THE GALLANT FACTS ABOUT KANGKONG: PART TWO
It’s a rainy Sunday today in the region. Got no choice, I blanketed myself, opened my laptop while I kind of feeling sickly hot due to fever and started running over words in my brain, collecting thoughts to fill my blog. Earlier, I have started on a different topic but got lost in the middle because I missed the name of a pal who I am supposed to give credit to for the pictures that I am supposed to post. Anyway, right now I caught myself taking notice of a bunch of green leafy veggie on a small table in the kitchen. Certainly, it’s perfectly timed for the flu-like symptoms I’m suffering this morning. Instantly, I decided to write the second part of THE GALLANT FACTS ABOUT KANGKONG. But the dish you will find here is KANGKONG BAS-OY, not ginataang kangkong as I have promised in part one. Rest assured you’re going to love this simple soup after you have tried it, with a cup of steamed rice or the soup alone.
I bet many, if not all, have become quite familiar of the nutritive values not to mention the medicinal attributes we get from Kangkong. I may just add some noteworthy facts about the spices that we are going to put in Kangkong Bas-oy.
Ginger (luya or Luy-a), or ginger root of the genus Zingiberaceae is an herb. It is used as spice and also medicine. The rhizome or underground stem is the one that has culinary uses. Luya notably adds a special flavour because of its hot, distinct flavour to many vegetable foods. I was also told the tangy taste helped eliminate or neutralise the smell from fish and meat. Ginger nutritional values include: calcium, carbohydrate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, protein and dietary fiber.
Garlic is an herb. Its scientific name is allum sativum of the onion genus. It is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that may protect human body cells, and reduce damage due to oxygen, such as that caused by unstable and destructive molecules known as free radicals. Garlic does not contain fat, it has but little natural sugars, has no cholesterol, and no calories. It contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, Vitamins D, E and C.It also contains manganese, phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron, copper, selenium, protein, and enzymes.
Tomatoes, is an herb. Its scientific name is Lycopersicom Esculentum . It is also another important ingredient when cooking Bas-oy. Regardless of colour, all tomatoes have antioxidant effects. They provide an excellent amount of lycopene, which is often linked to heart health. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant which helps protect cells against degenerative diseases, neutralizing free radicals in the body. Tomatoes are low in sodium, very low in saturated fat, and cholesterol. It is a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, sulphur and potassium.
How to cook Kangkong Bas-oy
2 cups freshly cut and washed kangkong leaves
½ kilo washed ground beef
3-4 cloves minced garlic
½ teaspoon minced ginger
1 medium size ripe tomato, washed and cut in small cubes
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Salt to taste
2 pieces whole finger pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon soy sauce or fish sauce, or as desired.
Sautee ginger until golden brown and until aroma comes out, followed by garlic and tomatoes while constantly tossing, mixing under medium fire. Put the meat. Cover the pan or pot. Cook the meat until tender. Put salt according to taste. Some like their soup a little bland. Pour hot water to make a soup as soon as meat becomes tender. Add soy sauce or fish sauce before adding salt. Amount of hot water to make a soup depends on preferred consistency of the soup. Some like it a little thick, others like a little more to have some extra for eating the soup alone. Add a dash of MSG. Boil the meat for another 5 minutes. Put kangkong leaves and finger peppers, let it simmer for at least 1 minute. Remove the pot from the fire. Serve hot with steamed rice or alone as hot soup.
There you have it, your KANGKONG BAS_OY soup. Let me confide to you that well-placed families in our province loved this simple yet nutritious vegetable soup.
Once again, we have proven that Kangkong is truly a versatile vegetable. For suggestions and other experiences cooking and eating this soup, please don’t hesitate to write your comment.
OF FRIENDS I LOST AND FRIENDS I FOUND
Friends are jewels. I cannot qualify myself as an outgoing type but I am friendly. I don’t loop around my neck a thick string of friends even way back at student years either up to today, after spending almost half my lifetime working to earn a living, but I do treasure them very much as I would a relative or a family. I have been the indoor type. I habitually go for books and listening to music and watching talk shows, sometimes films. In my heyday, I have had a small circle of friends at school, on television, and on shows when I was singing. Those were Streisand, Angela Bofil, Abba, Debbie Boone, and my band days.
When I found work in the government, I have thrown my attention within a small circle of office mates, co-workers, church mates, face book pals (my most recent) and some so-so acquaintances. I have shared great laughs with those closer to me, had coffee together, travelled dined, tete-a-tete, even shared secrets and teased. To some they were simply hi and bye, how are you and take care.
A month ago, my little team was moved to another office at another building on another side of the block. A couple hundred yards distance meant goodbye to those whom I really thought were my friends. The “transition” brought new insights when worked occupies my mind. It has sparked brilliant ideas (I could call them that) and in a short span of time I’ve gone a little busier than before. Well, yes, the new assignments kind of perked me up. I have six people to get work done and a boss and the Big Boss who is the mayor.
My “now” friends rescued me from the “mess” of stress. They were with me and around me when they’d see I needed some ears, pats and sincere smiles. And I believed them. On days when I was pre occupied with deep thoughts (it meant my head was buzzing of something useful and nice and my brain was churning as fast as my stomach does) and when I started to get occupied in making notes, doing research, reviewing updates for use as references on a particular segment for the radio program, I could rely on their supportive silence. People I’ve known decades from my past lifetime are suddenly back into my life as I stumbled along them; our paths crossed and found ourselves together again.
Rose was my husband Alan’s friend’s wife. We’ve known each other some twenty years or more ago. She was our daughter’s godparent. It was oh, so heart warming to talk to her again. She is intelligent and a lady. She is direct yet solicitous. She respects my opinion and shares hers. She was the same the first time we met and spoken with each other. These are the reasons why I never regretted casting away my eyes from “friends” whom I discovered were the wrong ones and so much grateful to a rekindled friendship.
This morning I found myself musing. Perhaps, there should really be something to lose to find something better. And I say distance is not a BIG obstacle to have found humble, sincere and deserving people I can call friends. My family is my lifetime treasure. They are jewels and riches in one. But true friends are gems. In social relationships, I needed them as much as I need my husband, children and siblings.
THE GALLANT FACTS ABOUT KANGK0NG:PART 1
Have you ever tasted an exotic-looking dish that’s actually assembled from the “lowly” kangkong? Kankong (scientific name: ipomea aquatica) commonly trademarked as “poor man’s “food is another one from the spinach species (water spinach) in the Philippines. It is actually an abundant vine-like vegetable that you can grow in personalized small swamp at your backyard, or grow them standing some 6 to 8 inches tall in your plant bed or a refurbished plant box. For many, many years, journals have recounted that during the World War II, Kangkong simple dishes have served and saved hundreds, maybe, thousands dining tables from hunger.
Allow me to take you to a short trip to Manila where I had my “kangkong “dish experience some years ago when I was vacationing there. Actually I was trying to squeeze myself finding a place in some music gig right after I’ve gone to college. There was this Pinausukan Seafood House not very far from the Araneta Coliseum which I and a friend have visited. Araneta Coliseum was the famous venue for the PBA games during those years. Those were memorable years for me and Pinausukan Seafood House dining were one of those. Me and my date were served as appetizers a small serving of “ginataang kohol”, a cultured snail cooked in “kakang gata” (thick coconut milk from its first squeeze) with bright red chilli that made my eyes popped open because I knew they were very hot (ear blowing hotness, I’m telling you) AND a small serving of kangkong stalks or stems cooked in “gata” ( very thick coconut milk) too, making the vegetables looked oh so shiny, I think because of the “gata”.I did not see red, thin, pointed peppers in my dish or around the tiny plate, so I ate it. My, oh, my, the vegetables were very crisp, very delectable, with the familiar taste of coconut milk sweetness, but the hotness almost blew my ears apart. I cried. My nose started running. I didn’t know. I was fooled. But wait, before you start accusing the owners (I don’t know if they are still around these days, might have renamed the establishment or maybe have gone somewhere). The unseen peppers are what made the dish very unique; I was told later it was their specialty. But one remarkable thing that made the food great to me was the splendid taste which they successfully concocted from kangkong. Superbly blended to perfection with ingredients you can find even in small markets, you already have a great dish. The popularity of this lowly vegetable made its way not only here among the locals and at Asias’s best restos but goes as far as the West Coast and in other parts of the world.
Nutritive Value per 100 gram of Kangkong
Water 90.2 g
Protein 3.0 g
Fat 0.3 g
Carbohydrates 5.0 g
Fiber 1.0 g
Ash 1.6 g
Calcium 81.0 mg
Magnesium 52.0 mg
Fe (iron) 3.3 mg
Pro Vitamin A 4000-10000 IU
Vitamin C 30.0 – 130.0 mg
Energy Value 134.0 kJ
The many dishes of Kangkong
Cook the leaves by topping them on boiled pork or prawns as in “sinigang” or on fish “Tinola”. Stems are sautéed in oil, stirred in vinegar and soy sauce. You may add a dash of sugar, red hot pepper, some shrimp paste and chunks of pork or thinly-sliced tofu to complete what we call “ Adobong Kangkong” or “Apan-Apan”.
Other dishes we can find in popular restos and hotels are: fried kangkong leaves in egg; ginataang spicy hot kangkong (which recipe I am going to share with you on my next blog), bas-oy, and many more.
You can try the recipe above by following the simple cooking instructions below:
½ kl young kangkong leaves and stems, concentrate on cutting the upper part (wash carefully);
Boil the cut kangkong until tender;
Remove the vegetables from the hot water, drain;
Heat the wok with ½ cup cooking oil –choose a cholesterol free brand ( a little more oil makes the taste yummier);
Sautee ½ teaspoon or sliced ginger, 4 cloves crushed garlic and one regular piece of thinly sliced onion until golden brown. Add ¼ cup of small slices of soft pork and ¼ cup of fried tofu while continuously tossing the sautéed spices, pork and tofu , continue cooking until pork becomes tender;
Cover the pan until aroma of the sautéed vegetables, meat and spices comes out;
Mix one tablespoon soy sauce or fish sauce. Add one tablespoon vinegar;
Season to taste. Add a dash of seasoning (as desired), and a dash of sugar. (I was taught by a chef friend to always sprinkle a dash of sugar preferably brown) to any dish you cook if you are using vinegar on it);
Remove from pan. Place sautéed shrimp paste as topping.
Wash ½ cup shrimp paste and drain.
Sautee shrimp paste in 2 cloves sliced ginger and ½ teaspoon crushed garlic.
Place shrimp paste, at the same time cooking the paste and spices until it becomes sticky .
Cut ½ teaspoon fresh, red, finger chilli. Mix with the shrimp paste. Continue cooking until aroma from chilli blends that of the shrimp paste.
Remove from pan and place on top of sautéed kangkong.