At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Onion, ginger, garlic, chilies, and shrimp paste. To you, that probably says 'bad breath'. To me, it says soup. Specifically, a meal soup made with meat and vegetables,in which tamarind features for sourness.
If you're Filippino or Indonesian, you know what I mean.

Tamarind paste is available in many Chinese and South-East Asian shops. It's called sampalok in Tagalog, Asam or Asem Djawa in both Malay and Indonesian, Sambag in Bisayano.


Half a pound each chunked chicken and pork. Or all chicken.
One onion, chopped.
One thumb of ginger, minced.
Two or three cloves of garlic, ditto.
Three or four green chilies, ditto.
Two or three tomatoes, peeled seeded chopped.
Two cups of chopped spinach.
Two cups of chopped long beans.
Two TBS. tamarind paste.
One TBS. shrimp paste.
Four cups of water.
Pinch sugar.
Pinch cinnamon.
Pinch cumin.
Minced scallion to garnish.

In one pot bring the water to a boil with the tamarind paste, stirring to dissolve. Set aside.

In another pot, saute the onion and ginger, add the garlic and chilies when the onion is golden. When the garlic colours, add the shrimp paste, followed shortly thereafter by the tomato and the pinches sugar, cinnamon, and cumin. Put the meat chunks in the pot, and turn to coat and colour. Then strain the tamarind water into the pot, raise to boil, and turn low to simmer for about forty minutes. Add the spinach and long beans ten minutes before the end of cooking. Taste the broth when done, and adjust if necessary with a squeeze of lime juice. It should be tangy, but not too sour. Just tangy.
Garnish with the minced scallion, and serve as a side with dinner, or pour it over rice if it's just you.

You know, you could eat this in front of the television, wearing pajama pants and an undershirt, before your apartment mate or whoever you live with comes home.
Bob's Burgers is on the tube on Sunday.
Relax, kickback.

Variations are to make it with all shrimp or seafood, or fine young goat. Alas, the Muslim butcher shop around the corner closed years ago, and goat has consequently become harder to find. Beef is also an option, but since the American cattle industry started playing dirty pool, I have renounced their products.

Oh heck, chunks of kielbasa are also splendid.
As well as a good rookworst.

Note: tamarind paste should be dense and stiff. If you are using tamarind gloop instead, adjust accordingly.

Sop sayog asem means soup ("sop), vegetables ("sayog"), sourness ("asem"). The must useful sour is tamarind ("buwa asem"), which is called 'asem djawa' (Javanese sour) in the Netherlands.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


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