I ordered an interesting sounding ginataang talong dish (Eggplants in coconut milk with smoked fish) in Legazpi that made enough of an impression that I tried to re-create it back in Manila, with delicious results. If you are not into coconut milk, smoked fish or eggplants, donâ€™t even try this. To make, slice several Asian eggplants (the slim ones) on the diagonal. In a wok or pan, heat up several cups of freshly squeezed gata (coconut milk) and add chopped onions, some garlic and boil it to thicken it. Add some sliced siling mahaba (long chillies) with seeds and perhaps one or two chopped siling labuyo if you want some spice, then add about 2 flaked and de-boned tinapang galunggong (smoked fish), some uncolored bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)and the eggplants and cook until just done. Add salt and some pepper to taste. Serve with lots of steamed rice and perhaps a grilled pork chop or liempo. It was surprisingly easy and very good eating.
I was also baffled by the lack of a decent bicol express in Bicol so at the market last weekend I bought tons of siling mahaba with the intention of making some of my own bicol express. I made it for lunch today in just 15 minutes and I canâ€™t, for the life of me, understand why restaurants canâ€™t serve a decent version. I have the more complicated recipe detailed here, but today’s express bicol express version using some uncolored bagoong instead of daing took almost no time and tasted utterly delicious. Yes, I do like my bicol express spicy with a creamy and coconutty sauceâ€¦