How to give your pasta a Filipino flavour – SBS

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Luisa Brimble enjoys injecting Filipino flavours into pasta. “In my head, I try to think of what flavours work. Like, would sisig work with pasta? Maybe – if it was crispy? But don’t alter the carbonara. That’s the holy grail.” Brimble tells SBS Food.
She shares some of the ways you can add Filipino ingredients to your pasta below.

HOW TO MAKE FILIPINO-STYLE PASTA

Pasta with Filipino flavours

This quick pasta brings to the table an umami-bomb of Filipino flavours like crispy chilli oil, fish sauce and pork cracking. Simple and satisfying, it’s perfect for building out your pasta repertoire.

This quick pasta brings to the table an umami-bomb of Filipino flavours like crispy chilli oil, fish sauce and pork cracking. Simple and satisfying, it’s perfect for building out your pasta repertoire.
Patis, calamansi and chicharon
Brimble was inspired to add patis (Filipino fish sauce) to pasta because she saw how some people added soy sauce to noodles.
“Cook your noodles, then as soon they’re done, drain them,” says Brimble. “Put them back in the pot and add around a tablespoon of patis and a bit of butter into the noodles and toss. It’s so delicious!” 
She then adds a dash of calamansi (Filipino lime) juice and chilli flakes and finishes it off with chicharon (pork crackling).

Could this Filipino staple be the new yuzu?
“Pork crackling takes the place of the cheese, and you know how you dip the crackling in a vinegar sawsawan (dip)? Adding an acid like lemon gives it that experience and taste,” Brimble says.
“The combination is so delicious – it has umami, sourness, and crunchiness.”

PORK CRACKLING RECIPE

How to make the ultimate pork crackling
Making a gorgeous crackling has always been a bit of a mystery, but don’t worry! We’ve got some handy tips to get you to pork crackling heaven.

Longganisa
Brimble suggests removing the casing of a longganisa (Filipino sausage), frying the meat till crisp and adding it to pasta.
“Heck yeah, it would work,” she laughs, adding, “I’d go for the sweeter kind of longganisa though, like the variety from Cebu or Pampanga.”
“The combination is so delicious – it has umami, sourness, and crunchiness.”
She says that it’s important to use longganisa that contains a lot of fat.
“The secret to longganisa is the fat. I’d almost say the ratio is 70 per cent fat and 30 per cent meat. Without the fat, it dries out.”



Adobo
Considered as the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, Brimble shares that adobo (a stew typically made of meat, soy sauce, garlic and vinegar) can be repurposed as pasta.

MORE ABOUT ADOBO

The many translations of Filipino adobo
If food is a love language, adobo in Filipino cuisine is phonics.

“If you were to use adobo in pasta, I would forego the tomato sauce,” she says.
“What I would do is use a pork shoulder and cook it almost like a ragu. I would cook the meat until you can pull it apart. Add the meat and sauce in the noodles.”
Laing malunggay
Although laing malunggay (moringa leaves cooked in coconut milk) can be used as a pasta sauce, Brimble suggests replacing the coconut milk with cream or butter.
“I just can’t imagine coconut with pasta. Coconut is still better with rice.”
Tuyo
Brimble shares that tuyo (dried fish) can be used like anchovies.
“Just use the tuyo in small doses,” she says. “Just cook it outside because that’s going to smell!”
She suggests frying the tuyo until crisp, and chopping it finely before adding it to pasta. Adding an acid like calamansi or vinegar will also elevate the flavours of the dish. 
The perfect pasta dish
For Brimble, there are no set rules when it comes to giving pasta a Filipino touch.
“Just give it a go,” she says. “You don’t need to post it online if you fail – unless you want to be crucified!”
Kidding aside, she shares that while there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to cooking, it helps to keep things practical and simple.
“If you have a saucy pasta, you want the type of noodle to be a vessel to scoop up the sauce; so you can use something like fusilli. If you just want the noodles to be coated, you can use spaghetti, tagliatelle or fettuccine.
“For me, ultimately, the perfect pasta is the simplest. Spaghetti with parmesan, lemon and croutons on top – that’s always good! Simplest is always best.”
 
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Fried rice is ever-present on a Filipino breakfast table – it’s called ‘sinangag’. The best rice for fried rice is leftovers, which will be even better if you have leftover chicken rice from the night before.
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