Monday, September 29, 2014

Leilei Cooks: Filipino Comfort Food

I find myself cooking like my Mom when it comes to certain Filipino foods. Remembering a recipe, but ditching the to-the-point measurements. Which can be hard for the Virgo in me looking for exactness.  I just add a dash here and a splash there based on what I like.  Growing up my Mom and my paternal Grandmother made this dish.  This has become my go-to, easy to make item, like an Ilokano comfort food dish.  I now make it using turkey instead of pork and while I love the classic Rufina Patis, I opt for paleo friend Red Boat.  The squash is called upo in most Asian food stores, but I grew up knowing this as the Ilokano word tabungaw.

Here is what you will need:
1 pack of ground meat (I used turkey, but you can use pork, beef or chicken)
1 small upo squash
4 tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 small yellow onion
Fish sauce
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil

Wash produce and set aside.  Mince garlic and dice onion.  Dice the tomatoes.  Split the upo in half lengthwise, then into 1/3s and dice into bite sized pieces.  

In a large pot or pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil and once that becomes hot, saute the garlic and onion for a few minutes.  Add ground meat and salt & pepper and cook until brown.  You may or may not need to drain some of the fat after cooking, use your own discretion.  Add the upo with the meat and put a lid on, cooking for about 10 minutes or until the squash has softened, stirring frequently.  Once the squash is cooked, lower the heat and add the tomatoes and fish sauce to your liking.  I put in 4-5 dashes.  You can add more salt & pepper for taste if necessary.  Cook for 5 more minutes until the tomatoes have softened.  

Final product!  I eat this over a serving of hot, fresh rice.  The digu (sauce) mixed with the rice is so good! This recipe yields about 6 servings.   

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