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Bringhe: The Kapampangan Paella

I am Kapampangan. Both my parents and their roots hail from Pampanga, a province in central Luzon, the northernmost major island in the Philippines. As a people, we are known for our great food and of course as great cooks. Kapampangan dishes are flavorful, indulgent and adventurous. We are known for Sisig, Morcon and Bopis (Pulutok in the Kapampangan language) as well as for the more exotic ones like Batute Tugak (fried stuffed frog) and Camaru (cricket cooked adobo style). But have you heard of Bringhe? No? Then, let me introduce this lesser known Kapampangan specialty to you. I’m sure you’ll love it!

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First of all, I am so glad that I have finally codified this family recipe. I’ve always looked forward to Bringhe on New Year’s when my grandmother and mother used to make it when I was younger. They do not have a written recipe for it because it was taught to them by word of mouth and by observation. It is not very simple to make so it is not an everyday kind of dish but it is still very manageable overall and very much worth the time and effort. If you are familiar with the Spanish Paella or Arroz a la Valenciana, this is its Filipino cousin.

Bringhe is made with sticky rice cooked in coconut cream and turmeric powder, which I have to note is very good for our health. We use chicken wings, chicken gizzard (balun-balunan) and chicken liver for its meat. Some would add chorizo but my mother finds that it masks the other flavors so she recommends against it. She also discourages the use of black pepper because it does not blend well with the other ingredients. For vegetables, we keep it simple with just green peas and carrots. To diversify the flavor, we add bell pepper and raisins.

Bringhe_turmeric powder

IMPORTANT NOTE ON THE KEY INGREDIENTS: Make sure to use pure sticky rice. Every grain has to be opaque (white) and not translucent like regular rice. Sadly, many public market vendors mix in regular rice with their sticky rice. Using this will greatly affect the outcome of the dish. Also, you CANNOT substitute coconut milk (“pangalawang piga”) for coconut cream (“kakang gata”). If you’re buying canned ones, be careful to read the label so you won’t get disappointed with your outcome.

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Bringhe
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NEEDS
  1. 1/4 k Chicken Gizzard
  2. 1/2 k Chicken Wings
  3. 1/4 k Chicken Liver
  4. 1 tbsp Calamansi Juice (about 2 med Calamansi Fruits)
  5. 1/2 cup Soy Sauce (preferably Kikkoman)
  6. 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  7. 1 large White Onion (medium dice)
  8. 1 head Garlic (minced)
  9. 1 med Red Bell Pepper (medium dice)
  10. 1 med Green Bell Pepper (medium dice)
  11. 2 tbsps Fish Sauce (Patis)
  12. 1/4 cup Water
  13. 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder
  14. 3 cups Coconut Cream (Kakang Gata)
  15. 3 cups Sticky Rice
  16. 1/2 cup Green Peas
  17. 1/2 cup Carrots (medium dice)
  18. 1/2 cup Raisins
  19. Fine Salt (to taste)
  20. Banana Leaves (washed and wiped)
Cookware
  1. 2 Large Woks
Instructions
  1. Boil 1/4 k Chicken Gizzard until half-cooked (tender but not necessarily cooked through)
  2. Marinate the boiled Chicken Gizzard, 1/2 k Chicken Wings and 1/4 k Chicken Liver with 1 tbsp Calamansi Juice and 1/2 cup Soy Sauce (preferably Kikkoman) for about an hour
  3. In the meantime, cut vegetables accordingly
  4. Heat 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil in a large wok
  5. Saute 1 large White Onion (medium dice) until translucent
  6. Saute 1 head Garlic (minced) until slightly browned
  7. Add in the meats with 2 tbsps Fish Sauce (Patis) and saute until seared
  8. Mix 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder in 1/4 cup Water and then add to the wok
  9. Add 3 cups Coconut Cream (Kakang Gata) and boil
  10. Mix in 3 cups Sticky Rice along with 1/2 cup Green Peas, 1/2 cup Carrots (medium dice) and 1/2 cup Raisins, Fine Salt to taste and carefully stir
  11. Let this simmer until the oil of the coconut cream start to come out
  12. Heat another large heavy bottomed-wok lined with Banana Leaves
  13. Immediately transfer the whole mixture into this wok and cover
  14. Let it sit there until the rice is soft
  15. Occasionally fold for even cooking
  16. You can garnish with Quail Eggs (but we usually don't)
Notes
  1. Confession Alert: We forgot to buy bell peppers when we made this so the Bringhe featured here has none. And unfortunately, the sticky rice I was able to buy for the Bringhe featured here had a mix of regular rice. At least I know how to warn you about it, right?
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