Monday, August 6, 2007

Oh Crabs!

Sunday is really my favorite day. Sleep late, easy day and spend the whole day gorging yourself, playing with the kids that sort of thing.

This Sunday was such a day. The family converged again in LP. We had a pretty delicious spread, it was like a fiesta. It's been a few weeks since we've had our Sunday reunions and that's probably why there's more food on the table.

The Philippines has the best crabs in the world. (And yes, I'm being objective) The meat is just so juicy, succulent and sweet. My mom got the a combination of bakla (or gay crabs-meaty with a little fat), male crabs (which is all meat, no fat) and the female crabs, rich in aligue or crab fat. Ah, heaven!

The crabs were purchased alive and cooked in two ways, steamed and cooked in coconut cream with sitaw (pole beans) and squash. Both were equally yummy.

Here's the recipe for the crabs cooked in coconut cream:

4 mature coconuts (niyog), grated
1 thumb-sized ginger, smashed or cut in small strips
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cups hot water
4 large Philippine crabs (alimango)
1 bunch sitaw (pole beans), cut in 2-inch lengths
1 1/2 cups squash, peeled and cubed
Salt to taste

1. With a cheese cloth (or with your fists), squeeze out the cream from the mature coconut (you can ask your vendor to do this for you). The cream will be the first gata (coconut cream). Set aside the cream. Do not throw away the niyog.
2. Add hot water to the shredded niyog, and squeeze out the second time. This is your second gata (coconut milk). Set aside.
3. In a big heavy bottom pan, pour the second gata (coconut milk), ginger, garlic and onions. Bring to a quick boil. Drop the crabs immediately to the boiling liquid. Season with salt. Cook crabs until almost done.
4. Add in the squash. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the sitaw and the first gata.
5. Turn off the heat as soon as it boils.

You can use the canned coconut cream and coconut milk for this if you can't find fresh niyog in your area. However, my mom is pretty insistent that fresh is better.

For the carnivores (that means every single one of us), my mom made her Pork with Cadios beans, very reminiscent of our childhood Sunday luncheons when my lola was still alive. A true definition of comfort food. A family favorite. The meat is so tender and the fat from the pork simply melts in your mouth. Now, this is not the healthiest meal but boy, it sure is delicious. The recipe is idiot proof, if you can't make this, you're hopeless :)

Pork with Cadios Beans

1 kilo fresh pork cubes, preferably with a thick layer of fat :-)
1 pack Cadios beans
2-3 tomatoes, sliced in half
1 large onion, sliced in half

1. Place all ingredients in a huge stock pot, add water to completely immerse all the ingredients. The water should be 2-3 inches above all the ingredients so that it doesn't dry up and burn.
2. Simmer for 2 hours or until the pork fat is slightly "melted".

We also had some fried white pampano. Which is very nice and crispy.

And of course, my contribution, The Bomb! Chocolate cupcakes with ultimate chocolate ice cream inside and chocolate ganache topping. Are you salivating yet?

Ashley can't seem to get enough of the cupcakes.

For merienda, we had turon, plantain bananas sprinkled with sugar, wrapped in lumpia wrapper and quickly friend. Typical pinoy merienda that never disappoints.

After our heavy and satisfying meal, the whole family spent hours glued to the telly, watching local tsismis.


Socky said...

Hi, Leica. The Cadios recipe looks so simple. Are you supposed to soak the cadios beans for some time before cooking them with the rest of the ingredients? Or, are the 2-hours of simmering enough to soften the beans? Your mom told me you can mash some beans to make the soup thick and creamy. I think I'm no idiot and I can cook this, definitely!

Leica said...

The beans need not be soaked because they're so small and they soften up in no time. The smashing of the beans is for another recipe, the red kidney beans with pork :-) (but that's with garlic, instead of onions)

Two hours is usually enough to melt the taba of the pork :-) But you can certainly boil them a little longer if the pork pieces are quite big. For better results, get the ones with bones and ligaments as well as the pork pieces with at least an inch of taba :-)

Cholesterol galore!

carol said...

Hi, Leica! I was a Cadios virgin until the time Socky brought an entire pot of your Mom's to the office. We ate it for days!

Question: is the sarap directly proportional to the amount of fat? Will it be less good if I chose lean pork (meron bang ganun, hehe)?

ericbau said...

The pics in this blog are damning pieces of evidence of our Sunday food fiestas! Maybe they should be censored or pixelized... =)

Leica said...

Hi Carol,

The melt-in-your-mouth taba is essential to its yummy taste. I tried making it with lean pork once, it didn't taste the same.

Get the taba, live a little :-) he he he

Be@rbrick Lover: said...

Omigod, ang sarap naman ng sunday lunch nyo! I really miss eating crab – I have not cook any at home, and neither have I ordered them in a resto because they are so difficult to eat! However, your entry makes me want to go to Red Crab soon. :-)

Leica said...

Go go go!

P said...

You're right, erikbau - total gastro-porn!
I love seeing JJ's smile - far cry from his trademark poker face.

Random Possum said...

sarap naman ng crabs...pero ate leics mas inggit ako sa chocolate ice cream cupcakes mo!

hay...kung pwede lang sana kainin ang screen :-P

Leica said...

Hi Random....

Don't worry I'll make lots of cupcakes when you come here. The cupcakes with ice cream was a winner despite being unphotogenic :-)

See ya in September! Lapit na...

Hi P......

JJ's smiles are so rare, fortunately I was able to take that photo when he was playing with his cousins :-)