Spaghetti with shrimp and coconut milk.

Two things I’ve always wanted to use with pasta are curry and coconut milk. Come to think of it, I’ve already used curry with noodles before. I used egg noodles in a dish I found in my Asian cookbook. I’ve yet to try it with pasta.

There are still some uncooked shrimp left in the freezer yesterday, so I thought of cooking them before Bern arrived. I thought of adding them to misua but at that point Bern already passed the wet market; I can’t ask him to buy some patola anymore.

And then I found some powdered coconut milk in the pantry. Bern and Alex used it a few days ago to make ginataan. There was still plenty of powder left over and I figured I could try it with pasta.

I sauteed the shrimp with garlic and onion until the orange shrimp juice oozed out. I then added the dissolved coconut milk and a little cream. To flavor the sauce, I added black and cayenne pepper. The pasta was added to the sauce and stirred before serving.

For an experimental sauce, it wasn’t bad. It should go well with more cocunut milk. I only used a cup of coconut milk for around 200 grams of shrimp and 250 grams of uncooked pasta; I could add maybe half a cup more and remove the cream entirely. Adding squash to thicken the sauce should also work well, with or without the shrimp.

Last night’s dinner: Pinangat.

Pinangat na gabi

According to Wikipedia:

Pinangat is a Filipino dish which originated in Bicol Region, Philippines.

More popularly known in Manila as Laing, this dish is a nice blend of taro leaves, chili, meat and coconut milk wrapped in gabi leaves and tied securely with coconut leaf.

Which begun to explain why I was really confused when Leo called the dish “pinangat” whereas it looked like “tinomok” to me.

It turns out tinomok is a variation of pinangat. And pinangat is what is known in Manila as “laing”; except laing (as Manila folks know it) uses shredded, not whole, taro leaves.

What I know as “pinangat” (through my Bicolana mother) is a sour stew of small fish, usually sap-sap or galunggong, in vinegar, calamansi juice or other sour fruit, and made piquant by pepper and chili. That dish is also called “pangat”. Pangat has a variation called “sinaing”, which is also the Tagalog term for cooking rice.

Now you see why I was so confused.

Leo brought pinangat when he returned from Bicol and we heated it for dinner last night. It did look exactly like that in the photo when we removed the foil wrapping.

It was wonderfully prepared: the taro leaves soft and the curdled coconut milk thick. For once, Leo was not complaining despite the chili. Well, he did at some point, while scooping more rice using his hands; but still ate anyways because he missed Bicolano cooking.

Here is a rather complicated pinangat recipe from the Interwebs:

Pinangat na Gabi

Ingredients:

  • 24 gabi stems and leaves
  • 1/4 kilo cooked pork, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup dried fish, boiled and flaked
  • 1/2 cup bagoong alamang
  • 2 pieces siling labuyo, crushed
  • 2/3 cup green onions, finely cut
  • 1 1/2 cups pure coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (second extraction)
  1. String stems and cut into two-inch lengths.
  2. Wash leaves.
  3. Mix pork, fish, 3 tablespoons bagoong, garlic 1 teaspoon ginger, siling labuyo and green onions.
  4. Add pure coconut milk.
  5. Pile four leaves together and put 3 tablespoons of the mixture.
  6. Wrap and tie.
  7. Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Arrange in a kettle together with the stems and pour second extraction of coconut milk.
  9. Season with the remaining bagoong.
  10. Add 1 teaspoon ginger.
  11. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.

Makes 6 servings.