Sigadillas Sa Gata is one of my favourite comfort foods. Sad to say that I only discovered it the last ten years. There’s this restaurant in Robinson’s Manila, called Mangan (translated from Pampango – to eat) that serves it and where I found out that it existed. I suppose that long ago when I first tasted sigadillas, the cook didn’t blanch it therefore it was acrid (mapakla!) and I didn’t bother to like it. Sigadillas is seasonal because you can’t find it all the time. When you slice it, into pieces crosswise, each slice looks like a butterfly; maybe that is why it was called the winged bean.
- 250 grams sigadillas (winged beans) – trim off about 1⁄4-inch from both ends, then slice horizontally, about 1⁄2-inches, the beans to look like little stars; set aside, ready to be blanched
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1⁄4 cup sliced onion
- 1 tablespoon bagoong alamang – fermented shrimp paste
- 1⁄2 to 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 siling mahaba (lady finger chilli) – sliced into very small pieces
- Sigadillas have to be blanched before they are used. If one does not blanch the sigadillas, it will have an acrid (mapakla) taste.
To blanch the sigadillas, bring to a boil about 4 cups of water; when boiling, placed the sliced sigadillas in the water for 2 minutes.
Remove from fire, drain in colander, and rinse with cold water.
Let drip and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, place oil and heat over medium low fire.
- When the pan feels hot, place garlic and onions in pot and sauté till the onions are translucent.
- Add the bagoong alamang and sauté for 1 minutes then pour in the coconut milk.
- Turn down the fire to low and bring the mixture to a low simmer for 5 minutes.
- Then put in the chilli and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Taste the mixture and adjust to your liking; you can add fish sauce (patis), and/or freshly ground black pepper.
- Now put in the blanched sigadillas and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the mixture; sigadillas must still be crunchy; do not overcook.
- Serve while hot with steamed rice.