Cooking vegetables, Filipino style is not exactly quick and easy. Ginisang gulay or sautéed vegetables is the most common everyday vegetable dish. The process starts with the Filipino trinity of sautéing ingredients: garlic, onions and tomatoes. Cooked pork (usually belly pork) and shrimps also go in. More often than not, glass noodles are also added. The vegetables are more often than not a mix of different kinds.
When I miss ginisang gulay, I always cook picadillo. Although it follows the same procedure, the meat used is minced pork so it cooks fast. There is only one kind of vegetable used.
Filipinos are not hot on vegetables and I do understand why. If not properly sautéed, the dish can taste pretty bland.
I always say that the finished product depends on how you start the cooking process. I browned the minced pork first before anything else and that single step alone added a richer taste to the dish already. Sautéing the garlic, onions and tomatoes really well gives the base of the dish a good flavour. Each step should be done with the development of the taste in mind. Your nose is your gauge. The dish should have a fragrant aroma at each step. Also, do not add too much water at any given point. I have seen this done almost always and that washes off the flavour that has already developed. A bit of water, gentle heat and a lid would generate enough heat to cook the vegetables yet keep all of the taste in.
This dish is so simple yet so satisfying. Although vegetables are usually served as a side dish, picadillo is tasty enough to be served on its own with freshly steamed rice and, to complete the Filipino dining experience, offer a bit of fish sauce on the side.
2 tbsps. olive oil
200 gms. of minced (ground) pork
2 tbsps. fish sauce
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. crushed garlic
1 onion, diced
1 c. of chopped tomatoes
6 c. diced marrow, courgettes (zucchini), upo or chou chou (sayote)
Heat up a sauté pan and add the olive oil.
Add in the minced pork, 1 tbsp. of the fish sauce and the black pepper. Sauté until the pork is browned.
Add in the onions and sauté until translucent.
Add in the tomatoes, stir and cook until the mixture is reduced.
Add the marrow and ½ c. of water. Cover, bring to a boil then simmer until the vegetable is cooked.
Add in the last tbsp. of fish sauce (or more if you prefer).
Transfer to a serving dish. Serve with rice and extra fish sauce on the side.
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