it isn't always that I see this fish at the wet market in Pacita Complex, and I knew the find would be news to my husband:

"Wow! Saan ka nakakuha niyan?"
"Sa Pacita. Ano'ng tawag sa inyo nito?"
"Bangsi. Flying fish yan e."
"Sabi nga sa akin."

And so he fried up the bugyo/bangsi/flying fish while I cooked up the monggo.

I remember the story of one classmate who, according to lore, sauteed monggo beans straight up -- sans pre-broiling-- and invented the first ever chunky Monggo Guisado. I heard of one story too where another beginner made ginisang monggo with what seemed like a balde (pail) of sabaw. And so while I trust you are all adept *kitcheners,* (kusineras -- hehehe) I'd have to post the recipe for those who need a tip or two.

Tip #1: To save on gas and to shorten cooking time, wash then soak monggo beans in water for at least 30 minutes before boiling. You can do the soaking in the same pot where you intend to boil the beans. (Better if you can soak for 2 to 3 hours prior.)

Tip #2: Boil the monggo beans to soften them before sauteeing. If you've soaked the beans for at least 30 minutes, boiling time would be about 15-20 minutes. The beans are soft if the seed coat separates from the seed.

Tip #3. Do NOT boil monggo seeds in your pressure cooker.

Tip #4. They MULTIPLY exponentially. So do not cook a lot unless you intend to eat monggo for one whole week or feed a whole baranggay. One cup (about P10.00) feeds 6 to 8.

Tip #5. To pre-boil the beans, use 4 cups of water for every cup of monggo beans.

Tip #6. The green ones work best. Although some swear by the yellow ones. As for me, the red variety is strictly for hopia. ;)


What's In It?

3 T cooking oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 medium ripe tomato, washed and sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (about 80 g.) green monggo, pre-boiled
50g. hibe (dried shrimps), optional
50g. pork pigue, diced*
2 to 3 pcs. tinapa (smoked fish), scaled and flaked
4 to 5 cups water
1 bunch ampalaya (bitter gourd) tops, washed, leaves separated from vines (optional)
patis (fish sauce) to taste

Kitchen Conjugations:

Heat oil in a wok or deep pan. Saute onions, garlic and tomatoes for one minute. Add in pork and stir fry until lightly browned. Stir in hibe, tinapa, pre-boiled monggo beans and patis. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes over low fire.

Add in water and let simmer for another 5 minutes to allow the ingredients to meld. Top with ampalata tops and let simmer for half a minute or until the leaves change color. Serve with fried fish and steamed rice.

*or use 1 pork broth cube or 50 g. chicharon

Jan 22, 2007

Sinigang na Sugpo (Prawns in Sour Soup)

On our way back from Baguio on New Year's Eve we passed by a series of street vendors selling tiger prawns along the highway at Sison, Pangasinan. The prawns were really huge -- an outstretched piece measured 6 inches on the average. We stopped to ask and lo, a surprise -- we were told the prawns sell for only P450 a kilo! (Back in Manila Mike bought much smaller ones for P550 per kilo, so we actually exchanged surprised, incredulous glances when we heard the price!) My husband hastily bought two kilos, and I dreamed of making Prawns Thermidor for media noche.

When we got home many hours after we weighed the prawns in and found to our dismay that the pack was short of 500g or so. Talk about disappointment. Filipinos cheating fellows. Shame.
Mental note to self: Bring your own weighing scale the next time.

Anyhow, I was too tired and low bat (and much too much in a rush) that I didn't get to make Prawns Thermidor that night. I cooked half the bunch into Chili Butter Shrimp instead. Of course, if and when I get to make Prawns Thermidor, you'd see the recipe here.

The prawns you see up there were bought and cooked many months ago (on Easter Sunday in fact, the next one but a few months away). Ang layo ba ng segue? Hehehe. Sowee!

Sinigang na Sugpo (Prawns in Sour Soup)

What's In It?

500g. prawns or shrimp
6 to 8 cups rice washing or tap water
1 bunch sitao (string beans), cut into 2" lengths
1 to 2 pieces labanos (radish), peeled and sliced into half-inch wedges
2 bunches kangkong (swamp cabbage), leaves separated from stalks, washed
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
2 large ripe tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 knob ginger, peeled and sliced into rings
2 pcs green peppers (optional)
juice of 6 to 8 calamansi (Philippine lemon) or 1 sachet Knorr Sinigang sa Calamansi
1 1/2 t iodized salt or 1 T fish sauce

Kitchen Conjugations:

In a saucepan combine the ricewashing/water, onions, tomatoes, ginger and green pepper then heat to a rolling boil. Add in shrimps/prawns, radish and string bean slices and let boil for another two minutes or until the radish becomes translucent. Season with the salt/fish sauce, calamansi juice and simmer for 30 seconds, then add in kangkong leaves. Let simmer for 30 seconds or so, enough to blanch the leaves.

Serve while hot.

Jan 16, 2007

Pescado Grande with Tausi (Fish with Salted Black Beans)


After 10 years (tee-hee-hee), I'm back in blogging form. Not to spoil the surprise, but let me say there'd be changes in this blog soon, and this post will be among the few of the 'old school'. Let's enjoy it while it lasts. :)

First off for this year is a fish dish, payback for all the crimes committed during the holiday season. :)

Here's the fish: a fairly large one. As I write this, my husband is in China and isn't around to identify it for me, so for the moment let's call it Pescado Grande. :) We bought it at the Arranque Market for P250 per kilo, and I think it weighed in close to 2 kilos. That's a broadsheet newspaper it's lying on, and it occupied 2/3 of the sheet. Pretty big, huh?

Anyway, after the descaling and slicing into more manageable slices, Mike fried Pescado Grande and I took it from there. Recipe below. I'm scaling it down to a more manageable size for you who are not too much into fish eating. :)


What's In It?

500g. to 800g. fried fish*
3-5 T cooking oil
2 T tausi (salted black beans)
3 T ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 red onion, sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c to 3/4 c water
3 -5 T brown sugar
3 t cornstarch dissolved in 5 t water

Kitchen Conjugations:

Lay fried fish/fish slices on a serving platter.

Heat cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Saute ginger, onions and garlic until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add tausi and stir fry for 30 seconds before adding water.
Let simmer for 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings by adding a pinch each of salt and pepper, then stir in cornstarch mixture. Let simmer for a minute or so or until the sauce thickens.

Pour over the fish slices and serve immediately. Garnish with chopped spring onions or wansoy if desired.

*Fried tilapia, labahita, bangus, dalagang bukid, bisugo, maya-maya will work just as well.