They are called kuhol in the Philippines. The French call them escargot. And they are a delicacy in both cuisines. What are they? Edible snails. Guinataang Kuhol is a favorite appetizer in Filipino restaurants. It is also a popular pica-pica (fingerfood) that goes well with cold beer. I always stuff myself with kuhol at Filipino restaurants. That’s because I couldn’t cook them at home, not knowing where to buy them or how to prepare them. Until today.
There was a new stall at the local wet market. It only sells shellfish–tahong (mussels), halaan (clams) and kuhol. I asked the vendor to teach me how to prepare the kuhol; she showed me how to crack the tip of the shell to loosen the meat.
The photo on the extreme left shows the kuhol before the tip of the shell was cracked. The one beside it shows the cracked tip.
The rest of the process was easy enough. No reason why Guinataang Kuhol cannot be prepared at home more than occasionally.
- Soak the kuhol for several hours. Change the water frequently. Tap the tip of the each shell with the side of a knife. Wash several times. Drain.
- Heat the cooking oil in a skillet or wok.
- Saute the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add the sliced onion and chili. Cook until transparent.
- Add the drained kuhol and cook over high heat. The kuhol will render water. Cook until almost dry.
- Pour in the coconut cream. Season with salt and pepper. Cook uncovered over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost dry.
- Sprinkle sliced leeks on top before serving.