Who is your first crush?
And what dish reminds you of said person?
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.
Instantly, I had visions of the 80’s – acid washed jeans, mile-high bangs, flouro shirts and *big pause* MENUDO!
Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that my first ever ever crush was Ricky Martin of Menudo. I remember, he was 12 and I was 6, he was a member of the biggest boyband at that time and I can’t even carry a tune (even now… really shames me when people ask me if I’m a good singer coz I’m Filipino.. anyhoo!), he was travelling all over the world promoting his album while my furthest destination was my school via the school service… but despite those differences we still found ourselves madly in love with each other – okay so it was a one-sided relationship which is (obviously) mainly from my end.
Once my brother caught me watching their music video (with Lea Salonga, I think that was) on TV wide-eyed (and probably with my mouth hanging open and a bit of drool on the side) and being the big brother that he was proceeded to tease me. I remember crying and walking out, but quickly coming back once I saw that the coast was clear.
Years later our paths crossed again… this time I was already in College and he a solo star. Although the love was still there, unfortunately, it wasn’t as strong as when we were younger. This, however, didn’t stop me from taking Spanish as an elective so I can impress him with my linguistic skills (if and) when we meet. Completely ignoring the fact that he speaks perfect English but whatever!
So now I present you my dish, one that I never made until now. See I’m not a big fan of tomato based stews so my poor husband has to wait until we go home for Christmas so that he can eat his (according to him) one of his favourite dishes (top three he said) menudo.
Having never made this dish, I dialled (or texted) a friend – otherwise known as my mom. She quickly replied with her basic instructions, so again all the measurements on this dish were just done by feel.
I started by browning pork belly cubes in a bit of oil, once they’re done I sauteed chopped onions and then added the minced garlic once the onions were soft and transparent (segue to.. I once heard Kris Aquino – man I hate her – say that she learned that when sauteing you should start with onions as the garlic burns and becomes bitter, so much as I hate her, this tip actually made sense and I’ve been using it since then). Then I added quarter pieces of tomatoes. Once everything was nice and mushy, I added some sliced chorizo (in replacement of hotdogs as we don’t have tender juicy or tender meaty here and the red hotdogs aren’t really that good.. so I thought it’s a Spanish dish might as well add a Spanish hotdog eeer sausage) I placed the pork back and added strips of red bell pepper, green peas, cubed potatoes and cubed carrots and covered everything with just enough tomato sauce. Simmer until nice and bubbly and then added raisins (or sultanas as we call them here) and strips of pork liver. Just leave it simmering for a few minutes more until the liver is cooked. Of course, season season season as all those TV chefs would say.
Above is my attempt at plating (needs more practice I think!)
Husband was really happy that I made menudo and knowing that I never really liked this particular dish was extra curious as to why I cooked it. I didn’t tell him the truth as it might hurt his feelings (he thinks he’s my first love.. haha!) but was happy to eat it nonetheless.
Some little points re : making this dish – chorizo is actually a good replacement for hotdogs, but since most of the chorizo sold here is fresh (i.e soft and not smoked) I would drop it in last minute along with the liver next time as some disappeared into the sauce. Also, my mom mentioned garbanzos (or chickpeas) but I didn’t include it as I’m not a fan. And another thing, I know that I said menudo is a Spanish dish, but then I remember eating Mexican menudo in the US – different though as it had offal and wasn’t sweet-ish like the Filipino version.