Paho Revisited

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. paho4First, 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. pahor2To 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. pahor3Perhaps 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…


15 Responses

  1. just like my Lola Ebeng’s favorite salad!(she was from Orani, Bataan) which she paired with fried or paksiw fish..i miss this so much. grrr.

  2. I San Pablo City, Laguna paho salad is commonly paired with “sinaing na tulingan (bonito)”. Traditional “sinaing na tulingan” is cooked in a large “palayok” for several hours. Sometimes pork fat is added for extra flavour. The end product is more like canned tuna but tastier. The reduced brine comes out like patis and is the preferred dressing for the salad than the bottled patis. When you buy prepared “sinaing ng tulingan” from the market you can actually request for the “patis”.

  3. This post on Paho got me salivating! I haven’t had this in years!

    To Elmer: Can you please post details on how I can make home made sinaing na tulingan? I am sure I get get bonito at the Filipino store, and I think we have a clay pot at home..but what exactly do I do when you say “saing”? Also, I have never cooked in a clay pot before…tip on that would really be appreciated as well.


  4. I don’t really know the history acmr pero i think it’s called “sinaing” ’cause the fish is simply boiled in water just like “sinaing na kanin” which is boiled rice.

    In laguna tulingan is salted not the water. Clean the fish and make incisions on its sides. You then rub salt on the incisions. Flatten the fish by pressing on its sides. In the end you should have an oval shaped flat fish. Place pork fat in the bottom of the claypot. You then arrange the fish in the pot. Cover with enough water. Cook in low fire for several hours until the water reduces to “patis” like state. Serve with freshly boiled rice and paho salad.

  5. Just want to ask if paho always eaten in it’s unripe stage, co’z I remember that we also eat small mangoes like this but we always enjoys the ripe ones.

  6. Paho, wow… another reminiscent of my childhood chez grandmaman…in jars or frehly peeled I’ll remember the smell… thanks for making me remember lots of stuff while growing up in the Philippines. You have an awesome storage of my childhood dishes. Merci beaucoup, MM!

  7. mae, I will definitely be visiting your new site when I get back to home base… mojitodrinker, I have a separate post on paho, the fruit, please check the archives. myra, I have only had it unripe rather than ripe. Lou, glad you keep finding stuff from your childhood on the site…we must be almost the same age…

  8. stef, thanks for that… it’s so hard to keep up while in transit…and I had no clue how to make the sanaing na tulingan…thanks!

  9. MM paho is my favorite with sinaing na tulingan. They were the common foods in Batangas, great partners! I only use tomatoes and shallot slice then put some salt then using my clean barehands, I squeeze it gently, just right for juice to come out then I put some pepper and cold water.. For tulingan we use PALAYOK cook in wood..We cut tulingan in the stomach horizontally then press it in a plate of salt. Then arrange it in palayok, putting fresh/dried kamias at the bottom. Its like bed of kamias.. Pour water enough to cover the fish.. Sharing these to you since your recipe is very useful to me here in Bahrain where TULINGAN is not available.. :(

  10. DOn’t worry about botulism… it’s too salty for the Clostridium botulinum bacteria :) I guess as long as there are no foul smell or taste, that would still be safe to eat.



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