Ginataang Paiti | The Second Iteration

This recipe was my experience on how to cook adventures. Why? Because, I never cooked this kind of exotic food before. However, I ate such several times already. Thank goodness, my brother-in-law was kind enough to share some of their dishes. It was good tasting so I tried it for myself.

I had a hard time pulling the meats out of their shell. Did it easily later with the help of my husband’s sister. I never thought it was as simple as breaking the shell tail with hand pliers. Enough with my complaints and time for the recipe proper.

Ingredients:

1/2 kilo paiti (snails)
1 cup squash, sliced
1 cup pako leaves (fern)
1 thumb size, sliced
1 medium head red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups coco milk
1 green chili
salt to taste

Cooking preparation:

Saute garlic, onion and ginger. Add squash and paiti. Stir constantly. Pour coco milk and boil until vegetable is tender. Add green chilli and cover the pan. Add the pako leaves. Serve hot.

ginataang paiti

Steamed Fresh Tilapia

Ingredients:

1 big fresh tilapia (about half kilo)
3 tomatoes, cubes
2 head onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pc ginger, thumb-size
1 tsp ground pepper
salt to taste
aluminum foil as tilapia wrapper

Preparation Instructions:

Clean and wash fresh tilapia. Using a sharp stainless steel knife, make a longitudinal cut on back, starting from head down to tail.  Set aside. Mix all vegetable ingredients then carefully stuff inside the fish. Wrap in aluminum foil. Steam for 15 minutes. Serve.

tilapia wrapped in aluminum foilsteamed fresh tilapia

Things About Fish

I eat fish a lot. In fact, I like it better than pork, beef and chicken. Maybe for health reasons. The latter three are often related to health problems while the first one is often not. Even if I am eating fish a lot, there are things I never like. Maybe they are thing we never like.

1) Lots of fish bones.  Whenever our menu includes fish, I am telling my wife to be very careful in feeding our toddler. I never want him to be a victim of fish bone pricking. It is painful and or very uncomfortable.

I have uncountable experiences of fish bone dislodging in my throat. Those experiences have made expert in fish bone sorting using my eye and fingers. Then my tongue is sensing it while  chewing the meal. I am eating slowly whenever the meal includes fish. Fish bones still slip every now and then.

2) Disagreeable smell. It is the normal fish smell, malansa. It is not nice but not a big problem to deal with.  It can be remedied easily during preparation. For the species with persistent hard-to-remove smell, a spice such as ginger is an easy solution.

3) Degrading flavor.  Fish is best when fresh. The unfrozen fish from public market taste great when sprinkled with salt and fried in golden cooking oil. The same fish, if frozen before frying taste far below from before.  The fried fish by morning will have a different taste by lunch. Its not for the better but for worse.

Let us accept the fact, the most tasty menu on dining table are livestock and poultry meats. The next is fish and the least is vegetable. Some fish have superior flavor but their prices are too steep for commoners.

This is also affected by tradition. Every occasion like town fiestas and weddings have three or more meat dishes and only one vegetable. Serving fish is a rare case. This is the common practice because most people prefer meat dishes over the other.

We have been to my friend in Nasugbu, Batangas. It was fiesta. We stayed there for one day. We ate fish all day long. No meats and veggies. His father was fisherman. Serving all fish was not surprising at all.

broiled milkfish with tomato ginger garlic

Assessing the Freshness or Spoilage of Fish by Sensory Evaluation

The best method of assessing the freshness or spoilage of fish is by sensory evaluation techniques. It is recommended that appropriate sensory evaluation criteria be used to evaluate the acceptability of fish and to eliminate fish showing loss of essential quality provisions of the appropriate Codex Standards. As an example, fresh whitefish species are considered unacceptable when showing the following characteristics:
Skin/slime — dull, gritty colors with yellow–brown dotting slime.
Eyes — concave, opaque, sunken, discolored.
Gills — gray–brown or bleached, slime opaque yellow, thick or clotting.
Odor — flesh odor amines, ammonia, milky lactic, sulphide, fecal, putrid,
rancid.

Remove Fishy Flavor Using Ginger

Do you love fish but hate the fishy flavor ? Worry no more! You can eliminate the culprit fishy flavor by means of ginger.

Ginger can be made to  wine,  tea (salabat) and candy. Its main use is to spice many of our daily meals.

Another purpose  is removal of fishy flavor in fish and other seafoods.  Add a couple of ginger slices in any of your seafood recipe (fishball, sinigang, fish kikiam, embutido, relyeno etc…) and compare the difference.
fresh fish topped with flavorings

 

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

The Rare, Long and Heavy Igat

A man was walking on the street with a long and heavy fish on his right arm. Where did it come from? Maybe he bought it or he was the one selling. Caught it from river by any means. I was interested but thought it was too expensive.

The fish was about as tall as his son and weighed more than three kilograms.

the shy boy and the big igat

A freshly caught fish. I touched it! Slippery skin, firm body, normal fishy smell and tiger look eyes. It seemed telling me, “Bring me back to river water and I will spare your life. Scary!

How much?

The man said 250 pesos per kilo. It was about three kilograms, more or less. So the total cost was 750 pesos.

My first bid was 400 pesos. A price nearing to more than half. He said no. I never increased the bid cause I was not eager (obviously). He sold it later for 700 pesos to Dr. Ruel Mojica. Only 50 pesos off from the original but still very cheap, considering igat recipes are very delicious and sought by many.

dr ruel mojica inspecting the igatWhere and how did he get the fish?

The man said, he was fishing for a catfish using an ordinary bamboo fishing rod. A catfish bit the bait and he pulled the rod up. However, before the fish surfaced, the big and long igat suddenly rushed from nowhere and grabbed the catfish. It was like hitting two birds with one stone. He caught two fish with one bait. How lucky!

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

The Ginataang Kuhol at Laing

It is just an ordinary ginataang laing but with kuhol/snail as another main ingredient.

ginataang kuhol laingGolden kuhol are very popular but the kuhol below are not golden kuhol. They are native kuhol commonly seen in spring water and riversides. Snails climb up the grasses and can be hand picked one by one. Another method of gathering is by passing fine net through muddy water bottom.

After harvesting, the kuhol should be washed in several changes of water to removed adhering dirt. They should not be left in water for long period. They are live organisms and will slowly walk their way out.

Like the paiti shells, the kuhol pointed end is cut before cooking to facilitate easy meat removal.

Cooked kuhol is a real finger food. Anyone should hold the shell, kiss the wide opening and suck it forcefully.

empty kuhol shells

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.