No, I’m not talking about the gorgeous Leslie Caron in “Gigi” musical movie production, I’m talking about the lowly seafood staple of the Filipinos affectionately called “Gigi” or “GG”, a contraction of “galunggong” (Decapterus macrosoma). Its English names are round scad, round mackerel and short-fin mackerel. From my own childhood recollection, Gigi became famous during the Cory Aquino administration because it was one of her agenda to bring the cost of this fish.
Today’s lunch was, yes, Gigi! Traditionally, it’s pan fried until crisp and served with seasoned vinegar or side of cut tomatoes over freshly cooked rice. It’s also very good when smoked–my town, San Mateo, is quite noted for their smoke houses. It’s pretty versatile and it could be cooked in various forms, but today, without the aid of electricity, I pumped water from the water faucet to clean this fish, made fire out of branches outside and cooked lunch for the workers in the house. First, I fried these Gigis until crisp. I thought it was good enough until I got bored staring at it and I want to dress it up for a change.
In my pantry, I found some Tausi (fermented, salted black beans). The only produce gathered from the farm yesterday was a small kalabasa (kabocha). Using the same pan I used for frying with caramelized bits of Gigi, I removed most of the fat and kept about 3 tablespoons, just enough for sauteing the savories. Garlic, onion, lots of native ginger, one can of Tausi drained and washed twice, and a small kalabasa with seeds scraped out and diced half inch–totally alright to leave skin on because it’s more nutritious that way. Saute all of these and add two cups of water and let it simmer, season with a two tablespoons of palm vinegar and one tablespoon of sugar (optional). When kalabasa is soft but not disintegrating, it’s ready. Depending on your preference, some people like it dry, some like it soupy, for me, I like it just right. So, here’s my dressed up Gigi in Cinderella’s kalabasa. Just top the fried fish with the mentioned concoction and call it day!