My Top 4 Comfort Dishes
We All Need Comfort Sometimes
I am sure you have had days like when you felt like this little boy. I know I have! And during those those days, you either just buckle up and plod on, or you give in and go for something that will make you feel better.
We all have our own ways of seeking comfort, and while there may be those who oppose the idea of eating when you feel down, I say there is absolutely nothing wrong with have an arsenal of comfort dishes. Obviously, I have nothing wrong with digging into a nice plate - or bowl, for that matter - of one of my favorite dishes.
Let me share with you my top four comfort dishes. No matter how bad my day has been, with one of these dishes, I am sure to feel better. Even just a tad bit.
Pork Sinigang (Tamarind Soup)
Unless you're from the Philippines, or you've had some contact with the culture, sinigang may be totally strange to you. Sinigang is a sour soup with tamarind usually used as the base.
The soup's main ingredient can be pork, fish, or shrimp. Sometimes, beef is also used. A mix of vegetables is also part of the dish, ranging from string beans to green leafy vegetables to tomatoes to radishes.
This soup is my all time favorite, and it never fails to warm me up - literally and figuratively.
Traditionally, grandmothers would get the tamarind fruit and painstakingly get the pulp out for the base. Today, however, you can find cubes or powder sachets of the sinigang broth base. Most Asian stores carry them.
The image may not look that appetizing, but trust me, when it comes to comfort, it is hard to beat this dish. If you like piping hot soup and sour flavors, then you will love sinigang. Here is a good recipe for sinigang.
Yes, another soup. It is not that surprising, is it? Soup, after all, is one of the most comforting things in this world!
Bulalo is another Filipino dish which will knock your socks off. It is basically beef shank slow cooked until the meat practically falls off the bones. The broth is made rich and flavorful because of the marrow, and the additional of fish sauce (in lieu of salt) adds a totally different dimension to the dish. Vegetables are also added at the end of the cooking time to complete the ensemble.
While I can make sinigang at home any time, bulalo is something I have never gotten the hang of. Luckily, the best bulalo in the Philippines is not too far from me. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world, look up R&J Bulalohan.
Don't expect fine dining, I am warning you. However, if you want to go local and enjoy good food, this place is where you need to go. Oh, and they are open 24 hours!
Italian food is at the top of the list of comfort food for many people. No matter what your nationality may be, the chances are that you like Italian food. Who doesn't?
It is hard for me to choose what to order whenever I go to Italian restaurants. My favorite place in town, however, is Casa Nostra. When I do go to this particular Italian restaurant Makati is lucky to have, I know what will make me feel better - no fail! Cioppino.
Cioppino is a seafood stew that is actually not purely Italian. That is, it was created by Italians who moved to San Francisco back in the day. Just think of a rich tomato-based soup with chunks of fish, mussels, clams, and shrimp. Man, I feel a craving coming on just thinking of it!
If you've ever had cioppino, I think you know what I am talking about. If you want to try your hand at making this awesome stew at home, here's a recipe that has caught my eye. It's by celebrity chef Giada: cioppino.
Sometimes, the simpler you go, the more comfort you get. And you can't get much simpler than spaghetti bolognese, can you?
I guess I do not need to make a confession, but I'll do it anyway: I'm a sucker for Italian food. Spaghetti bolognese is always welcome, preferably a heaping mountain of it.
The problem with this dish is that there are so many variations out there, that I am not even sure I know what the real thing is. If you feel the same way, here is a very good article on what real spag bol is, according to Italian chefs.