I first met Victor Barangan when he was executive chef at Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao. I was enthralled by his cooking.
His creations are pleasing to the eye and to the palate. What he brings to the table is borne of his pure and sometimes wild imagination.
I will never forget his kinilaw. The day I visited, he served two kinds: malasugi and blue marlin, both prepared with biyasong (a local type of citrus), fried dried squid with a splash of tuba vinegar.
He tied it together with pomelo segments, red onion, ginger and red chili.
In this column, a few years ago, I featured his Crocodillio, croc ribs with civet barbecue sauce, served with pineapple annatto rice and sinamak pearls. The playful dish was bursting with flavors and textures.
Now executive chef at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, Barangan’s latest favorite ingredient is adlai. He started toying with the grain after his sister, Kristine Sarmiento, began growing it.
I was bewildered. Imagine: adlai milk tea, polvoron, champorado, paella, risotto, ice cream, and his phenomenal salmon buro with adlai. It is one of the best buro I’ve tried.
His polvoron is likewise very good, a “sosy” take on the classic, made with ground, sifted, and toasted adlai.
I asked what he himself likes to eat. I learned that he fancies simple fare, devoured “with my hands, preferably.”
Vic’s strength as a cook relies on his ability to keep his food relatable and familiar, yet presented in unique ways.
Here is his one of his recipes:
Adlai paella in truffle oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
4 c chicken stock
2 tbsp white onion, minced
100 g chorizo Bilbao
300 g Pomora Farms Chicken Oysters, marinated with juice from 2 pcs calamansi and 4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 jig Emperador Brandy
2 c half-cooked adlai
1/4 c frozen peas
100 g red bell pepper
100 g French beans
5 g truffle oil
Heat paellera and add olive oil over medium heat. Sauté chorizo for a minute, then set aside.
Add garlic and onion into the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add marinated chicken and cook for another minute.
Deglaze pan with brandy and add tomato paste. Add adlai grains and chicken stock. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
Top with frozen peas, bell pepper, French beans, cooked chorizo and cover with foil. Finish cooking in a preheated 375°F oven for 15-20 minutes.
Remove foil and finish garnishing with sliced egg and truffle oil.
Chef Victor Barangan, tel. 0917-1241444
For a copy of my new class schedule that includes sous vide lechon and barbecues, text 0917-5543700.