Oh My Gulay! Dad’s Pinakbet and Fiddlehead Omelette
Parents usually find it challenging to convince their kids to eat their veggies. My memory seems not to serve me right since I do not recall how my own parents convinced me to eat vegetables; like ampalaya or bittermelon. I would think that seeing them enjoying what they were eating made me try it out until I developed a liking for it. This is why my wife and I are somehow relieved that our kids eat veggies and are audacious enough to try out new ones.
The two recipes I am sharing in today’s blog were adapted then modified from existing recipes. They’re easy and simple to prepare but the ingredients may be a bit difficult to get because some are seasonal (fiddleheads) while others grow in specific weather conditions (yard beans, squash). If you live in North America, you may find some of these ingredients in Asian supermarkets; otherwise, a substitute may be your best bet in getting the texture and flavour of the dish (e.g. Italian eggplant for a Chinese eggplant). However, fiddleheads (Ostrich fern) are native to North America but are only available during spring. A good substitute for this is the pako, which can be found all-year-round in tropical countries like Malaysia and the Philippines. I remember seeing wild and edible pako and mushrooms near an outhouse once!
My older kid enjoyed eating the fiddleheads omelette which, she said, tasted like asparagus while the pinakbet was a hit! Enjoy!
1/2 cup fiddleheads
3 tbsp. fresh milk
5 tbsp. butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash fiddleheads in running water then cut the hard stalks and brown covering.
2. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat then saute garlic for 3-5 minutes.
3. Add fiddleheads for 3-5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Place sauteed fiddleheads in a container.
4. Beat eggs in a bowl, add milk and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Melt remaining butter in the same skillet but over medium heat. Pour beaten eggs and cook until mixture in spread evenly.
6. Add fiddleheads to the omelette then fold uncovered half part. Continue cooking for 2 minutes and serve. If you wish to include grated cheese, you may do so.
(Recipe adapted from The Canadian Living)
DAD’S KID-FRIENDLY PINAKBET* (Vegetable Stew)
10-12 pcs. of yard-long beans
2 pcs. eggplant
1 pc. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 pcs. tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1-2 tomatoed, chopped
Pork cracklings (chicharon), crushed
1 liter water for blanching
1/4 cup cooking oil
3 tbsp. fish paste (bagoong)
1. Boil water with a bit of salt. Blanch squash for 5 minutes then set aside. Do the same with the other veggies for about 1 minute.
2. Immediately cool in an ice bath and set aside. This is the secret for keeping the veggies crisp.
3. Heat pan, add oil, saute garlic until golden brown and onions until translucent.
4. Add tomatoes and the fish paste (bagoong) and simmer for 3 minutes.
5. Add all vegetables, cover with the lid and shake the veggies. Be careful not to shake too hard.
6. Add pork cracklings and toss the veggies before serving. Serve with rice!
+ These two veggies, Ampalaya and sigarilyas (winged bean) , may also be added.
Adapted from Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine