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  • Culinary Cam

Ginataang Seafood #EattheWorld

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Welcome to the December 2022 event of our #EattheWorld project, being spearheaded by Evelyne of CulturEatz. Here's her challenge. This month she has us heading, by tabletop, to the Philippines.



Okay, you would think that because both of my parents immigrated to the United States from the Philippines that I would have an army of recipes from there. Food of my people and all that. Au contraire, I am a bad Filipino. My boys joke that they are only 'half a disgrace' because they are only half Filipino. Fine. Whatever.


The Balut Challenge


Back in 2019, we went to an international festival and my older son, my best friend, and her son took The Balut Challenge. My younger son and I declined - been there, eaten that. No thanks! If you are unfamiliar, balut is a hard-boiled fertilized duck embryo that's sold in the Philippines as a street food. You can look it up to get more information. But I've tried it and, honestly, there is nothing that would get me to try it again. I haven't forgotten that salty, gooey liquid; the tiny beak scraping down my throat as I swallowed is also etched into my brain. Yuck. You can read the entire original post here.


Lumpia - Most Requested

This is not to say that I don't make any Filipino dishes. I rolled thousands of lumpia with my maternal grandmother when I was a kid. So I have made those several times with my boys and their friends when they have requested lumpia lessons.


Here's my mostly traditional lumpia, turon, a banana and jackfruit lumpia, and I have made a fresh lumpia that I guess I have never written down. Soon! Because that it not fried and it's my actual favorite lumpia.


Grandma Meling's Approval...and Her Sinigang


My paternal grandmother's sinigang was my favorite. From the piquant tamarind to the bitter mustard greens, Grandma's sinigang was always my favorite. Over the years, I would ask her for the recipe or, at the very least, to let me watch her cook it so I could learn. She would always decline, saying, "No, Cami, whenever you want sinigang, you just come visit." So, I did.


On one visit, I brought my boyfriend Jacob - now my husband and the father of two of her great-grandsons - and Grandma had a pot of sinigang on the stove. Grandma ladled out steaming bowls and we sat down together. Now that I think about it, she didn't start eating right away; she just watched Jacob dig in. He was as smitten as I was, asking if I knew how to make sinigang. I explained that no, it was a secret recipe and that Grandma was never going to give me the recipe because she preferred to culinarily blackmail me: as long as I didn't know how to make it on my own, I would have to come visit to get it At the end of the afternoon, Grandma walked us to the front door to say goodbye. As she hugged me, she said, "Now, I will show you how to make sinigang. Come back next week." "Why now?" I asked, equally excited and flabbergasted. She just smiled and patted Jacob's shoulder. "Don't worry. I will teach her how to make sinigang for you, Jacob." It is still one of our favorites!


Embracing His Heritage


Once upon a time, D donned a traditional barong tagalog, am embroidered formal shirt for Filipino men. No, we didn't own it; we borrowed it from a friend who is a better Filipino than I am. He also stood in front of the lechon, a roasted suckling pig made for celebrations of all sorts. Granted, he gagged when he tried the pig with its dripping fat and crispy skin. As I said: half-Filipino. And you can see how long ago this was. That kid is about to turn nineteen!

So, after reading the prompt, I intended that I would dig in and explore Filipino recipes that my grandmothers used to make. But, in the end, I whipped up a quick - and I do mean quick - savory ginataang made with whatever seafood I happened to have. That day it was salmon, scallops, and mussels.


Here's the line-up of the #EattheWorld Filipino-inspired recipes...


Ginataang Seafood


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds mixed seafood (I used cubed salmon, large scallops, and mussels)

  • 3 Tablespoons oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced

  • 3 Tablespoons shrimp paste

  • 2-inch knob of fresh ginger, halved

  • 1 cup greens (I used sea fennel, it's like a seaweed)

  • 2 cups fish stock

  • 2 cups coconut milk

  • Also needed: steamed rice for serving

Procedure

  • Heat oil in a large pot over low-medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent, approximately 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Add shrimp paste and stir to incorporate.

  • Add fish stock and coconut milk.

  • Add seafood then liquid and cook until done. Seafood cooks at different times, so add in the ones that take longest first and so on.

  • Fold in your greens and simmer until just warm.

  • Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste. Serve and enjoy.

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