Philippines Exotic Foods - Southern Luzon Delights

SOUTHERN Luzon is probably only second to Central Luzon as one of the Philippines' more fertile areas for agricultural production

Blessed with a nicer clime and unique topographical features (e.g. mountains, rivers, lakes and a long coastline), it is but natural to assume that the cuisine of this region is one of the most abundant and varied. To this assertion, Southern Luzon does not disappoint.

As expected, its cuisine includes a variety of foodstuffs common to other regions and more. Its long coastline also assures it of the freshest seafood, while its proximity to Manila and the string of ports in the area has made it open to foreign ingredients and cooking styles. Thus, you will find some of the dishes favored in the region heavily influenced by the Spanish and the Chinese. Despite these influences though, the region has come up with the very Filipino sinigang (sour stew) which is soured by a host of ingredients ranging from the tamarind to the calamansi - the nuances of which only a true-blue resident of the region will appreciate. The use of coconut and coconut milk is also very prevalent in the dishes associated with the area but without the use of fiery chilis. All in all, a sour-sweet flavor pervades the region, a
characteristic which also best describes the dishes included in this section.

Not surprisingly, the following recipes are varied but easy to do. They are also surprising in terms of ingredients as the length and breadth of the region - with all its profundity - decreed it to be so.


ENSALADANG KUWALO (EGGPLANT WITH COCONUT CREAM SALAD)

  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 5 tbsps. coconut cream (first extract)
  • 4 pcs. eggplants, roasted
  • 1 calamansi, juice only
  • spring onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix the garlic with coconut cream and add to the cooked eggplant. Toss with the calamansi juice. Top with chopped spring onions. Serve immediately.


GUISADONG GULAY (SAUTEED VEGETABLE)

  • 20 pcs. quail eggs, hard-boiled then shelled
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2    pcs. carrots, cubed
  • 1 large singkamas (native turnips), cubed
  • 1/2 kg. shrimp, peeled then sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. patis
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup green peas

Heat oil and saute onion and garlic. Add the shrimp. Allow to simmer. Season with patis and pepper. Add the carrots and the singkamas. Allow to cook some more. Add the peas and corn. Add the eggs last.


SABAW SA KABUTE (MUSHROOM SOUP)

  • 1/2 kg. fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cups medium-size shrimps, shelled
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • cooking oil

Heat oil and saute the garlic, onion, shrimps and mushroom. Add water and cream of mushroom soup. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to boil for 15 minutes. Cool a little before serving.

SINIGANG NA CARPA SA BAYABAS (CARP SINIGANG)

  • 1 kg. carpa (carp fish)
  • 3 pcs. tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 pcs. native guavas (the small ones), peeled
  • 2 tbsps. patis (fish sauce)
  • 1 bundle kangkong, tender stalks and leaves only
  • 2 pcs. eggplants, sliced
  • 2 pcs. green finger pepper
  • rice wash

In a pot, pour in rice wash along with the guavas and tomatoes.

When the broth boils, add the carp, eggplant, kangkong and green finger pepper.

Season with fish sauce and serve hot.

PINAIS NA HIPON

  • 1 kg. freshwater shrimp, washed
  • 1 heart of palm (ubod ng niyog), sliced into slivers
  • 3 cups scraped meat of young coconut
  • 4 cups coconut cream (first extract or kakang gata)

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place the mixture into banana leaf pockets (cone-shaped banana leaves). Wrap well.

Steam for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked.

TIP

FISH AND SHRIMP BAGOONG. Because it has salt, fish and shrimp bagoong can stay for a longer period of time without (spoiling compared to other foodstuffs. Just be sure to place them in tightly sealed containers or jars. When scooping some bagoong, always be sure to use a dry spoon or scooper to prevent possible spoilage.

PINAIS NA TULINGAN

  • 1 kg. tulingan, gutted and washed
  • 1 tbsp. rock salt (or sea salt)
  • 1/4 kg. kamias fruit
  • 1 small red onion (sibuyas tagalog)
  • 1 head garlic
  • banana leaves
  • water

Line bottom of a clay pot with banana leaves. Rub tulingan with rock salt and wrap with banana leaves. Place the onions, garlic, kamias and pork fat at the bottom of the pot. Place wrapped tulingan on top. Pour in some water enough to cover the fish. Allow to simmer in slow fire. The tulingan is cooked if it is sardine-like in consistency.

Remove the fish from the pot. Do not throw away the remaining liquid. Strain. This will serve as a dip for the fish. Alternatively, one can use galunggong instead of tulingan.

TAWILIS (FRESH WATER SARDINES)

  • 1 kg. tawilis (freshwater sardines)
  • cooking oil for frying
  • salt to taste

For the sauce, mix:

  • vinegar
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • chopped bird's eye chili (siling labuyo)

Wash the tawilis in running water to remove dirt and other impurities. Rub the fish with salt.

Heat oil in a pan and fry the tawilis until crisp. Serve the sauce. Alternatively, you can skewer the tawilis in bamboo sticks and grill in hot charcoal.

CRAB RELLENO

  • 2 kg. crab
  • 1 1/2 cans crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/4 kg. corn, boiled and grated (optional)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsps. cornstarch
  • salt and pepper

In a deep pan, place the crabs, salt and crushed pineapple syrup; allow to simmer. Flake crab meat and reserve crab shells.

Saute the onions, celery, grated corn, bell peppers and chicken bouillon in a skillet. Add the crab meat and crushed pineapple. Season to taste and cook for 5 minutes. Add the egg. Fill crab shells with 1/4 cup of sauteed mixture. Sprinkle with cornstarch. Fry surface until lightly golden brown. Top with grated cheese, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

SHRIMP KARE-KARE (SHRIMP IN PEANUT SAUCE)

  • 1 kg. shrimp
  • 1 cup thin coconut milk
  • 1 thumb-size ginger, crushed
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 3 pcs. siling labuyo, ground
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup green onions, cut into 1 centimeter lengths

Shell the shrimps. Split back and remove veins.

Place shrimps in a saucepan. Add the thin coconut milk and ginger. Bring to a boil until shrimps turn red. Add the turmeric.

Stir in siling labuyo and add salt to taste. Boil until coconut oil comes out.

Remove from the fire. Add the green onions and serve.

NILASING NA HIPON (SHRIMP ON GIN)

  • 3 kg. large shrimps
  • 4 cups gin
  • 4 cups flour
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • cooking oil

Wash the shrimps twice to remove impurities and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes.

Place the shrimps in a bowl and add the gin.

Prepare the batter by mixing flour with some water and gin. Mix well. Add the batter to the shrimps and mix well until the shrimps are well-coated.

Heat oil in a skillet and deep-fry the shrimp. (Alternatively, you can use little oil and fry the shrimp a little at a time.)

STEAMED MALIPUTO

  • 1 medium-size maliputo fish (a fish native to Taal Lake in Batangas)
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. lambanog (coconut wine)
  • 1 thumb-size ginger spring onions

Gut the maliputo, rinse well and score the fish with diagonal cuts. Season the fish with salt and rub with the sesame oil. Set aside.

Mix the soy sauce ginger and lambanog.

Line a steamer with banana leaves, place the fish on top of it. Pour the soy sauce mixture over it. Steam until done.

CHICKEN WITH COCONUT CREAM AND PAPAYA

  • 1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 green papaya, sliced into serving pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. patis (fish sauce)

Using a deep pan, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Lessen the stove heat and allow to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes; or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Season with patis before serving.

PININYAHANG MANOK (CHICKEN PINEAPPLE)

  • 1 kg. chicken, cut into serving portions
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup cream
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Heat oil and saute the garlic and the onion. Add the chicken and allow to simmer until the chicken is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the pineapple chunks, followed by the cream. Allow to simmer some more until done. Garnish with pineapple before serving.

PICKLED BALUT

  • 1 dozen balut (duck embryo), boiled and unpeeled
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 3 tsps. rock salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 thumb-size ginger, julienned

To prepare the pickling solution: Boil together the vinegar, sugar and salt and pour into a sterilized jar.

Peel the boiled balut and place inside the jar. Garnish with red bell pepper, carrots and ginger. Allow to ferment for 2 days.

Serve as an appetizer if desired.

BULALO (OX KNEE CAP)

  • 3 pcs. bulalo (ox knee cap)
  • 2 tbsps. peppercorn
  • salt to taste
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 3 potatoes, quartered
  • 1 kg. Baguio beans, slice each bean in two
  • 1 head cabbage, quartered
  • 4 pcs. banana (saba variety)
  • 2 pcs. corn on the cob, cut into several pieces
  • 1 bundle pechay

Boil the bulalo in water for several hours until the meat is tender and the broth fragrant. Add pepper, salt and onion. Allow to simmer for a few minutes.

Add the potatoes and the Baguio beans. When the vegetables are crisp tender, add the cabbage, pechay and the saba banana. Serve with fish sauce and bird's eye chili (siling labuyo) dip. Serve hot.

BISTEK TAGALOG (BEEF STAKE TAGALOG)

  • 1/2 kg beef, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 3 pcs. onions
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 pcs. calamansi, juice only
  • cooking oil

Marinate the beef in soy sauce and calamansi for at least 15 minutes (or overnight)

Slice the onions into rings. Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions, remove and set aside.

Using the same pan, fry the beef. Add the marinade and allow to simmer until the sauce has reduced. Top with the onions before serving.

PORK BINAGOONGAN

  • 1/2 kg. pork pigue, cubed
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 3/4 cup bagoong (raw), market-bought
  • 3 pcs. green finger pepper (siling pang-sigang)
  • 1 cup coconut cream (first extract)
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Heat oil and saute the garlic and onion. Add the pork and cook until the meat turns white. Add the bagoong and simmer until the bagoong is cooked and the meat tender. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the coconut cream, followed by the finger pepper. Allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Add the sugar and the bell peppers. Allow to simmer for another 4 minutes.


JARDINERA

  • 1 kg. pork, cubed
  • 1 kg. chicken, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup pickle relish
  • 1 cup chopped vienna sausage
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 8 eggs, beaten as binder for the mixture
  • extra eggs, beaten for the individual molds

Heat oil in a pan and saute the pork and chicken separately. Allow to cool and set aside.

In a bowl, mix pineapple chunks, pickle relish, sausage, raisins, green peas, pork and chicken. Mix thoroughly. Add the beaten eggs and mix some more. Place the mixture in individual molds. Add one beaten egg per mold. Steam until done.

KILAWING LAGUNA

  • 1 kg. pork intestines, boiled then sliced into strips
  • 1 kg. Iabanos (white radish), sliced
  • 3 big onions, sliced
  • 3 tbsp. patis (fish sauce)
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsps. sugar
  • cooking oil

Heat oil and saute garlic and onions. Season with patis before adding the intestines and vinegar. Allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar, black pepper and white radish. Allow to boil for 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

POCHERONG GUISADO

  • 1 kg. pork
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 can pork and beans, store-bought
  • 2 tbsps. cooking oil
  • 2 tbsps. patis
  • 3 pcs. bananas (saba variety)
  • 2 pcs. eggplants, sliced
  • 1/4 kg. Baguio beans, each bean sliced in two
  • 1 small camote (sweet potato), peeled then sliced
  • 1/2 head cabbage
  • 2 heads pechay

Heat oil and saute garlic and onion. Add the tomato sauce and season with patis. Put the pork in and allow to simmer until the meat is tender. Add the camote and the saba. Allow to simmer some more.

Add the eggplants and the Baguio beans. Add the cabbage and the pechay and allow to simmer for 5 minutes more. Serve immediately.

TIP

LEFT OVER SLICED ONIONS. Left with excess sliced onions? Don't throw them out just yet. Wrap them in wax paper and refrigerate. They can still be used up to 2 days and will be just as fresh.

KALDERETANG KAMBING (GOAT STEW)

  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 2 medium-size onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 2 kg. goat meat, cubed then boiled until tender
  • water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce salt to taste
  • 2 laurel leaves
  • 2 pcs. bird's eye chili (siling labuyo)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

Heat oil and saute garlic, onion and goat meat until the latter is brown. Add some water, tomato sauce, salt, pepper and laurel leaves. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the siling labuyo to add spice. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with red bell pepper before serving.

BULACAN-STYLE LECHE FLAN

  • 12 pcs. egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 can condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsps. dayap rind
  • 1/2 cup caramelized sugar (3/4 cups sugar boiled in 1/2 cup sugar)

Beat the egg yolks and add the milk, sugar and dayap rind. Mix thoroughly. Strain the resulting mixture to make it fine; set aside.

Pour caramelized sugar in a molder (llanera). Follow with the egg yolk mixture. Steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour until set. Remove from molder prior to serving.

BROAS

  • 3 eggs, separated and beaten
  • 2 tbsps. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Beat the hell out of the egg whites. Gradually add the sugar until it becomes stiff but not dry.

Beat the pulp out of the egg yolks, add1 cup of the confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Beat until thick.

Fold the egg yolk mixture with the egg white mixture.  Gradually add the flour.

On a prepared cookie sheet. Drop a spoonful of batter and form into a finger shapes. Repeat until all the batter is used.

Bake in an oven at 350°F for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Drizzle with remaining confectioner's sugar.

Note: If you want a crisp-dry broas, bake it a second time at a lower temperature.

TIP

REUSING COOKING OIL. Filipinos love fried food and although it is ideal to use fresh cooking oil every time it would be very costly. What to do: Refresh cooking oil by frying some potato cubes in it. The potato will remove the "taste" of the cooking oil and make it clearer. Another method is to mix cooking oil with hot boiling water. Stir the mixture and place in the coolest part of the freezer. Allow the oil to freeze. While still frozen, remove impurities that will settle either on top or the bottom of the oil mixture.

CARAMELIZED SABA BANANA

  • 12 pcs. bananas (saba variety)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 bar butter (optional)
  • 1 cup pinipig (Philippine rice cereal)
  • 1 can evaporated or condensed milk

Peel the bananas and slice into halves. Fry.

In a saucepan, melt the sugar with the butter to make the caramelized sauce; set aside.

Toast the pinipig until golden brown.

To serve: Dip the bananas in the caramel. Drizzle with milk and top with pinipig.

PUTO SECO

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups cornstarch
  • 1 tsp.cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 375°F and grease the cookie sheets.

In a bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until well-blended and smooth. Beat in the eggs. One egg at a time. Stir in the cornstarch, cream of tartar and baking powder until well-blended.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes until the puto seco becomes light brown. Allow to cool before serving.

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