I have been meaning to try my hand at cooking Kansi, that Ilonggo soup that seems like a cross between a beef nilaga and a sinigang, uniquely soured with batuan. But without the batuan, this plan was on hold… As if reading my mind, a friend “M” just dropped off this veritable bounty of batuan at our doorstep, some 3-4 kilos worth of fresh, green and young fruit. Still sticky with sap and including lots of fresh leaves, these fruit were probably still on their trees less than 24 hours ago! So before I take my maiden attempt at Kansi, does anyone have any tips? I gather a deep, rich beef broth is an essential part of a great Kansi. While most recipes just suggest boiling the beef, I am wondering if first browning the beef and bones in a hot oven will provide more flavor and a darker broth. I also wonder if beef shank is the best cut to use, or a mixture of shank and beef brisket is better, to ensure lots of meat and yet still have the bone flavor and marrow as well.
Many recipes seem to include tomatoes, and I like tomatoes, but is it more “authentic” not to include them? Is it just preference of the cook in this case? I have the lemongrass and other aromatics as well. Is the achuete oil just for aesthetics and color or is it an essential part of the flavor profile as well? I never thought of achuete as having much flavor, but I could be wrong. And here’s a truly dumb question from a non-Ilonggo — do I just throw in the whole batuan unpeeled into the broth? Or do I peel it? Or mash it all up when it’s soft? Does the skin detract from the broth? Finally, with the unripe langka I have seen it included in large whopping chunks or in smaller pieces, any counsel as to the ideal size of slices of langka? Any suggestions you guys might have would be greatly appreciated. I plan to make this for lunch tomorrow, Monday. :)
Meanwhile, afraid that I won’t be able to use up all of the batwan before it spoils, I just tried to preserve some by brining them in a glass jar that I will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. I picked out nearly uniform sized fruit and removed their stems, washed them well and placed them in a sterilized glass jar. Next, I boiled a few cups of water and added about 1/4 cup of salt and stirred until dissolved. I poured the boiling water over the batuan in the bottle and will wait for the liquid to cool before putting it in the fridge. Notice how the color of the batuan skins turn olive green, this just seconds after we poured in the hot water. I am hoping this will preserve the distinctive sour flavor of batwan though I understand they could get quite salty in the process. If it works, I will be able to savor batuan in dishes for weeks to come. Thanks “M” for the specially delivered Batuan!