Yesterday afternoon, before our Lone Ranger movie date with the girls, we passed by the vegetarian food store in Manila where we buy our soy-based “meat” and “seafood.” The store at the corner of Quirino and San Marcelino is known as Palomi but the sign simply says Vegetarian Food Store. One of the items we bought was a bag of vegetarian “shrimps.” I am allergic to crustaceans and it’s amusing that I can now eat shrimps as long as they are made with soya.
I cooked a third of the contents of the bag of the mock shrimps tempura style for our late lunch today. I simply cut each piece into halves, dredged them in flour, dipped them in beaten egg then rolled them in panko. Then, into the hot oil they went. They’re good though a bit bland. Next time, I’ll sprinkle them with Himalayan black salt to give them better flavor.
For the vegetable dish that I served on the side, I cooked yet another version of gising-gising (spicy mixed vegetables in coconut milk) — this time, using a mixture of yard-long beans, eggplant and squash.
Why that combination? I mentioned the Long Ranger date with the girls earlier… Okay, we had a terrible time finding a parking space at Newport City last night. By the time we bought our movie tickets, we had less than half an hour to eat dinner before the screening time. Recipes was near the cinemas so we ate there. Recipes’ version of gising-gising was delicious in all its simplicity — just ground pork, sitaw and thick coconut cream. Speedy was so smitten and asked that we make a homemade version. Sam requested that I add squash and eggplant. And, voila!
Vegetarian "shrimp" tempura and meatless gising-gising
Heat the cooking oil in a wok. Saute the onion, garlic, ginger and chilies until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the yard-long beans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir. Pour in about three tablespoonfuls of water. Cover the pan. Lower the heat to medium and cook for five minutes.
Add the squash and eggplant cubes. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper.
Pour in the coconut milk. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan once again and cook over medium-low heat until all the vegetables are done and the sauce has thickened and reduced.
A tip. To prevent the squash and eggplant cubes from losing their shape, avoid stirring after coconut milk starts to simmer. This isn’t a stir fried dish and frequent stirring will do more harm than good.