Sira-sira store: Here’s puso for Gilas

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Friday, September 5, 2014

THE recipe I am about to offer did not take 40 years to make. Although it came about after watching our basketball heroes, the Gilas Pilipinas team, fight for a chance to go to the finals in the Fiba Basketball World Cup, the dishes I am about to share are unique and tasty.

Puso is the battle cry of the Gilas team and it had become our own battle cry as well. The struggle in life might be uphill but it is our heart that will take us to the finish line, even if we end up the last titan to make it.

My uncle Gustav said, “I’m proud of our men even if they only won one game—that over Senegal in regulation time to boot. It means both countries wanted to win, and our basketball stars won.”


“We are a unique nation,” my friend Illustracio said. “We celebrated our one win although it didn’t count in the standings. What matters to us is the fact that we made it to the Fiba arena after 40 years.”

My aunt Tita Blitte told me: “Ober, why don’t you invent something in honor of the Gilas guys? Maybe the ingredients can include puso sa saging.”

That got me thinking and even if thinking gives me a headache, I was man enough to shoot the ball into the goal even if the going was rough.

The first recipe is for puso con tangigue kinilaw. It sounds like an unlikely combination as it has never been done before, but man, it took our country 40 years to be in the international sports battlefield again, an unlikely feat. It is worth trying, as did our basketball stars. They never gave up.

Puso con tangigue kinilaw. Have on hand boiled puso, chopped; cubed tangigue, soaked in vinegar and then drained; thick coconut milk; lime juice; salt; ginger, chopped; one small cucumber, sliced, seeds removed, squeezed and drained; sliced onions; native vinegar; and green siling espada, sliced thinly. Mix well the puso, fish and the spices. Add the vinegar, sili, lime and coconut milk. Mix well. Just before serving, add the cucumber. Adjust taste.

Losing can be a sour thing, but we are not sour-sports (did I just coin a new word?).

Tortang puso. Boiled puso, finely chopped; onion, chopped; garlic, chopped; sorted tawgi; flour to bind; three eggs, beaten; minced spring onions; salt and pepper to taste. To do this, saute garlic, onions, tawgi and puso. Cool the mixture before adding spring onions, flour and eggs. Shape into patties and fry until golden brown.

No matter how much our game gets mixed up in the Fiba, we end up with something good. We’ve shown we have the stuff to play the game.

Adobong puso. Finely chopped par-boiled puso, squeezed out to remove the bitter taste; two teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste; soy sauce; vinegar; two cups water; vinegar to taste; as much garlic as you like; one laurel leaf; salt and pepper or peppercorn to taste.

Saute garlic till golden brown. Add water, soy sauce, laurel leaf, lemon juice, vinegar and allow it to boil. Add the puso and cook till done, and water reduced to half or thickened.

It’s true that the Pinoy is a mixture of elements, good or bad, but the Pinoy always ends up being of good taste. Fiba or no Fiba.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 06, 2014.


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