Back when we were little children in Marag, Philippines, pako became a staple diet. It was in our dinner table at least once a week. We ate a lot of it so much that we kids 🙂 should have grown into goats 🙂 or hated it after a while. But I have always a vibrant and positive memory of pako.
Gathering pako is an adventure for us youngster. We had to roam a dense growth of greens at the mouth of a forest and try to pick the young furling sprouts of pako. Thank goodness they grow profusely together and therefore picking them one by one was not much of a chore.
Pako can be prepared in plenty of ways, it can be blanched and made into a salad, it can be left fresh as it is as a salad as well or cook and added into various kind of inabraw, an Ilocano way of cooking.
Below is another pako salad recipe.
1 large bunch pako (fern)
2 salted eggs or hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
sprinkling of salt to taste
Method of Preparation:
prepare the pako by removing any tough stalk.
Bring a large pot of boiling water. Blanch the pako by quickly dipping them into the hot water. Leave for a minute and drain.
Arranged the pako on a serving platter.
Put the tomatoes and onion on top then garnish with the slices of salted eggs.
Make a typical Filipino dressing by mixing the vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper, sugar and a very little salt. Stir it in thoroughly for the granules to dissolve.
I have seen Korean dramas where the obedient daughter in law making the mother in law tastes her wilted spinach called sigeumchi-namul. I must admit the stringy wilted spinach looked so appetising! And not only that, spinach is a superfood as it contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals.
Below is an easy recipe to follow and enjoy.
500g spinach, cleaned and washed
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 stalk green onion, chopped
1½ teaspoon soy sauce
1½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Boil 10 cups of water in a large casserole or sauce pan.
Drop in the spinach into the boiling water and blanch quickly for a minute, stirring continuously using a wooden ladle.
Remove from heat and drain the spinach using a colander, then rinse in cold water.
Squeeze into a ball to remove excess water
Mix the spinach with garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds by hand. Korean dramas show the lady/ladies of the house covering their hands with transparent plastic gloves. (gloves are available in most supermarkets in the West)
Transfer into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the roasted spinach.
Put the miso paste, chilli flakes, orange juice, sugar, mirin, soy sauce and lime juice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil under a high heat, stirring frequently. Heat until it has thickened slightly but not turned into a syrup. Turn off the heat.
Slice the avocados in half lengthways and remove the stone carefully and leave the flesh in its green outer skin.
Brush the flesh with the miso & soy sauce from the pan and grill the avocados flesh down for about 3-5 minutes until the char marks are visible.
Grill again with the skin down.
Score the flesh several time, neatly (see photo above) and brush with the sauce
Divide and then pour the rest of the sauce into the centre of the avocados.
Serve with a grilled fish, a bowl of rice, wasabi paste and a small bottle of rice wine.
This seaweed is called Lato in the Philippines. It has a scientific name of Caulerpa lentillifera.
It is also known as green caviar for obvious reason that they look like fish roes. Latos are also popular in Malaysia and Okinawa, where they are called umi-budō, which means sea grapes.
This is a real gourmet treat; for the newbies, it might takes a little getting used to. It is because of the soft, succulent popping bulb which is salty and has the smell of the sea. Don’t get me wrong, it is truly delicious.
Lato seaweed is flavoursome as a side to some fried pork or fish with steamed rice for lunch!
To make Lato Salad is easy and quick; the recipe follows below:
A big bunch of Lato seaweeds
2 big tomatoes
3 small onions (Shallots)
Method of Preparation:
Carefully clean the lato of sand, grits and other debris from the sea.
Cut the tomatoes in bite size wedges
Do the same with the shallots.
Toss the tomatoes and shallots with the lato.
No need to season as the lato is naturally salty 😉
Enjoy the freshness of this salad.
Happy eating this salad that taste of the freshness of the sea.