Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Prawns with Aligue

Ever since we got married, my mother-in-law has been randomly gifting us with little food surprises. We never know what we are going to get…it can be anything from canned corned beef (if you are Filipino, you will understand this fixation) to fresh market produce, to marinated sardines bottled by our godmother. Every time a new package arrives we excitedly inspect it to see what we have, and start making plans for how we will use it. I like to pretend I’m an Iron Chef and mum-in-law’s gift is the surprise ingredient. And the surprise ingredient for this post is…prawns!

The day the prawns arrived on our laps both C and I debated about what would be their fate. C-food lover had lots of ideas, but in the end we both turned to a bottle that he had bought from our last market outing. Now, I know my last post was nice and healthy, so I must warn those unfamiliar with my, um, bad habits, to turn away now if they are looking for something light/lite. What was in the bottle? Why, a secret ingredient of our own…aligue or taba ng talangka. In English: crab fat.

The marriage of prawns and aligue is incredible…so rich and dangerous…like seafood in the fast lane, seafood that you don’t take home to mama. I sauté the aligue in lots of garlic, and cut the fatty-ness with a lot of calamansi (a local citrus fruit). I like to keep the prawn's head on to heighten the flavor of the whole dish, and also because I like the way they look with their heads.

Prawns with Aligue
  • 500-600 grams prawns
  • 1 8-oz. bottle of aligue or taba ng talangka
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Juice of 4-6 pieces calamansi (or juice of 1 lemon)
  • Olive oil

- Heat olive oil in a pan. Sauté garlic until lightly toasted.
- Add aligue and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add calamansi or lemon and stir.
- Add prawns and cook until bright red-orange in color.

Very simple, and boy does this hit the spot…perhaps too hard for some. I served this with hot, steamed rice and kangkong (water spinach) sautéed with garlic and Sichuan peppercorns. I think it would do great with pasta too. Serve with some calamansi or lemon on the side. Don’t count calories. Enjoy!

We will be leaving for mum-in-law’s egg farm (yes, eggs, yey!) and I won’t be back until after Easter. I have planned lots of napping, reading, and grilled seafood. Can’t wait! Happy Easter!


Gattina said...

I was so excited while waiting to see your "secret ingredient" :) :) I crazy for crab, very interested to see/taste what aligue like, will check it out in my asian store next time.
Your prawn dish is just stunning - color, arrangement and all !

Mila Tan said...

oh my, oh yes, what a great combination, and of course you gotta keep the head on (sorry, this comment is suffused with innuendo). Happy easter, Joey and Carlo, may the week be full of good eats.

Mae said...

Oh, my gawd!!! Joey, you're so mean. I haven't had lunch yet and it's 3pm here. I just heard my tummy rumbling at the sight of your prawns with aligue.

It does looks delish. I love crab fat and your easy recipe sounds fab.


ChichaJo said...

Hi Gattina! Thank you! I like crab too but have never prepared it yet...soon! :) The aligue/crab fat is very rich but very tasty :)

Hi Mila! Hahaha! ;) Yes, this is indeed a great combo, and prawn/shrimp heads are full of flavor! :) Happy Easter!

Hi Mae! Thanks! :) 3pm? Go have lunch already! :) Wish I could have fedex'd some of this to you along with the sunshine ;)

Rowi said...

Have read your blog for sometime and enjoy reading your posts. This is my first comment.

I haven't eaten fresh prawns for sometime and your prawn photos are so enticing. It's a double whammy - aligue on aligue! I love crab fat paste and always make it a point to buy a bottle when in Manila.

Crab fat paste is GREAT with pasta. It takes so little crab fat to create such a flavourful sauce. I use olive oil to dilute the sauce and it's just so yummy!

Happy Easter!

ces said...

i have prawns ready for a cook-off right this minute but you've almost won in making me delay it for a couple more days when my mom brings with her those much-awaited bottlessss of taba ng talangka from Manila! can't wait!!!

Katrina said...

Mila, you made me LAUGH with your comment (innuendo and all)! ;-)

Joey, I am the biggest fan of crustaceans! I'll take them over any other kind of meat (well...that and foie) any time! And with aligue! WHOA!

Have you tried aligue from Capiz? It's the best I've tried -- unlik the usual smooth paste, this one, even after it's mixed with pasta or whatever else, is still chunky!

Anh said...

Oh, this dish surely looks yummy. I have been craving for seafood lately. And yours looks so gooood!

Franco said...

Aligue with anything is always great. Calories be damned.:)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Rowi! Thanks so much for leaving a comment :) I'm so glad you enjoy reading 80 Breakfasts! I do love the double whammy this packs, hehe, but aligue solo on some pasta is also excellent! Happy Easter!

Hi Ces! Oooh! A cook off how fun! Enjoy and enjoy the taba ng talangka when it arrives! :)

Hi Katrina! I love crustaceans too...you should try curacha from Zamboanga...you will love it! :) I haven't tried that aligue from Capiz...is there somewhere I can get it in Manila? :)

Hi Anh! Thank you :) Since summer has come I have been craving seafood as well :)

Hi Franco! I agree!!! :)

Freya and Paul said...

I wish I had presents like that from my mother in law!! All I get is candles and old magazines!

Barbara said...

Such a pretty prawn. have a great Easter. How appropriate to be going to an egg farm. I bet you wish it was a chocolate egg farm.

Miss F said...

hi there.... just wanna say THANKS for all the nice posts and the recipes and the wonderful thoughts and ravings you share with us, love them....

I am a food addict myself and truly enjoy reading your blog!

though I live in Cavite there arent prawns here but one of these says I can go to Farmer's market to get prawns and try this sumptuous meal...thanKs again~~~

Zita said...


Uy nominated ka pala. How nice naman.

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

When I saw this photo the first thing that came to mind was the Swedish Chef segment with the Mexican lobsters. Do you know which one I'm talking about? Where he tries to cook the lobster and then a bunch of the lobsters bandito friends storm the kitchen to save their buddy? Hehe!

I think it's great that you have such a positive reaction, pretending to be on Iron Chef is great!

Ari (Baking and Books)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Freya! Heehee :) I have gotten candles too! My mother-in-law is very generous and likes to shop...a great combination! :)

Hi Barbara! I had to laugh at myself when I read your comment...because for a while there I acually stopped in all seriousness and though "OH MY!"...a chocolate egg farm...what a little piece of heaven that would be :) Happy Easter!

Hi Miss F! Thanks for your very sweet comment! You are very welcome and I am very happy that you have enjoyed this blog :) I must get myself to Farmer's too...I am sure I will go nuts :)

Hi Zita! Wow! Nominated for what? :)

Hi Ari! I didn't see that one! I am laughing at the picture that paints, but also a bit wary of prawn banditos now! Yikes! Hehe :) I always have a positive reaction to food ;)

valentinA said...

Hi Joey,
though I'm allergic to seafood, I've no doubt that I'd have jumped on your prawns with aligue just to be able to taste this yummy-ness.;)

Susan said...

I've read about Sichuan peppercorns lately and have been meaning to buy some. Thanks for the reminder and the fantastic recipe!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Look at the size of those prawns! Wow, Joey!

My husband would eat them all. Not politely, I might add. :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Um...I never got any gift like that from my mother-in-law, not one.
I wish i'd been at your table.

sha said...

my mother in law when we are in zurich would fill her fridge cold meat selection and cheeses.
and making sure i have my hot choc

oh its only once a year but she was active she used to send me yearly package from switzerland.

hmmm cant imagine talangka fat kasi i have been allergic to crabs, prawns for years!

but lately i slowly been tasting all these forbidden stuff think my age has changed it haha

Mimi from Huntington Beach, CA said...

Hi there! Long time reader, first time 'poster'. I really enjoy your blog! This dish looked incredibly yummy that I had to make it immediately. It was truly delicious (guilt guilt) but yet ridiculously easy to prepare. Very creative!

Thanks for sharing!

angelika said...

This sound too good to be true. As mentioned before, I love your uncomplicated approach. Doesn't all the flavour come just with the fat ?

Happy Easter, Joey !

Meg Gutierrez said...


ChichaJo said...

Hi Valentina! So sorry to hear about your allergies! Thanks for leaving a nice comment anyway :)

Hi Susan! Thanks! They are great with Asian dishes, but I'm sure they'll work equally well with others too :)

Hi Patricia! Heehee :) My husband and I ate these by ourselves so, um, politeness level wasn't that high either ;)

Hi Tanna! She is a generous person :) I enjoy getting these little suprises :)

Hi Sha! How sweet! Swiss goodies! You are lucky :) My cousin who is allergic to shellfish now also tried to eat little by little and is finding that his tolerance is stronger...there may be hope for you guys yet!

Hi Mimi! I'm so glad to hear you have been enjoying my blog and that this dish turned out well for you :) Just have a couple of salads and that guilt will be history! Heehee :) Thanks for leaving a comment! :)

Hi Angelika! Happy Easter to you too! A lot of times life just dictates that we make something in a hurry...so we gotta get inventive in terms of flavor :) "Doesn't all the flavour come just with the fat ?"...oh boy. you said it! :)

Hi Meg! Thanks! :)

JMom said...

omg, you just made me drool. I made your pasta with aligue sauce last weekend, and added some shrimps for good measure. Now this will be next on my 'what to do with crab fat' list :)

veron said...

Pure evil...but really yummy! I have not have aligue in ages. The last time I had it was in a pasta dish and let me tell you it was to die for. That Aligue is "heart attack" in a bottle...but it is so totally worth it!

Paz said...

I can see that you had a wonderful meal!

Paz (who likes canned corned beef ;-))

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jmom! Isn't aligue the best/worst? So good and so baaaad! Sigh...Well, you only life once, hope you enjoyed this! :)

Hi Veron! I know what you mean! Ayayay! But every once in a while a girl needs to walk on the wild side no? ;)

Hi Paz! I had to laugh at your canned corned beef aside...it has such a wide following here you can't imagine! :)

Melting Wok said...

hey joey, crab fat is crab roe ?? ah..if it is, I simply love it !! Spicy crab roes stir fry shrimps, big jumbo ones, like this u used..yummy !! Bring on the fats, ger ! :)) ohh..I didn't know kangkong in the Filipino language is the same as the Malay language hehe, neat !

ChichaJo said...

Hi Melting Wok! I'm actually not too sure...it is the orange stuff in the crabs, some do say it's the fat and some say the roe, so it may indeed be the same :) Either way, bring on the fat! Hehe :) Nice to know that we are not the only ones to refer to this veg as "kangkong"...I think it's a cute name :)

Peabody said...

Holy cow, that is one big prawn!

Grethel said...

Nice recipe!!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Peabody! Haha! :) I know...that's what we thought when we opened the package!

Hi Grethel! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :)

Jeff Allen said...

Hi, can i use regular cooking oil instead of olive oil? Thanks.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jeff! Yes you can :)