This dish is made with “ubod”, or the heart of palm, especially the coconut palm. In Filipino, “ubod” means core. If you split a palm tree, you will find a soft white core. This is “heart” palm, the core or what we call “ubod”.
In some Pacific islands, “ubod” is eaten raw. Quite a delicacy, really. Now, why do I say hubad (naked)? Well, see, the original of this dish is a vegetable egg roll. Everything is placed in an egg wrapper made with eggs, cornstarch, flour, water and a little oil. First, the lettuce is placed on one end of the wrapper with the curly tips protruding. Then, the mixed vegetables are spread lengthwise along the center of the wrapper. The egg wrapper is then rolled up, like a log. Soy-garlic sauce (recipe is also given below) is poured over it. Lastly, crushed roasted peanuts are sprinkled all over it.
Now the hubad part. It’s simple. I did the dish minus the egg wrapper and the crushed peanuts. Completely unwrapped, it really is naked.
- 1/2 kilo of fresh “ubod”, cut into 2-inch sticks (canned vaierty is also available but I haven’t tried it so I cannot make any recommendations)
1/4 kilo of pork, boiled and diced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
100 grams of green beans, sliced diagonally, 1 inch in length
2 large onions, sliced
1 head of garlic, minced
lettuce leaves for the bed
- In a skillet, sauté garlic and onions. Add diced pork. When the pork starts to brown, pour some broth. When boiling, add the “ubod”. Stir lightly. Let it reach boiling point again before lowering the fire and covering the skillet. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Now, here is the tricky part. The length of time needed to make the “ubod” tender depends on the quality of the “ubod”. A mature coconut palm tree yields a tough “ubod” and a longer cooking time is required. Whereas, very young coconut palms yield very tender “ubod” that is fully cooked in about 15-20 minutes. The amount of broth will, therefore, depend on the length of cooking time. Just try the “ubod” for tenderness every 10 minutes or so to make sure that it is tender but not overcooked.
Ten minutes before the “ubod” is ready, add the carrots. There should be about 1/8 cup of liquid left. Cover again and simmer. After five minutes, add the green beans. The vegetables should be almost dry by now. Continue to stir lightly until the beans are done and the mixture completely dry.
Serve the “ubod” mixture on a bed of lettuce, accompanied by its sauce.
1/4 cup of dark soy sauce
1 tbps. minced fresh garlic
1 cup of water
2 tbsp. of cornstarch
1-1/2 tbsp. of sugar
Off the fire, mix all the ingredients together in a small saucepan. Stir until both the sugar and cornstarch are completely dissolved. The liquid will appear cloudy. Cook over medium heat, stirring often. When it reaches the boiling point, the cloudiness will start to disappear and the liquid will start to become clear. DO NOT STOP STIRRING. After about 30 seconds, the mixture will be thick and clear. Turn off the fire. Let sauce stand covered for 5 minutes to let the garlic develop its flavor. Uncover and stir. Serve with “ubod”.
Cooking time (duration): about 30 to 40 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6