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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mangga at Bagoong (Mango and Shrimp Paste)

One of the things that could make any Filipino mouth water is the mere mention of mangga at bagoong (bah-goh-ong). The mango referred to in this case is green mangoes, which go perfectly well with the fermented shrimp paste, particularly bagoong alamang.

Barrio Fiesta is a famous Filipino restaurant and this is their blend of bagoong alamang - quite yummy, really... obviously it is export quality ('crevettes' is French for shrimp, we typically don't use that term in the Phils!)
available in Asian shops!

The Philippine bagoong alamang is a slightly 'wet' or moist version of the Indonesian terasi (trassi) or the Malaysian belacan (be-lah-chan) all of which refer to fermented shrimps. The pinoy version is typically made of small (really tiny) shrimps, quite 'chunkier' and 'wetter' in appearance compared to its Indonesian counterpart terasi, which is sold in compact blocks - one can either scrape or cut some off to use, whereas the Pinoy alamang may be spooned or dolloped.

Colors also vary depending on the grade - I remember as a kid we'd go to the market and head towards a pink mountain of 'fresh' bagoong alamang and buying off a couple of pesos worth. This is then used to add a different depth of saltiness to a dish to be used instead of plain salt, or just sauteed with oil, garlic, onions and a bit of white vinegar until the color becomes a deep dark brownish red and then served with ... green mangoes! The dark colored variety can of course be store-bought.

afternoon snack!
in this case the skin was not peeled off the fruit because the green mango is still quite 'young' - so the skin would be quite crispy at this point
(how can you tell - one way would be to feel the skin as it would be a bit 'thin' and can easily be pierced by your fingernails)

Bagoong is also usually served on the side of a dish called Kare-Kare (kah-reh kah-reh), a stew usually made of oxtail or tripe and veggies in peanut sauce.

More details on bagoong here if you want to know more!


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Scribe's Notes

This pitstop is where incoherent ramblings seem to have meaning, where things or events are thought of and assessed, where great things are documented and perhaps any not-so-good happenings are written down in attempt to be forgotten!

So from the diversely abstract to the intensely specific, it's off to making tracks, and it is here where it stops for a thought or two.

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