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Kitchen Rescue

Three ways to cook ‘bagoong’

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MANGGA’T bagoong

Of late, I have been eating a lot of Indian mangoes. But unlike many of you, I like mine almost ripe. So why do I even bother to eat green mangoes, right? Strange, but I never developed a liking for the real sour, carabao variety.

And what are green mangoes without bagoong? Many will agree that having them without bagoong is only half the fun and the flavor. I’ve always wondered why people end up buying bottled bagoong instead of making it. Perhaps it’s the smell! But cooking it yourself gives you the liberty to make it taste exactly as you please—whether salty, sour, sweet or spicy, etc.

For me, making ginisang bagoong is one of the most exciting and mouth-watering culinary experiences one could have. I strongly urge you to try it, for it is virtually impossible not to cook it right, and it will never turn out awful. At worst, you’ll have a finished product that is just too salty—which bagoong is, anyway. At best, it’ll be something to make you hungry and salivate.

Here are some of my favorite ways to cook bagoong, for anything from your kare-kare to manggang hilaw and ensalada. Enjoy!

I buy my alamang at Farmer’s Market fresh—salted but not cooked. When I get home, the alamang gets picked through, rinsed (always, otherwise my bagoong turns out to be too salty), and I let it drip to dry in a strainer before cooking.

Bagoong na Ginisa sa Bawang

¼ k pork liempo, sliced into thin strips

½ c water

1/3 c oil

¾ c garlic, chopped

3 red onions, chopped

4 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

chili, optional

300 g alamang

Heat wok and cook pork liempo strips with water over low heat, until water has evaporated and pork strips have browned.

Add oil and sauté garlic together with pork strips. Cook until garlic is golden, not burnt.

Add onions, tomatoes and chilies (if desired); cook until tomatoes are soft.

Add alamang and cook over low heat until the liquid has reduced and the mixture is dry and has a nice sheen.

Sweet and Spicy Bagoong

½ c liempo, sliced into thin strips

2 tbsp water

1/3 c oil

½ c chicharon, crumbled

1/3 c garlic, chopped

½ c onions

300 g alamang

Thai red chili, sliced, adjust to taste

1½ c brown sugar, adjust to taste—palm or coco sugar is wonderful to use for this

2-3 tbsp kalamansi juice

Heat wok and cook pork liempo strips with water over low heat, until water has evaporated and pork strips have browned.

Add oil, sauté chicharon and garlic together with pork strips.

Cook until garlic is golden.

Add onions, tomatoes, chilies and cook until tomatoes are soft.

Add alamang and sugar.

Cook over low heat until the liquid has reduced, the bagoong mixture thickened and has a nice sheen.

Add kalamansi juice off the fire. Season to taste.

(I love this the most for green mangoes.)

Bagoong with Cherry Tomatoes and Coriander

2 tbsp oil

¼ c garlic

1/3 c shallots

1 c cherry tomatoes, whole

250 g alamang

½ c brown sugar, adjust to taste

Thai chili to taste

pepper

1/3 c coriander, chopped with stems

1-2 tbsp lime juice

Heat oil.

Sauté garlic, onions and tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft.

Add chilies, then alamang.

Add sugar and coriander.

Cook over low heat until the liquid has reduced, the bagoong mixture thickened and has a nice sheen.

Off the fire, add lime juice and season to taste with sugar and black pepper.

Garnish with coriander leaves and chilies.

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