The Flipino culinary arsenal is very diverse in terms of the types of cooking methods that it employs. This can be traced back to the different cultural influences that it has: dating from the pre-colonial times up to the Second World War, the dishes and cooking methods are so vast that there is a lot that you can explore and learn.
And in this article, we will be talking about a dish and a cooking method that predates the colonial period. A dish that is old as Philippine history itself since our Filipino forefathers are using and cooking this dish already even before the Spanish colonizers stepped on our beautiful shores and brought their dishes with them.
The recipe that we are about to share with you is a famous dish throughout the archipelago. Let’s go ahead and share the information, techniques, and everything you need to know for you to cook the best Kilawing Puso ng Saging there is.
What is Best Kilawing Puso Ng Saging
Kilawin is a traditional cooking method that is similar to the South American process of preparing ceviche. Ceviche is a recipe that uses raw meats of fishes and cooking them using the acids from citruses like lime, lemon, and other acidic fruits mixed with aromatics like onions, chilies, and spices to mask the intense fishy taste.
There’s a subversion of this South American style of cooking in the Philippines. The significant difference is that the Filipino version is not limited to just fish. They are also using this cooking technique for meat-based proteins like pork and beef and even vegetables like the one we have in this article.
This recipe uses Puso ng Saging (literally, banana heart) or the banana blossom. This is the part of the banana tree that turns into the banana fruit cluster when it ripens. The central part of the blossom that you will be using for this recipe is the tender, innermost core. This the only usable portion of the banana blossom, as the outermost layer is fibrous and tough.
Kilawin, or kilaw, is an age-old cooking method that our ancestors are using since pre-colonial times. They use different kinds of citrus fruits like calamansi, pomelo, lime, and other sour-tasting fruits to provide the acid to cook the dish.
Others prefer to use vinegar made from different sources such as coconut vinegar (sukang tuba) or palm vinegar ( sukang sasa); especially for folks living in the country’s coastal areas, this tree grows abundantly.
Ways to Cook
There are a few proven ways to cook this timeless recipe. You can use which one you’re familiar with. Some of us might have grown up watching our mothers use clay-pot or palayok for cooking Kilawing Puso ng Saging. And you can definitely use that if you have these traditional pots lying around in your kitchen.
But to give some head start, we made a list of other cooking methods that you can employ in preparing this unique recipe at home. Find out for yourself which one works best for you.
The instant pot is one of the many kitchen innovations that is undeniably reliable. It allows you to use single kitchen equipment for different cooking needs such as steaming, sauteing, and pressure cooking: all with a flick of a finger.
This upgraded version of the pressure cooker still uses the principle of pressure and steam to cook food quickly. The pressure build-up pushes the boiling point of water beyond its standard threshold, thus allowing the higher temperature to cook food faster.
Before putting in all the ingredients inside the pot, make sure to have your banana blossoms soaked in cold water mixed with salt. This eliminates the possibility of having a bitter-tasting output.
Mix all the ingredients in a separate bowl before putting them into the instant pot. As soon as the components absorb all the flavors, scoop them into the pot, and set the button for cooking. Make sure to use the lowest temperature setting available to avoid overcooking the blossoms, lest you want to have a soggy final product.
Suppose you do not have the luxury of modern cooking equipment, or you’re still in the phase of saving for that dream cooking appliance. In that case, that’s okay: you can even cook this unique vegetable dish using your trusted stovetop cooker.
It can be the traditional LPG-fueled stovetop cooker or the newer electric-type conduction of heat via copper or other heat-conducting elements. Use whatever pots you have at home: so long as the pan can retain a fair amount of heat, that’s fine. If you have a cast-iron skillet, then you can use that.
Proceed with the steps as the recipe suggests: saute the aromatics first to draw out their scent and flavors, then follow through with the pork, and saute until you see the pork changes color and the oil is drawn out. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients until they are cooked. Simmer until the blossoms are tender.
Other Delicious Variants and Recipes
Kilawin na Puso ng Saging is a reasonably popular dish throughout the Philippines and has many variants available. With the abundance of ingredients available, the variations for this unique culinary offering is arguably limitless.
To give you a headstart, we have a list of possible variants that you can cook at home and see which one works best for you and your family. Who knows, you might even come up with your version of it.
Kilawing Puso Ng Saging Salad
Ceviche and dishes that closely resemble this dish are usually served at the beginning of each meal, to whet the peoples’ appetite. That is why its base is typically a combination of sweet and sour vinaigrette, as these two tastes induce craving.
And for that reason, Kilawing Puso ng Salad can also be a base for a salad. The banana blossom texture makes it a suitable base for an assortment of vegetables like tomatoes, chopped onions, and other salads’ standard components.
In a small pan, boil together your choice of vinegar and coconut milk until the mixture is smooth and has no visible lumps. Then add in the tomatoes, sliced red onions, slices of ginger, salt, and pepper. Once the aromatic softens, mix in the pre-boiled banana leaves and let the mixture simmer until the flavors are well incorporated.
Tahong or mussels are standard seafood offerings, especially for communities that live in the coastal areas. Not only does it feed the families, but it also provides a livelihood for them. Mussel farming is a staple livelihood throughout the nation.
Mussels share the spotlight with oysters, in terms of fame, because of how easily one can procure them in the market. These shellfishes are so versatile that they can be cooked as a dish by themselves or as an ingredient for other recipes.
You’ll need to pre-boil the mussels before putting them into the Kilawing Puso mixture for this variant. Make sure to wash the mussels thoroughly, then boil them in salted water. After that, remove the mussels from the shells and chop them roughly.
Then mix all the ingredients thoroughly, making sure that each component is coated in the vinaigrette. Toss the mixture until they are all blended beautifully. The mussels are naturally sweet and have a firm-to-the-bite texture that goes well with the banana blossoms.
Gata or coconut milk is a common ingredient for saucy dishes as it gives that subtle richness and a hint of sweetness to any dish that's been added into. This is because the Philippines is dotted with so many coconut trees, so one should not be surprised why Filipino cuisine is generous when it comes to coconut milk-laden recipes.
Use newly pressed coconut milk instead of buying powdered or canned coconut milk. This ensures freshness, and you can see for yourself that the process is done right before your eyes.
If possible, also secure the coconut cream; this contains a concentrated amount of richness and sweetness.
For this variant, simply follow the recipes as it dictates the process. Saute the ingredients well to make sure that all the flavors are blended well. When the ingredients are tender, mix in the coconut milk and let the mixture simmer until the coconut milk is cooked.
If you’re a fan of noodle dishes, then this variant is the right fit for you. This noodle recipe goes well with the texture of the banana blossoms, and it’s filling heaviness makes it one complete meal.
Proceed with the Kilawing Puso ng Saging recipe first: follow the steps for cooking the dish. Once the banana blossoms are cooked well, scoop them out and let them cool down. Then saute aromatics and the rest of the ingredients until they are tender. Make sure to add enough liquid to soak up the sotanghon noodles as this variety of noodles soaks up a lot of liquid.
After putting in the noodles, simmer the mixture until the noodles are tender and the taste of the Kilawing Puso ng Saging is well dissipated throughout the dish itself.
The Philippine Islands are rich, not just in culture, but in foods of the same origin but are different per region. The same is true with Kilawin; each area has its regional variety that they are proud of.
Kinilaw came from the root word “kilaw,” which means to eat raw, which is true since most Kinilaw recipes are not cooked over the fire.
We want you to be the best cook that you can be. That is why we are giving you the necessary information that can help you become one. And these are time-tested tips that can help you achieve and make the best Kilawing Puso ng Saging.
- When buying vegetables, if possible, go to the market to procure the freshest deliveries. This is to ensure that you’re able to pick the best quality possible.
- Soak the chopped up banana blossoms in cold water mixed with salt. This removes the sap of the banana blossoms that cause the bitter taste in any dishes that use the puso ng saging.
If you encounter any trouble cooking Kilawing Puso ng Saging, do not fret because we got you covered. We have here a list of proven remedies when cooking this tasty dish.
- Add sugar to the mixture if your recipe tends to be too acidic. This balances out the acidity of the vinegar.
- If the Kilawing Puso ng Saging is a bit too tough, simmer it slightly to tenderize the ingredients.
Best Serve With
Kilawing Puso ng Saging is an appetizer in general: and it does its job pretty well. It teases and excites your palate to dine and enjoy other dishes. And here are some of them.
This savory and salty pork dish is made richer by the addition of bagoong. The ubiquitous shrimp paste might be an absurd condiment, but Filipinos adore it. And the acidity of the Kilawing Puso is an excellent appetizer for it.
This organ meat recipe is truly a delight, especially for people who adore exotic meat dishes. For some, this leaves an unpleasant taste, but this is something that Kilawing Puso ng Saging can take care of.
This pairing is famous during special occasions in the Philippines, such as fiestas and other important holidays. The chicken’s saltiness is highlighted and tamed at the same time by the taste of the Kilawin.
There are still a lot of traditional dishes to learn in the Philippines. Recipes that define our nation as a proud and resilient race. These character traits are very evident in our recipes as we can make flavorful and exquisite dishes out of ordinary ingredients such as banana blossoms.
And that is one of the requirements that you need to become a great cook—creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness. And we will be there to guide you and help you become one. And with all the information that we have shared with you, by now, we know that you will be able to cook this Kilawing Puso ng Saging at home.
So until next time, happy cooking.
- 1 lb Banana blossom sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon Cooking oil
- 1 pc Onion cubed
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 cup Pork cut into strips
- 1 tablespoon Fish sauce
- ½ cup Water
- 2 pcs Long green chilies cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup Vinegar
- Heat oil in a cooking pot.
- Saute garlic and onion until cook.
- Add the pork and season with fish sauce.
- Then pour-in water and stir carefully. Cover and boil for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, put the banana blossoms. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Add the vinegar and chilies then simmer for about 10 minutes over low heat.
- Transfer into a serving plate.
- Share and enjoy!