For me, one of the downsides to living far from the Philippines is I never get to enjoy my favorite Philippine fruits such as the greenest Indian mangoes, unripe guavas, kamias, semi-ripe green tamarind, and santol. They all have one thing in common, they are all sour ranging from the extreme to moderate and sweetish. I was reminded of my love for these pucker-inducing fruits when I read Marvin's recent trip to the Philippines. Staring at the photos of green mangoes and the kamias with sea salt had me salivating and wanting to pluck them right from the computer screen. One of my favorite snacks was kamias freshly picked from the tree, dipped in rock sea salt. I used to stand in front of the tree and ate them until I had my fill. Kamias is used in the Philippines as a souring agent for soups and for stewed mackerel (tulingan). My mother also chops or slices them as condiment for noodles. Although I prefer eating these sour fruits as they are, I also love them candied.
Stewed Spanish Mackerel
2 medium-size whole Spanish mackerel, cleaned and slashed lengthwise
hydrated dried kamias, reserve liquid
sea salt to taste
a very small piece of pork belly with fat, sliced and fried crisp
banana leaf, optional
- Line a skillet with banana leaf, sprinkle with half a T of sea salt, half of the dried kamias and half of the fried pork fat. Place fish on skillet, sprinkle with another half T of sea salt, top with the remaining dried kamias and pork fat. Pour the reserved liquid in the skillet and add enough water to cover fish. Let boil, cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Serve with steamed rice.