Ginataang sili (Bicol express)
Several posts ago, naging problema ko ang itatawag ko sa siling mahaba. Farah sia from Cebu calls them siling espada, we call them siling pansigang or siling mahaba and they’re chilli picante for the supermarket people. Maxi helped me to conclude it’s one variety of cayenne pepper. Dahil wala akong reader na pepperologist (hehe), cayenne pepper it is.
Alam ‘nyo na siguro kung anong parte ng sili, any kind of sili, ang maanghang? It’s the seeds, of course. Those killer red chili flakes sa mga pizza joints? Dried buto ng siling labuyo ‘yon.
If you want the taste of pepper pero mahina kayo sa anghang, tanggalin ang mga buto ng sili. While you’re at it, remove the pith, too. ‘Yun ang laman ng sili na kinakapitan ng mga buto.
But be careful not to touch your eye area or your lips when you’re deseeding peppers. Wash your hands very well or better yet, dip your fingers in a bowl of milk before washing them.
You can control the spicy kick of your Bicol express by varying the number of cayenne pepper you use with the seeds still intact. For this recipe, hindi ko inaalis ang buto sa 8 pieces of sili before I slice them. Careful, guys, maanghang na ‘to even for me.
1/2 K kasim or liempo, cut about 1 inch thick (I prefer kasim, less taba)
Pure cream extracted from 3 medium sized coconut (about 3 cups)
28-30 pieces of cayenne pepper (siling pansigang)
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp minced ginger (optional, yup, puwedeng wala nito)
2 tbsp shrimp paste or bagoong (would you believe optional din ito?) you can substitute a good kind of patis if you are allergic to bagoong.
Prep ng sili:
Soak the sili in a bowl of salted water for 30 mins. Slice 20 pieces of pepper lengthwise and remove the seeds. Huwag nang tanggalin ang buto sa natirang sili. Slice all the sili, with and without seeds, crosswise or diagonally.
Wala nang buto ‘yung 2 sili sa kanan.
Saute the garlic and onion in 1 tbsp oil. Add the pork and cook until the meat is brown. Add the same amount of cold water to 1 1/2 cups of pure coconut cream (kakang gata) and add to the sauteed pork. You can add the bagoong (and ginger) at this point or season with patis. Keep stirring the coconut milk until it boils.
Lower the heat and let simmer until the meat is tender and the coconut milk reduced. Add the sili, season with salt to taste, cover and cook for a minute more. The sili should be slightly crunchy. Remove from heat and add the rest of the pure coconut cream. Stir and serve hot.
Importanteng tips sa pagluluto ng may gata:
You should stop stirring only when the coconut milk starts to simmer. When heated, coconut milk tends to curdle or mamumuo, therefore hindi na siya creamy. This is true with ALL ginataan dishes. Safe nang iwan kapag kumukulo na siya.
Kung gagamit kayo ng gata ng niyog para magpalambot ng karne, don’t use pure coconut cream. Dilute it with water (one is to one). Naglalangis ang purong gata kapag matagal na kumukulo. Mas masarap siya, I know, but it’s not good for your health, people.
You can add 2 cups of Baguio beans, cut 1/2 inch long, before adding the sili. Don’t overcook the veggies. I know we shouldn’t mess with good ol’ Bicol express, but for me, it’s yummier with Baguio beans. You can trust me on that.
Enjoy your hot, hot meal, guys!