With this month’s theme being edible Christmas gifts, I used my new “home” as an inspiration. As a recently married man, I now spend half my time in Santa Cruz, Laguna. Being surrounded by food all the time and with a wife and brother-in-law who promotes Laguna in their businesses, I decided to make my recipes for edible Christmas gifts Laguna-inspired.
Bangus is a fairly common fish in Laguna. My mom’s from Calamba and she’d always order Tinapang Bangus from a neighbor in Aplaya. Making tinapa is easier than you might think. Just make sure to have your seafood suki debone the bangus for you. Tinapang Bangus is a great Christmas gift you can make at home. I actually published an article on making tinapang bangus in May of this year and for those who didn’t get to grab a copy of COOK then, you can find the recipe below:
Boneless Tinapang Bangus
Don’t have hours and hours to tend to your smoker? Why not try smoking fish? It takes just an hour or a few minutes over and the result is the juiciest, perfectly smoky fish you’ll ever have.
|Serves 4||Prep Time 10 minutes||Curing Time 1 hour||Smoking Time 1 hour|
- 1 pc extra large (1.2kg) Bangus, deboned
- 1 cup rock salt
- 5 cups water
- Mix salt and water in a large container (big enough to fit the fish flat).
- Once all the salt is dissolved, place fish (skin side down) in the curing solution, making sure the fish is fully submerged.
- Let the fish cure for 1 hour.
- Get your smoker smoking but without flames.
- Smoke fish, placing it in the middle rack, for 1 hour or until the fish is just cooked but still moist.
- You can freeze the tinapa and just thaw and reheat anytime.
Spread the Joy this Season
This spread is great with pandesal or crackers. It’s super easy to make and takes just three ingredients. Just make sure to give it away near Christmas as it can spoil after 5 days.
You can make this with your home made tinapang bangus or from store-bought ones. As a bonus, since you only need the white bangus flesh, you can have the belly part for yourself!
|Serves 4||Prep Time 10 minutes|
- 1 pc whole smoked boneless tinapang bangus
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 1 cup all-purpose cream
- 1 tsp dried dill (optional)
- Flake off the white flesh from the bangus.
- Place bangus flesh in food processor and mince.
- Add cream cheese and process until mixed through.
- Add all purpose cream, dill (if you like) and continue to process until smooth.
- Place in a clean jar and refrigerate. (good for about 5 days chilled)
Give Duck on Christmas Day
Kinulob na Itik is a popular dish in Laguna, especially in Victoria and nearby towns. A braised duck that is then fried, this twice-cooked duck recipe is a unique and very tasty dish you can give away. The duck may be frozen after braising and can be thawed and fried whenever you want to.
Kinulob na Itik
|Serves 4||Prep Time 5 minutes||Braising Time 40 minutes||Frying Time 10 minutes|
- 2 pcs native ducks, whole
- 4 pcs thin slices ginger
- 1 head garlic, halved
- 1 pc red onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 pcs bay leaves
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- water to cover
- 2 cups oil for frying
- In a medium-sized pot, place the duck and all other ingredients, except the oil.
- Bring the liquid to a boil and then lower to a simmer and continue cooking for 40 minutes.
- Remove the duck and freeze if you’re giving it as a gift. If you’re planning to eat it, then just let it cool down to room temperature.
- Heat some oil in a deep pan and once hot, fry duck.
- If the duck isn’t submerged in oil, use a metal spoon and pour hot oil on the exposed surface of the duck to achieve even color.
- Fry until the skin is a shiny amber, remove from the oil and let drain before serving.