Bringhe

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Grandma burst into song at lunch today. After lengthily praying, she burst into song – clapping while singing “This is the Day”. Look it up, I’m not singing it.

Mom was hiding silent giggles, uncle kept mouthing under his breath that he’s hungry, while I couldn’t really hide the fact that I was pleasantly amused. That doesn’t usually happen over lunch. She’s like that, my grandmother. It’s been an inside joke among family members that her lack of comedic timing makes her that more amusing. One time, during a party that we had at their place, with guests in tow, she burst into tears and extended the prayer before meals after my grandfather said his spiel.
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The amusement that happened over lunch offset whatever antsy feelings I had prior. I was flipping out because from my end, lunch almost never happened. We don’t have set Easter traditions, we don’t have Easter bunnies and eggs; it’s usually only a celebratory lunch and dinner. I decided to make two dishes – bringhe and roasted chicken.

Bringhe is a rice dish from Northern Luzon (specifically Pampanga), similar to arroz valenciana and paella, but the liquid used to cook the rice is a mixture of water and coconut milk, and it has a characteristic yellow color because of the turmeric. Think curry rice, without the curry. Roast chicken is, well, roast chicken.  I marinated it in soy sauce, vinegar, rosemary and lemongrass.
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Time wasn’t on my side that day. While I was in the kitchen, I kept glancing at the clock, mentally kicking myself for being a hot mess. I thought I started on time, but in my head there was still so much to do. We brought out the turbo broiler for the first time, hoping that it’ll do wonders with the chicken. At 11:00 AM, we discovered that the broiler had failed us. The chickens were barely warm even after preheating and cooking for at least 30 minutes. I felt like I was on a pressure test and something was about to spell my elimination. I quickly grabbed a roasting pan and the chickens by the neck (sorry, chickens) and hastily preheated the oven. But even I knew they would never make it for lunch.
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I cursed a bit, and resigned at the fact that something did go totally awry. I went back to the stove, telling myself that I probably burned the bringhe as well.

I opened the pot, steam wafted out and enveloped me for a nanosecond, and there it was. It was like a veil was lifted over me. I can tell. I can tell it was on its way to perfection with the broth slowly but surely being absorbed by the rice. I grabbed a spoon and took a bite of the rice. It was cooked (edible!). I didn’t break into song number, but I was happy. I will have something on the table at lunchtime. It felt like everything just fell into place. The timing was perfect.
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Grandma just finished her song, was a little bit emotional partly because my cousin lacks proper etiquette (that’s another story), and we dig in. The roast chicken is biding its time in the oven, and it’ll obviously be ready before dinner. There’s pancit bihon, dinuguan and of course, the bringhe. We were somehow together (dad was away and grandpa retired way too early), and I realized that I made a mountain out of a molehill.
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Today is Easter Sunday, the day hope was returned to us and a promise was fulfilled. There was darkness, but through it all, He lives. Jesus coming back from the dead can mean a lot of things, but I believe it means that God is stronger than pain, suffering and hopelessness. I try to pray because I believe I’m inadequate without Him. During lunch today, He sat with us and brought me back from whatever “death” had fallen upon me. I have a lot to be thankful for, Grandma kept repeating that.

I couldn’t agree more.
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Happy Easter everyone!

Beringhe/Bringhe (adapted from Inquirer Lifestyle)

  • ¾ kg chicken leg and thighs, sliced into serving pieces
  • ¾ kg pork belly or shoulder, cut into cubes
  • 150 g chicken liver and/or gizzard
  • 1 cup regular rice
  • 1 cup sticky rice (malagkit)
  • 2 tablespoons Star margarine
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 whole head garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons patis, or more, to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used a 200 ml tetra pack; go ahead and use the fresh kind if you can)
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 carrot, sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into small squares
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into small squares
  • 8 pieces Vienna sausage, sliced into halves diagonally (I used Libby’s)
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1½ c raisins, for garnish (optional; I didn’t like adding raisins so I didn’t use this)
  1. In a large pan, add the chicken and pork and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Generously season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and allow the water to evaporate and the meat to cook. Allow for the fat the render and stir to lightly toast the meat. Do not allow to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Combine regular rice and sticky rice and wash three times under running water. Set aside.
  3. Heat the Star margarine in a wide casserole, large pot or a paellera.
  4. Sauté onion until wilted. Add garlic and sauté until golden brown.
  5. Add turmeric and patis and stir in the chicken liver or gizzard. Add the pork and chicken. Cover and simmer for a minute.
  6. Add water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Let boil around one minute, then add the two kinds of rice, distributing evenly around the pan. You may want to give the pan/pot a few through stirs. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until rice is fully cooked and has almost absorbed all the liquid, around 15-20 minutes.
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  7. When the rice is cooked through but there is still some liquid on the surface, add peas, carrots, bell peppers and Vienna sausage. Stir lightly to incorporate and cover for 3 – 5 more minutes, cooking over low heat.
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  8. Garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs and raisins, if desired. Serve warm. Enjoy!
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Guest Post: Golden Mushrooms with Broccoli and Dried Shrimps

For the first time in THG history, I’ve invited a blogger to guest post on my blog.With their shared passion for food and cooking, guest bloggers bring in a blast of fresh air to any blog.

Because Catholics all over are observing the Holy Week, this recipe is a welcome addition to your tables come Good Friday. 

Everybody, meet Raymund

Wow! This is my second time to guest post and I am really honoured that I was invited by Gio to do this for his food blog, I’ve been reading his blog posts for roughly 3 months now and I am always thrilled to see his new post and sometimes feel home sick especially when I see local Filipino dishes that I like which is impossible to make here.  Anyway, before we start with our post let me introduce myself first.

Well my name is Raymund and I am the person behind the blog called AngSarap (A Tagalog word for “It’s Delicious”) , I am a Software Developer / Architect by profession and my passion is to cook, travel and take photographs (isn’t that the best combination).  I’ve been cooking since I was 7 years old and since then I have been cooking my family dinners. I’ve travelled a bit and lived in different countries due to my profession hence I have a good grasp of local the different cuisines which is very evident on my blog.

The blog is nearly two years now and it has a good reception in the food blog circle as well as Filipino communities around the world.  It showcases dishes basically from everywhere but with Filipino, Spanish and Chinese twist which are the primary influence in the Philippine cuisine.  The goal of my blog is to educate people with what Philippines have to offer in terms of culinary arts and like I said in my past posts why Philippines is the only Asian country without an identity or even representation, what I mean by that is you have the Malaysian, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese and Thai but where is the Philippines? Is it even known? That’s what I want to change, and I hope I can start with this blog.  Now I guess that’s enough about me and if you want to know further please follow my blog and start learning about what you are missing if you haven’t tried Filipino dishes yet.

For this guest post I was initially requested to post any of the three options; something that I miss from the Philippines, a specialty food from where I live now or a vegetable dish, I had chosen the latter due to several reasons.  First, while I do miss a lot from the Philippines I guess Gio has a lot of very good Filipino food posts already, just look at his story on this adobo it’s the most authentic preparation of adobo you can get.  Next is some specialty where I came from, I guess this would be hard to make as what I consider a local specialty in New Zealand is what they call Hangi, a dish where pork cooked in an underground pit so it will involve digging a pit in the ground, then heating stones in the pit with a fire, placing baskets of food on top and finally covering everything with soil trapping the heat for several hours cooking what’s beneath.  I want to do this sometime though.  So it left me with the only option which is a vegetable dish which suits well with the Lenten season.  So for today we will be making some Broccoli and Golden Mushroom with Dried Shrimp’s a creation by yours truly.

This dish is a dish made out of broccoli florets mixed with some Golden Mushrooms, it is then flavoured with mixed Asian sauces and dried shrimps. The result is a good combination of different textures and flavours – just imagine the soft and earthy mushrooms, crunchy broccoli, salty crispy dried shrimps and the sweet and savoury sauce.  Words can’t just explain it further so I just leave you to try it and find out.

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Golden Mushrooms with Broccoli and Dried Shrimps

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup dried shrimps (hibe)
  • 1 bunch golden needle mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine
  • 1/2 cup seafood stock
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • oil

Method

  1.  In a pot add water and bring it to a boil, once boiling drop the broccoli and cook for 1 minute. Remove from pot, drain then run in cold water. Set it aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix together oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, seafood stock and tapioca starch. Set it aside
  3. In a wok add oil then sauté garlic and shallots.
  4. Add dried shrimps and stir fry for a minute or until fragrant and crunchy.
  5. Add golden mushrooms and stir fry for 2 minutes.
  6.  Pour in the mixed sauce then bring it to a boil, once boiling add the broccoli and stir fry for 1 minute.
  7. Add sesame oil then turn heat off, serve while hot.

Spicy Prawn Curry with Roasted Tomatoes

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For the past few weeks Fridays have come to mean more than just the American Idol results show and the day where torrent files of my favorite shows come out. I took it upon myself to observe the season of Lent and abstain from eating meat and eat only one full meal every Friday until Easter, among other “restraints”.

Have I been faithful? No, I have taken afternoon snacks so adhering to one full meal has been difficult. Right now typing this, my stomach’s grumbling. Aside from that one Friday where it slipped my mind, I have been trying to avoid pork, chicken and beef. Self-discipline isn’t really one of my strong suits. Probably one of my fatal flaws, but nonetheless I’m proud of myself. Restraining myself, exerting a little measure of discipline during this season, is something that I’ve been trying to do. My cross is heavy but I’m trying to hold on.
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Lent is a season of reflection, of going beyond your usual call of duty and examine yourself in relation to how you treat yourself and others. At least that’s how I see Lent. I don’t claim to know everything about my faith – but I know it’s not perfect. Sometimes my roots are parched – the leaves wilt and fall, and what exactly I need to do about it, makes me wonder even more. But time and time again, my belief in a higher being will never die, no matter how misguided I can be.
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What does the prawn/shrimp* curry have to do with everything? Well, this is just my way of exercising that “restraint” without purposely depriving myself to the point of punishment.
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Have you ever tried to roast tomatoes? Try it, you won’t be disappointed. Have you ever tried to roast garlic? It was my first time to do that today, and I knew I had to put a few tender garlicky segments into the curry, just because I love garlic.
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I still had a little container of garam masala in the pantry from my chicken korma escapade. I didn’t want it to go to waste. Making this wasn’t a stretch at all. As much as I appreciate a spicy curry, the people around here don’t. A few dashes of chili flakes gave it the heat that it needed. To offset it, aside from the coconut milk, I added a few spoonfuls of peanut butter to give it that subtle sweet creaminess.
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A spoonful of this will give a gentle sweetness that  mingles with the bold curry taste, then there is that unmistakable heat that still lingers at the back of your mouth. The roasted tomatoes do their part by offering a sweet tang that gloriously blends with everything else. And there’s nothing wrong with mashing a few pieces of garlic directly into the sauce. Nothing wrong that at all.

Thank God it’s Friday.
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Spicy Prawn Curry with Roasted Tomatoes  (serves 4 – 6)

*Prawns and shrimps are semantically different but can be used interchangeably, though prawns are larger than shrimps. I used prawns for this recipe, but like you, I’m used to saying ‘shrimps’, big or small. That’s OK. I guess. 

  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • half a garlic bulb, minced
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 15 – 20 pieces medium-sized prawns, peeled and deveined.
  • a few pieces of the prawn heads, the sharp pointy things (it’s called a rostrum) and whiskers snipped
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • a few dashes red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 – 5 pieces roasted garlic segments (optional)
  • a few pieces roasted tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. Prepare the roasted tomatoes. If you want to roast the garlic, roast it will the tomatoes. I slice around 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic bulb to expose the flesh, then drizzle it with olive oil, salt and pepper. 
  2. In a pan, heat both oils over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, then the garlic. Saute until fragrant. 
  3. Add the coconut milk, then the shrimps heads. Lower the heat to low. Add the garam masala, turmeric, chili flakes and peanut butter. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust taste, color and consistency to your liking. 
  4. Add the roasted garlic and mash with your spoon to incorporate. 
  5. Add the shrimps/prawns and crank up the heat to medium, and cook until both sides turn orange in color, around 3 – 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp heads. 
  6. Add the roasted tomatoes at the last second and mix well. Remove from heat and serve. Enjoy!