Tag Archives: bagoong

A Little Fire, A Little Smoke

One of my preferred ways of preparing eggplant is flame-broiling it–until the skin is charred and the whole fruit is soft.   I simply use my gas stove to achieve this quickly.  After all eggplants have been flame-broiled, I put them on a plate and cover it with a film to encourage further steaming from the residual heat.  The moisture will make the peeling of burnt skin a lot easier.  After peeling it, I lay it on a plate, smear some seasoned bagoong I made from yesterday, dice some dry-farmed tomatoes, a little bit of Spanish onions, and sweet green chilies.  Serve it with fried smoked fish–today, I fried smoked milkfish (bangus) to go along with this.  Simple, quick and satisfying but you can’t tell because the layers of flavors are complex.  A little fire and smoke takes this dish into another dimension.

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Common Ground

Today, I had to cook Kare Kare for our Sunday supper (braised oxtail with peanut sauce and vegetables) and had to deal with a lot green mangoes from the farm and our neighbor’s mango harvest.  Kare Kare and green mangoes must go with a prepared bagoong (fermented shrimp fry).  I had to make it first thing in the morning–I was up early and started working on this because cooking this bagoong into a savory-salty-sweet with a texture of a conserve, takes about 2 hours top, for half a kilo.  I’d rarely make this but when I was with a Filipino restaurant in San Francisco, I made certain that my bagoong never come in those ready-made jars.  I insisted on cooking it, no matter what.

LEFT:  sauteed garlic, onions and tomatoes with fresh bagoong just added. MIDDLE:  In the process of reduction and introduction of sugar. RIGHT:  Canning.  This is the color of the freshly cooked bagoong.  It should look dark brown like the ones bought already made from stores.

LEFT: sauteed garlic, onions and tomatoes with fresh bagoong just added.
MIDDLE: In the process of reduction and introduction of sugar.
RIGHT: Canning. This is the color of the freshly cooked bagoong. It should look dark brown like the ones bought already made from stores.

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