We spent four days in Vermont cooking and eating with our dear friends who asked the same question (Mmmm…What’s in this?) and got the same answer (Fish sauce!) every time something was served to them.
It took a few days to convince them that fish sauce definitely is a major player in Filipino cuisine. Often used as a salt substitute, fish sauce adds a new dimension to the salty flavor, which by the time the dish is cooked is hardly detectable as an actual fish-based essence.
|Ginisang itlong served with adobo fried rice and sausage.|
Case in point would be the typical breakfast side of sautéed eggs. Ginisang itlog would simply be considered an omelet if not for the fish sauce, which is added during the process of sautéing the onions and tomatoes. By the way, the smell of onions, tomatoes and fish sauce is unmistakably Filipino. All I need to do is close my eyes and I am back in my nanny’s kitchen. I am ten years old, waiting for the day I would be handed the ladle.
We begin by chopping up some tomatoes and onions. Ripe, unrefrigerated tomatoes work best.
They are sauteed in oil and 1/2 teaspoon of Thai fish sauce
(less if using Filipino fish sauce) for every four eggs until soft.
The consistency of the tomatoes and onions is key here.
They must be mushy and liquefied before the eggs are added.
Remove from heat while eggs are still runny. It will continue cooking as it rests.
Serve promptly with your Filipino farmer’s breakfast!