Sunday, May 30, 2010
One Fine Saturday
One fine Saturday of May we had a guest. A spanish national who's a friend of my cousin whom he met in one of his travels abroad. This is not the first time he's ever been to the Philippines but it's his first in our place. He was amazed at how beautiful my cousins' house is with all the woodwork, the garden and the multitide of species of wild insects, amphibians and reptiles that freely roam and fly around the house as if it were their natural habitat!
And so we prepared a lunch for him that consisted of Filipino dishes like Crispy Pata, Rellenong Bangus and Chop Suey (with a twist). I also prepared some Chili and Cheese and Grass Jelly drink. And of course, San Miguel Beer.
Since he came late at around past 1pm, we ate lunch ahead of him and just prepared the table for him. My cousin accompanied him for lunch. At his first bite of the crispy pata, I videoed his comment and he complemented it with a praise saying that I could be a successful chef in Spain. I thought he was just being polite but as he devoured each and every dish to the bottom, I was convinced that he really liked my cooking. He finished all the Crispy Pata by himself, leaving only the knuckles and bones, more than half the relleno and all of the chopsuey!
In between munches, he talked about history especially the Spanish colonization of Las Islas Felipinas. I learned more from him in just a lunch's time than I ever learned from 10 years of schooling. He said, and I was surprised to know that Philip was not actually the King during the naming of the islands. Felipe was the son of Charles 1 (Carlos Primera, according to him)who was the reigning monarch during the time. It was also interesting to learn that the PESO, the Philippines currency (and Mexico's and Argentinia's) was just a slang for lower denominated REALES of Spain. But the most interesting thing was that the circumnavigation of the world was not actually a pre-thought, strategised and well-researched plan. It was a product of circumstance. When Magallanes sailed to the Indies from Spain, he ought to return using the same route back. But strong winds pushed him further east and bad weather wrecked most of his fleet and soon they were stuck in an island called Mactan!
I enjoyed listening to him as much as he enjoyed the meal. When he left, he told my cousin to tell me how much he enjoyed chitchatting with us over the lunch I cooked for him. I'm glad that he liked it.
Here are some of the recipes:
4 pcs Bangus weighing about 1.5Kg all in all
250 grams ground pork
a bunch of kintsay
1 medium size carrot, chopped finely
1 medium size potato, chopped finely
1 medium size bell pepper, chopped finely
half a cup green peas
1/4 cup pickle relish
1/4 cup raisins
some bread crumbs or flour
oil for deep frying
Have the fish vendor do the extraction of the flesh from the skin of Bangus so you won't have a hard time doing it yourself. Most fish vendors would be more than glad to do the job for their buyers.
Marinate the fish skin with salt and kalamansi juice. Refrigerate.
Season the fish meat and boil until it's cooked. Let cool and debone by flaking the meat. Use a bowl of water for dipping your fingers to rid of the bones that stick to your fingers.
On a hot pan, saute onions,garlic and brown the ground pork. Season to taste. I put a little oyster sauce in it to kick the flavors.
Then add the chopped vegetables and cook until they're tender. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for a few more minutes.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool completely. Once cooled, break 2 eggs on the mixture and add around 2 tbsp of flour or bread crumbs. Mix. They will bind the mixture and prevent it from crumbling once you slice the relleno later.
Stuff the fish sklin with the mixture a tablespoon at a time, pushing it downward so so you'll have a firm stuffing inside. After all bangus have been stuffed, wrap them in banana leaves and chill for a moment to make sure they're firm.
Deep fry until golden brown.
For a really crispy CRISPY PATA, freeze the pressure-cooked pata first before frying. Deep fry the pata while it is still in the frozen state.