Monday, December 11, 2006

Utan Bisaya...


Kalbasang puwa, kalbasang puti, sikwa, gabi, okra , tawong, batong, kamunggay, agbati, sibuyas bombay, kamatis, subak nga piniritong isda nga gikunis-kunis (fried fish flakes). Each of which are cut into bite size except for agbati and kamunggay. For these two, only their leaves and udlot (tips) are included. The fish flakes and the vegetables are then boiled together (but for best results, the gabi should be very soft before the other vegetables are dropped in). Kamunggay and agbati are the last to be cooked. Boil and simmer in plain water. And voila! You get the most "lami-an nga Utan Bisaya" (literally means “most delicious Bisayan vegetable stew”)!

For me, utan bisaya is the most delicious soup because it is simple, clear and bereft of any animal fat. The agbati and kamunggay give it a peculiar aroma but not in a distasteful way, while the okra provides a slightly creamy texture. According to my mother, this vegetable stew is “walay kontra unya maayo sa lawas” (nothing hurtful to the body yet very healthful)! If I have taken it for granted when I was younger, now that I am much older, I do truly appreciate its real value. To complete a divine meal, it is best eaten with hot rice and piniritong buwad (fried dried fish) or else piniritong isda nga i-sawsaw sa suka nga naay patis (toyo) ug siling kulikot (fried fish dipped in spicy vinegar with small chili and soy sauce). Tungod ani, panington ka ug bugbog (should I have to translate this?). And as husbands here would say, “sa kalami gyud sa pagka-on puede nang malimtan ang asawa” (with food as delicious as this, any husband could readily forget his wife!). Which I think is the best compliment any vegetable stew could ever get!

Seriously, I believe that utan bisaya is worthy of a tribute because not only has it embodied the frugal lifestyle of our Bisayan forefathers, it has also survived the passing of time and continues to be appreciated until now. In the past, parents stripped themselves to the barest of essentials and tried to live simply so that children can go to college. People then, not only share food among neighbors and visitors, but help each other in times of dire need. But progress has demanded some price. And some of our well-loved traits are no longer practical in these times and age. As we welcome fast-foods and globalization, it is probably nice to at least keep something from our past and pass it on to the next generation. Whatever changes we will encounter and adapt, it is good to know that we have something that is probably uniquely Bisaya.

4 comments:

PWL Master said...

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Must BeThat Girl said...

Thanks a lot!

Liza said...

What can I say, I missed this recipe and in fact have forgotten about it until now. I like your blogspot.

Must Be That Girl said...

Thanks, Liza.