March 10, 2011

NILAGA! (Meat and Vegetable Stew)

Lent season started yesterday with Ash Wednesday, I got marked with a cross on my forehead with ash as sign of my devotion. This also means after getting the mark, I had to avoid meat of all sorts (except fish) on that day and every Friday until Easter. Check this for more info,

I was so hungry, because I went with my friends who ate dinner at Chicken House. Although chicken's my favorite, I had to stand for my devotion to God and avoid the scrumptious fried chicken temptation - even with their annoying persuasion. I walked home to build a big appetite, because I swear I'm gonna eat like I never ate for years! So when I arrived home, I was expecting that dinner would be fish or vegetables. To my disappointment, one of my favorite food was on the table - NILAGA. Nilaga is a simple meat stew. In English, it means boiled. In making this, meat and vegetables are placed in boiling water and cooked over low heat.

Fortunately, I was able to resist and told my parents that I would eat this in the morning instead. So when I woke up, washed my face and gargled, I immediately turned to the kitchen and got the nilaga from the fridge and heated it. After heating, I got about three cups of rice into the plate and brought my meal into my room - yes I enjoy eating at the bed room and watching the television while at it. 

We used pork in this nilaga. So locally, it is called Nilagang Baboy - where baboy means pork or pig.  Here is our home recipe for this delectable dish.

The ingredients are:
  • a pound of pork 
  • half a pound of eddoes (taro)
  • seven cups of water
  • one quartered onion
  • four crushed cloves of garlic
  • one diced ginger
  • salt to taste
  • quarter teaspoon of peppercorn
  • pechay leaves

  1. Place pork in a  pot with water. Cover the pot and wait until it boils, then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.
  2. Some fats would rise atop the broth, this would look unappealing so better remove it.
  3. Add eddoes and let it cook until it is tender.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper.
  5. When all is rightfully tender, turn off the heat.
  6. Wash the pechay leaves (also known as bok choy) first, then place it atop the simmering stock.
  7. Wait for five minutes for the pechay to cook on the stock's heat.
  8. Enjoy it hot!

Nilaga is best enjoyed hot. Dipped in patis or soy sauce with lime is two of the best ways enjoying this with rice - and a lot of it. 

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