Ah the horrible weather. Can there be anything worse that this humidity? There is: A bad cold, runny nose, headache and humidity. Funny how both have been bogging me done for nearly two weeks and yet I haven't got used to them :-).
This afternoon, J, the VSO volunteer physiotherapist was eating what looked like a large bowl of soup with bread. She offered me some and I thought why not? I tasted a bit and the tangy soup was HEAVEN. Forgot my cold and the heat and humidity. I quickly looked around for a bowl, finding none, I grabbed a tea cup and a large spoon and took a proper helping (which J, bless her soul and her culinary skills, shared readily enough). "Liked it"? "Yes, Yes, yes...," I said. To which she replied - "Good. This means you can live in Phillipines happily". Very Very happily I thought. So in between the never ending job list, thursday staff meeting, she gave me the recipe and hurrah ... she gave me local substitutes, all available easily! We did have a small problem trying to figure out whether she used paalak or pui sag. Then she said - either would do...any green would do, I think. I have put in spinach because I thought it looked like spinach. The stew can be made without shrimps if you want something vegetarian. So here is J's Filipino shrimp vegetable stew.
You will need
Eggplant: 1 cubed
Lady's Finger: 4 cut into two
String Beans: 5-6 cut de-stringed and cut into two
Spinach leaves: 4-5 leaves shred coarsely
Onions: 2 quartered
Tomato: 3 quartered
or Shrimp flavoured cube: 1-2
Tamarind powder: 250gms
or Tamarind pulp: 1 lemon sized ball
Salt to taste
Water: 250 ml
- Wash and cut all the vegetables and drain.
- Devein the shrimps, remove the shell and keep aside.
- Stir fry the shrimps lightly and reserve.
- Grind the shells in a mortar and soak in a little bit of warm water. Strain the shells through a seive. Remove the shells and reserve the water.
- You can omit step 3 & 4 if you manage to get hold of shrimp flavoured stock.
- Boil water in a pan.
- Add the quartered onions and tomatoes and cook over medium flame till the tomatoes become pulpy.
- Add the shrimps, vegetable and salt.
- When the vegetables are slightly cooked, add the tamarind powder or tararind water got from soaking a small ball of tamarind in hot water and strained.
- Cover and simmer till vegetables are cooked.
- Eat & Enjoy!