Category: Philippines

Grilled Lapu Lapu in Oyster Sauce

Grilled lapu lapu in Oyster Sauce

Grilled Lapu Lapu in oyster sauce, photo by Ruben Ortega

This recipe is quite easy to make and perfect for an outside barbecue.  It is cooked wrapped in banana leaves (these can be availed in the frozen section of Oriental supermarket), which gives a delicious and ‘fresh’ taste to the fish beloved by Filipinos.,  The fish wrapped banana leaves is then re-wrapped in tin (aluminium) foil for two reasons:  one, to prevent the banana leaves from burning  and two, the foil would ensure the fish to stay soft and moist as it cooks.

Ingredients:

Whole lapu lapu (grouper fish), cleaned, descaled and gutted

1 tsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 sweet red peppers, sliced

2 shallots or small onions, diced

1/2 inch ginger, julienne

Instructions:
  • Arrange the banana leaves to be enclosed over a larger tin foil (see photo above)
  • Place the fish on top of the banana leaves.
  • Drizzle it with olive oil, drop the garlic all over the fish, do the same with the red peppers, shallots or onions as well as the ginger.
  • Spoon in the oyster sauce.
  • Wrap the fish fist with the banana leaves, enclosing all the ingredients onto the fish.
  • Then securely wrap the banana leaves parcel in tin foil.
  • Put the tin foil directly into the barbecue and cook for 20-30 minutes.  Ensure to turn over at foil parcel on the barbecue as it cooks.
  • Serve with some green salad and buttered bread.

Enjoy

 

Sinabawang Ulo Ng Tuna

Sinabawang Ulo Ng Tuna, photo by Ruben Ortega

Sinabawang Ulo Ng Tuna

Awww the air is getting colder as we head towards autumn or rainy season in some other parts of the world.  What better way to cope and ‘try to’ enjoy this change than by having a heart-warming delicious soup.  Sinabawang ulo ng tuna is a recipe which uses the head or jaw of tuna fish.   There are a lot of goodness in the tuna head/jaw alone and just perfect for some soupy recipes like the one below.

Ingredients:

2-2½ lbs Tuna head, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cups water
1 onion, decoratively cut into rings
4-6 tomatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon ginger strips
1/2 head Chinese cabbage, roughly cut  or 2 heads Pechay (bok choy), leaves separated
some chili fingers
2 tablespoons fish sauce or salt to taste

Procedure:

1. Using a large casserole pan, saute the ginger, onion and tomatoes in oil.

2. Quickly add the fish head, then add the water and bring to a boil, when boiling reduce the heat to simmer, this might take 20 minutes until fish is cooked.

3. Increase the heat, add the Chinese cabbage or pechay and chilies.

4.Season with fish sauce or salt according to your taste.  Simmer for another minute and it is ready to be enjoyed with some freshly boiled rice.

Enjoy! Itadakimasu

Ampalaya Salad (Bitter Gourd Salad)

Halved Bitter Gourds, Photo by PH Morton

Ampalaya Salad (Bitter Gourd Salad)

This salad goes well with fried food or other very rich food.  The slight bitter taste from the ampalaya will go well with savoury food.

Below is the salad recipe which uses fermented shrimps or bagoong.  If this is not your taste or you have run out of it, a patis (fish sauce) is highly suitable.

Ingredients:

3 medium size bitter gourd (ampalaya)

1/2 tbsp salt

4 shallots, sliced finely

1 tbsp shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) or 1/2  to 1 tablespoon fish sauce (according to taste really)

2 large tomatoes, sliced

3 siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies)

1 lemon, juiced or 1 tablespoon of fresh juice of  kalamansi

Method of preparation:

Cut the ampalaya in half lengthwise and deseed. Cut in half rings (?).

Place the amplaya in a colander and then sprinkle the slice with the salt.  Set it aside for half an hour to give the ampalaya time to absorb the salt to counter-balance its natural bitterness.

Wash after ‘curing’ the ampalaya and drain any excess liquid or moisture.

Put the ampalaya in a serving bowl, add the shallots, tomatoes, chilies and season with shrimp paste or fish sauce and lemon or kalamansi juice.

Leave to stand for 10-20 minutes, then serve.

Deliciously challenging to the taste buds.  A true gourmet delight!

 

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

Life size mortar and pestle, photo by JMorton

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

The above photo was taken in Ferdinand Marcos’s Batac ancestral house.  It was used when he was obviously younger as the mortar shows sign of erosion or depreciation.

Having lived in a farming community when I was a young girl, this life-size mortar and pestle is a familiar sight.

It was used in many things that needed pulping like my favourite sweet rice dessert called nilupak or dehusking palay, especially when going to a rice mill is a bit of a hustle.

The term used by Ilocanos, people of Northern Luzon, is agbayo, which means to pound.

Rice comes from palay grains, and if you only wanted a chupa or a ganta of rice, most Ilocanos would probably use a pestle and mortar to pound the palay to dehusk and turn into rice which then ready to cook.

Pounding rice is sometimes more than just a chore.  It can be a way of bonding with friends and family.

I used to help my cousins when they were pounding in the mortar.  Usually there are extra pestles around and two or three people can pound together but take turn.  It is a matter of timing.  It was a lot of fun though can be hard work.  Having someone to help makes this arduous repetitive task less of a chore.

Banga – Ilocano Terracotta Pot

Banga, photo by JMorton

Banga – Ilocano Terracotta Pot

Banga, photo by JMorton

These photos were taken at the Ferdinand Marcos Ancestral House Museum, which is located at Batac Ilocos Norte.

The above ‘banga’ can be found in the house kitchen.

Having lived in London for several decades, walking through Marcos’s house is like going back in time, especially around the kitchen.  I suddenly recognised things that I have forgotten.

If you happen to be in Vigan and wanted to have a trip on memory lane, that is if you are as ancient as me, or curious about Ilocano household before the 90s, then I would recommend a visit to this museum.

….

We used banga to cook our viand or ‘abraw’ when we were still living in Marag.  The conical shape of banga sit perfectly on the 3 prong terracotta stove which uses firewood.

Kangkong (Water Spinach)

Kangkong, photo by JMorton

Kangkong (Water Spinach)

I love kangkong, or water spinach as its English given name.

Kangkong is a green leafy aquatic vegetables which is rich in vitamins and nutrients.  They have a long slender leaves attached to a hollow tube stem which is crunchy or there is bite to it. Yummy

They usually grow in anything watery plot, in fields, swamp, lakes, river or even in bogs.

I remember that they grew near a dyke in the middle of your rice field when we were still living in Marag.

Kangkong can grow rather vigorously and needed a good trim to prevent them overpowering the water surface.  Good thing they are so delicious.

I remember going into the waist-high water in our field to gather the kangkong sprout.  I almost had a near panic attack after a carabao leech decided to attached itself to my stomach. It took ages to remove it and it seems the more you pull at it the longer it gets.  That still gives me nightmare to date.

My father did smoke whenever he plowed the field.  He would use the burning ember of the cigarette to unhook any pesky leech.

Oops, back to kangkong, they are delicious in sinigang as were as blanch and made into a salad.

Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (Green beans & Squash With Coconut Milk)

Ginataang sitaw at kalabasa with fried fish, photo by Mae Mercado-Sanguer

Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (Green beans & Squash With Coconut Milk)

Alamat Ng Ampalaya (Legend of Bitter Gourd)

Ampalaya, Photo by PH Morton

Alamat Ng Ampalaya (Legend of Bitter Gourd)

Ampalaya is so bitter so it is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.  But having said that, once you get used to its taste, you might actually love it as an ingredients to many recipes.

Ampalaya, is a Tagalog name for bitter gourd and it is called parya in the Ilocos region of the Philippines where I spent my childhood eating our own homegrown parya.

There is a Filipino legend how this vegetable got its bitter taste.

 


Alamat ng Ampalaya:

Once upon a time, there was a Green Garden, where all sorts of vegetables grew robustly and profusely.

In this verdant garden, there grew pumpkins with unique sweetness.

There were tomatoes with slight sourness but with fair, soft complexion.

The eggplants were sublime in their royal purple coats.

The lettuce carpeted the ground with their dewey leaves as they look up to the early morning sun.

The jicamas were as fresh and crisp as a new day.

Rhizomes of spicy ginger stood majestically amongst the vegetables.

The onions, shyly confident with their breathtaking thin delicate skin, that they make one cry!.

The daikon radish is the fairest of them all and knows it very well. 🙂

In the far corner stood a little gourd, waiting, watching, hoping to be noticed.

But she was different from the rest, she was wan and pale with a taste that was hard to explain . Day after day she watched the others with their boasting, their preening, their chattering, their joy.

She can’t help  but compare herself with them.  The more she does the more she thought that she cannot measure up with anyone.  As days passed, she can’t bear it anymore, she planned and plotted to carry out a most heinous scheme.

As soon as it got dark, she stealthily went from one vegetable to the next and the next until she had taken all their outstanding qualities.

Overnight the ampalaya became the belle of the Green Garden.  Everyone where asking where did she come from.  She was admired for her beauty and utter perfection.

But there is no secret that can be hidden forever.  The other vegetables start to suspect that there is something that is not quite right.

As  the sun was just setting, the vegetables covertly followed ampalaya in her corner of the Green Garden.  To their amazement, they saw her peel each of the layers of the qualities that made her so perfect.  Without much ado, the vegetables frogmarched the now wan and pale ampalaya to see the Fairy Queen of the Green Garden.

The Queen was not amused.  She looked over at the amplaya and could not believe why she was not satisfied with her beautiful pale appearance!  As a punishment, she let it be known that from the next new light, the ampalaya will wake up with dark warty lumpy skin and the bitterest of taste.  And she would always either be loved or hated for all eternity.

Moral of the story:  everyone is beautiful, you just have to cultivate your own asset!

 

Rev Fr Luciano Ariel Felloni of Roman Catholic Diocese of Novaliches

Rev Fr Luciano Ariel Felloni of Roman Catholic Diocese of Novaliches

I came across of this rather remarkable man just a few weeks ago.  A friend shared a link of Father Luciano Felloni’s  link in Facebook.

At first I was intrigue because he looks so handsome. I suddenly went back on a nostalgia trip to when I was in high school, where we had to go to communion and by the by, often ogle all those young handsome sacristans.  LOL (I think this was a right of passage to young virginal girls, which is another story for a blog) 🙂

Anyway back to Father Luciano, I was really pleasantly surprised when I started playing the video.  The Father was talking in fluent Tagalog.  In fact he is so comfortable with the language that I think he talks the mother tongue better than yours truly.  (Before anyone mention about the malansang isda, I do love Tagalog and Ilocano but because I don’t get to speak them everyday, my fluency sometimes needs recharging!)  🙂

He said that he is more fluent in Tagalog than in English because he came from a country, where English is not the normal medium of instruction.

This handsome disciple of Jesus, is originally from Argentina, though his ancestors are pure Italians.

Father Felloni engagingly introduced himself as Tubong Argentina(born in Argentina), Dugong Italiano (with Italian {blood} ancestry), Pusong Pinoy (with a heart of a Filipino), Bulsang Ilocano (Ilocano pocket {Ilocanos are noted for being frugal with money}).

He has been in the Philippines for more than 20 years.

He was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 26. He mentioned somewhere that he used to take a bus, public transport, with Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a fellow Argentinian, who of course is now Pope Francis!

Fr Felloni was given his parish church in the Philippines at the age of 29.  The church was in Payatas, located in Quezon City.  Payatas is known for being a landfill, a dumpsite.  A smokey mountain of rubbish and trash, where poverty stricken Filipinos, both young and very old make a living by picking up a bit of plastic, paper, metal, useful woods and the occasional treasures to be had.

Father Luciano worked, supported and prayed with people like these for over 10 years.  He knew their problems, he knew how they live, he knew how they survive. He knew them alright!

He is a true Filipino at heart.

Lately he has been making noises against extensive summary killing of the drug addicted, the pedlars, pushers, etc. borne from Duterte’s Drug War.

I hope this priest, with his heart on the right place, will not become one of the growing statistics of this summary killings that is still rampantly going on.

Please let us protect this man; his love of the Filipinos and the Philippines is what legend are made of.

GOD BLESS YOU FATHER LUCIANO FELLONI!

 

Father Felloni has a social media project of turning Christians into cybermissionaries. Every morning, with his Almusalita (this is a coupling of two Tagalog words: almusal meaning ‘breafast’ and salita means ‘word’), he shares readings from the Holy Bible.

With his beautiful homilies, he wants those who loved the readings to like, share in our ‘wall’ and tag friends with his video in Facebook.  By doing so we can all be cybermissionaries and make  word of the Lord viral.

I have been religiously doing so. 🙂

H

This is the best sermon ever in Tagalog and this is done by the good Father Felloni.

As Father Felloni would say, if you like this video (blog) please like it, share it in your wall and tag your friends.  Let’s be all cybermissionaries by spreading the Word of God.

Legend of Seahorse (Alamat Ng Kabayo Kabayohan)

Seahorses are a strange creatures. Their heads up to their necks resemble that of a horse. This of course influenced their scientific classification name. 🙂

They belong to the genus Hippocampus, a word derived from two Greek words: hippo meaning ‘horse’ and campos as ‘sea monster’.

Seahorses live in seagrasses and coral in the shallow tropical temperature water.

Legend of Seahorse (Alamat Ng Kabayo Kabayohan)

In the Philippines, there is a legend that might explain why these marine creatures look like horses. This legend was adapted from the Outline of Philippine Mythology by F. Landa Jocano

Long ago in the province of Cavite, located in the Southern shores of Manila de Bay, two majestic horses, a stallion and a mare, were enjoying the bright morning sun, occasionally grazing at the verdant grass by the seashore.

These two horses are rather special.  They are a personal ‘pet’ of the sea god, Amanikable.

Anyway, the idyllic time was disturbed a sudden flurry of activity.

There in the distant was a group of men and their ferociously barking dogs.

This unsettled the horses a great deal as the men and dog are fast heading their way.

The men did not look friendly and the dogs doubled their frenzied barking.

Both the mare and stallion started galloping but it was too late.  They have been cornered.

The mare looked up to the sky piteously and prayed to Amanikable.  All the while the stallion circling the mare to protect.

“Please great lord of the sea, save us from these beings.  We besiege you to help us. Please not abandon us in our time of need” the mare prayed.

Amanikable heard the lamentable but solemn request of the mare.

He commanded the sea to create the biggest waves, huge enough to shallow the whole shore, including the mare and stallion.

But the horses are unable to swim.  With pity and great care Amanikable turned them into aquatic animals.  Fish but not quite like fish.

Being favoured ‘pets’ of the Amanikable, a crown like spine grew out of their heads.

The grass washed away by the waves into the sea became seaweeds, where the magically created seahorses now live and feed.

This is the legend of the seahorse.

The Black-Sea seahorse, by Florin DUMITRESCU

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