IT’S difficult to get the women of the Reyes culinary clan together when there’s no special family occasion, but it happened this morning (June 29, 2013) during the Heritage Recipes of the Reyes Girls cooking demo event held at The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center.
Well-known culinary expert, cookbook author and cooking show host Nancy Reyes-Lumen was in the company of her mom, Nena Tancinco Reyes, and her sisters Marian Reyes, Corito Reyes and May Reyes-Serrano in a fun cooking demo that had each of them preparing a comfort dish. Nancy, the Adobo Queen, made Mechado ni Lola Asiang, using a huge amount of shallots, overripe tomatoes and garlic, and kampto (flank) as its cut of beef. Marian prepared ‘Nilasheng’ na Manok sa Serbesa, a recipe of her grandmother, ‘Ina’ Maria Tancinco. May prepared Beef Pochero, while their mom, Nena, made an awesome Kinulob ng Ina, as assisted by Corito.
Here, we share with you the recipe of Mechado ni Lola Asiang, as whipped up by Nancy Reyes-Lumen this morning. I got to try the dish, which had been slow-cooking since yesterday, and though the cut of beef used, kampto, requires hours upon hours of slow cooking, the meat was so tender as it was flavorful. You can taste the sofrito – shallots, overripe tomatoes and shallots – providing a burst of flavors in the mouth, enhanced by just the right amount of patis (fish sauce), soy sauce, vinegar, achuete oil and panocha (raw brown sugar) intermingling with the sofrito.
1 kg. beef kampto (flank), cubed
1 Tbsp. patis (fish sauce)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. vinegar
olive oil, as much as needed (usually 500ml bottle)
1/2 pack achuete (annatto) powder
1-1/2 kgs. shallots, chopped
3 kgs. (or more) overripe tomatoes, seeded
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 finger panocha
1-2 cups beef or chicken broth*
1. Marinate beef in patis, soy sauce and vinegar for 4 to 6 hours.
2. In a big pan, heat some olive oil and achuete powder until oil takes on an orange tinge. Add the beef and braise until dark brown on all sides.
3. In another big pan, heat olive oil and achuete powder. Saute the shallots until very soft.
4. Meanwhile, crush the tomatoes by hand to release the juices and skin. Add the tomatoes into the shallots mixture and cook until almost paste-like in consistency and the skin curls. Add the garlic and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Add tomato paste and the beef mixture with its juices. Cook over high heat until boiling, then turn down heat and use the smallest flame possible. Cook covered, until beef is very tender.
5. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add in panocha and cover. Simmer again. (*Add beef or chicken broth only when necessary, depending on how much fat is in the beef used.)