Soft-shelled Crabs over Taba ng Talangka Sotanghon

We call it “taba ng talangka”, literal translation – fat of the (Asian) shore crab but in reality it is “aligue” or the roe of the (Asian) shore crab.  I’m not sure if it is uniquely Filipino but I grew up thinking that it is a condiment that was uniquely Filipino.  Taba ng talangka or aligue, as our helper used to describe it (in their local dialect and roughly translated here) is a fermented paste condiment made by salting live (female) shore crabs and cooking the roe/fat with more salt and a little calamansi (calamondin).  It can be eaten as condiment to local dishes (similar to bagoong) but it can be used to flavor dishes too – it is particularly good with rice, pasta, and noodles.

We often use it to make taba ng talangka fried rice or taba ng talangka spaghetti with shrimps.  This instance I wanted to try making a dish using sotanghon (mung been noodles) and soft-shelled crabs that I got as a souvenir-gift.

The first step to the soak 300 grams of sotanghon in water until they are softened; drain then set aside.

The next step is to prepare the crabs.  There really isn’t much to do since the crabs were already “prepped” (they came in a box and it was indicated on the box that it was ready-to-cook) so after they were defrosted, I dried them with paper towels.  Then they were ready to be dipped in flour, then in beaten egg, then in seasoned flour.  Deep fry until done then set aside.

Saute lots of ginger and sliced onions until the onions are soft and transparent.  Add about 1 cup of taba ng talangka (canned or bottled).  Add the crabs (if you like although I did not but instead used the crabs as topping/garnish) and stir fry several seconds (add tablespoons of water if the dish gets too pasty, add little at a time just to loosen the mix).  Add the sotanghon and mix.  Season to taste with salt and pepper; add drops of fresh calamansi or lemon (this is to minimize the langsa or fishy taste).  Cook over low-medium heat until done.  Be careful not to over cook (or under cook) the noodles.

 

 

Crab Sotanghon

The usual crab sotanghon (mung bean noodle) that I cook (and that hubby likes) is a creamy, saucy concoction. This time, however, circumstances forced me to stray from the usual. The culprit? The absence of a crucial ingredient.

The result? A different, but still delicious, dish!

The recipe:

300 to 400 grams sotanghon, softened
1 kilo crabs, cut up (cleaned)
4 to 5 thin slices of ginger
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
350 grams ground pork
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 liter chicken stock
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt, pepper and chili flakes, to taste

Saute the ginger in hot oil.  Add onions and garlic.  Stir fry a few seconds and add the pork.  Stir fry until almost cooked.   Add the crabs and mix around a few seconds and season with oyster sauce and soy sauce.  Add the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper (and chili flakes, if desired).  When the stock boils, add the sotanghon.  Swirl in the beaten egg whites.  Let simmer until the sauce is fully absorbed by the sotanghon. Toss with sesame oil (adjust seasonings, as needed). Serve hot.

XO Shrimp and Mushroom Sotanghon

I’ve always said that the secret to a good XO dish is a good XO sauce!  Even if nothing else is added to the dish, it will be fantastic!

One of my mom’s favorites among the food I cook for her is this XO Sotanghon dish.  At its simplest, it is just 2 ingredients!  Saute the XO sauce (don’t skimp!), add broth (or even water) then the softened vermicelli noodles. When the noodles absorb the water/broth, it is done!!!

Of course it is made better with other ingredients such as shitake and shrimp or prawns.  Simply saute the mushrooms and the shrimp with the XO sauce and follow with water/broth and noodles… that’s it!!!

 

Chicken Chili and Tomato Rice Ring

This dish was inspired by a friend who, sadly, is no longer with us.  We were at her house, hanging out, and for dinner, she served this interesting fried rice ring with ground meat chilli, topped with fried bananas.  It was my first time to see such beautifully plated dish and it was delicious to boot!

My dish is a bit different in the sense that I did not want fried rice, then again, I did not want plain rice either.  Solution?  Rice cooked in the rice cooker but flavored with chopped tomatoes and using chicken stock instead of water to cook the rice.  After the rice is cooked, I placed it in a round silicone pan (with a hole in the middle like a bundt pan) and inverted it on a plate of chicken chilli.  Then lemon slices were placed on top as garnish.

This was served to hubby’s friends when they dropped by and they loved it!  They couldn’t believe that the rice was cooked in a rice cooker!!!

Hubby’s Favorite Shrimp Linguini

This is a variation of my mom’s “recipe” for spaghetti sauce, using shrimps.  If I were to follow her “recipe”, it would go like this –

Sauté minced onion (1 medium onion) and 1 head garlic (minced also).  Then add anchovies from 1 small can and 1 large pinch of chilli flakes.  When the anchovies are dissolved (melted is her term), add the shrimps (cleaned and trimmed, of course) and stir fry until the shrimps turn somewhat pinkish.  Then add 1 large of tomatoes and use the spatula to lightly crush the tomatoes.  Let the mixture simmer.  Meanwhile cook 500 grams of linguini according to the package directions.

Season the tomato-shrimp sauce with salt and pepper, or more chilli flakes, and Italian seasoning.  Garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Done.

Spicy Tuyo Linguini

When I was young, tuyo was preserved by being salted and then dried under the sun.  We would dip it in vinegar with chopped garlic and use it as viand for rice, especially in the morning.

It was good eats, except that to cook it, it was fried and the smell it exuded was… let’s just say the whole neighborhood definitely knew someone was eating tuyo.

Since then I’ve learned that the English name for tuyo is herring.  And these days, it is available as gourmet food, preserved in olive oil.  It was ready straight from the bottle, which I definitely liked!  No more telling smell!!!

Recently though, I discovered that the gourmet bottled tuyo could be made into gourmet pasta!  And it was so easy!

I first saw the recipe by Jamie Oliver (which is easy enough as it is) and I actually made it his way once before, using the dried tuyo.  But a friend told me of an easier way!

Basically, 1 bottle of tuyo in olive oil is good for 500grams of spaghetti.  Saute garlic in some olive oil; then throw in some chopped tomatoes, a handful of chopped .  Dump the contents of the whole bottle into the pan and when heated through, add the cooked pasta.

Squeeze some lemon juice over the top just before serving!

Baked Linguini by BFF!

I love cooking and baking for others.  Hubby even jokes that even if I have no recipients for the goodies I make, I will still bake and give them to any Tom, Dick or Harry on the street, or to just about anyone who would accept them!

But.

When someone makes something in their kitchen for me… That is when I feel blessed… extra special… and, super loved…

Thank you BFF for the special treat!

Merry Christmas!!!

Paella Negra

While mine was delicious, it did not look like the ones served in restaurants.  Those were really black while mine were, well, a bit brownish greyish…

And I used real squid ink too.  From about 700 grams of squid, I was able to get more than 1/2 cup of squid ink.  Perhaps I could get better results if I use commercial squid ink paste?  Then again, I don’t know where to get it!

The recipe –

1/4 cup olive oil, or more as may be needed
350g shrimps
700g squid, cleaned, sliced, black ink reserved

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion medium, finely diced
1 medium pimiento, sliced or diced
3 small tomatoes, diced
2 cups, approx 500g raw rice, rinsed
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup squid ink
1 1/2 cups fish or shrimp stock
1/4 cup hot water with a pinch of saffron

2 boiled eggs, sliced into wedges

lemon slices for serving

(In a paella pan) heat half the olive oil. Stir fry the shrimps and squid for a couple of minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add remaining oil in the pan and saute the garlic and onion until soft and translucent. Add the diced tomatoes and pimientos.

Add the rice and stir fry a couple of minutes. Add the white wine, squid ink, stock and hot water with saffron. Stir lightly then cover. Cook on low, low-medium for 20 minutes approximately, stirring occasionally. Check once in a while if more liquid is needed. Likewise, check the seasonings, if needed.

Mix in the shrimp and squid (top decoratively with a few, if desired) and cook another 5 minutes. Garnish with boiled egg slices. Serve with lemon wedges.

Chinese-style Fried Rice

I grew up with rice.  In our corner of the world, bread was not the carbohydrate of choice (although it is growing exponentially in popularity).  We had rice for breakfast, rice for lunch and more rice for dinner…  This means that we always have leftover rice, in one form or another.

In the morning, leftover rice would become garlic fried rice (Filipino-style).  For lunch or dinner, we would have the Chinese-style fried rice.

When I was way younger, I would watch my mom make fried rice.  (My dad would occasionally make sinangag, but for Chinese style fried rice, mommy was the cook.)  I remember that the egg went in the pan last and it would make the rice look yellowish.  But that meant there were little, if any at all, egg bits in the fried rice.  (and I wanted lots of egg bits!)

Later on, I noticed that she would make scrambled eggs BEFORE the frying the rice and then add it last, stirring everything together and breaking up the already scrambled eggs.  And that’s when I saw my preferred egg bits!

Another thing about fried rice, especially those in Chinese restaurants, there are usually vegetables such as diced carrots, corn, green peas, and even shredded lettuce, and definitely spring onions.  In my version, I usually skip the veggies, except for the spring onions (and of course the standard garlic and onions).  Almost always, though, there’s some form of meat – shrimp almost always, and pork or chicken, or the famous Chinese sausage!

Also, I don’t really have a recipe for fried rice.  It was one of those things that we learn “by feel”, and by estimation… trial and error, if you will.

Frist thing to do is get out a Chinese wok – it is the best to cook fried rice in!  Heat it until smoking before adding some oil.  Pour in 2 beaten eggs and stir to scramble, remove from the pan (it’s ok it it slightly undercooked).

Heat the pan again and add some oil.  Saute minced garlic and onions, until they are soft and fragrant.  Add the protein you prefer – my favorites are shrimp and Chinese sausage (diced, in chunks, or sliced, whichever you prefer) and stir around the pan for a minute or two.  (if you like some vegetables, this is when you add them too – diced carrots, peas and shredded lettuce are most common.)  Add day-old rice (2 or 3 cups worth?) and a light dash of light soy sauce (not too much because I find that the rice tends to get mushy, as well as get an unappetizing color).  Stir-fry until done, season with salt as preferred.  Add the scrambled eggs back in, stirring lightly to break up the curds.

Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with spring onions and serve!