Monday, September 2, 2013

Cooking with Vanessa

Vanessa is my 23 year old neighbor who works as the manager of the Guest House of the diocese and cooks lunch for us everyday. She’s one of those people who just knows how to cook. All the recipes are in her head. She learns how to cook it once and makes it perfectly the next time. I aspire to be half the cook she is. So I’m having her teach me! Unfortunately, she is moving on to a new job and her last day is September 15th. But I’m going to learn as much as I can in the time she’s here.

Sunday Night’s Menu:
Fried Tilapia with a soy sauce mixture
Sinigang Talapia Soup

First, let me describe where I got the tilapia. On the way home from Magat Dam on Sunday, we pulled into a gas station. To one side of the station was a building with an alcove that had a small pool and market. When I walked up to the pool, there were a ton of fish, well tilapia, in it. Grace asked, “Do you want tilapia for dinner?” I was confused but responded, “ok.” Next thing I know the woman at the market takes a big net and quickly swipes up a fish or two into this plastic basket. Once it’s full of three fish, the puts another plastic basket on top and weighs it. She says, “110.”

Yes, that is 110 peos or $2.50 for three, very alive, medium sized tilapia. She then puts them in a plastic bag, ties it up and hands it over with the fish still flopping in size. All I can say is that it was a very new experience for me.

But back to cooking. 

Sinigang Tilapia Soup:

Step 1: Remove the gills and intestines

Step 2: De-scale the fish.

Step 3: Cut the fish in half.

Step 3: Chop a small red onion and slice the ginger.

Step 4: Heat up some vegetable oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the ginger.

The teacher and chef, Vanessa!

Step 5: After a couple of minutes, add the onion to the pan. Sauté until brown.

Step 6: In the mean time, wash and chop off ends of pechay (peh-chai).

Step 7: Add the tilapia on top.

Step 8: Season the fish with salt and ginisa seasoning.

Step 9: Add water and cover.

Step 10: When it begins to boil, add the pechay on top.

Step 11: Sprinkle the sinigang spices into the soup. Cover.

Then after about 15 minutes, you have your soup. Cook some rice to eat with it and you have a meal!

For the Fried Tilapia you simply cut slices into the tilapia instead of cutting half. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan, add the tilapia and cook until brown. Then in a small dish add soy sauce and the juice of a small lime, although it’s not a lime but something similar which I forgot the name.

It was a delicious or naimas (Ilocano word) dinner shared with Vanessa, Joyce, and Roxanne, Joyce’s daughter!

Thanks for reading!

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