Monday, 8 August 2005

Kilawing Puso Ng Saging

As a direct aftermath of our trip to the London Thai Food Festival, I cooked the puso ng saging or banana heart (blossom) that we bought into a kilawin. Kilawin is what we call, in the Tagalog region of the Philippines, a method of cooking with vinegar - lots of it actually.

When I was still living in the Phils. I noticed that this dish is not common in the Metro Manila area unlike in our place in Cavite where you can find it in most carinderia (eateries). Anyhow, I have to call my aunt and my Nanay because it's been more than a decade since I cooked one of these and I badly need directions. My main pet peeve was the amount of dagta (plant sap) that you have to deal with and the banana plant have a lot of it which I think it got concentrated in the heart. The soaking in water and squeezing out before putting it in the pan can only help so much. It can get really sticky. Much of it thankfully sticks on the side of the pan as you cook so you just have to spoon it off. I have to admit this recipe is still on update mode since I'm not perfectly satisfied with the result (probably because I didn't use shrimp juice) but good enough for your everyday meals.

Kilawing Puso Ng Saging

1 Tbsp oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 small onion - sliced
1 puso ng saging (banana heart) - about 500 gm
125 g  cooked shelled clams/mussels - roughly chopped or flaked canned tuna
3/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cup water or shrimp juice*
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Unwrap the banana heart (see above left) until you get to the mainly white part (see above right). Cut off the stem part and discard together with the skin that you unwrapped.
  2. Put 8 cups of water in a large bowl and add around 3 Tbsp salt. Make sure salt is dissolved in the water.
  3. Slice the banana heart into 1/2 inch thick pieces. As you slice, immediately put them in the bowl of salted water. This is to prevent them from turning black. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan. Saute garlic and onion.
  5. Add in the clams or mussels meat. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
  6. Add in vinegar and water, bring to boil.
  7. Drain the banana heart and squeeze out excess water.
  8. Stir in the the banana heart into the saucepan. Simmer until fully cooked - about 5-10 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and serve.
Note: For the shrimp juice - mash heads and shells of fresh shrimps with mortar and pestle; mix well in water then strain. Discard shrimp shells.

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