food moment: PAKUMBO

Pakumbo

When we had a family outing in Laiya, Batangas, Philippines… I’ve noticed something sweet being sold by the locals on the shores of the beach. Out of curiosity, I came to know by the vendor that it’s called “Pakumbo” or “Pacombo”

pakumbo on the beach

“Pakumbo” is a sweet delicacy with the use of young coconut meat strands as its main ingredient and boiled in coconut juice with brown sugar until done with its translucent form. It is usually recognized for its packaging in a dried banana bark. Locally known and sold in the beaches and nearby towns in the provinces of Batangas and Aurora, Philippines. 

pakumbo vendor

It is sometimes mistaken as “Bukayo”, only that it is served in a dried banana bark and not on the leaf. Nowadays, this yummy treat have evolved with different twist and flavors like being added with ripe langka (jackfruit) strips, peanut, and cashew nuts.

Photos taken by: Sukito San

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food recipe: BUKO PANDAN

buko pandan

“Buko Pandan” which is mainly made out of “buko” or coconut is one of the famous Filipino dessert that completes the table in any occasion.

Here’s a simple recipe of this sweet course eaten at the end of the meal.

Ingredients:

½ cup shredded coconut or fresh coconut strips

1 medium can condensed milk or creamer

1 pack all-purpose cream

1 ½ teaspoon refined sugar

1 box buko-pandan flavored gelatin

1 ripe mango cut into cubes (optional)

¼ cup shredded cheese (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Prepare the buko-pandan flavored gelatin according to package direction and add sugar according to your desired sweetness.
  2. Pour the mixture into a glass container for the gelatin to cool down and set. Then cut it into strips or small cubes when it’s already in its viscous or gummy state.
  3. Combine the shredded coconut, condensed milk, cubed gulaman or gelatin. Then, cheese and mango if you have any.
  4. Chill and serve. 

Enjoy eating!

Photo taken by: Sukito San

food tool: CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN

chocolate fountain

One of the best way to serve chocolates on your table is to let it flow through a chocolate fountain. This appliance will surely be enjoyed by your family and friends… most especially the kids. It will make a lovely effect on your table in any occasion like birthdays, weddings, baptismal, business meetings, parties, and holidays as well. Visually yummy as the melted chocolate flows while being surrounded with all the fruit slices such as bananas, strawberries  and melons, bread sticks, biscuits and marshmallows… waiting to be dipped in this sweet brown treat.

chocolate fountain parts

Its parts consists of the tower (the brown one on the right side), the screw (the black one below the tower) which will be inserted in the middle of the tower, the motor block (the three brown screw head-like on top of the appliance’s reservoir) where the tower will be placed, the heating switch and the motor switch (the two red buttons near the base of the appliance).

You can use pure chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate in the said appliance. AVOID using chocolate with raisins, almonds, and nuts for these will block the rotation of the screw. NEVER use cold liquid in the fountain or even adding it in the melted chocolate for it will stop it from flowing. Just make sure that you are going to use completely melted chocolate. You can add oil if needed to make it really thin. For the chocolate preparation you can melt the chocolate in the microwave oven or in a saucepan or you can buy an already melted chocolate fondue in a pack.

For adult parties and for a different taste, you can add liquor by using a measuring jug. Desired liquor taste such as Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Frangelico, Cre’me de Menthe, and Godiva Liquor to name a few. You can also add chocolate flavors with taste of orange, hazelnut, mocha, mint, and coconut.

chocolate fountain with plug

Buying a chocolate fountain of any brand comes along with a warranty and user’s manual or guide for proper usage that SHOULD BE FOLLOWED for SAFETY use.

Photos by: Sukito San

food recipe: BLESSED COCONUT OIL on GOOD FRIDAY

coconut oil

Once a year, whenever “Holy Week” comes… I always see my mother extract oil from coconut on Good Friday and have it blessed on Black Saturday in a mass called “Blessing of the Fire”. It was believed that the blessed oil and water from this mass can heal sickness and can cure “spiritual illnesses”. This tradition were followed by devout Catholics during the Season of Lent and should be cooked with the use of wood through an “ulingan” and be extracted from coconut oil. This custom in cooking became vital not only in Philippine cuisine but also among the conservative Catholics especially those living in rural ares or in the provinces. Anyway, you can also use it as an alternative cooking oil for your specialty dishes or just by simple frying. It’s also healthwise because it’s natural and free from any preservatives. You can also use it by oiling your hair with it… 20 minutes before you take a bath to achieve thicker volume and to avoid a dry crowning glory.

You will need:

gata

coconut milk or gata ng niyog (4 coconuts will do)

pandan

4-5 clean and washed pandan leaves (for aromatic scent)

oregano

4-5 oregano leaves (optional)

calamansi leaves

6-7 calamansi leaves (optional)

ulingan

ulingan or any improvised stove wherein you can use wood or charcoal to fuel fire

Here’s how:

1. Have your coconut milk ready.

2. Fire up your ulingan using scrap wood or charcoal.

3. With the use of a wide mouthed pan or “kawan” heated in your “ulingan”, Pour in your coconut milk.

4. Cook it with cover for around 20 minutes while stirring it once in a while to prevent it from getting burned and to maintain the good consistency of the coconut milk.

5. Add pandan leaves. Stir it a little.

6. After a while, you can add up the oregano and calamansi leaves followed by slight stirring.

langis

7. After an hour or more, keep on stirring it once in a while. As the liquid dries up, you will just see the natural oil from the coconut on the pan with the “latik” or the coconut curds. By the way, the “latik” or coconut curds were commonly used as a main topping or as a garnish on local Filipino desserts like “biko“.

8. Keep on stirring until only the pure coconut oil remains on the pan and the “latik” as well.

latik

9. Cool it down for a while and use a strainer in filtering to separate the “latik” from the oil.

10. Put the oil in a dry, clean and empty bottle or medium-sized container for lasting storage.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

1. You must cook it on Good Friday and it should be done before 3:00 pm (which is the time of the death of Christ).

2. If you wanted it blessed. Take it with you and have it blessed on a Black Saturday mass which is the “Blessing of the Fire”. Then, you can place it in your altar at home.

Photos by: Sukito San

food news: BIG BUCKS from BUKO JUICE!

      The Philippine government and other companies in the country are planning to invest in buko juice industry and have it exported in America.    

     The Philippine Coconut Authority have seen the big potential in “coco juice” known to us here in the Philippines as “buko juice” in the line of  business for exports. President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino said that there is a growing demand in the United States of America for the coconut water in their market because of health and wellness awareness in the said country. America have also regarded it as a “natural sports drink”.

     The US Health Magazine named O.N.E. Organic Coconut Water which is manufactured in the Philippines and is sold and being exported in the US market as the “America’s Healthiest Beverage” for giving vital nutrition and for health hydration benefits and which also includes some important electrolytes needed by our body such as sodium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and calcium.

      Jose Quimson, President of Peter Paul PH Corp. said that there’s a great potential for coconut juice because of the global trend of folks that’s avoiding carbonated drinks and getting health conscious.

     Jun Castillo, a member of the Virgin Coconut Organization in the Philippines said in the news that they are open to the positive result of exporting buko juice and that the ordinary local buko vendors from the Philippines should not be intimidated for the export idea because many buko vendors as they’ve heard about it were scared that there might be a coconut shortage in the future especially for the coconut extract which many of them are using it in their other products just in case this move of the government will pursue. In response to this, it is assured in the news that the Philippines has around 340 million coconut trees planted on 3.4 million hectares of land.

     In relation to this, other petition raised to the government regarding this issue is for them to focus more on the coconut farmers for the growth of the coconut industry in the country. Moreover, aside from coco water… there should also be a government support for other innovation of  buko juice such as the production of “carbonated coconut water” which is naturally good for the health. Buko juice is also known in the Philippines for its beneficial relieving aid for urinary problems because it breaks up kidney stones.

     Just one tip,  a coconut vendor told me when I bought buko juice from him that the more the coconut meat… the lesser its juice. And the less and thinner its meat… the more juice you can get from it. So it’s up to you if which one do you prefer to have. You can ask the vendor’s help in distinguishing which is meatier or juicier… they will know it just by knocking on the tropical fruit.

Photos taken by: Sukito

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