Friday, September 16, 2011

Shrimp Paste Fried Rice with Green Mangoes

Filipinos love strong flavors and strong jolts of spicy, sour and salty. Take, for example, a local vinegar made from coconut juice, flavored with chilies and spices called Pinakurat. Take a tiny sip and baaamm! The acidity from the vinegar and the spiciness of the chilies will hit you hard but it is so good that I could happily just sip it alone without any food to go with it. There's also our salty dried fish. People say you can tell if you have Filipino neighbors once the aroma of dried fish cooking wafts to the next door neighbors (and maybe even across the street.) To a foreigner, the smell might be off-putting but to Filipinos, that aroma is so sweet and savoury, it kicks your saliva glands into high gear.  

Bagoong is a shrimp paste that is either eaten with green mangoes, mixed with rice or cooked with vegetables. This dish is like a hodge podge of flavors...sweet from the caramel pork, sour from the green mangoes, spicy from the chilies and salty from the dried shrimp & shrimp paste fried rice but it all blends so well together. The flavors really compliment and balance each other.

recipe adapted from Real Thai Recipes

2 1/2 cups cooked white rice
1 tsp shrimp paste (or bagoong paste)
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
olive oil
1/4 cup dried shrimp, cooked and crispy
1 egg
1 unripe green mango, peeled and the flesh cut into thin strips
1 cup diced pork, with a little fat
1/3 medium red onion, diced finely 
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp Kecap Manis (thick sweet Indonesian soy sauce)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 pcs long green chilies (or jalapeno), sliced diagonally
1 small shallot thinly sliced
1 tomato,diced and cooked with a little of the shrimp paste

Sweet Pork
 Heat 1 tsp of oil on high heat. Add the pork and sear the meat for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the red onions and garlic and cook until the onions are  translucent. Add the pork back to the pan then add the fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper and sugar. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat to medium. Add more water once it starts to look a little dry to keep it from burning. Cook for 10 more minutes until it becomes shiny and sticky. Cook the egg strips next.

Egg Strips
Whisk 1 egg. Wipe a non stick pan with a little bit of oil using a tissue.  Heat the pan on medium heat for 1 minute.  Pour the egg in and tilt the pan so that it evenly coats the bottom of the pan, about 0.25 cm deep. Fry until set and golden.  Flip the egg once. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Roll the egg and slice into strips. Set aside.

Shrimp Paste Fried Rice
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp paste, the rice and the fish sauce. Stir continuously until the rice is heated through. 

Pack the fried rice into a small bowl. Unmold onto the middle of a plate. Arrange the chilies, tomatoes, green mangoes, sweet pork, egg strips and shallots around the rice. Top the rice with the cooked dried shrimp.