Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Paho in Brine

title
I grew up with no concept of seasonal eating. I blame this on the fact that I don’t have four distinct seasons. Ok, there may have been other reasons, but leave a girl to her illusions.

Over here we have two seasons: Wet (rainy) and Dry (summer…i.e. superduperhot). In truth, I really have no factual evidence to back up my theory other than having two less seasons must have some sort of effect on our agriculture. And this effect must have somehow caused me to totally ignore any change in fresh produce during my tender years. And as such, I blithely ate anything I wanted, whenever I wanted, for most of my life.

Then one particularly hot summer I found myself in Dijon, France looking for (well, what else would I be looking for in the capital of Burgundy?) beef bourguignon. Oops. Yes, French chef sets island girl to rights. You can just imagine.

My first response was rebellion. What?! I actually had to wait to eat something??? Why? My home’s wet-dry cycle didn’t really explain as much as, say, a summer-winter-spring-fall cycle could. But slowly I learned. I’m learning to be more sensitive to what is at it’s best and when. I scour the internet for information on our local produce’s seasonality. I pay attention at the market to things that seem to be in glorious abundance while others suddenly go in hiding. I also check out local food magazines and market blogs for the latest on what’s in season now (you know, just like fashion).

And it was while checking on one of my favorite local blogs that I found this! Paho! Complete with his “at the markets now!” heralding…designed to get us running to the nearest market. Paho is a small mango (sold green) that is a species all on its own, not a baby mango picked before it’s full grown. You can read more about it here. It is unforgiving in the sour department, making your lips pucker up and your eyes squint in what looks like pain, but is really pleasure, trust me. They also have a heartbreakingly short season (from a few weeks to a month!) so I was wasting no time. I rushed out at first opportunity to go and be seasonal! Wooo!

I really like paho (brined paho was a favorite in my grandmother’s house when I was little)…so don’t think I was just trying to be fashionably seasonal…though I am human most of the times, fashionable some of the times, so I do succumb once in a while ;)

I brined my paho as per instructions here. They now sit in my fridge waiting for the perfect opportunity to bust out in all their beguiling sourness…

What’s next in my basket this season? Strawberries! Mangoes!

What’s in season at your market now? :)
back to school
This is my entry to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, created by Kalyn atKalyn's Kitchen and hosted this week by Green Olive Tree!

23 comments:

Alexandra said...

my eyes squinted and lips puckered up just from reading this entry...oh what a sour delight :P

katrina said...

I know just what you mean. To this day, I can't remember the different fruits' seasons exccept that strawberries come around Feb. (hence their prevalence on Valentine's menus every year), and that mangoes *used to* come in the summer. I say "used to" because unlike when I was a kid, we get mangoes all year-round now.

Once, when I was in the US in the summertime, someone said that at this time of year, they usually eat mostly sandwiches and the like, because it was too hot for a real full meal. I couldn't understand it, because it's hot almost all year here, and that doesn't stop us from eating a full-on meal every day.

Veron said...

I'd give up all the seasons here to have real mangoes, mangosteen,lanzones etc....all the fruits available from the Philippines. And the strawberries from Baguio (my hometown) ...how I took things for granted....
I've never heard of Paho. the only small mangoes I've seen are the indian mangoes (oh to have that with bagoong...)

Anonymous said...

I love burong pajo, although I have never tried to make it myself (I bring dozens of jars back to NY, no kidding!) I'd like to ask you why you peel it. The pajo I bring home still has the skin on. Is there a difference? (i'm really just thinking of all the work that goes into peeling each tiny mango one by one...:))

Suzana said...

I'm afraid I have no clue what paho tastes like... but it looks and sounds delicious! Around here it's strawberries time. I had a few yummy ones last weekend. Can't wait for the cherries to come.

maybahay said...

i've never heard of these until i read up on it at MarketManila. the size of those mangos! so cuuute. your pickles must taste heavenly.

Kalyn said...

Never heard of this type of sour mini-mango, but I would love to try it. So many interesting fruits in that part of the world. Someday I must come back to Asia and try them all. (I've only been to Hong Kong and Beijing so far, but when I retire, I'm planning on traveling a lot more!)

Great entry! I love it when someone finds something new.

Marketman said...

Joey, I know, I know, I have promised you a seasonal produce calendar for the Philippines for years now... and I still haven't done it! I have been looking through my posts and I think I have critical mass so maybe I just have to hunker down and draft one out... your brined paho with a fried fish or bagnet should be a perfect match... :)

Irene said...

I grew up in Southern California, so I know exactly what you mean! I'm trying to be more "season" conscious, but a lot of the time, I just can't help grabbing whatever catches my eye and makes my taste buds tingle, whether in season or not.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Alexandra! I love sour…we have a sour soup here that is sooo good! When my husband makes it he makes sure it’s really sour with lots of chilis! Mmmm….

Hi Katrina! I hear ya! I just associate mangoes with summer, but from no special knowledge on my part. I just got a bunch of strawberries and they are good :) In Europe, over and over again, I was faced with that…I guess since it’s hot most of the time here we can’t wait for the perfect weather setting before eating something…or we may never get to eat what we want! Haha! :) Imagine, we would only have sinigang and nilaga in December, if at all!

Hi Veron! I love the Baguio strawberries! We have imported ones now as well…big specimens and very expensive. But I still love the Baguio ones best! I have just bought a bunch and if you were here we could share it with some whipped cream or mashed into some milk :) Paho is generally smaller than indian mangoes…I love those too though, with bagoong, you said it! Yum!

Hello Anonymous person! Thanks for leaving a comment! You are brave to bring all those bottles back to NYC but I say…more power to you my friend! :) Hmmm, you’re right, it is quite the effort peeling them…I actually don’t know why I peeled them. I think I just went ahead and prepped them and didn’t think about it as much as I should have…Ack! Oh well…thanks for pointing that out :) Next time it’ll be easier, heehee!

Hi Suzana! It’s strawberry time here too :) Cherries though as still imported to our shores…

Hello Maybahay! I love cute food! Hehe, but I also love the sourness :) I’m always on MarketManila for his market updates!

Hi Kalyn! Thanks! Yes come over and be entertained by our fruits! And bring some figs and berries for me ok? Heehee :) Wow, I’ve never been to Beijing….soon I hope! Best thing about WHB is discovering all the new herbs/veg/plant/fruit from ever corner of the world!

Hi Marketman! Haha! Oh, I wasn’t hinting really…but since you mentioned it, heehee ;) That would be beyond awesome! Imagine it, with photos and anecdotes…it would be fantastic, not to mention super helpful :) If you need anything to help you get “hunkering” just holler! (I have bagnet in my freezer…yay!)

Rasa Malaysia said...

I know this...my mother loved to do this small mangoes in bottle thingy when I was young. I almost forgot, thanks for reminding me about this!!! They were too sour for my taste and my face would all wrinkled when I tasted it. :)

Anonymous said...

NYC Anon again here. The pajo with skin on feels like you are biting into an olive, maybe a tad bit tougher but not hard. The skin softens, I suppose, with the brine. (Haven't had raw pajo in decades so I've forgotten what it feels like to the bite.)

Joey and MM: here is one of our food combinations at home: ginisang monggo (with chicharon or bagnet bits as part of the guisa) and burong pajo as garnish! Sarap!

NYCMama

Tartelette said...

I grew up with 4 seasons and now where I live there are only 2: hot and humid!! This sounds delightful and tart perfect for me!! Thanks for posting this!

Marvin said...

I've never heard of Paho before, but the way you describe it's sourness makes my mouth water.

Cathy said...

I am happy to chime in that I was with this chica on her quest for beef bourguignon in Dijon, France. :) We eventually found it, but boy what a struggle it was! Yup, the summer of 2003 was a hhhot one!

Jo, best of luck with the blog entry contest! My fingers are crossed...

Mochachocolata Rita said...

ah i think we have these too in indonesia...i miss it dearly ^_^

ChichaJo said...

Hi Bee! Looking back, I suppose this isn't really the type of thing that would endear itself to a kid...although my godchild loooves sour fruits and can eat stuff that would make me buckle with its sourness!

Hi NYCMama! Thanks for the info :) And for the tip with the monggo! I love both monggo and chicharon/bagnet so I'm sure I will be all over that combination!

Hi Helene! It's humid here as well...ack! I can feel summer coming already :) Sigh...My only hope is that the humidity keeps my skin moisturized ;)

Hi Marvin! It's like the more common green mango with a slightly different flavor...sour and really good! :) Do you get green mango over there?

Cathy!!! Hello! :) Yes, my fearless Dijon, Swissie, and hot air ballooning partner! Those were the days huh? :)

Hi Mochachocolata Rita! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment :) Hope you get to have them soon!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Irene! So sorry missed your comment! I know...it's hard not to grab what looks good even if it's not in season. For us, things like cherries and brussels sprouts and rhubarb are imported, so never really at their "peak"...can't have everything but we can enjoy what we can right? :)

christine said...

Oooh nice jar of paho, jo! this was always a staple in our home. my aunt makes them and sends them over to my dad, it's so good. but her paho was always with the peel, so i've never seen it peeled like this before. have you tried both, i guess it tastes the same no?

Peabody said...

I have never even heard of that. I will have to see if they even exist in these parts.

Kelly-Jane said...

I was squinting too! I've not heard of these before, but I'll keep a look out!

lalaine said...

My husband is from Lipa City, Batangas and on our trip home 2003was my first introduction to paho. I think they prepared it like a salad~finely chopped with lots of tomatoes. It was so good paired with tulingan (mackarel). Forget the encumbrance of forks and knives! Nagkamay kami! Can't enjoy that meal any other way!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nens! I wouldn't know because I haven't tasted this one yet! :) It's still brining away :) Will let you know...

Hi Peabody! Even over here it's not always available fresh because it has such a short season...but we can buy the pickled or brined versions :)

Hi Kelly-jane! If ever you find any on your side of the world let me know! :)

Hi Lalaine! Check out MarketMan's post as he prepared it that way too! And lots of the commenters mentioned eating it with tulingan :) I can imagine how delicious it would be! And I totally agree with you on kamayan -- it's a whole different level of food enjoyment!