A dish that’s uniquely Filipino…
That is this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club Challenge.
Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and it’s colourful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.
My first thought was… Adobo!
But then it’s not a dish that I normally make. See I’m not a fan (*gasp!*) I know it’s considered as the un-official National Dish but I just don’t like it.. I don’t have any reasons, just that I don’t. Hubs thinks it’s very un-patriotic. Hypocrite he calls me, here I am declaring my love for the Philippines but wouldn’t eat adobo. I just don’t like it.. please don’t judge me…
Now if I was to campaign for a National Dish – it would definitely be.. *drum roll* Sinigang! Like adobo, each region and family have their own version of this dish – you’re also not limited to what meat you can use (you can even use seafood!), to what vegetable accompanies your protein (water spinach, snake beans, white radish..whatever you fancy!) and what souring agent to use (tamarind, kamias, guava, miso, calamansi..). I know the Thais’ are famous for Tom Yum… but we can definitely challenge them head on with our Sinigang and like the much-awaited Pacquiao vs Mayweather bout, it will surely be a good fight!
Now another dish that I love – but seldom get to eat – is Lechon. Seldom as this is only served during special occasions – Christening, Weddings, some Birthdays and Christmas Parties (not for me as I live overseas). I know that you can buy them per kilo at the kiosks by the supermarket but being overseas I have to wait for the above mentioned events (or going home) before I can savour the taste of this lovely dish – with it’s crispy skin and meat cooked to perfection.. I’ll stop now before I start drooling.
Well as luck would have it, one of our Filipino friends just got married! And in true Filipino fashion we were sent home with a takeaway bag (I love being Filipino!). By using my amazing mental persuasion and quick ninja reflexes I have prevented hubs from touching the left over lechon until I can buy the other ingredients to complete my Kulinarya challenge.
So now I present my dish for this month (well actually June… better late than never!) : Lechon Sinigang!!!
I started with the “sankutsa”.. or sauteing garlic, onions and tomatoes until it turns into a nice mushy consistency.
Next to join in is the leftover Lechon pieces, quickly followed by rice water (water reserved from washing your rice before cooking). As I like my Sinigang really sour, I immediately add the souring mix (2 packets – 1 with chili and 1 with gabi) and bring it to a boil. Once it boils I lower the heat and put in the veggies – starting with the harder ones (as they take longer to cook) and then turn the stove off completely and just let the heat of the soup cook the vegetables. I do this because I like my vegetables to still be “crunchy”. I used okra, snakebeans and white radish.
On a side note, I saw a cooking show once where they dunked the vegetables in iced water first before cooking it. They said this helps to retain the vegetable’s colour. Haven’t tried this yet as I’m very lazy but will do so in the future (maybe…)
Now wasn’t that easy? Serve this with steaming hot rice and fish sauce with chili and you’re all set!