I have been making a list of regional Filipino food that I haven't eaten nor cooked before. I'm going to have a sort of my own test kitchen. I'll cook a chosen recipe, judge, improve upon if necessary, and then I'll blog about it.
One of the recipes I have wanted to try is the Pampanga rice dish Bringhe which is in 2 of my Filipino cookbooks. I chose the one from MEMORIES OF PHILIPPINE KITCHENS because it doesn't have chorizo, ham, or prawns. Both books categorize the rice dish as the Filipino version of the Spanish paella and a lot of Filipinos call the dish Philippine paella. Reading through the ingredients and the recipe I honestly think bringhe is closer to the Indian vegetable rice dish brinji than to paella. Aside from the similarity in their names, they also share a few ingredients such as coconut milk, carrot, potato, peas, and turmeric although brinji is heavily seasoned with herbs and spices. Paella doesn't have any of those ingredients save for peas. Since I am not from the region where this dish comes from, I am not going to disagree with its kinship with Paella.
The following recipe from MEMORIES is quite large and you may want to halve it. The 2 things I changed from the procedure: 1) added a tablespoon of sea salt to the chicken broth while it is boiling for a more flavorful chicken meat, then adjusted the amount of fish extract; 2) used 2 pieces of turmeric because the yellow color was too pale. Japanese sticky rice IMO is best for this recipe because the soaking time is only one hour.
I love the finished dish for its simplicity and its very mild flavor. There aren't any strong-flavored ingredients that clash, rather they complement each other. It has a hint of sweetness from the coconut milk and vegetables and the aroma and flavor of the banana leaves is heavenly. Sticky rice and banana leaves are made for each other, with sweet and with savory dishes.
I give this recipe 2 thumbs up.
adapted from MEMORIES OF PHILIPPINE KITCHENS
by Amy Besa And Romy Dorotan
3½ pounds whole chicken
1 large onion, quartered
2 tablespoons light olive or grapeseed oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 sweet red bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 one-inch piece fresh turmeric, grated (or 1 teaspoon powdered)
2 cups sticky rice, soaked in water overnight, drained
2 cups coconut milk
4 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
frozen banana leaves
- Place the chicken and onion in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the chicken, strain, and reserve the broth. Set the chicken aside to cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it. Set aside.
- Wash the banana leaves with the hottest tap water then wipe dry. Brush a large wok with vegetable oil and line with a double layer of banana leaves. Lightly oil the banana leaves.
- In a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic, onion,, and bell pepper and saute until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook until softened. Add the turmeric and stir for 1 minute. Drain the rice and add to the pan, stirring until thoroughly coated with the oil. Add 1½ cups coconut milk and 1½ cups of the reserved chicken stock, and the fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid is absorbed. Add another ½ cup of coconut milk and ½ cup of chicken broth and continue to stir until the liquid is absorbed. This should take 20 minutes - the rice should be tender but al dente. If the rice isn't cooked through, add more milk and stock. Continue to cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Add the shredded chicken and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes.
- Fill the prepared wok with the rice mixture, smooth the top, cover with another layer of banana leaf, cover with lid or aluminum foil. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, raise the heat to medium-high and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until a golden brown crust is formed at the bottom. Invert onto a large serving plate, remove the leaves, and serve.
savory sticky rice, yummy