Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The fumes are gone now, but it's not like we minded...

Several posts ago i left a little teaser regarding a dipping sauce thingy that my friends and i love. Well, the way we eat it, its almost a salad. I don't know what the whole dish is called. But we refer to it by way of its main ingredient. The super stinky, pink, umami, heaven-in-a-bottle...CHINCHALOK. Ok, don't ask about word origins and all that. I was eating it for years before i even knew what it was called. Its basically minute shrimp, salted and fermented, or the other way round. There ARE some processes you do NOT want to inquire too much about.

If you look really closely at the picture, you can see the teeny tiny shrimp, just looking at you in all it salty glory, waiting... just waiting... to be devoured.

This chinchalok side dished is usually served with barbequed fishand seafood, and is really originally a sauce. The onion is still sliced but the chilli is usually chopped up small, there is a lot more liquid, because the salt draws out all the liquid from the chillis and onions.. see! cooking is all science. The crunch from the freshly sliced shallots with the fire of freshly sliced chilli padi is set off perfectly by the salty umami flavour of the chinchalok and generous quantities of calamansi juice.(for the uninitiated, the local lime with deep yellow insides) A little bunch of the mix on a spoonful of warm white rice, is a micro-orgasm just waiting to happen, nevermind the micro-organisms staring at you.

Stuff is wonderful freshly prepared, sliced shallots, chillies, and a wallop of chinchalok from the bottle. Lots of limes squeezed over, seeds strained to prevent inconvenience during devouring exercise of course. Sometimes the delay and extra work is essential to the experience. Now don't you wish you can smell it? ;)


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