Sira-sira store: Lugaw twists for soldiers-A A +A
Friday, September 13, 2013
WHO doesn’t desire wealth and power?
Money and rank can clothe people with a sense of being invincible and able to move those below them like chess pieces, particularly the pawn. But then they have to watch their backs because pawns can reach the other side of the chessboard to become the powerful queen.
It is being said in ritzy coffee shops and street corner coffee booths that the conflict in Zamboanga is like a bloody game of chess, with men in Philippine military uniform pushed around the block as pawns. The analogy between the pawn rising to power and the queen has to stop here. Soldiers do become officers in the military and they do wield power in the battlefield to defend the honor of the country.
Since I am not a seasoned columnist—in fact, I am a mere foot soldier of the pen compared with celebrity columnists in Cebu—I will leave this thought at that.
What caught my attention, and the reason for this topic toady, was the report from journalist Erwin Tulfo for TV 5 on Sept. 12. He said that food in Zamboanga City had become scarce, with soldiers protecting the city having to make do with lugaw for their three square meals.
A soldier Tulfo interviewed said that he and his mates can endure the hardship all in the name of love for country. Tulfo noted that the meager food was understandable in the context of jungle combat, but we’re talking here of a city setting, a tourist city torn by bullets and fear. It was a painful editorialized report—factual but at once also sympathetic.
In honor of the soldiers fighting for the unity of the Philippines, I have decided to feature some lugaw recipes that I have tried.
Noodle con rice. Have a cup or two of day-old rice, fluffed to separate the grains; one packet instant noodles (broken into five or six pieces) and half a carrot minced.
Drop noodles in boiling water. Allow to soften, then add the carrots and then the rice. Turn off the heat and add the flavoring and salt to taste. The amount of water, noodles and rice can be adjusted depending on how many people will eat.
Fake chicken lugaw. Sautee two pieces mashed ginger; add minced red onion and garlic.
Add one-half cup raw rice and stir-fry until grains are semi-dry. Add five cups of water and boil till rice is soft and creamy. Season with salt. The lugaw will seem like it has chicken because of the ginger.
Fortified lugaw. Sautee ginger, red onion and garlic. When fragrant, add raw rice and toss to coat the grains with oil. Add shredded half cabbage head. Add water when cabbage softens. Add one slice kalabasa cut into tiny cubes, season according to taste. One-half cup kamunggay may replace kalabasa.
Miswa lugaw. Sautee garlic and red onion, then shredded cabbage. When it starts to soften, pour water into the pot and let boil. Add two packets of miswa (also misua) and sliced sikwa. Stir the soup. Let boil two minutes, with pot half-covered then turn off the heat. The noodles will continue to cook. The noodles will not be mushy when cooked this way.
Kinder lugaw. Boil minced green onions and ginger (optional). Add washed, raw rice. Boil till grains are soft and the stock creamy; season to taste.
This is called Kinder Lugaw because of its simplicity. Plain lugaw (just salt added) is what I call Baby Lugaw.
I suspect this is the lugaw that the soldiers had last Thursday while risking their heads in the city battlefield and while we were watching them on national TV as we sat down to a chicken dinner.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 14, 2013.