I first posted this in February 2005 when this blog’s readership was less than 1/10th of what it is today… I figured it would be worth it to post it again as there is an abundance of paho at the markets right now. In the weeks ahead I will revisit some of my archives while I am off on vacation… My mom was a great fan of paho and today would have been her 8oth birthday if she were still around so this is for her…In my earlier post on paho, I promised to try and replicate the brined paho of my childhood and to taste/test the raw fruit, so here are the results. First, a salad of raw sliced paho, tomatoes and onions with Patis. I was trying to approximate a description of a Southern Tagalog relish but without ever having tasted it or access to a recipe. This experiment was pretty good, though it needed a lot of patis or salt. The paho has a distinctive flavor that is truly unique. It paired well with the tomatoes but be careful how much raw onion you put as it can be rather overwhelming.
I ate this relish with a batch of crisply fried lechon kawali with Mang Tomas lechon sauce and it was super yummy. To prepare, just peel the paho, slice thinly (we removed the yound seed), add chopped tomato and onion and sprinkle liberally with patis. Add rock salt if it lacks taste. I imagine this would be good with a little chilli too. The relish cut nicely into the fat of the fried pork. Fat and acid… such a classic pairing. I would really like to believe the incredulous line someone once said about fat and acid… “don’t worry, the suka (vinegar) melts the bad stuff in the chicharon (fried pork rinds) so you can eat a lot more… ” hmmm, uhuh.
Brined paho was the next experiment. I searched in my cookbooks, the internet and asked my sister how to make this but I couldn’t find a recipe at all. Perhaps it was too simple to jot down anywhere. So I invented my own… Wash the paho very well. Boil up some water, blanch the paho for a minute or less in the boiling water and drain. Boil up another batch of water and add lots and lots of salt (I used about 1/3 cup for 3-4 cups of water) and boil until fully dissolved. When this mixture has cooled, place the paho in a bottle and add the salt water. Place in fridge and brine for several days. I just tasted mine after three days and it was almost as good as I remember it from childhood. It could use another few days of soaking but it was really rather tasty and again possessed that unique Paho flavor. If there are any food scientists out there that think I am likely to get botulism with this described method, please email me. Or if you have a better reicpe I would appreciate it if you would share it…