BALO-BALO IN CENTRAL LUZON

Balo balo, known better as burong hipon is a popular Kapampangan fare that is best paired with blanched bitter veggies and leaves like mustasa (mustard) and ampalaya (bitter gourd). With grilled fish, its a good alternative to soy sauce and in this case, the inihaw na hito was perfect.

Resulta ng larawan para sa balo balo

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups cooked rice – boil rice with 10 cups of water till cooked; you come up with a soft kind of cooked rice; cool rice thoroughly
  • 500 grams very fresh shrimps – alive if possible, the 2-inch long size; do not peel. In Sydney where you do not find shrimps that are alive, I use small, fresh prawns that are peeled and sliced in half – lengthwise. If you want to use fish, I use filleted fish and slice into 1/2-inch cubes or in small strips. In the Philippines, you can use whole small fresh gurami or tilapia, de-scale, debone and cut into finger sized strips. Do not use head of tilapia. Some even use the mud fish for this.
  • 250 grams young, fresh bamboo shoots – sliced very thinly and blanched for 5 minutes in hot water and drain well and cool down
  • 1/2 cup salt

Procedure:

  1. Get a well washed, dry, 1 to 2 gallon glass jar.
  2. Rinse the shrimps/fish with water and drain well. Pat dry to ensure dryness.
  3. In a large bowl, place shrimps and sprinkle with the salt, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Using rubber gloves, spread cool rice in a large bowl.
  5. Mix the bamboo shoots with the shrimps.
  6. Mix the shrimp/bamboo with rice using gloved hands.
  7. Put the mixture inside the jar, in layers, packing well each layer. You want to avoid air pockets in the jar.
  8. Cover the mouth of the jar with a clean sheet of plastic and close with lid.
  9. Some times it is hard to find glass gallon jars and I use a glass bowl that has a lid.
  10. Set aside in a cool place and let ferment for three days. In temperate countries, fermentation may take longer. What I do is on the third day, I smell the mixture and see if it’s smelly enough for me.
  11. The smellier it is, the more sour the sauce becomes. So watch for it. Also, the whole tiny shrimp and fresh fish, ferments faster than peeled prawns or filleted fish.
  12. If you want to cook the fermented shrimp mixture after three days, it will not be too smelly.
  13. If you let another 2 days go, keep it in the refrigerator so that it does not ferment too fast.

How to cook the fermented mixture:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely crushed garlic
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 250 grams fresh tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 of the mixture

Procedure:

  1. In a non-reactive (non-stick or ceramic or glass), heavy sauce pan, over low fire, pour in oil and saute garlic and onion till the garlic is a light golden tan and the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes or till the tomatoes do not have a raw taste.
  3. Constantly stir to prevent sticking to bottom of pan.
  4. Add the mixture and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring continuously.
  5. Taste the mixture and adjust to your liking. It must not be too salty.
  6. Cool and serve.
  7. When it is hot, it really smells! When it’s cooled, it does not smell too bad.
  8. Serve with fried, or grilled fish and steam vegetables and hot rice.

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