Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Spaghetti (Filipino-style)

The Filipino style spaghetti is a sweet one, sometimes with a little spiciness. It is almost always present in a party for kids, together with other party standards such as barbecue, meatballs, fried chicken, and buko or fruit salad.

I grew up loving this spaghetti.  And while I now prefer the "real deal" spaghetti, once in a while I crave that childhood spaghetti...

Here is how I make mine -

1 large onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
500 grams ground meat
10 slices of spiced ham, cut into squares
4 to 5 pieces (regular) red hotdogs, sliced
2 cups crushed tomatoes, with all its liquid
2 cups tomato sauce (or mix with banana ketchup)
diced pimientos, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup, drained
2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
dried chili flakes
1/2 cup cooking cream
grated cheddar cheese
about 500 grams spaghetti, cooked al dente

Saute onions and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Add ground meat and cook until browned.  Add spiced ham and hotdogs.  Pour in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce (and banana ketchup, if using).   Add diced pimientos.  Cook to a gentle simmer.  Season with sugar (if using banana ketchup use 2 tablespoons sugar only), salt and pepper, and chili flakes, to preferred taste.  Cook again to a gentle simmer, stir pot occasionally.  Lastly add cooking cream and heat thoroughly to cook.  Pour over cooked spaghetti noodles.  Top with grated cheddar cheese.

Personal notes -

1.  Truth is, I don't use banana ketchup anymore, ever since it occurred to me that bananas are yellow so how could the ketchup made from bananas be red?  But I understand that traditionally, banana ketchup is an ingredient of the Filipino-style spaghetti.

2.  I always add hotdog slices (the tender, juicy kind), but for some strange reason, this particular time, I forgot to get a pack of hotdogs from the supermarket so when I got home... no hotdogs, obviously!

3.  the diced pimientos can be omitted, but seriously, the dish tastes better with it added in.

4.  a whole cup of cream can be used, the sauce will taste a bit sweeter and milkier (which is not necessarily a bad thing)

5.  While I love the Filipino style spaghetti that's really, really sweet, served in a couple of establishments, I just can't bring myself to cook my home made version to be as sweet as the "originals".

In any case, my homemade version is yummy, but nothing really beats the original!!!

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