I really love it when different brands send me samples of their stuff. It’s always nice to be able to see what else is out there beyond what I’m familiar with, and the same applies for food. It’s not just about getting to taste something new and innovative, though that’s always an incident I welcome. It’s also about getting the chance to discover a potential new favourite brand of something oft-used and well-loved, even with things as simple or perhaps even overlooked as bagoong.
The Filipino fish paste or bagoong is something I would venture to call a household staple in the Philippines. It’s used to cook many Filipino dishes, and as a condiment for many others.
I’ve mentioned countless times before that I’m not such a fan of sweets, but in place of that is a crazy love for things spicy and sour. One of the things I do believe I might not be able to live without is the Philippine green mango. (Locals call it the kalabaw, not to be mistaken with the smaller Indian green mangoes.) Philippine mangoes in general are beautiful in both appearance and taste– and in the case of green mangoes, crunchy with a sourness that really tickles my taste buds and makes my face scrunch up. Without a doubt, the best thing to pair green mangoes with is bagoong. That’s how I like my bagoong best, simply with mangoes.
Some weeks ago, I received a package from the brand Mura Sarap containing their bagoong and some mangoes. (Thanks for that, by the way!) Mura Sarap is a Filipino food brand that primarily produces bagoong proudly declared as all-natural, meaning they use only real alamang (krill) and none of those extenders and preservatives typically found in commercialised bagoong. You can easily tell from the way the Mura Sarap bagoong smells and tastes. (You can buy this from most major supermarkets like SM, so try it out!) Plus the usage of quality corn oil makes a difference in that the bagoong does not feel as greasy as some of the brands I’ve come across in my lifetime.
What I love about this brand is its introduction of the ready-to-serve packets that is a very non-bulky way to bring bagoong to-go. Whether you’re planning to use it to cook something during a sleepover, or you plan to have some sliced green mangoes to enjoy during a roadtrip, this is a clever and non-messy way to get your fair share of bagoong.
As enjoyable as it is to eat bagoong in its natural form with green mangoes, why not take those green mangoes and use them to top this yummy bagoong rice?
What makes this rice special is the extra step taken to cook some pieces of pork in bagoong first to make some sort of pork binagoongan to top the rice with. It’s a little something extra that goes so well alongside the green mango and chopped scallion toppings. The three of them provide for lovely add-ons that make the bagoong rice experience just a bit more exciting. In fact if you load your cup of rice with toppings, I reckon you won’t need to eat any ulam or viands anymore. (Who am I kidding though?!)
I find that oftentimes people do eat a bit more when they have this sort of savoury rice during meals, so consider yourself warned!
Bagoong Rice Espesyal
- 1/4 pound 115 grams pork belly, sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons bagoong guisado, or bottled Filipino shrimp paste, divided
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 5 cups steamed day-old white rice
- 1/2 cup chopped green mango, from about 1 mango
- 3 Tablespoons chopped scallions
- 1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Sear the sliced pork belly by putting them directly in the hot pan and cooking them until oil comes out, about 2 to 5 minutes.
- 2. Add 1 Tablespoon of bagoong to the pan, then stir until all pieces of pork are brown and covered with bagoong. Cook for a minute more and then remove from the pan and set aside.
- 3. Add the cooking oil in the same frying pan. Once the oil becomes hot, add the garlic and then cook for 15 seconds until aromatic. Add 2 Tablespoons of shrimp paste and then cook for another 30 seconds.
- 4. Add the rice to the pan. Using two spatulas, gently mix while cooking until all the ingredients are properly distributed. Cook the bagoong rice for 10 minutes while gently scraping the bottom of the pan once in a while. You can opt to cook for a minute or two more to get slightly toasty rice, adding more bagoong to taste.
- 5. Transfer the rice to a serving bowl. Top with the cooked pork belly, chopped green mango, and chopped scallions. Serve hot.
If you happen to feel that 5 cups make a lot of bagoong rice, save the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. To reheat, simply put it back in a hot pan with just a bit of oil to prevent the rice from sticking, then refry for a few minutes until hot. I guarantee it will be an awesome meal to start the day with.
I always love the smell of sinangag-types of rice in the mornings!
Disclaimer: I was sent product samples by the brand Mura Sarap but all opinions stated above are my own.