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Ginataang is the process of cooking in coconut milk, either as a dessert or as a viand. And ginataang as a viand is famous and delicious and they are the pride of the Bicolanos.
I know someone from Bicol and he tells me lots of recipes for different ginataang vegetables and seafoods. One such dish is using unripe jackfruit. Yes, jackfruit although when ripe is one of the sweetest and nicely fragrant, when unripe it is clear white and the perfect vegetable for coconut milk.
Nowadays, the process of shredding unripe jackfruit is skipped because they are now available freshly shredded in the market, the only thing left to do is pick out the parts not included in cooking like the skin where the seeds are placed, etc. Ginataang langka or unripe jackfruit stewed in coconut milk or cream is simple no sautéing, no onion and no cooking oil is the authentic recipe for this awesome dish. Additional ingredient that gives it more flavor like dried surgeonfish (daing na labahita), Spanish mackerel fish, crabs or shrimps. Its wonderful taste is enjoyed by both Filipinos here and abroad so it’s gaining popularity in other nationalities as well. And one of the best things about this dish is that it’s cheap but it can feed a lot of mouths, now that I think about it, a ginataan viand is always inexpensive but always special.
Number of servings (yield): 6
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
• Unripe jackfruit (langka) – 1 kg (shredded)
• Dried surgeonfish (daing na labahita) – 3 pcs
• Coconut milk – 4 cups
• Garlic – 6 cloves (crushed)
• Salt – to taste
• Fish sauce – to taste
1. Place the shredded unripe jackfruit in a large bowl. Patiently, remove any inedible parts like the skin of the seeds or the seeds themselves if you don’t eat them, and then also remove the peel in the fruit where the seeds are placed. Afterwards, rinse with water.
2. Place the dried surgeonfish and add water in a bowl to diminish the saltiness of the fish.
3. In a cooking pot, pour 3 cups of coconut milk and add the crushed garlic and a bit of salt. Simmer over medium-low heat while stirring gently.
4. When the coconut milk is almost boiling, add the shredded unripe jackfruit. Mix so that everything is soaked in coconut milk.
5. Simmer for 15-20 until the jackfruit are soft. Add the remaining cup of coconut milk. You may stir once or twice gently.
6. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the dried surgeonfish. Using your hands remove the skin and tear the flesh into small bite size pieces.
7. Add the fish bits and stir. Taste then add salt or fish sauce to suit your taste.
8. Simmer for 2 minutes more until the jackfruit are cooked through.
9. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and serve with lots of steamed rice.
10. Share and enjoy eating.
• In place of dried surgeonfish, you may also use shrimps, pork or Spanish mackerel (tanigue) fish. If you’re using Spanish mackerel, fry them half-cooked first before tearing them into bitesize pieces.
• Adding chopped chilis to make it hot and spicy is also a good idea for those who love spicy dishes.
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