A Taste From the Philippine Islands
Some experiences are truly once in a life time. Recently I had a chance to spend five days on a boat, sailing from one remote island to another, making my way from El Nido to Coron across the northern Palawan Islands of the Philippines. Completely off the grid, the only bit of technology I held onto was my smartphone - reduced to a camera with a battery I fervently conserved so I could take pictures for all five days. Surrounded by big open sky and never ending sea, I had a chance to see nature untouched by humans. Raw, beautiful and humbling.
As concepts like time of day or day of week began to fade away - life was ruled by nature. The sun rose and the day starts. In the ocean warm water you swim and snorkel. On the white sandy beaches you run and play. In the shade of the palm trees, you rest and nap. The sun sets and the day ends.
It was paradise - only made that much better by the incredible food available everyday. Fresh seafood, organic produce and simple preparation made for meals that were clean, fresh, nutritious and satisfying.
One of the recipes I was able to pick up while creeping around in the boat kitchen was a crab and pumpkin curry - inspired by the live crabs our guides were able to acquire in a remote fishing village along our path. In the simplest of kitchens, our crabs were combined the sweetness of fresh coconut milk, aromatic herbs, curry powder and fresh organic produce to create a delicious curried dish. I am happy to share this recipe with you!
2 lbs of Fresh Crab, cut into halves
2 lbs of Kombucha squash, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon of Julianne cut ginger
1 medium sized Onion, diced
3 tablespoons of tumeric oil (or any high temp cooking oil of your choice)
2 stalks of fresh lemon grass
3 cups of fresh moringa leaf
6 cups of fresh coconut milk
Fish sauce to taste
2 table spoons of brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in a large wok
2. Once oil is hot, add garlic, ginger and onion and cook until the garlic begins to brown
3. Once garlic begins to brown, add kombucha squash and toss until covered in oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add about 2 cups of coconut milk, fish sauce to taste and brown sugar and stir well. You are basically braising the squash in the coconut milk mixture.
5. Once the squash begins to soften, add the lemon grass and crab, two more cups of coconut milk and stir will. Lower the heat to medium and cover. Stir the crab and squash frequently to ensure nothing burns. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the crab is cooked through.
6. Once everything is cooked, add the moringa leaf and toss. Moringa is a very delicate herb and cooks quickly so it only needs to be tossed in at the very end.
7. Serve over brown rice.
A deliciously messy dish, this is best served with people you are comfortable enough with to get super messy. Of course we had the ocean to jump into after dinner so the mess was not an issue for us!
Give the recipe and try and let me know what you think!
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