Kapampangas love their ‘tabang talangka’ (tiny crab paste). Before it used to be seasonal; that is when the rainy season came, so did the talangka (tiny crabs). The talangka is a tiny crab; the shell is from 1 inch to 1 ½ inches wide. The fish pond owners call it ‘singaw’ (coming out of nowhere) because as they prepared their ponds for new fingerlings, the talangka would pop out of nowhere. One must gather the talangka by the hundreds just to make one cup of sautéed tabang talangka. Tabang talangka is usually eaten with steaming hot rice. Since one can eat it with rice, why not pasta. So here is a take on tabang talangka as a sauce for pasta. Because of the proliferation of bottling and canning, now one can enjoy tabang talangka even if its out of season. One finds it in Filipino stores around the world and in Supermarkets in the Philippines.
Serves 6 persons.
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- ½ cup bottled/canned tabang talangka
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup fish broth or water
- 2 tablespoons Mirin or Sake (this removes the fishy flavor of the talangka)
- ½ teaspoon Tabasco or chili sauce or 1 long lady finger chili (seed and chop)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 pieces of prawns – peel, devein, leaving tail on
- 500 grams twisted pasta, pasta twirls or pasta that makes the sauce cling to it (do not use spaghetti) – follow cooking instructions of pasta
- Using a skillet, over medium fire, pour 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in pan.
- Warm pan till it reaches 180°C.
- Sear prawns each side of prawn for about 1 minute; till prawns curls up on both sides. Place in pan, only six prawns at a time.
- Set aside and keep warm.
- In a medium sized cooking pan, over medium-low fire, warm pan for 2 minutes and pour 2 tablespoons cooking oil.
- Sauté garlic till very light gold.
- Add the tabang talangka, coconut milk, fish broth, Mirin, Tabasco, and ground black pepper.
- Stir continuously and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cook pasta according to instructions on box.
- Put pasta in sauce and mix well.
- Place in serving dish and garnish with prawns.
- Serve immediately.