This was my hosted-entry to Lasang Pinoy 4 food blogging event which was originally posted at Mang Mike’s Lafang. I was inspired while monitoring the events surrounding the “Yemagate” photo-napping incident at Karen and Marketman’s blogs . . . as well as Mang Mike’s prodding for me to join . . .
“What is your comfort food?” Mang Mike once asked me. Gosh, I don’t think I have any comfort food. If I need some comforting, just give me a “comfort” pillow where I can scream to the top of my lungs without bothering anybody and get back to my composure.
But thinking about it, yup, there are food that make me smile [and in fact, cry] and wished I’m at home with my Mama . . . isn’t that what’s really comforting? Kahit paminsan-minsan en nauuwi sa away ang maigsi ninyong pagkikita . . .
Anyway, one comfort food I could think of is our own version of Binagoongan, one that is almost dry. I remember how my siblings and I would scrape the bottom with fresh steamed rice, hide the last chunk of meat so they can’t steal it while you are so engrossed watching the TV. We all love this dish. Actually, anything with bagoong [shrimp paste] is a hit for me. I don’t know, but I think it is very versatile, gaya nating mga Pinoy — adaptable everywhere we go. Ihalo mo sa gulay, pwede, i-partner mo sa mangga o singkamas, pwede, iluto mo sa pork pwede din! Or as it is with tomatoes and fried fish! Yum!
I guess my comfort food will always be related with home cooking. There is nothing more comforting to me than eating what is being experimented in our small kitchen, and I would say experiment because my mother is not a well versed cook herself, but nonetheless it is the best that she can offer.
“Ayan na nga ba sinasabi ko eh, naiyak at na-homesick naman akong bigla. Kaya nga ba ayaw kong sumali sa ganito, nagiging emotional ako eh.”
BINAGOONGAN SA GATA
1 kilo pork liempo
1/4 cup atsuete [annato seeds]
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup onions, finely sliced
2 pieces tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup bagoong na alamang
1/2 cup vinegar
400 ml coconut milk
1 teaspoon black pepper
some pork lard or cooking oil
some sili [green, used for sinigang]
some sliced eggplant or okra as extender
Boil pork pieces until tender or when broth has almost evaporated. set aside and let cool.
In a saucepan, heat pork lard or cooking oil and add atsuete, stirring constantly for one minute or until oil has absorbed the colouring of atsuete.
Remove atsuete seeds and keep oil in the saucepan. Saute garlic, onions, tomatoes and bagoong.
Add pork, vinegar, pepper, eggplant or okra, and sili. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn heat to medium and pour in coconut cream. Continue to simmer, stirring continuously until coconut cream thickens.
Serve with hot steamed rice.
By Joji Languido-Castillo