Choosing a dish that is definitive Pinoy for LP’s 1st year anniversary (hosted by Stef) is quite tough that it took me this long to come up with an entry not to mention a busy month packed with traveling and deadlines, and transferring our websites to a new hosting site. (Yeah this blog has a new domain name, a gift!) I thought about dishes I’ve already blogged about adobo, sinigang, sinaing na tulingan, and few more iconic regional dishes until I thought about the lowly bagoong alamang.
Bagoong alamang or fermented shrimp paste is something that we can’t live without. Having no Filipino store around I always bring a big jar or 2 with me from Manila. We also buy few more if we visit HK and my sis never forgets to bring me some every time she drops by for a vacation. If only I can find here something similar like the Malay variety belacan or the Thai counterpart (kapee?) oh I wouldn’t go into such trouble. Back home give me some of those pinkish alamang from the wet market and I would be more than happy.
Oh the things that you can do or indulge with it – unripe mangoes, steamed leafy vegetables, grilled or steamed eggplants, fried fish, kare-kare, pinakbet, even nilaga and sinigang. The list goes on I am very sure of that depending on which region one belongs to. With its unique yet distinguishable smell, just one whiff and you will know immediately what’s cooking. And when the craving is intense I’m back at the dinner table, plain rice with alamang is good enough for me. Nakakamay pa! Not bad as it is rich in calcium and vitamin B complex. Read this.
Above is a photo I took during a reunion last December. Prepared by my cousin Maribeth, a big bowl of salad stuffed up with skinned steamed eggplants, chopped tomatoes and shredded unripe mangoes. Next to it was a smaller bowl of bagoong alamang guisado sinfully drenched in pork fat. Yeah the perfect match! As for me, I prefer to grill the eggplants, peel off the charred skin and flatten its flesh with fork.
I usually prepare bagoong alamang guisado with fatty pork tidbits but I cook chunky binagoongan (pork cooked in bagoong as shown in the last photo) almost the same way, just a difference in proportions. Anyways, here’s a very simple recipe.
1/2 kilo of fatty pork, cut into tidbits
2-3 cloves garlic, grinded using mortar and pestle
1 onion, minced
3 tomatoes, chopped
a bowl of bagoong alamang
Cook the pork in its own juice until it renders fat and saute until the meat is brownish. Push the cooked meat to one side and fry the garlic using the pork fat until golden brown. Throw in the onions and tomatoes, and sautetogether with the pork until the tomatoes are mashed. Add in the bagoong alamang and continue frying over low to medium heat until desired consistency. You may wish to add vinegar, chili and sugar for zest, zing and sweetness. Remove from oil and drain or leave it drenched in pork fat. How about binagoongan sa gata?