Pinakro

Hunyo 29, 2008

In Bicol almost everything is cooked with coconut milk; including snacks. One good example of that is pinakro (click if you understand Bikol), wherein banana, root tubers like cassava, or even sticky rice is cooked in coconut milk until tender. It’s very easy to prepare and you only need a few ingredients.

While Frank (the typhoon last Sunday, June 22) was busy lashing the whole country, I remembered that dad brought back from Bicol a variety of  banana called pinipita — that’s what it’s called in Bikol. It’s firmer than saba. Here’s how this kind of banana looks:

 

Pinipita

peeled and sliced

Anyway, I thought of cooking these bananas–unripe and just perfect for pinakro–instead of just looking out the window, watching some falling trees and leaves flying in all direction or just listening to the  angry howling of the wind. I went with the taskfast: washed the bananas, peeled and sliced them in quarters so they’d cook fast. I soaked them in water (to pevent discoloration) while I squeezed the niyog. You can use canned coconut but I prefer the ‘real’ niyog. Mas masarap. 😀

On with the cooking. I placed the sliced bananas in a pot, poured the coconut milk, added a dash of salt and brown sugar, covered the pot and placed it on the stove. By the way, I used the coconut milk obtained from the second squeezing and set aside the kakang gata (coconut milk obtained from the first squeezing). After 5 or 10 minutes, when half of the coconut milk has evaporated, I added the kakang gata, then covered the pot again. I only had to wait for a few more minutes and voila! Yum-yum merienda. Look:

Presenting: Pinakrong Batag (banana)

A closer look.

You can sprinkle sugar on top — a lot if you like. Or dip it in honey. I think that would really taste good. Haven’t tried it though. 😀


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May Day

Mayo 7, 2008

The first day of May is a very important date for workers worldwide when labor movements celebrate their social and economic achievements. In the Philippines, May 1 usually marks a new battle for labor groups and advocates as they strive to fight for better or higher wages for workers. As long as I can remember (since I moved to Manila in college) the common scene at this time of the year are rallies in Maynila, specifically in Mendiola and near Malacañan Palace. But this post is not about Labor Day or wage hikes.  I leave the discussion of these topics to the experts.

I wait for a different ‘event’ in May. I’m a probinsyana, a girl from the countryside. I grew up running along cornfields, chasing chickens, walking between paddy fields and watching rice stalks gracefully dancing to the music of the provincial breeze, climbing guava trees, collecting sticky sap from the trunk of jackfruit trees and use it to catch dragonflies and butterflies in the field (hell! I didn’t even know the existence of the net!).

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