Khok: Sub meals

Ober Khok
·2 min read

How are you, dear Khokies?

I wanted to write something humorous for today, but thought the better of it because of the Lenten Season. We have to be sensitive to the holy tradition.

I only wanted to underscore the fact that jokes are helping us get through this pandemic, and the dwindling income we have to contend with. But it’s also true that prayer helps a lot, side by side with practical living.

I’ve heard so much about “unexplained wealth,” but less about unexplained poverty.

OK, I promised, no jokes. Maybe next time around.

No joking, when it comes to food, many people use sub or substitutes. Instead of real beef, for instance, people flavor vegetable dishes with beef cubes.

Juggling the budget needs more than the skill of a street stunts performer. Homemakers must have the genius of an Ina Garten. Or maybe just plain creativity.

TINOLANG ITLOG. Take it from Nardie, the wife of my friend, Illustracio. We had a good chat on how we all are coping with less income, more mouths to feed. Nardie said that because the price of chicken has become a good source of putting holes on her pocket, one day she experimented with boiled eggs to sub chicken.

HOW TO. Boil eggs, one for each family member. Shell the eggs and set aside. Saute minced green onions, crushed ginger and minced garlic. When fragrant, add water (one cup for each family member, plus one extra).

Allow to boil, then add cubed taro root. When taro root is half cooked, add cubed chayote. Allow to boil, then add five peppercorns and sliced cabbage. Add chicken cube, and choice of seasoning.

When soup boils, add the boiled eggs. Adjust seasoning. Serve hot. I tried this at home. I must say the dish was okay. You need to have a good soup base.

SAUTED VEGGIE MACKEREL. Another dish that Nardie makes is canned mackerel in oil (she uses the one in white label) sautéed with native pechay (similar to bok choy).

Nardie said that to prevent the bitter taste from the pechay, avoid constantly stirring the vegetable, and slice the leaves into three or four pieces only.

HOW TO. Saute the white part of green onions first. Season with a pinch or two of Spanish paprika. Add minced garlic, and season with a bit of black pepper. Add mashed one can mackerel in oil (reserve liquid), and white pechay stalks, don’t stir. Drizzle half of reserved liquid, cover and allow to steam.

After a minute, add the green leaves. Top with the broken pieces of canned mackerel, add the rest of the reserved liquid. Allow to steam.

When the leaves are wilted, stir to mix. Adjust seasoning oyster sauce or salt if you like.