04 Mar2008


I found these really fresh ulang at the market last Saturday, a couple of hours before lunch. I already had a beef sinigang started and on the stove, so I decided not to make an ulang sinigang, one of the finest ways I have enjoyed this shellfish in the past. I tried an ulang poached in butter experiment, in the previous post, to pretty good results, but I bet most of the morning’s purchase on a grilled version topped with a gambas al ajillo style mixture. Here is the really simple recipe that worked quite well.


First, make the sauce or topping. I heated up some olive oil in a pan, added about 3/4 cup of chopped garlic (3 large heads worth) and sauteed for a minute or two over medium heat. I then added roughly 15 siling mahaba that had been de-seeded and chopped up, 5 siling mahaba with seeds, chopped, and one whole red bell pepper, chopped. After several minutes of sauteeing, I added a copious amount of paprika and some salt and a bit more olive oil to make sure it wasn’t too dry a mixture. When it is all softened, turn off the heat and set this aside.


We made a fairly large charcoal fire, but allowed it to peak and subside a bit, before pushing the coals to the outer edge of the barbecue grill, a circular Weber. This was done on purpose as I was afraid the coals would flare up and singe the delicate meat when oil/fat dripped onto them. The first thought was to grill the ulang whole, but I wanted the meat a bit charred so we cut them in half instead. Then I brushed them with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper amd grilled the ulang on both sides.


It only took a couple of minutes on each side to get the meat just cooked and we didn’t have a single flare-up.


Served on these huge platters, these would have made a delicious first course for one, served simply with a wedge of lemon or a sprinkle of vinegar.


But I took it a step further and dolloped huge portions of garlic and chili sauce on top of each ulang, then served it with rice. This first attempt was a bit spicy, so I would tone down the chillies a bit the next time but the combination of the sauce with the nicely grilled ulang was a definite hit!



  1. Gigi says:

    ooohlalah, mm! glorious looking dish that is! as michael ruhlman said in his book “the making of a chef”, preparing an ingredient in a way that exalts is being “in the service of…” said ingredient. with that, your garlic and peppers number truly just achieves such service! i bet the sauce will work so well too with crabs! grilled liempo na lang and it’ll be a great summer lunch shindig! :)

    Mar 4, 2008 | 12:00 pm


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    Your first picture with row ofbuterflied ulang looks very tasty blanketed in its almighty garlic compote to chase away the bats and vampires and a pack of sugarless gum to cleanse the breath afterwards is in order! Risotto, meatless pasta or meatless plain paella rice (red rice) is good to go with the grilled ulang. Yes, you are right they are good in sinigang as with any bony meat parts – the shell and head of the ulang gives an ultra rich sinigang broth that is really mean.

    Mar 4, 2008 | 12:04 pm

  4. penoybalut says:

    Is ulang the equivalent of crawdad or crayfish? It is cooked with that seafood flavor in the South and served on a coned newspaper. They don’t accept the crawdad name for it, though.

    My mom would sangag the ulang in the olden days and we would dip it in suka with bawang, had to be eaten kamayan style. The way you prepared it looks very flavorful and easier to maneuver with flatware.


    Mar 4, 2008 | 2:01 pm

  5. Duday says:

    Is this a small lobster? I dont have any idea what Ulang is?

    Mar 4, 2008 | 3:00 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    Duday, read the link to the page post on ulang, the highlighted or underlined words represent links… penoybalut, some call this crayfish or crawfish, but that is scientifically incorrect, apparently. It is a freshwater shrimp, found in relatively clean and substanital rivers in Luzon, Leyte, Palawan, etc.

    Mar 4, 2008 | 3:17 pm

  7. Didi says:

    They look really really really good!!

    Salivating now..

    Mar 4, 2008 | 5:01 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Didi, was that you by any chance at Mamou the other night at the next table… you were with a bunch of friends? Could have been someone else, I can’t recall all the faces and names of folks…

    Mar 4, 2008 | 5:20 pm

  9. Homebuddy says:

    Nice presentation! I’m sure the taste is fantastic….makes one hungry just by looking at the photos.

    Mar 4, 2008 | 9:03 pm

  10. macpower says:

    wow, mukhang masarap. sobra nakakagutom! marketman, why not open a resto? i will be your first paying customer. i really want to taste and savour all the recipes you’ve been posting. why not, marketman, why not?

    Mar 4, 2008 | 9:39 pm

  11. betty q. says:

    If and when you open a restaurant MM, I will go back home and will consider it an honor to be your pastry chef….

    Mar 4, 2008 | 11:37 pm

  12. dhayL says:

    another way to serve shrimps for this summer coming up! thanks, it’s looks so good!

    Mar 5, 2008 | 6:18 am

  13. Mila says:

    Hmm, maybe time to retire the chilli crab t-shirts for a grilled chilli ulang hoodie!

    Mar 5, 2008 | 9:14 am

  14. Allan says:

    your recent posts remind me of those days we used to visit bangkok often – grilled river prawns were one of our staples. the Thais grill ulang, whole but usually split in half and brushed with a scant amount of butter. it comes to the table piping hot, the meat tender and the heads oozing with a golden orange buttery roe. they serve it with a Thai dipping sauce made of patis, dayap juice, coriander, garlic and tons of fiery hot green and red chilies.

    i really think grilling (the Thai way) is the best way to enjoy ulang. the smokiness imparted by grilling complements the delicate ulang flavor. there is no fishy-ness at all as the ulang is always fresh. the fresh sour-salty-spicy dip complements the freshness as well without overwhelming your tastebuds to steal the show away from the delicate ulang.

    Mar 5, 2008 | 10:17 am

  15. Geehan says:

    hello there. Am a newbie in posting a comment but have been reading your blog for quite some time now. Just cant help but comment on your “ulang” topic… This is my “favoritest” seafood of all and not sure if you tasted ulang in gata… if not, you should try it out.. heavenly with the rich, creamy gata and some siling haba.. not to mention the “taba” inside the ulang’s head!

    Mar 5, 2008 | 2:34 pm

  16. Mayk says:

    Hi MM, Whats the difference between an Ulang and a Swahe?

    Mar 5, 2008 | 8:37 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    Mayk, I believe a suahe is a “white” sea shrimp, whereas an ulang is a freshwater or brackish water river shrimp. The main physical difference is size, and the strange long claws they have… they don’t look similar at all…

    Mar 5, 2008 | 10:41 pm

  18. chinchai says:

    Too bad, I just saw Mr. MMs blog about ulang. Last Saturday, I bought very large ulangs (about a bit bigger than my thumbs) for Php210.00 a kilo. Pinakyaw ko na sa suki ko, since not everyday that I could see those humongous ulangs so fresh. Some even had eggs. I made it into spicy ginataan. Hubby was very happy with my new menu. For me, Ulang tastes better than suahe.

    Mar 19, 2009 | 5:06 pm


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