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Dinuguan Paella is Real and It’s Absolutely Delicious!

4 months ago

DINUGUAN PAELLA

Chef Jaja Andal recalls how her Lolo Yuyo Andal, a sugar plantation farmer, would struggle to make ends meet to feed his nine children. As is done in most Batangueño homes during meals, Lolo Yuyo would moisten the cooked white rice with Kapeng Barako or Tsokolate tablea–whichever was available. This makes the rice soupy and therefore, more filling. The “ulam” would be dried fish called “hawot” to flavor the rice.

Helping Chef Jaja reminisce on those days was her Tita Belen Andal Cabral who recalled how their Lola/Mom Chabeng would sometimes make kapeng bigas by dry toasting rice grains until golden brown and fragrant. Steeped in boiling water, the almost-burnt rice produces a dark brown, caffeine-free “coffee”. Since ginger is abundant in the area, Lola Chabeng would also prepare a huge pot of salabat for the entire household every morning. Her concoction included bits of kamote floating in the spicy ginger drink–adding a little more substance to the restorative brew.

I also asked Jaja about Balayan bagoong or fish bagoong, the sawsawan many Pinoys all love. According to Jaja, most of the fish are harvested from Balayan Bay where small fish–mostly dilis–are fermented over several months to make bagoong isda or fish bagoong. The secret to making a good bagoong and patis for that matter (since patis is a necessary by-product of bagoong making)–is to use only fresh fish. Rotten fish will never do! The ratio of fresh fish to salt is another important factor in making good quality fish bagoong, and the well-known manufacturers have certainly perfected the right technique.

Like other provinces in Luzon such as Bulacan and Pampanga, Batangas has a lot to offer.

Jaja andal says of Batangas, “Its proximity to the seas, vast mountains and abundant fields, has given Batangas access to the freshest seafood, premium meats, and locally sourced ambrosial ingredients.”

Here is one of Jaja’s recipes that was a crowd favorite in the Batangas Food Festival, the Dinuguan Paella. I’ve been dreaming of it so I asked for the recipe and she very gladly obliged.

 

DINUGUAN PAELLA
Makes 5-6 servings

2 Tbsps Cooking oil

6 cloves Garlic, chopped

1 Medium onion, diced

1 thumb-sized Ginger, cut into strips

½ kilo Pork kasim, cut into small cubes

2 ½ cups Water

2 Pork broth cubes

1/4 cup Vinegar

1½ cups Pig’s blood (dugo)

Fish Sauce (patis), to taste

2 cups Japanese Rice, washed and drained

Lechon Kawali, sliced, for topping

  1. Heat cooking oil in a paellera or wok. Saute the garlic, onion, and ginger.
  1. Add pork and cook until light brown.
  1. Pour water and pork broth cubes, then bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pan and let the pork simmer until tender, about 30-45 minutes.
  1. When pork is tender, pour in the vinegar. Let the mixture boil without covering the pan to let the acidity evaporate.
  1. Stir in the pig’s blood, stirring continuously over low-medium heat to prevent the blood from curdling. The mixture will turn from dark red to dark brown very quickly so continue stirring until it thickens.
  1. Add Japanese rice and stir. Taste sauce and season with patis. Stir in sliced finger chili, if using. Cover paellera with foil and simmer over low heat until rice is cooked. To serve, top paella with lechon kawali.

 

Chef Jaja Andal is accepting orders for her specialty paellas this Christmas. The Green Paella (pesto), the Black Paella (squid ink), the Blue Paella (blue ternate flower) and the Red Paella (classic). Also available is the Jajingka Bibingka, a super sarap kakanin and an original recipe by Chef Jaja Andal. Send her a PM on Facebook Angeli Andal.


Words and photo by Nina Daza-Puyat

 

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