Ex-colleague Ces‘ LP theme is truly interesting especially for us who live abroad. For more than a decade, my eating habits include appreciating foreign cuisine through dining out on a regular basis and Pinoy cooking at home as the craving for lasang Pinoy will never go away. I blogged about quite a few fusion recipes before and since I am here in Beijing I had the urge to share one with Northern Chinese influence for LP12. I could easily whip up a quick Chinese-looking stir-fry dish that would still taste distinctly Pinoy.
Since one won’t find a Filipino store around here, substituting an ingredient is not new to me. I use lemon instead of kalamansi as souring agent to sinigang, sinaing, Pinoy beef steak and liver steak, and Kapampangan’s quilo. I use potatoes instead of unripe papaya for my tinolang manok. Experimenting is also a habit. I add Italian herbs to sitsaro guisado, and raisins or apples instead of the most common pineapple or just plain sugar to hamonado recipes. For years I use dried lily blossoms for paksiw na pata thinking those we buy in packets with tags written in Chinese characters are actually banana blossoms! Also, two of my other LP entries definitely fall under the same category – I marbleized the humble street food nilagang itlog ng pugo and my soul food sinaing na tulingan becomes pasta tuna.
How do all of these become fusion cooking? The constant craving for pagkaing Pilipino, the acquired taste for some foreign dishes most especially Asian food and with the limited time I have (and sometimes budget constraints), I strive to make each meal the best I can, to be a feast that excites and satisfies the senses.
We spent years around Southeast Asia that we can not live without visiting restos here that would take us back to those times when we enjoy Malay, Peranakan and Thai food. So for LP12, I want to share nilagang baka mala-sup tulang. Sup tulang, which literally translates to bone soup (said to be an Indian-Muslim beef broth explosive of spices and chili created sometime between late 1940s and early 1950s), is a popular Malay food which derives its richness from long-simmered beef bones. The first time I had it, I was reminded right away of our very own bulalo, a flavorful soup best served hot. The difference is that this Malay soup has strong spices uncommon in most of our native dishes.
I don’t exactly know what’s inside that small sup tulang packet we used to buy then. Definitely, with star anise cardamoms and cinnamon sticks but this time I didn’t substitute any ingredient for nilaga. Yet I don’t intend to corrupt my taste buds with too much spice that would keep me from appreciating the natural beef flavor so I limit myself to adding the following – a couple of star anise when simmering and the serving mixed with chopped leaks and toasted garlic and shallots. It’s basically the same Pinoy oxtail soup but with a subtle difference, the flavor of the beef broth further enhanced by the extra spices.
a kilo of oxtail (or use bulalo instead)
1 large shallot, cut into quarters
2 medium potatoes, quartered
1 small cabbage, quartered
a handful of whole baguio beans, trimmed
2 pcs of atar anise
patis (fish sauce)
1/2 cup of julliened leeks
For added flavor and garnishing:
1 medium shallot, sliced
1/2 head of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup of chopped leeks
In a frying pan, saute the garlic until golden brown. Drain and set aside. Fry the chopped shallots until crisp and reserve together with the fried garlic and chopped leaks.
Place the oxtail in a pot of boiling water and bring to boil. Scoop out the scum when it floats. Simmer for about 30 minutes then add the shallots, star anise and peppercorns. Continue simmering for another hour adding more water when necessary. Add patis and simmer until the beef is almost tender. You may continue cooking, in my case I left it overnight inside the ref. The next day, I took off the fat and simmer again until the beef is tender.
Add the potatoes and simmer until cooked. Add in the cabbage, beans and leeks, and cover the pot. Bring to boil. Turn off the heat, throw in half of the toasted garlic and shallots, mix thoroughly and let stand for a couple of minutes. Serve hot with garnishing.