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

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 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

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