i got this recipe from fellow kabitenyo and kainuman doc roger. the atsara that i’m used to was the atsarang papaya that we all know and love. but once doc roger brought out a bottle of his pickled mangoes during one of our inuman sessions, i got to appreciate its novelty and delightfully piquant taste.

this particular recipe is different from what folks back home are used to. atsarang mangga is different from burong mangga. while the latter requires only mangoes, water and a little salt, the atsarang mangga is long on preparations. but once ready to eat, the preparations and the wait is all worth your while.

ingredients:

for the syrup:
(you may also use this syrup for atsarang papaya)

2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons ginger juice
a dash of cayenne pepper
a dash of salt
>you can also add a bit of water if the syrup is too heavy.
>>for the ginger juice, you may use a garlic press to get the juice out of the ginger.

the rest:

unripe mango
sibuyas tagalog or shallots
green and red bell pepper
garlic
carrot
a jar or a 16oz bottle

first off is the syrup. in a saucepan, boil sugar and vinegar mix. add cayenne pepper and the ginger juice once sugar liquefies. set aside and let it cool.

once the syrup is cool, prepare all the other ingredients except for the unripe mango which we will save for last. peeled mangoes if left in the open for a while will have dark marks all over it. for the red and green bell pepper, slice pepper into half, seed it and slice diagonally. for the carrot, you can julienne it or slice it into round flowery objects. once everything is ready, peel the mangoes and slice it. slice both the cheeks off and slice the cheeks diagonally or longitudinally.

once everything is prepared and sliced, jar the mangoes and place the garlic, sibuyas tagalog and the sliced red and bell pepper (more of the green bell pepper than the red variety). once packed in the bottle, pour in the syrup using a funnel. put the lid on the bottle and set it aside for an hour or until the mangoes have partly absorbed the syrup. refill bottle with syrup and refrigerate. store for four or five days.

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beef mechado

July 26, 2008

mechado was one of my favorite dishes when i was growing up. it was up there together with my all-time favorites – menudo, adobo, morcon and beef caldereta.

my yaya used to cook the best mechado (and so the best menudo, the best adobo, the best morcon and the best beef caldereta, naks!) that the taste of it lingered in my palate over the years. truly unforgettable. as i remember it right, she has four to five variations of mechado (all of it good!). there was one when she used a lot of tomatoes in lieu of tomato paste. another where she used double the dose of tomato paste which makes for a rich tomato-eey stew. variations of mechado also depend on the equipment used. she used to cook mechado using the pressure cooker, or if the pressure cooker was not working over slow fire using a thick pot or simply using the wok. but my favorite of all is the mechado over slow fire.

this recipe, i hope, approximates, if not equal, the recipe that my family and i were so used to when my yaya was still alive.

ingredients:

600 gms. beef kalitiran
1/3 cup pork fat (from kasim)
1/4 cup quickmelt cheese (magnolia or the queso brand)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 medium size onion chopped into tiny pieces
2 tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 beef broth in cubes (optional)

marinade:

soy sauce
calamansi juice
pepper

1 wash meat and slice into cubes or into flat rectangles about an eight of an inch. marinate it overnight in soy sauce and calamansi juice.

2 in a wok, brown meat in oil. set aside. this time using the pot, saute garlic, onions and tomatoes (in oil used for browning the meat) for about a minute or two or until onions are soft and transluscent. blend in the meat and let it simmer in low heat for another couple of minutes while stirring occassionally. then cover the meat with water and turn heat on to high to boil. once boiling, add the beef broth cubes and turn the flame back to low heat and let it simmer for a while.

3 add the 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of sugar, the two tablespoons of tomato paste, the cubed pork fats and the bay leaves. stir. cover the pot and let it simmer (on low heat) for an hour. then add the cheese and let it simmer for half an hour more. if need be, add salt to taste.

place the mechado in a large fancy bowl, garnish it with some green leaves and voila! you have a meal!

enjoy!

>> if you bought kalitiran with fat all around it, which by the way is the yummiest, just skim the oil from the pot (after the dish is done, just place your hot dish rag under one side of the pot just to make it tilt so that the oil/grease will be concentrated on one side and thus easier to skim) and store it in your ref for use later with fried rice, beef tapa etc. (transfat galore!). you can also use sirloin beef for this dish.

>>>for best result, use an enameled iron pot or any thick bottomed calderos you can find in your kitchen.

If there is a dish that is so easy to prepare, quick to cook, taste fantastically and has great nutritional value, this is it!

I first fell in love with this dish when my brother ordered it for us in one of the few Chinese restaurants here in Cavite.

To prepare the dish, you have to put in two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Make sure that the oil is hot before putting in about a tablespoon and a half of chopped garlic. Don’t overdo the garlic. When the garlic is soft, let go of a half a teaspoon of iodized salt. Stir. Then pour in about two to three tablespoons of water and let it simmer for a minute or two. Set it aside.

After washing a head of broccoli, cut it into florets and place it in a plate. Pour about half of the garlic mixture into the broccoli before steaming it. Place it on your steamer and steam the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes. Make sure that the broccoli change into a lively green color.

Reminder: do not oversteam the broccoli.

While steaming the broccoli, mince three to four cloves of garlic. In a skillet, pour in enough vegetable oil to fry the minced garlic. Set aside.

Place the steamed broccoli in a plate, pour in the remaining half of the garlic mixture and stir. Sprinkle the fried garlic onto the broccoli flowers. Enjoy!

(You can also try sprinkling some drops of sesame oil into the simmering garlic mixture.)

Broccolo in Italy and calabrese in the UK, broccoli, according to Wikipedia is an anti-cancer vegetable rich in vitamins a, c and potassium. Its edible leaves are also rich in betacarotene more than the flowers. Also, still according to Wikipedia, a high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. However, these benefits are greatly reduced if broccoli is boiled for more than ten minutes.