it was last night's dinner's fault. it really was.
mom was wondering who brought the tinapa since it seemed no one could recall who it was from. it wasn't the usual smoked bangus that we often would have. this fish wasn't as salty, however, what it lacked in taste, it made up in flavor. it smelled utterly divine. the smokey aroma was neither too weak, nor too pungent (the latter is often the case with bangus), and the fish, the outer crust was toasted golden while the meat inside flaked to touch. the skin was a crispy amber and the fat... holy. it no longer needs to be said, that fish disappeared in almost an instant as even my dad, who often dismisses eating anything filipino, could not resist. i think he had the most actually.
i was in my usual lazy-eating mode and was picking on what was left of the fish, having my fill even with the burnt, caramelized skin when my mom asked what i wanted to have for my lunch tomorrow. ever since working for my uncle, i always brought lunch to work and the only instruction to them was lunch was always veggies. so for the past two years, that was all i ate. however, while i was licking off the wondrous tinapa juices off my oily fingers, i found myself say... i will make tinapa fried rice tomorrow! mom didn't immediately understand what i said, so i repeated myself. I WILL HAVE TINAPA FRIED RICE TOMORROW.... and I WILL COOK IT MYSELF :)
i immediately went to the fridge to rummage for ingredients. to my dismay, all we had was garlic and onions. not enough for the recipe slowly forming in my brain. it was ok, i thought. one day to prepare was not too long of a wait. a grin slowly formed on my face. it was dubai all over again, this gleeful feeling i was having when i KNEW what i was going to cook was going to be good. i listed down the ingredients to buy and gave it to our help. by this time tomorrow, my tinapa fried rice will be born....
(the following night... which is, just a few hours ago)
so i finally made my tinapa fried rice... well, most of it. i only got to prepare the first part since "plating" will come tomorrow in preparation for lunch. i first had the tinapa re-fried. since it wasn't really salty enough, i had to salt it a bit more just to help the flavors give taste to the oil. after frying the fish, i drained a bit of the oil and added in the garlic and the onions. i love the smell of frying garlic. so aromatic. as the garlic slowly turned golden and the onions, translucent, in goes the brown rice. i decided to use brown rice for the rustic texture and flavor it has, almost like grilled corn. i then started to stir the rice frantically since my wok was in high heat. i wanted to evaporate as much moisture as i could so that the tinapa-flavored oil would be able to coat all the grains evenly. as the rice slowly toasted and the GLORIOUS smell of the tinapa oil fill the kitchen, in goes the flaked tinapa meat. little by little, i added the meat in, just so they dont get all mashed up as i mixed the rice. salt, pepper and finally, the burnt bangus skin. i continued to stir the rice at high heat, flipping it from the bottom to keep in from burning, and fluffing it to further help in its drying. the popping sounds were my cue that my rice was now beautifully toasted. the meat was also now crispy. the fish fat had melted into the rice and now gave it the most divine taste.
tomorrow, i will plate it with salted egg, diced tomatoes and scallions.... drizzled with chili vinegar from RL Lapids chicharon.....
i think i am going to die...... smiling :D