Friday, April 6, 2012

Deconstructing BINIGNIT | A Good Friday’s Treat

Binignit, a sweet and creamy sticky rice porridge is always synonymous to Holy Week and summer time vacations. Holy Thursdays and Good Fridays are never complete with this traditional pinoy merienda. In other parts of the country, they call it guinataan, but at home, we call it sampelot. It is a complete meal in itself, based mostly with starchy sticky rice, plantains, sweet potatoes and taro, a reason maybe why it is popular among Cebuanos who are fasting during the lent season.
I have vivid and fun childhood memories about Holy Week and Binignit at home. During this time of the year, all of us gather at home and my mom would always cook this staple, along with biko with rich latik, enough to feed us on Good Friday, a fasting day.
I woke up very early this morning to catch the sunrise at the Basilica Minore del Sto Nino. I have never tried visita iglesia during holy week, so I decided to try one this morning armed with my new dSLR camera. I decided to walk some more down south going to Carbon Public Market. The traffic-less streets seem walkable and inviting to wander that early morning. 

As expected, Carbon is packed with busy market goers. Interestingly, one street is lined with binignit staples – varieties of landang (tapioca), colorful sago, plantains, sweet potatoes, purple yam, taro (gabi), even the coconut graters that were used to be inside the stalls were now lining up the streets. I felt the festivity side of Good Friday. I missed home!

I was carried by the energy of those who lined up to buy those ingredients. Late I realized I was already getting some for myself. I missed binignit and my home in Gensan. Since I have nothing to do the whole day than sleep and fast, I decided to visit a friend's place and cook what I bought! My visita iglesia ended up on the third church beside University of San Jose Recoletos, which is just in front of Carbon Public Market.
Cooking this traditional pinoy favorite snack is almost a breeze. Let’s de-construct this Cebuano Good Friday staple!
Sago or tapioca pearls came from the starch of cassava plant. It is being formed into balls, sold in dry form, boiled and added with colors. The Milk Tea craze now is making use of this traditional ingredient.

Lagdang is somewhat unique in most parts of Visayas and Mindanao, it is a food to most of those who live in hinterlands. I came across with how it was being prepared and eaten during one of my climbs in Mindanao. Lagdang is from Buri palm's trunk which is mostly starch. This gives binignit a gelatinous and sticky consistency, and the creamy pinkish color.

How to Cook:
Dice sweet potatoes, plantains and/or taro. Bring to a boil a cup of malagkit rice (pilit). Let it simmer until rice becomes soft. Add diced potatoes, plantains and a cup of landang. Reduce to medium heat and stir from time to time to prevent it from sticking at the bottom of the pot. Add little water to dilute if it is too sticky while considering the amount of liquid (the cocomilk) to be added later. Add the colorful sago,  julienned langka, and sugar according to taste preference. Simmer until all ingredients are tender. Add the cocomilk and simmer for another 3 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 6-8 persons.

In our sampelot, we add up sticky rice balls (called belo belo), cooked and taste almost like “palitaw.” This is made by rolling a dough of sticky rice flour to form marble shape. Add this up during simmering the malagkit rice. It will float once cooked.

For this dish I spent P135.00 with the breakdown below:
1 cup landang – P15.00, 2 small packs sago –P10.00, 3 pieces plantains – P20.00, 1 fist size sweet potato – P15.00, 1 medium slice langka – P20.00. 1 small pack muscovado sugar – 10.00, 1 cup malagkit rice – 20.00, gata(cocomilk)  – P25.00
Have a blessed Good Friday everyone! Enjoy the long holiday!

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