Sira-sira store: Dining with our heroes

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Friday, April 4, 2014


ARAW ng Kagitingan falls on a Wednesday this year. April 9 is greatly welcomed by office workers as it is a national holiday in the Philippines.

It reminds all Filipinos about the Fall of Bataan during the Japanese invasion of the country and the valor of Filipino and American soldiers at the Fall of Corregidor and the Bataan Death March.

Talking about heroes, I remember “A Taste of History,” a feature that IBC 13 re-shows from time to time. My nephew Pannon has seen it a dozen of times, so that now every time we pass IBC 13 on our way to TV5 (channel 21) or News TV (channel 17), he shouts: “Uncle, time sa; tan-aw ta sa balik-balik nga show.”

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The show talks about the favorite foods of our heroes. The recipes discussed are easy to replicate today and even improve on. Cutting the chit chat, here are some of the favorite recipes of the men who died for our freedom. In honor of them, let’s try them out in our own homes.

Andres Bonifacio. It was reported by IBC 13 that Bonifacio liked litsong manok sa saha (or bani sa saging in Cebuano).

It’s pretty simple to make. Clean one whole chicken, native if you like. Season inside and out with salt and pepper, then stuff it with herbs like tanglad and a lot of tamarind leaves.

Wrap in bani, tying the sides securely with bani strips and skewer with a long bamboo stick and roast over red-hot coals. For dipping sauce, mix tuba vinegar with salt to taste, minced ripe sili, onions and crushed garlic.

Dr. Jose Rizal. Also known as Pepe, Rizal liked tinolang manok Illustrado style. The Illustrados belonged to what was then known as the educated class in society. The Illustrado style of cooking was a medley of indigenous food, Chinese cooking and European cuisine.

To prepare Rizal’s favorite, saute sliced onions and garlic. Add chicken, cut into serving portions, and chicken stock. When it boils, add tanglad and unripe papaya, sliced diagonally or into rough chunks. In the last few minutes of cooking time, add two cups of sorted and cleaned sili leaves. Adjust seasoning.

Rizal’s favorite is a classic in Philippine cuisine. If you like, you can add other ingredients to the soup, such as kamunggay leaves and fruit instead of sili leaves.

Marcelo H. del Pilar. The “H” in his name is for “Hilario” and he went by his pen name Plaridel. Pocheron manok Illustrado was Plaridel’s comfort food. According to his grand daughter Atty. Benita Marasigan, he liked this dish a lot.

Remember this hearty stew when the rainy season comes. To make the pochero, saute onion and garlic. Add chicken parts, tomato sauce, chicken broth, sliced chorizo, peeled and quartered saba banana, wedged or quartered potatoes, carrots, garbanzo beans and lastly, quartered cabbage.

As you savor the flavor of these foods, take time to remember how far we have gone in our freedom and where this freedom will take us in the future.
Let us ask ourselves what we are doing to continue the tradition of our heroes, not only in what we serve on our tables but also what we serve our fellowmen in our daily living.

(ober.khok@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 05, 2014.

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