Pako Salad, Photo by Ruben Ortega
Pako (Fern) Salad
Back when we were little children in Marag, Philippines, pako became a staple diet. It was in our dinner table at least once a week. We ate a lot of it so much that we kids 🙂 should have grown into goats 🙂 or hated it after a while. But I have always a vibrant and positive memory of pako.
Gathering pako is an adventure for us youngster. We had to roam a dense growth of greens at the mouth of a forest and try to pick the young furling sprouts of pako. Thank goodness they grow profusely together and therefore picking them one by one was not much of a chore.
Pako can be prepared in plenty of ways, it can be blanched and made into a salad, it can be left fresh as it is as a salad as well or cook and added into various kind of inabraw, an Ilocano way of cooking.
Below is another pako salad recipe.
- 1 large bunch pako (fern)
- 2 salted eggs or hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- sprinkling of salt to taste
Method of Preparation:
- prepare the pako by removing any tough stalk.
- Bring a large pot of boiling water. Blanch the pako by quickly dipping them into the hot water. Leave for a minute and drain.
- Arranged the pako on a serving platter.
- Put the tomatoes and onion on top then garnish with the slices of salted eggs.
- Make a typical Filipino dressing by mixing the vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper, sugar and a very little salt. Stir it in thoroughly for the granules to dissolve.
- Pour the dressing all over the pako.
- Serve immediately.
Chicken feet Adobo, photo by Ruben Ortega
chicken feet, photo by PH Morton
Adidas is the name given to chicken feet. Obviously as a homage to the great trainers brand.
The raw chicken feet photo was taken by Peter during one of our shopping at the wet market of Pritil in Tondo, Manila, Philippines.
To be truthful, I have not really tasted chicken feet before but Peter had. He said it was taste but rather rubbery. I’ll take his word for it. 🙂
- 1-2 lbs chicken feet, cleaned thoroughly
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon whole peppercorn
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp dried chilli
- 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1½ cups water
Method of Preparation:
- Clean the chicken feet thoroughly and trim all claws. Butchers usually would have trimmed the scary claws already. 🙂
- Heat a large saucepan or a wok and add the chicken feet with the soy sauce, vinegar and water.
- Also add the bay leaves, peppercorn, sugar and half of the crushed garlic. Do not stir. Bring this to a boil and then lower down the heat and leave to simmer for three quarters of an hour. (45 minutes)
- Remove the chicken feet from the remaining liquid. Drain and then set aside the stewed feet. Do not discard the liquid sauce from the wok. Pour in a container and set aside.
- Clean the wok and heat.
- Add the oil. Stir in the remaining garlic and fry until fragrant.
- Add the dried chilli.
- Stir in the fried chicken feet and fry until sizzling hot.
- Pour in the liquid sauce and heat for a minute or two.
- Transfer into a serving bowl and enjoy with a few beers.
Binondo Church, Manila Philippines, Photo by JMorton
Simbang Gabi (Philippine Christmas Tradition)
Puto Bungbong, Photo by Bless Mercado
Bibingka, Photo by Bless Mercado
Simband Gabi is a tradition of the Roman Catholics of the the Philippines. It is going to church to attend mass from midnight or early hours in the morning.
This mass at dawn is a nine-day devotional religious and cultural tradition which starts on 16 December and ending on the 24th of December. These series of masses herald the coming of Christmas as well as a homage to the Virgin Mary.
After the mass, people are entised by the smell of freshly clay-oven baked bibingka and puto bungbong, washed down by salabat (ginger tea).
Simbang gabi is still popularly practise to these days.
Must See Filipino Dramas (FDrama)
I have to be really honest here. It is really hard to recommend a Filipino drama to international audience.
It is unique in that it is even more surreal than Korean’s makjang, a form or drama where absurd circumstances occurs.
As a case in point, there is currently a drama called Ika-6 na Utos (Sixth Commandment) which is both wowing and frustrating viewers. The drama has gone on and on showing mind-blowing scenarios after another, which has gone beyond a joke; highest level of absurdity.
Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Thai and Chinese have set numbers of episodes but Filipino dramas tend to go on forever when it is deemed popular. They extend the series and tries to wring every emotion that can be wrung until there’s none left. Viewers then would get bored watching the same story line but with a different dialogues or scenery; it is like milking a dead cow. Rating then would go down and finally an ending is imminent.
Of course there are gems to be had and here is my list but not in any order.
Not too sure:
- My Korean Jagiya, I quite like this at first but it gone way too tedious. The cute potential love affair from a contract marriage between Gia and Jun Ho has gone on long enough and yet there is no resolution in the offing. They are prolonging the story line until ennui sets in and no one bloody cares. How can a stupid sock-wearing probinsiya plays hard to get for such a long time from a supposed to be KDrama superstar?!!! Tell me? No don’t, I don’t really care anymore. 🙂
Sungka Board, photo by JMorton
Sungka – Filipino Mancala Game
I used to be obsessed with this board game when I was a little girl.
For whatever reason my mother used to discourage us playing sungka. She was really adamant that we should not play it. I think I heard her say that it was a game of the dead or something. She made it sound like there was something sinister about it.
But I’ve always had a mind of my own, and the more I was told ‘NO’ the more I had to do it; it was like a red rag to a bull to me, a fascination of the forbidden. 🙂 I was a tad naughty! LOL
Probably that was the reason I loved playing sungka. I used to ask a neighbour, Lagring, who was a year or two younger than me to play sungka. We did not bother with the wooden board; at my instigation we would just dig little holes similar to those in the wooden board on the ground under our mango tree. We would then gather little stones and away we play for what seems like hours. 🙂
My mother always knew what I was up to as I would come home with dirty hands and even dirtier finger nails. And of course those little holes which suddenly appeared all over our backyard! 🙂
In the end, knowing that I would not really listen, she just gave up on her embargo against sungka. Funnily enough as soon as the ban was lifted I moved on to another obsession, Jack’s Stone! 🙂
By the way the photo above was taken at late president Ferdinand Marcos childhood residence in Batac, Ilocos Norte. It seemed President Marcos used to play sungka as well. 🙂
Click here to see a quick tutorial.
I actually want one for Christmas, thank goodness they are easily available here.
Spare ribs, photo by Mae Mercado-Sanguer
Spicy Spare Ribs in Banana Ketchup
Banana ketchup has a very distinct taste. It is sweet and spicy.
Apparently this condiment was created during the second world war by a Filipina food technologist, Maria Y. Oroza.
This came about because there was a shortage of tomatoes but there was an abundance of bananas.
What does Maria have to do to assuage hungry tummies wanting sauce for their less than appetising meagre repast. Eureka! Banana ketchup!
Not before long, Mafran was mass producing the product and the rest is history.
Banana ketchup is not just a condiment for the dinner table. It has become a major ingredients in many a Filipino recipes such as in Filipinised Spaghetti Bolognese, omelette, etc.
Below is a spare rib recipe, which by the way can be made from beef or pork. To maximise the taste, it is advisable to leave the ribs to marinate overnight.
- 2½ lbs beef or pork spare ribs
- 1 can Sprite or 7Up
- Oil for frying
- 1 cup Banana Ketchup
- 4 cloves garlic, minced to a paste
- 3 tbsp butter or margarine
- 2 bird’s eye chillies (labuyo), chopped finely
- 2 onions, chopped finely
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
Method of Preparation:
- Wash the ribs and let it drain. Rub them with salt and then set aside for 15 minutes.
- Put the ribs in a large bowl and Pour the Sprite or 7Up over. Leave to marinate for half and hour.
- Using a mixing bowl, put together the banana ketchup, garlic, butter or margarine, chillies, onions, black pepper, bay leaf and caster sugar. Give it a thorough mix.
- Pour this to the marinating ribs in Sprite. Give it a good stir to cover the meat completely.
- Cover the bowl of ribs with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
- Heat the oil in a large pan or deep-fryer.
- Scrape off the juices and sauces from the ribs and carefully lower into the hot oil. Fry them in batches.
- Cook until golden all over.
- Pour the marinade into a pan and heat until bubbling hot.
- Serve this as a sauce for the ribs.
- Enjoy with some salad and boiled rice a la Filipino style. 🙂
Kilawing Puso Ng Saging by Rosie Reyes- Barrera
Kilawing Puso Ng Saging (Banana Heart Ceviche)
This recipe is one of my favourite. It slight sour taste makes for a good hearty meal.
- 1 banana blossom (a can of banana blossom from Asian supermarket)
- 1 cup coconut milk (fresh or canned)
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 50 g of cooked pork, sliced into thin strips (optional)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
Method of Preparation:
- Prepare the banana blossom (if using the fresh sort) by removing and discarding the tough outer layers. Then slice thinly crosswise.
- Soak the slices in salty water for 10 minutes. Then squeeze until most of the liquid had been drained out. The procedure is to remove any bitter taste from the banana heart (if only you can also do this with the human heart 🙂 lol)
- Rinse the banana heart slices in cold water and then set aside to drain.
- Heat the oil in a wok or a large frying pan.
- Saute the garlic until aromatic and golden brown, please do not burn, otherwise it will leave a bitter taste.
- Add the onion and the tomatoes to the garlic and allow to cook for 3 minutes until the tomatoes are softened and the onion translucent.
- Stir in the banana blossom as well as the pork (if using)
- Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the vinegar and leave to simmer for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the coconut milk. Give it a stir and cook for a couple of minutes more.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately with freshly boiled rice.