We once again venture into the wet and rainy seasons, with occasional servings of typhoons and tropical storms that tests one endurance to the limit. But ever an optimist, I see this damp and cold season as another chance to enjoy pinoy comfort foods like Bulalo, Pancit Molo, La Paz Batchoy, and the likes. I know you might be wondering “why, I’m sure you can enjoy it any time of the year. Why wait for the rainy seasons?”. The Pinoys in general, and me among the particular, tends to match what they eat on the overlying season, or weather. Would you be satisfied eating piping hot Bulalo (beef shank soup) in the middle of summer, or a scorching sun beating down your neck? I wouldn’t, and I have a faint inkling that you also wouldn’t enjoy it very much.
Enough. What I’m trying to get at, and probably meaning to ask you, is your idea of a comfort food. Our interest and love for food varies as much as characters do. I, for instance, seeks my moods as an inspiration for cooking, but would gladly eat up anything that looks appetizing. I might say that I’m sort of an adventured when it comes to exotic cuisines, but hey, who isn’t? My idea of comfort food during these rainy days is none other than …(drumroll)… Bulalo. Kinda having an anticlimatic ring to it? Well that’s me.
I deign to prepare my own Bulalo, however, rather than buying those well-publicized and well-referred commercialones. I’m a firm believer in the virtues of home-cooked meals, and besides, it gives me a chance to experiment and try different things with an otherwise common dish. As I know any sensible cook would do, I do the shopping for ingredients myself. Bulalo, as most of you are aware, takes a long time to cook if you are preparing it the traditional way. However, you could cut the cooking time in half using a pressure cooker, which I sometimes use if the occasion calls for it.
The ingredients I use are mostly the traditional ones that goes into the dish: beef shank, potatoes, corn, cabbage, petchay, etc. Sometimes, if I could get my hands on some, I put some shitake mushrooms into it. I know that this might sound and taste weird to someone else’s palate, but for me, it lends the dish a more earthy tone to it.
Image credits: pinoycravings.com