Happy Ongpauco-Tiu’s Salted Egg Paella

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This year seems to be the year of the salted egg. From sweet desserts to savory dishes, this almusal staple has found itself in a variety of other dishes – and it doesn’t seem to be dying down soon.

As we look into everything trendy and innovative, we’re taking this new culinary favorite to new heights with a special paella recipe by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu. Talking about her inspiration for the dish, Happy notes the Filipinos’ affinity to rice, and how paella is, in her words, “one complete dish on its own.”

“It’s an independent dish. You can be creative about it. Even if it’s really from Spain, it can actually be any cuisine – using the same manner of cooking and the same content, but ingredients coming from whatever country,” she says.

It’s this versatility that seals the dish as this issue’s cover. Happy’s version is one that’s friendly to home cooks without compromising quality. The toppings include some ulam favorites such as crab and lechon kawali, while the rice base is tempered with the pleasant coarseness and light saline taste of salted egg.

Each component is cooked separately before being assembled together to ensure a balance of flavors. The result is something that’s sure to satiate your tastebuds while keeping your stomach content.

Indeed, the salted egg has gone a long way since the breakfast table – an apt metaphor for the dynamism of the local food industry today. And with this Salted Egg Paella, this ingenuity is brought to new heights.

SALTED EGG PAELLA
Preparation time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves 5 to 7

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE SALTED EGG SAUCE
6 salted eggs, peeled
1 tablespoon water
2 pieces calamansi, juice extracted
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white onion, minced
2 tablespoons annatto oil
salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE SALTED EGG PAELLA RICE
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups rice, short grain
4 cups chicken stock
salted egg sauce, to taste
pepper, to taste
paprika, to taste

FOR THE LECHON KAWALI
250 grams liempo
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks lemongrass
1 teaspoon pepper
1 laurel leaf
1 onion, chopped
1 leek stalk, chopped
1 chicken cube

FOR THE SHRIMP
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shrimps
1 sili sigang, chopped

FOR THE MANILA MUSSELS
6 mussels (tahong)
1 cup chicken stock

FOR THE CRABS
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon taba ng talangka
300 grams crabs

FOR THE ADOBONG PUSIT
50 grams garlic
50 grams ginger
50 grams onion
250 grams squid
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 teaspoon squid ink

PROCEDURE
FOR THE SALTED EGG SAUCE
1. In a food processor, purée the salted egg yolks, salted egg whites, and water. Add the calamansi juice.
2. In a sauce pot, sauté the garlic and onions in annatto oil. Then, as it browns, pour in the salted egg purée. Simmer to thicken.

FOR THE SALTED EGG PAELLA RICE
1. In a paellara, sauté the onion, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil. Add in rice and mix until rice is covered with oil.
2. Add the chicken stock, then add the salted egg paste to taste. Stir slowly until rice is cooked.
3. Season with pepper and paprika, to taste.

FOR THE LECHON KAWALI 
1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl then add the liempo. Mix well. Boil the seasoned liempo until tender.
2. Deep fry the liempo until golden brown.

FOR THE ADOBONG PUSIT
1. Sauté the garlic, ginger, and onion. Add the squid, then sprinkle with flour.
2. Add water and the rest of the ingredients, then sauté until cooked.

FOR THE SHRIMP
Heat olive oil then add the siling pangsigang and shrimp. Sauté until golden.

FOR THE MANILA MUSSELS
Blanch mussels in chicken stock until cooked.

FOR THE CRABS
1. Heat the olive oil, then add the garlic and taba ng talangka; adding in crabs until fully covered with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Sauté crabs until cooked.

TO ASSEMBLE
Placing the rice in a paellera or a bowl, arrange all the toppings accordingly on top of it. Serve.

This article/recipe was originally published in the August-September 2016 issue of Breakfast Magazine.

Recipe by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu
Special thanks to Chef Mike Yambao
Words by Pam Musni
Photography by Gabby Cantero
Assisted by Bert Santos