Saturday, May 17, 2014

Don’t overcook shellfish

Don’t overcook shellfish, like tahong, kuhol, suso, and halaan, - so with octopus and squid - otherwise their flesh will shrink into a tough and leathery texture. 

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

This is a technique I learned from Basang, my auntie when I was a farm hand. Prepare the ingredients such as ginger, salt, onions and place them in an earthen pot or stainless casserole.  Add water equivalent to the volume of the shellfish and bring it to boil. Meantime, clean the shellfish and eliminate those that are not fresh or broken. You can detect this through smell, or by examining them thoroughly.  Pour the shellfish into the shimmering pot and allow 3 to 5 minutes before putting off the fire. Serve the menu while hot. 

These are other folk practices in cooking shellfish:

·         For kuhol (bisokol Ilk) and liddeg, strike the posterior end until it collapses with a hard object like the back of a spoon. Remove the shell fragments before putting it into the shimmering pot. The hole makes it easier to suck off the flesh from the shell. If the first attempt fails, push the flesh inward and suck it again. A popular recipe is one with gata (coconut milk), ginger and lemongrass (tanglad Tag, baraniw Ilk). 

·         For suso, (freshwater species are long and sharply pointed, while marine species are shorter and thick-shelled).  Clip the posterior end with a plier or a heavy duty nipper, and proceed with the way kuhol is cooked and eaten.

·         Tahong or green mussels have a mass of long and tough bristles protruding out near the shell hinge. Pull or cut it out and scrape, if necessary. Scrub the shell thoroughly before cooking. 

·         Luslisi is eaten medium rare. Sometimes there is no need to cook it like oyster.  But quick immersion in hot water will dislodge the tough “foot cover” and loosen the thin shell from the tender and watery flesh.
  Green mussel (tahong)

·         For octopus and squid, cooking time depends on their size and species.  A pointed knife or fork will help you know if their flesh has reached optimum tenderness. Serve by cutting them into desired sizes, adding fresh onions and tomato and a dash of salt. You may separate the ink sac and have your guests add the pigment if they so desire.

Acknowledgement: Photos from Internet

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