On Sept. 29, 1898, a grand banquet was prepared to celebrate the Solemn Ratification of the Declaration of Philippine Independence. The menus for the celebratory lunch and dinner, said to be written in French, have been translated into English and Tagalog.
On Sept. 16, 1998, during the centennial celebration of the Malolos Congress, a reenactment of it was staged. Bulacan’s treasured food historian, the late Milagros Santiago-Enriquez, was tasked to recreate the banquet.
Through the years, many have interpreted the banquet’s menu. Each time, it was a feast to look forward to. There are no existing recipes, and so each chef and cook had his or her own concept.
This piece highlights the spread by Rheeza Hernandez, the niece and guardian of Ka Mila’s historical works on food; Ruel Paguiligan, curator of the Museo ng Republika 1899; historian Roly Marcelino; and Bistro Maloleño’s Ferdie Talbenito.
According to Rheeza, their collaboration began with a question: “If we were to prepare the banquet based on the French menu using our own traditional, classic and heirloom recipes, what will we serve and how will we do it?”
The Bangkete ng Malolos Lunch was served on Oct. 2, 2016, at the historic Barasoain Church. Their collaborative work was dubbed “Bangkete para sa Kongreso ng Malolos.” The focus was on heirloom family recipes, and ingredients sourced within Bulacan, specifically in and around Malolos.
Here are some of the recipes or kaluto. We urge you to cook a dish or two from the list to celebrate and commemorate an important chapter in our nation’s history.
Oysters and prawns were among the seven appetizers during the Malolos lunch banquet. In Malolos, kinilaw na talaba and nilasing na sugpo are classic recipes from the coastal barangay or latian.
Huitres (Kinilaw na Talaba)
1 c fresh oysters
½ c vinegar
1 pc ginger, minced
4-5 small red onions or native onions, chopped
½ tsp peppercorns, coarsely ground or pounded
½ tsp salt
Boil vinegar (sasa or paombong). Add fresh oysters. Cook for one minute. Set aside to cool. Mix chopped onions, ginger, salt and pepper. Add to the oysters. Let sit two to three hours. Drain oysters and serve.
Crevettes Roses (Nilasing na Sugpo)
1 kg prawns, peeled and deveined
¼ c pale pilsen beer
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1½ c cooking oil
¾ c all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp cornstarch
Marinate prawns in beer. Add salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, combine flour and cornstarch, season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Heat oil.
Dredge shrimp in flour mixture. Fry until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels. Arrange on a serving plate.
Two of the seven main dishes of the Malolos banquet were simple Filipino dishes, staples at every celebration during the olden days: tortang alimasag and adobong atay-balunan.
Coquilles de Crabes (Tortang Alimasag)
2 kg alimasag, steamed, meat picked and carapace set aside
1 head garlic, crushed
2 onions, chopped
2 red and green bell peppers, chopped
1 c diced potatoes, fried
6 eggs, beaten
Cooking oil for frying
Brown garlic. Add onions, bell pepper, crab meat. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. Add cooked potatoes and beaten eggs. Mix well. Stuff crab shells. Pan fry until upper crust of stuffing is golden brown.
Abatis se Poulet ala Tagalog (Adobong Atay-Balunan ng Tagalog)
1 kg liver and gizzard of chicken
⅗ c sasa or nipa vinegar
1 whole garlic, mashed
1 tsp whole pepper corn
1 laurel leaf
2 Tbsp fish sauce
Combine all ingredients in pot. Cover and simmer over low heat. Add a little water and cook until meat is tender. Turn up heat to reduce sauce once meat is tender.
Seven desserts were served during the Malolos banquet. One was strawberry jelly, this time presented as a sapin-sapin jelly.Traditional helatin, often tinged pink to resemble strawberries, was layered with leche flan del mar (leche flan of the sea)—an heirloom jelly recipe.
Gelle de Fraises (Sapin-Sapin na Gulamang Helatin at Leche Flan del Mar Helatin)
2 bars red gulaman bars
1 L water
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp strawberry flavor (optional)
400 ml evaporated milk
Break gulaman bars and boil with water. Cook until dissolved. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour mixture through a strainer to remove unmelted gulaman bits. Add evaporated milk, strawberry flavor and vanilla extract. Pour in a rectangular pan and let it set.
For the Leche Flan del Mar
12 egg yolks
2 big cans evaporated milk
2 cans water (use can of evaporated milk)
½ c sugar
1 bar gulaman2 dayap rinds
Beat egg yolks, add evaporated milk and sugar. Dissolve gulaman bar in boiling water and slowly add milk mixture. Stir until cooked, add dayap rind. Cool slightly and pour over the pink gulaman (recipe above). Refrigerate until set. Cut into squares and serve cold with strawberry syrup.
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