The Happy Home Cook: Bulanglang Batangas-style with Crispy Tawilis and Calamansi Dipping Sauce

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 Bulanglang Batangas-style with Crispy Tawilis and Calamansi Dipping Sauce (Photo by Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan)

Bulanglang Batangas-style with Crispy Tawilis and Calamansi Dipping Sauce (Photo by Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan)

Every region in the Philippines has its own version of bulanglang, loosely translated as boiled vegetable soup. This Batangas version is best enjoyed with tawilis, the freshwater sardine also known as sardinella tawilis, found only in the volcanic waters of Taal Lake. 

Ingredients
 
4 to 6 cups of rice washing water
1 medium tomato, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
1/2 small calabasa squash peeled, seeded and cut into about 1" wedges
1 bundle of sitaw (long beans) cut into 2" length
10 small okra, cut into wedges
1 small green papaya, cut into wedges
1/2 cup cooked lima beans
1 cup malunggay (moringa) leaves or any leafy vegetable with stem removed
Sea Salt to taste
 
Boil rice washing water. Add tomatoes, garlic and ginger to the water and cook until tomatoes become soggy. Add calabasa squash and simmer until the squash is firm tender. Add the green papaya, long beans, okra and continue simmering until just cooked but still be a bit crispy. Add the lima beans to heat it up. Season with salt to taste and then add malungay leaves and cook until barely cooked. Serve immediately.
 
Crispy Tawilis

12 freshsmall tawilis, cleaned
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup calamansi (Philippine lime) juice
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cooking oil
 
Marinate tawilis in calamansi juice for at least 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Keep in refrigerator until ready to fry. Heat cooking oil in frying pan to the point smoking. Completely coat tawilis in cornstarch and place in frying pan. Do not crowd pan. Cook tawilis until each side is golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  Drain on paper towel and serve.

Dipping Sauce for vegetables and tawilis
 
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt mixed with juice of 8-10 calamansi.


 Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan

Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan

Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan is a retired corporate director of accounting, payroll and compensation at OfficeMax (formerly Boise Cascade Office Products). An alumnus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, she now devotes her time to volunteer work and her travels, art, food, quilting and needle arts, which she writes about in her blogs, Finding Art and Ang Kusina ni Lola Alfonsa.


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