Independence Day lunch: fried fish, poqui-poqui and bulalo soup

I’m not big on occasions unless you’re talking birthdays. Birthdays are special. But Independence Day, I have ambivalent feelings about. Unlike other people who make plans to go out and watch Independence Day activities, we stayed home and slept in late. Very late. And when I got out of bed, the first thing I wished for was rain (it was so darn humid) — it never crossed my mind that torrential rains will ruin whatever parades, fireworks displays and whatnots have been scheduled for the day.

In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the date. Two days ago, I knew it was exactly a week before Speedy’s birthday, a week is a long time so I absentmindedly decided I should start counting the days again in three days’ time or so when I should begin making plans about what to cook and bake for birthday boy.

So, Independence Day almost came and went. Until I went online and there were all those photos of the flag and “Happy Independence Day” greetings. And that was when I realized that, subconsciously or by sheer coincidence, everything I prepared for lunch was decidedly a hundred percent Pinoy fare. »

How to cook: Filipino escabeche (fish with pickled vegetables)

escabeche

Per Speedy's request, dinner tonight was escabeche. I did as requested and cooked escabeche with a twist -- I added slices of mango. Not soft and ripe mango but mango at that almost infinitesimal stage between unripe and ripe when it is still quite firm, subtly sweet and faintly tangy. The escabeche was so delicious, and so … »

How to cook: Fried fish with spicy tamarind sauce (pla rad prig)

fish-tamarind-sauce

By itself, fried fish does not excite me. But pair fried fish with a good sauce and I get an adrenalin rush.We had a pack of bangus (milkfish) belly fillets in the freezer and it was the fastest thing to thaw for lunch today. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, we're out of fresh vegetables except for the … »

How to make: Fish balls and noodle soup

fishballs-noodle-soup

The fish balls are homemade. With a food processor. The authentic way to make them is to mince the fish with a cleaver, mix it with binders and vegetables then knead and throw handfuls of the mixture against the inside of a bowl to achieve the perfect texture. While I'm sure that there is a huge amount of satisfaction in … »

The tawilis mystery

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One of the mainstays in the menu of restaurants in the Tagaytay and Batangas aras is tawilis. Often, deep fried to a crisp so that every part, bones and head included, is edible.Tawilis is a sardine but it is a class all its own because it is the only member of the family Clupeidae that is known to exist entirely in … »

How to cook: Pesang dalag (mudfish in light soup) with miso sauce

pesa-dalag-miso-sauce

It isn't necessary that you cook pesa (a light soup flavored with ginger and peppercorns) with dalag (mudfish). In one of the earliest entries in my other blog, I lamented how a lot of people like to take on the role of purists by claiming that pesa is not pesa unless cooked with dalag. I later on realized it must be … »

How to make: Kilawing gindara

Kilawing gindara

This dish uses a "cooking" method by which meat or seafood is marinated in citrus juices which pickle the seafood or meat and turn it opaque. The Latin American version is called ceviche; the Polynesian version, the national dish of Tahiti, is poisson cru. Although tuna is the fish most commonly used for making kilawin … »

How to cook: Adobong hito sa gata

adobo-catfish-gata

It's a twice cooked dish. I wish there was some way of ditching the frying part but if you simmer the hito (catfish) directly in the coconut milk, the fish will turn soggy. It's the mistake I've made in the past. The only way to make sure that the fish stays firm is to deep-fry it first so that a crust forms on the surface. … »