The shrimps brought by Mamsi and Kuya as pasalubong for my graduation were cooked as Sinigang na Hipon as detailed in my earlier posts, while the rest were simply salted and steamed with its own juices. The rest of the gang (my siblings!) would want to bring the shrimps to Bohol to be eaten along the way as our baon and halabos is the best, the quickest and the simplest way to prepare the shrimps.
As requested, and I don’t know why and how it evolved, the shrimps should be steamed with “Sprite” or “7-Up” a clear lemon-lime flavored carbonated drink until all the liquid is evaporated. This beverage has been used in some traditional cooking, like basting suckling pigs for lechon, or roasting chicken. I have good childhood memories of town fiestas or during holiday season where my papsi and uncles will prepare pig for lechon (spit-roast pig), from time to time they will brush or baste the pig with this carbonated drink. This time we will use this in steaming our shrimps, as the gang requested.
Here’s how to prepare Halabos:
1 kilo shrimp, whiskers removed
5 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
½ tbsp salt
a little Canola oil for sautéing (butter will do and it will give a good flavor)
½ cup Sprite
2 cloves of minced garlic and ¼ cup local vinegar for dip (sawsawan)
1. Clean shrimp by removing all the whiskers, drain and set aside.
2. In a separate pan, sauté minced garlic in Canola oil.
3. Add shrimp, salt and the sprite and cover. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until the color turns to bright orange and the liquid has evaporated. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp, as it will make the meat rubbery. Serve immediately with vinegar and crushed garlic.
Steaming the shrimps with Sprite lends it a mild sweetness, which most of us Pinoys love about halabos, it’s as if the shrimps are freshly caught and cooked immediately where the flavors are on its fullest.
Tip: make sure to use as little liquid as possible so it will be cooked with its own juices, and the flavor will come out naturally. Too much liquid would mean more time cooking to evaporate it, and most of the flavors will be lost in the liquid.
As always, we can capture the goodness of any seafoods prepared in a simplest and quickest way possible.