WHEN my brother-in-law, Kuya Junior Zulueta, sent over some food stuff from Sta. Cruz, Marinduque, last October 2012, one of the things that he packed into the box was manakla, a type of local crayfish with only one claw, that was common in their town. I had ‘discovered’ it during my latest visit to Marinduque with my husband Raff last summer and was fascinated with it. I’ve never seen crayfish before, more so the manakla, which is a cross between a shrimp (it has a shrimp-like body) and a crab (it has a crab-like claw, albeit in a miniature version), and what’s amazing about it is that it has only a single claw. Kuya Junior must have noticed my fascination with the manakla that he thought of sending some over last October. He couldn’t send it fresh, of course, so he cooked it and then wrapped it in newspaper before packing it in the box along with some crabs, fresh miki noodles, suman, peanuts, dried fish and uraro cookies.
What I did was divide the manakla into three portions, cooked one portion into a Crayfish Boil (whose recipe can be found in www.herword.com, where I run a column in the Pantry section sharing recipes,) made Chunky Crayfish Bisque with the second portion, and then cooked the remaining portion into Manaklang Pinatuyo sa Sprite. Now, this is a recipe of Glenn Deligero, husband of Raff’s niece Joy Zulueta-Deligero, whose family is based in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque. Glenn had cooked Manaklang Pinatuyo sa Sprite during our visit last summer. We brought it with us on a family outing to the white-sand resort island of Maniwaya back then, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to duplicate it when Kuya Junior sent over some manakla.
Here’s the recipe if you cook it from its raw state:
1 kg. manakla (crayfish)
½ cup Sprite
4 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsps. cooking oil
1. Wash live manakla to remove dirt and impurities, especially from their singular claws.
2. Put washed manakla in a wok with Sprite, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until dry.
3. When dry, add cooking oil, toss for a while over heat, and then turn off heat.
4. To enjoy, remove the head of the cooked manakla, discard the black part on top of the head, peel off shell, and pull off the thick black vein from the body.
Recipe: Glenn Deligero
Ingredients: Junior Zulueta
Food prep & styling: Dolly Dy-Zulueta