Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 21: Halabos na Alimasag & Tahong Soup

A while earlier, an office mate was asking our group out to lunch at the famous Dampa market where fresh seafood of all shapes and sizes could be purchased, cooked according to your preference and served right there and then. I wasn't able to join the group for lunch but the prospect of having all that seafood was so consuming that my appetite for seafood demanded to be satisfied.

And so we had halabos na alimasag and tahong soup for dinner. It's a modest take on Dampa, just enough to satisfy my craving for seafood. I bought a kilo and a half of Alimasag (P210) and a kilo of Tahong (P40). Not bad for a Dampa-ish dinner sans the traffic, pollution and, yes, it's relatively easy on the budget.

In cooking Halabos na Alimasag, just place the crabs in a pan; add 1/2 cup of water and sprinkle one and a half tablespoons of rock salt over the crabs. Turn on the fire and cover the pan to allow the crabs to cook from the steam created by the boiling water. This process takes only about 15 minutes.

For the Tahong Soup, immerse the mussels in a pot of water for about ten minutes, then remove the mussels from the pot. You will find sediments of sand and other foreign matter at the bottom of the pot. Discard the water and the sediments; discard the mussels that have opened up as it means they have turned bad already and would therefore be unsafe to eat. Remove any beard sticking out from the remaining good ones; return the cleaned mussels into the pot. Add two cloves of minced garlic, an onion that's been sliced and a finger and a half size of ginger that has also been sliced. Add about eight (8) cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and allow it to simmer for a few minutes; it won't take long for the mussels to cook. When the mussels are cooked, turn off the fire and add a bunch of sili leaves. Add patis to taste.

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