Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lenten Recipe: Pinangat na Pompano

Featured Recipe: Pinangat na Pompano
Created and prepared by Ramon Gumapac
Cook at Island Pacific Supermarket

The featured recipe was created and prepared by veteran and seasoned cook, Ramon Gumapac. Ramon, a native of Batangas, has been cooking Filipino dishes for more than 15 years now. He is one of the cooks whipping up sumptuous native Filipino dishes at Island Pacific Supermarket. 

Christians and Roman Catholics alike view this Lenten season as a time to reflect on their sins whether big or small. As a form of penance, followers of Christ observe fasting and abstinence from meat of mammals to remind themselves of how Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights in the desert before beginning his ministry. (Matthew 4:1-2)

Mostly Roman Catholics, Filipinos observe fasting by taking only one full meal for a day which can include meat, as long as it does not equal one large meal. No snacks between meals are allowed when fasting. Catholics 18 to 59  years old are expected to observe fasting as per the new Code of Canon Law.

Many confuse the two, but fasting is different from abstinence. Abstinence means refraining from eating meat, soup made from meat, or gravy made from meat. Other faithfuls, however, opt to do partial abstinence, wherein they eat meat, meat soup or gravy but only once a day. The revised Canon Law states that Catholics should start with abstinence at 14.

Catholics fast and abstain during Fridays, in memory of the day Jesus was crucified (Code of Canon Law 1983). Thus, Fridays are regarded as "Fish Fridays" as fish meat and vegetables can only be eaten during this day.

In observance of the Lenten Season, we bring you another fish recipe that you can whip up and enjoy this Friday--- Pinangat na Pompano. Pompanos are "deep-bodied, toothless fishes with small scales, narrow tail base, and a fork tail." Silver in color with a blue back, the pompano fish grows to a length of about 45cm (18 inches) and weigh of about 1kg (2 pounds). It is regarded to be very tasty fish and is favored in the American Atlantic and Gulf coasts. 

Pinangat, on the other hand, refers to the Filipino cooking method wherein meat or fish is poached in calamansi or lemon squeeze, kamias or tomatoes together with ginger and other spices.

The pinangat na pompano is a very delicious dish that one can easily make in less than 30 minutes. This dish is best consumed with steaming rice.

Here for the enjoyment of our kababayans is the Pinangat na Pompano:

Pinangat na Pampano
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 50 mins
Serves 4

1 Golden Pampano Fish (approximately 1 1/2 lb)
2 medium-sized diced tomatoes
1 medium-sized diced onion
1 medium-sized ginger
1 tablespoon salt or fish sauce
1 tablespoon calamansi juice
salt and pepper to taste

Clean fish thoroughly, cut into 3 pices and rub with sea salt then set aside.
In a pot, bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil.
Add in tomatoes, onion, ginger and fish sauce (or salt) and pepper.
Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes in low to medium heat until tomatoes are almost reduced to skin.
Add the calamansi juice and boil for another 5 minutes.
Add in the fish and cooked for 20 to 30 minutes.
(Optional) Add some vegetables like, jalapeño, tomato and onion simmer for 3 minutes. Serve while hot.

Enjoy your pinangat na pampano!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lenten Recipe:Sinigang na Bangus

Featured Recipe: Sinigang na Bangus
Created and prepared by: Ramon Gumapac
Cook at Island Pacific Supermarket

The featured recipe was created and prepared by veteran and seasoned cook, Ramon Gumapac. Ramon, a native of Batangas, has been cooking Filipino dishes for more than 15 years now. He is one of the cooks whipping up sumptuous native Filipino dishes at Island Pacific Supermarket. 

Last Week we featured binusog na pusit or stuffed squid as a recipe that can be included in many of Filipino Catholics' meatless diet. This week, we will feature another Pinoy favorite, the sinigang na bangus or milkfish in sour broth, which is not only served during the season of Lent, but all year round.

Bangus is one of the most popular table fare in the Philippines, as it is considered  to be one of the predominant fishes in the island. Albeit notoriously known for being bonier than the ordinary fish, the bangus still remains as one of the Pinoy favorites when it comes to fish meat because of its extraordinary taste.

Pinoys like deboning the bangus with their hands whilst eating. Others who would like to be spared from the hassles of manual deboning and buy the "boneless bangus" instead. Deboned or not,  Pinoys like to have bangus on their plate whether it may be pinirito (fried), inihaw (grilled), relyeno (stuffed), or sinigang (stewed in sour soup).

The sinigang's  sour taste has been traditionally associated with tamarind--which is now conveniently replaced with tamarind bouillon cubes or granules. Pinoys who prefer cooking it the old-fashioned way (especially those in the province), still prefer using tamarind or its alternate: guava, calamansi, bilimbi, or raw mango to achieve the sinigang's sour flavor.

Aside from fish, others also like to use pork, shrimp, or beef as the main ingredient of sinigang. This dish also have plenty of vegetable ingredients that include daikon or labanos, water spinach or kangkong, yardlong beans or sitaw, eggplant or talong, chili or sili, and taro corns or gabi--which can make for the soup's thickness.

Not only is it an ideal meatless dish for someone who is observing Lent, sinigang na bangus is also low on calories and rich in nutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates. Usually partnered with soy sauce or fish sauce(if one finds the soup too sour for his taste), sinigang na bangus is best served with steaming rice.

Sinigang na Bangus
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves 4

1 piece large bangus, cleaned and sliced into serving pieces
5 cups water
1 small ginger, sliced
2 pieces tomatoes, quartered
1 medium onion, sliced
2 medium eggplants, cut into serving pieces
5 pieces string beans, cut into serving pieces
2 cups kangkong leaves
1 small pack tamarind powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a casserole, bring water to a boil together with the ginger.
Add the bangus, tomatoes, and onion and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the tamarind powder and salt to taste.
Add the eggplant and string beans and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, add the kangkong leaves, and let stand covered for 5 minutes.
You may also add or use fish sauce or patis to taste.
Serve hot with rice.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lenten Recipe: Binusog na Pusit or Stuffed Squid

Prepared by: Chef Reggie Torres

Chef Reggie Torres has a long and distinguished career in the culinary arts industry. He has lived in Paris, France for three years and has mastered the French menu interpretation along with preparation of classical French cuisine and advance French pastries. He has traveled Europe learning and honing food design, Hors d'oeurves, theme buffet, tallow sculpture, meat and fish decorations. He has worked with Chinese instructor Kem Home, blending Eastern and Western influences and with Italian Chef Giovanni Leoni, mixing the northern and southern Italian cuisine.

Squid is one of the most favored seafood in the world not only because of its peculiar shape, but also because of the many dish one can make out of it.  Japan is known to consume the largest number of squids.  In the Mediterranean, squid is referred to by the Italian term "calamari" (singular calamaro), which was later on adopted by other parts of the world using calamari in any culinary dishes that include squids.

On November 2, 1978, the largest squid ever caught was in Thimble Tickle Bay, Newfoundland. It weighed two tons and was 55 feet long.

Known to have the advantage of being low in fat and calories but  rich in protein and minerals, squid is usually cooked fried (fried calamari), stewed, or be added as an ingredient in pastas and soups; its shape is also ideal for stuffing ham, rice, or cheese.

In the Philippines, stuffing the squid or pusit is also popular especially at present when many Filipinos are currently observing the season of Lent. They like stuffing pusit with with tomato and onions then brushing it with a soy sauce marinade and then grilling it; or elaborately filling it in with finely chopped vegetables, squid fat, and ground pork.

Since Lent calls for fasting or refraining from meat as a sign of repentance, Pinoys like to cook squid by having it stuffed with cheese instead, thus, calling it as binusog na pus it.  

Adopted from the stuffed squid of the Mediterranean, binusog na pusit is usually stuffed with white cheese or the kesong puti. Ricotta, parmesan, or any cheese of preference can also be used.

The pusit is prepared for cooking  by holding it with one hand and reaching inside its body with the other, pulling away the head along with its tentacles. The dark skin is peeled away leaving a transparent cartilage that resembles a plastic, which also has to be pulled away. The body is then rinsed with water.

After washing, the pusit is set aside while the cheese is briefly cooked together with garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. The squid is then stuffed with the cheese mixture, sealed,  fried for a minute, and is simmered with a tomato mixture. After simmering for several minutes the binusog na pusit  is ready to serve.  

(Stuffed Squid)
Chef Reggie Torres copyright 2010
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Serves 4

½ lb roma tomatoes – diced
cooking oil
1 ½ cup yellow onion – finely chopped
6 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
2 ½ oz ricotta cheese
2 ½ oz parmesan cheese
4 large squids – cleaned , remove the inners
½ cup green onion
Salt and Pepper

1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non stick frying pan. Add 1 cup onion, cook until translucent.
2. Add ½ garlic, cook for 1 min. Add bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
3. Fill the squid with cheese, stuffing but do not over stuff, secure end with toothpick.
4. In a clean frying pan,  heat 2 tbsp oil. Add squid, cook for 1 min. Remove.
5. Add ½ cup onion, cook.  Add 1/2 garlic cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato.
6. Simmer for 5 minutes until thick. Return squid to the pan and cook. Cover
for 10 minutes. Serve.
Happy Eating!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lenten Recipe: Fish Escabeche

 Featured Recipe: Fish Escabeche
 Created and Prepared by: Chef Socrates Z. Inonog, CCE, ACE

Fasting is the most common form of sacrifice observed by Filipinos. When fasting, a person refrains from eating any animal meat and instead eats fish and vegetables--or even nothing at all. This is a form of reminder to denounce the selfish demands of flesh and follow the unselfish example of God through his son Jesus Christ who died in the cross for the salvation of mankind.

One Filipino favorite served during Lenten Season is the fish
escabeche, which is poached or fried fish marinated in an acidic mixture before serving. Usually served on special occasions, escabeche is usually cooked in the Philippines using maya-maya, tilapia,  talakitok fish, or any white-meat fish to make the yellow-orange color stand out.

escabeche is known for it's sweet and sour sauce. The sauce is cooked by first sauteing ginger, garlic, onion. Vegetables are then added and is stirred whilst adding pineapple syrup,tomato sauce, and sugar and salt to taste.

Escabeche is best served immediately after cooking to enjoy the crispiness of the fish, if fried.

           (Gingered Sweet & Sour Fish)
Preparation Time:           45  minutes
Cooking Time    :               30 minutes

Yield: 4 portions

1 pc                        Striped Bass , whole, 2 lbs, scaled, cleaned and washed
½ cup                    Dry  Sherry Wine
¼ tsp                     Black ground pepper
½ tsp                     Salt
2 oz                        Ginger, peeled, julienne
1 cup                     Cornstarch
3 cups                   Peanut Oil or Canola Oil
1 tbsp                    Fish base, Sysco or Fish Sauce (Patis)*
½ cup                    Pineapple Juice*
½ cup                    Sugar*
½ cup                    Tomato sauce*
1 pc                        Jalapeno, seeded, julienne*
1 tbsp                    Vegetable base, Sysco
½ oz                       Fresh ginger, peeled, julienne*
1 cup                     Scallion flowerets*
¼ pc                       Sweet yellow pepper, julienne*
¼ pc                       Sweet red pepper, julienne*
¼ pc                       Sweet green pepper, julienne*
½ pc                       Small carrot, peeled, julienne*
1 pc                        Medium Onion, julienne*
1 stalk                   Celery, julienne*
½ cup                    Dry Sherry wine*
1 tbsp                    Cornstarch
¼ cup                    Pineapple chunks*
¼ cup                    Vinegar, palm*
½ cup                    Water

*Sauce ingredients

1.       Scale and gut the fish. Wash over running water. Score on both sides.
2.       Combine wine, pepper and salt. Brush marinade on fish.
3.       Pick ginger and rub inside cavity and the scored sides of fish.
4.       Marinate fish for 15 minutes.
5.       Using a small brush, remove chopped ginger from the fish and dredge fish with cornstarch.
6.       Shake off excess cornstarch.
7.       Heat frying pan. Pour oil. In moderate heat, fry fish until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.
8.       Remove from pan. Keep warm.
9.       In a saucepan, combine fish base or patis, pineapple juice, sugar, vinegar and tomato sauce.
10.   Bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
11.   Add to sauce, the julienned ginger, pepper, carrots, onion and celery.
12.   Bring to a low boil. Simmer for 3 minutes
13.   Combine sherry wine and cornstarch. Mix well and pour into sauce.
14.   Bring to a low boil. Cook until sauce thickens.
15.   Add pineapple chunks.  Simmer for 2 minutes. Serve

Method of Serving:
Lay fish on platter. Pour sauce over. Garnish with floweret of scallion. Serve with timbales of steamed rice

Catch us again next week for another meatless recipe that you can include in your fasting diet. Don't  miss it!