this month’s Lasang Pinoy food event, for which i am unfashionably late, ehehem….is being hosted by one of my favorite chefs in the blog planet, celiaK of English Patis.
typhoons were a big part of my childhood–it moved and shook our family from one home to another. our family moved away from dad’s childhood home in the heart of Manila to a 4 door apartment row house they built in Mandaluyong. we thought we were going to stay there and continue going to our schools.
then the floods arrived. for us children it was fun to splash around in the water that seeped in, about waist deep for adults. we were totally oblivious to all the dire consequences of disease and destruction. imagine going down the stairs and wading into the water in your own living room. my parents immediately made plans to move to Diliman which they knew would be flood proof. we were ecstatic because there was much more space and fresh air, and happily settled in.
then typhoon Yoling changed it all. in 1970 the biggest baddest typhoon i ever encountered folded up the back portion of our galvanized iron roof into the front portion as we cowered in the hallway with a twin mattress atop our heads, praying as loudly as we could (i had a very loud asthma attack too). our dad was missing in action, stuck at his bank near Ongpin overnight. when he came home after the brunt of the storm, we were drenched and all shook up but mercifully physically unharmed.
we were then driven to our lola’s house in Kamuning, where our cousins had already encamped.
no power, no running water. no problem.
our parents and grandparents survived the firebombing of Manila during the Japanese-American battle for the Philippines so they were always ALWAYS prepared for any disaster, natural or othewise: they had “dirty kitchens” built into the back of their respective homes in case wood or charcoal stoves had to be used, gas powered stoves with an ever ready extra, full gasul tank, candles and lanterns in storage, several tubs full of water filled up with the first announcements of Typhoon Signals (Yoling was Signal #3 at the least!). eventually a generator and water tank were acquired…but always, cupboards full of canned and dry goods.
canned foods saved my parents from starvation during the Japanese Occupation of Manila, and until this day we all have a fondness for Spam, corned beef, Vienna sausage, canned peaches, and cream-style corn.
for my entry i made crab and corn soup in memory of those typhoon days when we were evacuated to lola’s house and she made us all sorts of soups paired with dried fish, and when it seemed like a feast because she had to cook all the the food that was thawing in the freezer, and when it seemed like a campsite adventure due to the darkness and candlelight and card games and story telling and lanterns and endless playtime with cousins….i used fresh corn since it is a-plenty these days, and homemade broth; in a pinch or in a typhoon, use bottled water and chicken cubes.
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
6 cups of homemade broth (chicken torso rinsed, boiled, skimmed, and simmered with shallot, peppercorns, and salt)
4 ears of corn, 0r 1 can of whole kernel plus 1 can of cream-style corn
1 small can of crab meat (i used Byrd’s)
a handful of hot pepper leaves (dahon ng sili)
saute garlic in canola or other vegetable oil until golden brown, then add the shallots. stir fry until shallots are meltingly soft. add the fresh corn (or the canned kernels) and stir fry for about 5 minutes. add the cream style corn if using, then the broth.
if you want a stronger crab flavor you may add 3/4 of the can with the corn and stir fry together, then add the remaining 1/4 can with the pepper leaves near the end of cooking time, about 15 minutes at simmer, for topping the soup. for a milder flavor, add all the crab meat at the end and simmer 3 minutes.
serve at once! slurping allowed!
over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house we go…
over the muck and through East Avenue to lola’s house we go…
where we stayed until the roof was firmly secure again and the house was renovated to stricter standards.