Tuyo and Sticky Mayday

I kid my nephews: "call for reservations because we don’t always have a full fridge or pantry"!
Yes, Nessi, contrary to your thinking that we always have food in the house and pictures for this blog, we don't.   We just have a lot of side dishes and tomatoes.

It's a good thing the twins developed a liking for my go to salsa that doubles as puttanesca fixings - capers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil - so when they come over (no reservations!) I can rustle up something.  Last time, it was tuyo pasta.  
Tuyo is dried anchovy - the palengke (market) bought kind, not bottled or canned with fancy schmancy olive oil and spices. ( I happen to love Connie’s Kitchen Gourmet Tuyo with capers.  Friends abroad always request this as going back presents. ) Palengke tuyo is what's at hand though.

I love tuyo but I have gallstones and eating greasy and sodium laden tuyo or adobo (sadly, my favorites) triggers a twinge of pain, as if a great weight is bearing down on the base of my spine.  If I am sitting or lying down, I feel leaden and it is hard to get up. I also get nauseous after eating either dish, and feels like throwing up.  I have to eat chocolate to dispel nausea.

But when added to pasta for just a little bit of  flavor -four pieces of tuyo is enough – I am able to enjoy it without that telltale pain.  The tuyo is fried in a tiny bit of oil; drained; scaled; deboned, beheaded and flaked.  Then I add it to frying garlic (in canola - fast fry, low heat, no burning the garlic) and the rest tossed in,  albeit finely chopped. Add to boiled pasta and you have a meal. Lots of fresh basil makes it fragrant and leaves a refreshing aftertaste. I made extra for my friends Nicole and Millie, who said it was really good!  I brought them pancit Malabon from last post, too, which they took home.  When I asked how they liked it, she texted back "what pancit? zoom, it was gone!" : )

We had a few potatoes left in the basket so I parboiled it skin on (cleaned!) and scored with an x afterwards. I rubbed butter on top of the potatoes and stuck some into the wedges. I whisked together  milk (Angel Cremdensada is good enough) and sour cream and chives flavor powder (the kind you sprinkle on popcorn)  and poured it on the potatoes, making sure it gets into the x.  Then microwave, covered, for  4 minutes.  The milk will curd or coagulate like here.Yum! There were leftovers, which was yummier the next day, when the flavor deepened.

Yep you read it right, there were leftovers! That's because my mom snuck out to the market to buy real food fixings and brought home kakanin.
Kakanin (kain means to eat, kanin is rice, kakanin or kakainin is loosely translated as food) are rice cakes made of any combination of malagkit or glutinous rice, coconut milk or cream, condensed milk or regular milk, root crops such as taro, cassava, or yam, mung or red beans, brown sugar, millet or  pinipig (young rice) and topped with cheese, sesame seeds, grated fresh coconut, grated sweetened dry coconut flakes or the minantikaan kind - in rendered oil - called budbod.  Suman is also a kakanin.
I'd rather you read the marketman's blog to know more.  He cooks whereof he speaks : ) I only eat.

These kinds of kakanin you see placed in bilaos (coconut leaves woven into a kind of shallow plate, with bamboo rims, used for winnowing rice), the kakanin on a bed of banana leaves - sticky, sweet, fragrant with coconut and coconut oil).  I specially liked how the manang (seller) wields a long, flat and narrow wooden or plastic spatula to crisscross the kakanin to mark servings, so you get either a rectangle or one with angled ends.  I like the angled cuts, because I thought I am getting extra. Placebo effect? 
Dyed different colors (think primary colors, according to flavor), the sight of  bilaos side by side on market stalls rival the colors and shimmer of festival banners in the sun (the kakanin gleams with coconut oil hehe). Dolor's Kakanin (known for sapin-sapin or layers of different kinds of rice cake in a dart board of a bilao) is the most popular (consistently good, finely made, modern packaging and lauded in a lot of blogs) and widely available (SM supermarkets and stalls).  It is made in my hometown.

The ones pictured here aren't Dolor's - only bought at the local market. Provinces all over the Philippines lay claim to certain specialties and heirloom recipes.   Kakanin being the merienda or snack of choice, markets everywhere would have one or all versions! It is, after all, the Pinoy birthday cake, before cake even made it to our shores.  Rice is the grain of life.  Thusly, you get to celebrate another birthday with rice cake.
Since kakanin is made of sticky rice, it symbolizes "sticking together" so it was the traditional wedding cake.   Besides, making kakanin can be arduous but with gratifying, sweet results that meant a love tested and proven true (aarrgh).  Just rewards and mush - all that!
On my plate is biko (the brown one), kutsinta (dyed red and resembles sushi!), kamoteng kahoy (cassava) with cheese (the yellow one), and the sweetened mongo (mung beans) filled kind that looked like a big mongo hopia zapped into gluey mush.  I don't know what its called but I found a recipe for Tinutong na Munggo - minus a picture.  This might be it...or not hehehe.

What's missing is the bibingkang kanin with gritty, brown sugar sweet topping.  It was gone in a jiff, the twins scrambling for the last bar. I know one friend who scrapes the topping and eats just that.  I recommend eating the whole - you get a nice balance of sweet, salty and bland.  Kakanin is heavy on the belly. Better have it with strong brewed coffee.  Burrrppp! I think I'll have a lie-down.

May is coming to an end and unlike other towns and provinces that holds fiestas (festivals) on this month, our township celebrates in June.  Having kakanin certainly feels like we are celebrating ours everyday don't it? This is also the closest I am ever going to get to the Pahiyas Festival in Quezon Province (sigh, there was a family gathering we needed to attend).  This was the Shopwise Libis store display.  
The real festoons would be a wild cornucopia of fruit, vegetables and kiping hung over windows and walls all over Lucban town.  Quite a sight! 


  1. looking forward to visit the place and have a taste of these delicacies. yummy!

  2. @Anonymous: go, go! lots to eat and savor! thanks for visiting and commenting : )


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