Somehow I managed to cook something whose ingredients were almost entirely on the “off-limits” list for my current diet. I’m sure a psychiatrist would have some interesting explanation for this foodie version of self-flagellation on Good Friday. My justification is that I was simply feeding the crew something good for lunch. :) So here it goes, a riff on the Thai dish that inspired this salty, sour, rich, tasty fried rice.
Finely shred (or use a mandoline) a large, firm green mango. This one was wicked sour despite its yellowing color. Prepare several tablespoons of ginisang bagoong (with or without chilis to your preference), a cup or more of chopped chicharon, a cup or more of little tampalen cubes, a few tablespoons of pork lard, in this case homemade from tampalen (notice how nice and creamy white it is from very low heat rendering of the fat). Some minced garlic, chopped chilis if you want more spice, and freshly ground black pepper. You also need about 6-7 cups of day old rice.
In a large wok over medium high heat, add 6-8 tablespoons of lard and as soon as it melts and is beginning to smoke, add the chicharon if it requires crisping (we used old chicharon so it was a bit chewy), garlic and tampalen bits and stir for a few second until they are all warmed through or even crisped up a bit. Add the bagoong and break up the shrimp paste so it is more of a sauce.
If your green mango is seriously sour, you may want to add it in now, to essentially cook it a bit, otherwise, wait till after you put the rice. Add chopped chilies if desired.
Add the rice and stir well, breaking up clumps and trying to bring color to all of the rice. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to moisten this up a bit. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
I had one tablespoon and it was heaven. You may have to make it 2 or 3 times to get the exact proportion of bagoong and other seasonings right for your own palate. But the salty pungent bagoong married with the fragrant, rich but naturally rendered lard and the hits of sour green mango were a dish all in itself. No need for anything else for a truly satisfying, quick and easy lunch. :)