The other day I spent more than sixteen hours trying to get my house in order. It had been awhile since I did a MAJOR clean up but I knew it was time after speaking to a work colleague. We were chatting one morning and I mentioned that I needed to get my house more organized. I told him that I would spend an hour a day organizing a certain part of the house. He said “That sounds like a great idea! In fact, I remember you telling me that you were going to do that last year…”
Of course, that project I talked about a year ago never happened and the blogging only contributed to more clutter with all the cookbooks and “props” I managed to accumulate.
By far, the biggest project that day was trying to organize the cookbooks. In the end over 360 cookbooks (almost one for each day of the year!) were sorted (by color) and stored.
A neater house, a few organized bookshelves, many hours and an aching back later (and thighs), I found it funny how many cookbooks I hoarded over the years. Is this where all my extra cash went to? No wonder I had no money to buy nicer clothes!
The more ironic thing is, I hardly ever cook from them. I buy them thinking “Oh yes, I certainly need THIS ONE cookbook. It has so many recipes I’m going to make over and over again.” Yeah right…
I’ve noticed, through the years, I rely less and less on the cookbooks for recipes to follow but more for inspiration – whether it be a new cooking technique, an ingredient I’ve never used, or sometimes I take two or three different recipes for the same dish and come up with my own!
This recipe is probably one of those “inspired from” the 15 or so Philippine cookbooks that I have. It’s my late addition to the Kulinarya Club’s July theme which is “Ginataan”. Thanks to Asha (Fork, Spoon and Knife) and Althea (Busog Sarap) who decided on using coconut milk as this month’s main ingredient.
For me, coconut milk goes extremely well with the Philippine’s holy trinity of ginger, garlic and onions, sauteed and blended with a chili pepper to create a gravy base. Then I added freshly peeled prawns and spinach leaves. On top of this, I blame Shirley, who reminded me about how damn delicious Taba ng Talangka could be, so I added a few spoons of this preserved crab fat to the dish. Now tell me, who can resist this dish with a steaming bowl of rice?
Ginataan na Hipon and Taba ng Talangka
- 500 grams fresh prawns, peeled
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 small knob of peeled ginger, sliced, around 30 grams
- 1 red chili, seeds removed, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons, taba ng talangka – available from Filipino/Asian groceries(optional)
- Handful of spinach leaves
- Heat the oil and add the onion, fry until translucent, around 5 minutes
- Add the garlic, ginger and red chili and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes and then process in a food processor.
- Once done, fry the paste for a few minutes and add the fish sauce and coconut milk. Allow to simmer for around 15 minutes then add the crab fat.
- Add the prawns and cook for around 2 to 3 minutes and then add the spinach leaves and cook until wilted.
- Serve over steamed rice, top with some more taba ng talangka.
Essential Ingredient is located in 731 Darling Street, Rozelle.