Hereâ€™s a heart stopping, flavor packed way to enjoy some totally fresh ubod or heart of coconut palm. A work colleague of mine dragged a huge chunk of freshly felled coconut trunk from Bohol to Cebu last week, and I was thrilled with the prospect of a freshly made lumpia ubod. Unfortunately, this is apparently NOT a common dish in Cebu and no one in the office knew how to cook it. I have struggled with the wrappers before, but rather than not enjoying the ubod, I decided to simply cook it up as though we were going to make lumpia and then just eat the filling â€œnaked.â€ However, I wanted to make it more of an ulam or viand rather than a â€œside dish.â€ But there was a slight glitch in the works. Imagine my surprise when we opened up the coconut trunk, and it didnâ€™t quite look like ubod. It seems the section was from HIGHER up on the trunk, just before the youngest leaves came out of the trunk. I donâ€™t even know what this section is called, but it is thinner, more delicate and less dense than the ubod I am familiar with. So instead of cooking this great gift, which is apparently IS enjoyed in some homes, but I am not familiar with the preparation, the office crew sent someone out to buy some more traditional ubod since we had already assembled all of the other ingredientsâ€¦
When the new whole ubod arrived, we had just 40+ minutes before lunch so we really had to get cracking. It was truly a team effort. V, the new driver peeled the trunk and made thin slices. M and I tried to julienne the ubod roughly with cleavers, and letâ€™s just say the pieces were a bit uneven but that doesnâ€™t really affect the tasteâ€¦ B and M also tried their luck at chopping. E and M2 peeled the shrimp and mashed shrimp heads. L and A cheered us on or took photos. A2 and others helped with clean-up. It was an utter spectacle in our modest kitchen at the office! And no one got hurt with so many knives being used at the same time! But the result was REALLY, REALLY worth it. Here are the ingredients and methodology for Ubod a la Marketmanâ€™s Office Crew. For the over the top version, with no scrimping on ingredients, you must obtain about 1.5+ kilos of julienned ubod, 1 kilo of medium sized extremely fresh prawns, Â¼ kilo of peeled alimasag or crab meat, 1 kilo of totally fatty pork, preferably from around the stomach, patis, garlic and onions, salt and pepper.
Take a kilo of fatty pork and chop it up into small to medium sized pieces and stick it in a pan and turn the heat to medium high. Once it starts to render or give up its fat, stir it often until you have chicharon like remnants of pork and a whole lot of oil. In this case, the oil must have been a good 3 cups worth after about 15-20 minutes. Remove the cooked pork and when it has cooled chop it up roughly. Meanwhile, peel all of the prawns, stick all the shrimp heads in a large mortar and smash them with a pestle. Add about 1/3-1/2 cup of water to help extract all of the shrimp head essence or juices. Strain this liquid and you should have just over half a cup or slightly more. Next, heat up the rendered fat (remove a little if you are already foreseeing a minor coronary, but we kept it all in) and throw in several cloves of chopped garlic and several tablespoons of chopped onion, we used red shallots as that is all we had. Next, add all of the peeled and chopped shrimp meat and stir until just cooked, at which point you can add the ubod, the shrimp essence from mashed shrimp heads, and several tablespoons of patis or fish sauce to taste. Add the peeled crabmeat about 5 minutes into the cooking. Season with some salt and pepper and let this cook for about 15 minutes until the ubod is cooked and the flavors have had time to sink into the ubod. Add back about half of the cooked pork and mix and cook another minutes or so.
Transfer the ubod to a large serving bowl/dish and garnish with the remaining crispy pork on top. Serve hot with lots of white rice. This was delicious. The juices of the prawn turned the oil a little orange which made this all more appealing visually. The heavy concentration of prawn pieces and lots of crabmeat made this more of an ulam than a vegetable dish. Not to mention tons of both by now soft pork pieces and the crunchier bits on top. Often, when you order lumpiang ubod in restaurants, they scrimp on the ingredients and you get pallid, tasteless and blah looking ubod. This dish was a world apartâ€¦fresh firm ubod with lots of crab meat, shrimp and pork. A sauce that was ultra high in fat (and therefore flavor), colored with shrimp shells and flavored with patis or fish sauce saturated the ubod. We served this with several kinds of broiled/grilled fish from the A-1 Eatery in Cebu. Now that is what ALL office lunches should be like. Delicious!!