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.