PHOTOGRAPHY CULTURE FOOD ART & A BOX OF LIFE FULL OF SURPRISES

Month: August 2018

In Search of Fried Duck

In Search of Fried Duck

Our road trip has been long over due and this time we are exploring the Province of Laguna. A province with the largest lake in our country, the place of birth of our National hero, magnificent falls, hot springs, ducks and much much more. On […]

A Gallery of a National Artist – Beautiful Sunday

A Gallery of a National Artist – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108   It has been a while since we last visited an art gallery. Although I do not have the talent for art, my love and appreciation for the artwork grows each time I step in an art gallery. Spend a little […]

The Poor Man’s Lobster “Samba (Mantis Shrimp)”

The Poor Man’s Lobster “Samba (Mantis Shrimp)”

How do you decide what to have for lunch? Do you have a weekly planned menu or you just decide on the spot what to have? As for me and my wife we always talk about first what to have before heading out for the market. Well, today we already had something on mind. A crustacean that is armored, with a deadly weapon and with a taste that is similar to a lobster. Come join me today we go to the market. Let me share with you a delicious and a meal that is so easy to prepare.

 

Samba (Mantis Shrimp)

Here we are again at our local market that is filled with fresh seafood every day. One of the most popular seafood here is the Samba and no, it is not the Brazilian music that you have in mind. It is called differently in different areas in our country. With names like Tatampal, Hipong dagat (Sea Shrimp) and Alupihang dagat (Sea Centipede). It has been called Samba here in our region. I tried to research the history behind the name, but even my aunts could not explain why it was called Samba. In other parts of the world it is popularly called Mantis shrimp.

I could say that it is always available at our market. Every time we go here there is always someone selling the Samba. The price also differs whenever the catch is abundant. You would immediately notice piles being sold by crab and shrimp vendors. That is a very good indication that you could haggle for a very cheap price.

Along the way you could already see a few of the Samba being sold. Sometimes there are lobsters, but they are quite expensive. A small lobster would cost you around 300 to 400 pesos which is almost $6-$8 dollars a piece. Here 300 pesos for a lobster for one person is too much. That amount could already feed three to four heads if you are going to buy the Samba. A bit similar taste with the lobster at a very cheap price, that’s why it is sometimes referred to as the Poor man’s lobster.

Let’s see what else is available today. I noticed there are a lot of very fresh shrimps available.

Look how fresh those shrimps are, might as well buy some.

Those shrimps were not part of the plan, but we still bought some anyway. Moving on we went straight to my wife’s favorite vendor. Just look at those blue crabs and alamang (krill). Last time we shared a recipe of our local cuisine and if you missed it, feel free to have a look.

 Tiny Surpise “Ginisang Alamang (Sauteed Krill)”

Inherited Cuisine “Tortang Alimasag (Crab Omelette)”

Now for our target for today “The Samba”.

The sizes varies, but today there are a lot of big ones.

My wife bought a kilo that is worth 250 pesos or around $4.68. We got more than a kilo as we were given a few extras. One of the perks if you have a favorite vendor at the market place. I think we were given around 3 to 4 pieces extra.

Here we go and it is time to take home our Samba.

Back home some of them are still moving as we washed them.

They have an armor like shell covering their body and underneath each covering are sharp spines. So be careful while handling them.

Let’s take a closer look. The eyes of the mantis shrimp are one of the most complex in the animal kingdom. Us humans have only three types of photoreceptor cells, while they have 12 to 16 types. Those cells are responsible for our sight during the process of absorbing light and turning them into electrical signals.

These are the weapons of the Samba and looks like the claws of a mantis. This crustacean is a dangerous predator and can stun and dismember a prey easily. Some species have clubs instead of claws, even known to smash the shells of crabs and clams.

Let’s zoom in for a closer look to see how sharp the claws are.

With lightning fast speed any prey caught buy its claws are definitely doomed.

It somehow resembles and alien insect that lives underwater. It’s protection doesn’t stop from there, aside from the spines on its sides. The tail is also well protected and any fish that tries to have a quick snack will surely be in a lot of pain.

A creature that is perfectly designed, the mantis shrimp is force to reckon with under the sea.

Time to prepare our meal and get that wood stove burning. The wood from the fruit crates are getting low, next time we need to get more for our outdoor cooking needs.

This recipe is very easy to prepare. All you need are the Samba, a little bit of salt and just a little bit of water. Around half a cup of water would do, just enough so the bottom part would not burn.

Once ready, cover and just leave for 15 minutes.

You could check once in a while as they cook quickly. You would notice that the color of the Samba would change.

Take the pot off the fire and we are done.

The pot steamed Samba a local favorite and also a great companion for beer drinkers.

Now how do we open it? I took the liberty to show you how to de shell them and not hurt yourself while doing so.

I think this is the biggest one among them and a great example to use.

First just turn them over and carefully press down on the sides of each of the covering. You would feel the shells loosening up. Take extra careful though as there are small spines on the sides of each layer.

Once done you could easily peel off the shells from the body.

Another easy way of peeling them is cutting the sides with scissors. That would also allow you to peel off the shell easily keeping the meat intact.

Here we are de shelled and ready to eat. Just bring out some newly cooked rice and a spicy vinegar as a dip.

Thanks for joining me and I hope you enjoyed the show. It was fun sharing local food that we have. Let me know and give me your thoughts as I would love to hear from you.

If you liked it just stay tuned as I would be sharing more every week. See you again on our next local food trip.

Thank you and have a good evening, afternoon or morning everyone.

 

Resource

Mantis Shrimp

Follow @surpassinggoogle to witness an extraordinary person in this platform and vote for @steemgigs as witness

Discovering exceptional content in the community follow @curie and vote as witness

To have a glimpse of awesome content from the Philippines check out @bayanihan

All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm

with macro extension tube

Unexpected Trip – Beautiful Sunday

Unexpected Trip – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108 There are times when you get to places when you least expect it. The original plan was to get my passport fixed and head home right away. Bad weather and not part of the plan we headed out to a farm resort […]

Nostalgic Aroma “Dizon’s Bakery”

Nostalgic Aroma “Dizon’s Bakery”

Have you ever wondered how bread looks like from other countries? Well today I am going to share with you our local bread and other popular baked goods. There are a lot of bakeries in our city, but this bakery has stamped its name in […]

A Dance with Culture – Beautiful Sunday

A Dance with Culture – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

Every country has its own unique culture, art and dance. A dance is also a way of communicating and breaks language barriers. It shows emotion, tells stories and even influences others. Today I will share with you a cultural show inspired not only by our country, but by other countries as well. Come with me and witness a show full of color, music and culture.

 

A Dance with Culture

If ever you would visit Villa Escudero Resort you are in for a treat. After enjoying  a buffet by the waterfall, visiting the museum and rafting on the river. A show is held every 2 pm to entertain the visitors of the resort.

Feel free to visit our previous activities

Waterfall Buffet

A Pink Church in a Plantation Resort

Bamboo Rafting

The event is held at a restaurant beside the river. Immediately a fountain would greet you as you near the wooden structure with hints of ethnic design. Before you enter it is a good idea to check the surroundings as there are some interesting statues near the area. Among those is a scene called Harana, a Philippine culture in which men serenade women to impress them.

Before you enter restaurant there are two large stone containers. These filled with water and decorated with flower petals found inside the resort. The flower I recognize is the King’s mantle a violet flower with a yellow center. It is also found in other parts of the globe like Florida.

The place is very spacious, close to river and surrounded by trees. I could imagine having a romantic dinner here at night. Right now a few people are starting to settle in for the show. Sitting on a table does not require you to order anything as the show is a part of the tour that you already paid for. Although I was told that the show is quite long and would be up to you if you would like to order some snacks.

You could buy some alcohol if you wish and they offer “Lambanog” a local wine made from extracted coconut sap. Sounds interesting? The process in making is lengthy and you would need to climb up a coconut tree. Extracting from the sap, distillery and fermentation. I would love to share with you one day if I could visit a distillery.

While waiting you will be serenaded with local traditional music. It gives the air a festive feeling and just adds to the excitement.

After a while, the tables are all occupied, but there are some plastic chairs provided to accommodate the other visitors. I preferred to stand up so I could go around and take some shots.

Ethnic music began to play and people in traditional costumes came out. A dance interpretation of the Ifugao that showcases a part of our tribal culture. The tribal music from drums and gongs caught the attention of everyone.

While dancing the male performers help instruments called Gangsa. It looks like a pan and struck with a stick and makes a very distinct ethnic sound. I have to admit that the performers has grabbed me and seems to have taken me to another part of our country. I have never seen an authentic Ifugao dance to compare it with, but this was very interesting.

Another part of their performance have taken us to some sort of war dance with wooden shields on hand.

As a finale, the chief is raised up in the air as a sign of victory.

Another interpretation of a dance from the Cordillera region in the Philippines.  Maidens carrying woven baskets on their heads as they performed gracefully. According to the host this dance is called Ragragsakan and is done during peace of opposing tribes.

The baskets contains woven blankets and the dance shifts to a different part of the performance.

The blankets are held  up and the colorful blankets are waved in the air. Followed by a dance and as they go around in circles. You would want to see more of the performance.

On the left side of the stage are men also wearing ethnic costumes. They play an instrument made from bamboo which is hit on the floor. The sound that it makes feels like you are being sucked in some sort of a trance.

The next part of the performance is called the Banga dance. Claypots that are skillfully balanced on the maiden’s head. The claypots are authentic and I could only think how heavy it weighs. According to the host this is done as a part of a wedding ceremony. Showing the strength of women as they perform their daily activities. An amazing tribute to our amazing women.

Thumping sounds and shouts from the performers are intense, and you won’t be able to keep your eyes off their performance. The instruments held by the women are traditional instruments called Kudyapi. This dance is inspired by the Lumads from the Mindanao region found in the southern area of the Philippines.

A dance called Sohten in preparation for battle and a way to ask the gods to protect them.

On the right side of the stage are the musicians and the group that keeps up the beat. The music that they create immerses more into the show. As the performers shouts and screams the music heightens the excitement.

There are three main drums used and the beat never stops.

Gongs of different sizes are suspended and arrange in order. These are used traditionally and used by ethnic Muslims groups in our country. The instrument looks very authentic and the sound it makes is like an introduction to a royalty from a tribe.

This instrument is called Kulintang and the sound it makes are like voices that echoes from the mountains. Every note is like a word from a mysterious language. This instrument truly stands out and defines the identity of a culture.

Some of the performances are inspired by other Asian countries. I am not quite sure if this is still from our country. With knifes and hand fans on hand the performance gears up a level.

One of the dances are like fairy tale stories adapted from an Indian legend called Ramayana. This dance performance is called Singkil.

The covering bring mystery how the main star of the play looks like.

If I am not mistaken this character is the father of the princess.

Long bamboo poles are brought in and some of you might wonder what they are for. As we go along you will find out shortly. Some sort of pact is made between the father and the prince.

The princess along with her loyal servant that never leaves her side.

As a part of the story the princess is catching butterflies in the forest, and the fans depicts the butterflies in this play. The princess gets trapped in the forest by an earthquake made by the spirits in the forest. The bamboo poles signifies trees that are used to trap the princess.

The prince looks for her princess in the dense forest.

In this dance the princess steps between the bamboo poles. The poles are closed together in rhythm and timing is crucial for your feet not to get caught. This act signifies the princess escaping the falling trees from the forest, and is aided by her loyal servant.

The prince arrives with his sword and shield. Prepared to fight the spirits and rescue her princess.

At the near end of the performance the cast sings a song and some of them weaves animal figures from palm leaves.

The song is in a dialect that I could not understand, but the dance breaks all language barriers.

As this part of the show closes. The performers heads out to the spectators to hand out animal figures to chosen viewers.

Made on the spot from coconut palm leaves, this resembles a fish.

One of the lucky spectators is my daughter @bearkid who was handed a bird. A souvenir to remind us of this amazing performance. Some performances are a bit hard to determine, but brief explanations are given by the host during the performance. None the less the show was very enjoyable.

Thank you again for joining me in this trip thru dance and culture. Just of the beautiful experiences that you could witness in our country. To be honest it was a first time for me to witness such a spectacle and I don’t mind experiencing it again.

Please let me know what you think and leave some comments. Let’s talk about dance as I’d love to hear from you. Until then hope to see you again and have a good evening.

Official Site

Villa Escudero Plantaions and Resort

Additional resource

Singkil

Follow @surpassinggoogle to witness an extraordinary person in this platform and vote for @steemgigs as witness

Discovering exceptional content in the community follow @curie and vote as witness

To have a glimpse of awesome content from the Philippines check out @bayanihan

All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm

 

Tiny Surpise “Ginisang Alamang (Sauteed Krill)”

Tiny Surpise “Ginisang Alamang (Sauteed Krill)”

We love shrimps and there are so many ways to cook it. Grilled, battered, tempura, soup dishes, sauteed and the list goes on and on. Here in our country there is a species that a lot of us loves. This type of shrimp can be […]

Lunch at the Supermarket – Beautiful Sunday

Lunch at the Supermarket – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108   How would like to join me today to have lunch? Not in a restaurant nor a fast food chain. Today I would take you with me to the supermarket to enjoy delicious food with the family. Yes you heard me […]

Inherited Cuisine “Tortang Alimasag (Crab Omelette)”

Inherited Cuisine “Tortang Alimasag (Crab Omelette)”

We love seafood and there are so many recipes across the world. Different cultures, different tastes, different ways of cooking and all is unique in each country. I have grown to love cooking in my spare time ever since I joined the community. Showcasing the food that our country has to offer in something I have enjoyed doing. Today I will share with you one of my favorite dishes. Not only that it is a recipe that has been passed down to us by our great grandmother. If you are a foodie and especially a seafood lover. Join me today as I share with you a dish that is humble yet worth remembering.

Inherited Cuisine “Tortang Alimasag (Crab Omelette)”

Our local market offers the fresh meat, seafood and vegetables daily. Whenever we cook we head out to the market to get our ingredients and today we are looking for crabs. There are always fresh crabs everyday and there are two species which are common in our area. The most common is the blue crab which you would see shortly. If you aren’t experienced in buying in this wet market you may not get the best deal. I myself would not know where to buy as a lot of sellers seems to offer the same price.

Good thing my wife knows where to buy as she has a favorite seller. Often she is given  a cheap price and sometimes given and extra piece or two. Let’s go around a bit and let me show you some of the local fish that we have. These stalls offers a cheaper price as they do not pay much unlike those stalls in the inner part of the wet market. I am not sure how much they are paying for the small spot on the side or how much they earn. But according to some of my friends who knows some vendors, it is a good business and a decent way of living.

I do not know all the names of the fishes here but we will get there soon. That pink fish is called Bisugo and is a very tasty fish. It is best cooked in a little bit of water,vinegar and some salt with long chili. The ones on the front is called Kabayas and best fried. Well enough with the fish for now and let’s get those crabs.

Here is my wife’s favorite seller and there are still some crabs left at this time which was around 9:00 am. There are also a lot of mantis shrimps today.

We bought just half a kilo of crabs which was worth 125 pesos but since she knows my wife. It was just sold to us for 100 pesos or around $1.90 not a bad deal.

These blue crabs are very common in the Philippines and can be found almost anywhere. Another common crab here is the local mud crab which is more expensive but has more meat in them. I’ll share some photos some other time.

We have our crabs and now we just need some vegetables. These are red onions which we are not going to use. I just wanted to share them here. We are going to use the regular white onions which we still have some at home.

Tomatoes are also a main ingredient in our dish. Any tomato would do just don’t use the green ones.

Some red bell peppers to add color and flavor to the dish.

We would also need some eggs around 3 or 4 pieces but will will buy a dozen since we are already here.

Eggs varies in prices the cheap and small ones cost around $.07 each. The bigger ones cost around $.15 each.

Here’s our crabs and they are still moving and be sure to clean them thoroughly.

There are six pieces and should be enough for this dish. My aunt usually cooks this dish whenever there are left over crabs from lunch. Well, today all will be cooked for the crab omelette.

Usually, I cook out using the wood stove, but since the weather is very unpredictable these days. We decided to cook inside for a change.

First step is to cook your crabs. Just add a little salt and water then cover. Put the stove on high and leave for around 15-20 minutes.

Once they are cooked its shell would turn to orange, but be sure to turn them over to make sure the ones on the top is also cooked.

Now let me ask you. Do you know how to distinguish a male crab from a female crab? Some of you might already know,but to those who doesn’t. Let me show you how to tell them apart. If you would turn them over, you would notice a flap that is triangular in shape. This one is a male crab with the pointy flap.

The female crab on the other hand has a more rounded flap a the bottom. They say female crabs are more delicious than the males ones. The female has more aligue which is crab roe. It is the orange stuff inside the crab which is very tasty and high in cholesterol too, so be careful.

There has been a sudden turn of events as I told my aunt that I was going to cook Tortang Alimasag. She told me to let the experts do it, lol. Well she is the one who always prepares this dish so I guess I would need a back up, and leave the cooking today with my aunt.

So first things first which is the hardest part, the de shelling of the crab. I will help out with this process and to speed up our cooking. First you need to remove the top shell, opening from the side first.

Underneath the shell you would see the crab roe which is the orange stuff.

Look at that crab roe and if you haven’t tried it. It is very tasty and you should taste it at least once.

After a couple of minutes we were almost done. Removing the meat even from the tiny legs so nothing is wasted.

All done and does not look much coming from six pieces of crab, but it is more than enough.

Here is what’s left of the crabs that has been picked clean with all the meat.

As a special treat save the top shells as we will be cooking it in an extra special way. Just like how my grandma used to prepare it. You just need to cut the sharp pointy part on the sides and kitchen scissors would do the trick.

For our vegetables

  • Three small white onions
  • Two medium sized tomatoes
  • One red bell pepper

Just chop them all up in small pieces and you could do anyway you like. But remember it has to be in small pieces.

Same for the onions chop them in small pieces.

My aunt chops them length wise first then chops them in small pieces.

We used four small eggs and I think it would be more than enough.

Beat the eggs thoroughly and set aside.

Heat up the pan and pour in some oil, as we are getting ready to saute the vegetables.

Put in the tomatoes first and saute for a minute or two.

Next put in the chopped onions and at this point burst of flavor and aroma would fill your kitchen.

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly for around 2-3 minutes.

My aunt wants to add some color and natural coloring is the way to go. Just add a little water to annatto seeds. You would get the nice red orange deep color.

If you want to know more about the Annatto feel free to check The Lipstick Tree

Pour in the mixture using a strainer to get that color in the vegetables.

Stir again for another 2-3 minutes.

You would know if it is ready once you get this texture and color.

Time to add in the crab meat in the pan and be sure that the meat gets separated completely.

Add in the chopped red bell pepper and again mix thoroughly.

Grind in some fresh black peppers with our trusty pepper grinder.

It’s ready and now we just need to let it cool down a bit.

Once cooled pour in half of the beaten egg mixture.

Mix all the ingredients completely but make sure it is cooled down before pouring it in. Pouring in the egg while hot would cook the egg and we do not want that yet.

Now we will use the shells and spoon in the mixture inside. Making sure it is completely filled up.

Here are the first three and we will start cooking.

Pour in some oil in the same pan, that we used and cook them upside down first. A trick to harden the top faster, spoon in some hot oil on the top while cooking.

Flip them over to cook evenly and just turn over again to check if they are ready.

We still have a lot of left over mixture, so add in some flour on the eggs.

Mix well making sure all the flour lumps are dissolved and add the rest of the crab mixture in the mix.

Fry it like a pancake and have some crab patties. This is how it is normally cooked by the way, which are sold in restaurants and food stalls. Although if you would be buying outside it would be a bit expensive. With a small piece would cost 50 pesos or $1.00 each.

You can check the one that we bought from our Breakfast at the Market

If you have a small pan it would be best to use it as you would get a rounder shape. My aunt happens to have this tiny pan just for cooking patties and omelettes.

Here’s our dish that quite takes a lot of work and love. But from all that process out comes a dish that is unique and bursting with crab flavor. One of my favorite dish that I would never get tired of eating. Perfect with fried rice and personally I use some ketchup with it while eating with a dash of hot sauce. All ingredients are easily accessible for everyone, a bit tedious to make, but I assure you it is all worth it. I do hope you give it a try and taste a cuisine that has been passed down to us with love. Again, I would like to thank my aunt for taking the spotlight today for a change and preparing us a delicious lunch.

Thanks for the little time that you spend with me today. I do appreciate the company and please do leave some comments. Let me know what you think and let’s talk about seafood.

Hope to see to see you again soon and where ever you are have a good evening or morning.

Follow @surpassinggoogle to witness an extraordinary person in this platform and vote for @steemgigs as witness

Discovering exceptional content in the community follow @curie and vote as witness

To have a glimpse of awesome content from the Philippines check out @bayanihan

All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm