Monday, May 4, 2009
“Ohhh.,… it’s mango season again!”
The words came out from my mouth almost like a song when I saw some mangoes being sold in the grocery that I go to. Adding to my delight was the fact that the mangoes are the ones that taste and look like those that come from the Philippines. I don’t see them often in the local grocery stores; I get them from the Asian markets all the time. I believe they are from Mexico. Naturally, I grabbed a box before they ran out.
This is one of the reasons why I love spring. Mangoes.
Mangoes are probably my most favorite tropical fruit. If you ask me, this is one of the food items that I miss most from the Philippines. I am especially partial to the mangoes that come from the city where I was born/raised – Cebu (Guadalupe). Those mangoes are so sweet; it is a dessert in and of itself. No kidding!
Philippine mangoes have none of that fibrous / stringy stuff, which is characteristic of those green/reddish mangoes that abound here in South Florida. They are pure, sweet flesh and the best way to eat them is by hand—yeah, peel off the skin and bite into it just like you would an apple (except that you have to remember, mangoes have huge seeds in the middle - you don’t want to loose a tooth). It’s a bit messy, but it’s totally worth it.
Having these mangoes is so timely. April was a crazy month for me, reason why I was MIA from the blog scene. For some reason, the past month was jammed with a lot of activities that ran from birthdays, baby showers to church functions. In the midst of all the helter-skelter, I began longing for something comforting; something that reminds me of home --- and this breakfast trio just hits the spot: freshly cooked "puto maya" (sweet sticky rice cooked in coconut milk), with ripe, sweet, golden mangoes and finished off with a hot "sikwate" (hot chocolate/cocoa drink processed locally in the Philippines). What is more comforting than something you grew up with eating?
So with my precious mangoes at hand, I was ready to tackle making the puto maya. Normally, puto maya requires soaking the rice for at least 6 hours. I believe this process lessens the liquid (in this case, coconut milk) needed to cook the rice in, at the same time, shortening the cooking period. However, I didn't have the luxury, nor the patience to wait for 6 hrs, so I decided to do my own short-cut method, hoping that it will yield the same results - more or less. And it did, thank God.
Mr. J likes the puto with mangga (mangoes, in our dialect) as well. As a matter of fact, it was him who suggested that I make sushi rolls out of it. He goes, “why don’t you make it like sushi? Form the rice into sushi, roll the rice in brown sugar to make them look like those sushi with fish eggs, and then put slices of mangoes on top of it!” (But I discovered later on that the turbinado sugar which I used melts easily that it didn't look right, so I ended up just sprinkling the rice with sugar as you can see in the photos.)
A popular Filipino breakfast served the popular Japanese way? A Filipino-Japanese fusion of sorts. Cute idea, isn't it? Now why hadn't I thought of that before?
“Oh, that is brilliant, Honey!” was my excited response to him. Not only is it brilliant, but it sounds like really fun to do (and it really was). Hey, who says we can’t have fun with our food? .. Which reminds me, one of my favorite bloggers, La Tartine Gourmande, did something similar to this but using rice pudding. Mind you, my hubby hadn't seen her post, so he thinks that this was a very original idea. I didn't have the heart to break it to him, so, let's just keep it a secret....ok??? SHHH...
This puto-mango-hot chocolate trinity is my entry to this week's Lasang Pinoy Sundays - Shades of Spring and Summer . La.Pi.S is a weekly food thematic photography meme, Filipino style.
Also, I'm sharing this to Iska of Iskandals for her Bloggoversary. Congratulations, Iska and here's to many more prolific years of cooking, eating and blogging!
2 cups glutinous rice (sweet, sticky rice)*
4 cups thick coconut milk
3-1/2 tsps salt
1 cup sugar (or less, depends on how sweet you like it to be)
2-pcs ginger root cut into approx. 1", washed and smashed
1. Rinse rice and place in a 2-qt pot.
2. Add coconut milk, cover and let it come to a boil. When boiling, add the rest of the ingredients. Stir.
3. Turn heat to a lower setting and let mixture simmer for about 15 minutes or until rice is done. (I had to test the rice every now and then).
4. When done, scoop out rice, discarding the ginger root.Wrap rice in clean banana leaf, if available, and steam for about 30 mins.
5. If not, mold into cups and sprinkle with brown sugar if desired. Best enjoyed when warm, served with ripe mangoes and sikwate (hot chocolate).
Sikwate (Hot Chocolate/Cocoa Drink)
2 cups water
4 or more pcs tablea (pure dried cacao)*
1/2 cup brown sugar (or more, depends on your taste)
1. Place water in a pot. Let it come to boil.
2. Add the tableas and whisk vigorously by hand until tableas have melted.
3. Add sugar. Adjust sweetness to taste.
4. Serve with puto maya, while hot.
*NOTE: Glutinous (sticky) rice are available at Asian markets. Tablea is a Philippine product, so you might need to find a Philippine specialty store. Otherwise, you may use unsweetened cocoa powder as substitute.