Fish is a fixture on Filipino tables, understandably so given that we are home to over 3,000 fish species. There are many ways to go about cooking these sublime creatures. Among many other recipes, we stew them in sour broth, fry and coat them in sweet and sour sauce, smoke, grill, debone and bake, marinate in vinegar and fry, steam and top with aromatics. Fish are stars in their own right.[READ: Fish fest: The difference between daing, tuyo, and buwad]
But sometimes we are found wanting to pair them with something other than sarsa, soup, or sawsawan. Another viand perhaps? And most often than not, it’s vegetables. Fried galunggong, moreso, is notoriously versatile to pair with lots of plant-based dishes, ginisang monggo chief among them. Another exceptional tandem to galunggong’s hefty flesh is a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth ginataang kalabasa, for the latter is too velvety, so a bite begs the addition of something to chew on. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it imparts a nice saltiness—those who are all too familiar would know that vegetables are in dire need of it—just like bagoong in pinakbet.
So imagine our delight when we found that galunggong and kalabasa can actually be made into one viand and blend so seamlessly. It’s like having known it for a long time but only having the words to pin it down just now.
These patties are a melting pot of the things we love about galunggong and kalabasa: the fish’s meaty flakes embraced by the sweet starchiness of squash. It almost gives okoy (at least the kind made with kamote and peppered with krill) a run for its money. And indeed, it can be had on its own. But in a quest to pay homage to the duo of galunggong and kalabasa as separates, we thought it best to pair with rice and slathered with a creamy tomato-based sauce.
Galunggong squash patties
For the patties
1 cup cooked galunggong (about 2-3 pcs.), flaked
1 cup boiled squash, cubed
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 pc. red onion, minced (reserve half for sauce)
5 cloves garlic, minced (reserve half for sauce)
For the sauce
2 pcs. tomato, julienned
¼ cup tomato sauce
⅔ cup cream
¼ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Spring onion for garnish
Steamed rice for serving
- In a mixing bowl, add flaked galunggong and combine with onion, garlic, kalabasa, egg, and flour, and season with salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients and form patties using any round patty mold.
- Over medium fire, heat oil in a frying pan and fry patties until golden brown (2 to 3 minutes on each side). Transfer on a cooling rack to drain excess oil.
- Using the same pan with some of the frying oil, sauté garlic, onion, and tomato for 3 minutes until everything is soft and aromatic. Add tomato sauce, cream, and water. Let it gently simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with rice and garnish with spring onion. Enjoy!