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!