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Lapu-Lapu Badjao Recipe
Lapu-Lapu Badjao
by The Flavour of Manila

Christmas is just around the corner. And what a better way to celebrate it with this colorful and flavorful dish. Your love ones will surely be amazed and tummy full. Lapu-Lapu Badjao was the specialty of Badjao Inn back in 1970's.

kusina ingredients 
  • 1 large Lapu-Lapu
  • 1 kilo tahong
  • 1 kilo halaan
  • ½ kilo shrimp
  • 2 tbsp kinchay
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 8 leaves fresh basil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 red bird's eye chili
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 green pepper (siling haba)
  • ½ inch ginger
  • Banana leaf
  • olive oil
  • Aluminum foil
For garnishing:
  • 10 cloves chopped garlic
  • 8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 lemon (sliced into circles)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • olive oil
kusina instructions
1. Steam the tahong and halaan until they open. Take half the halaan, remove the meat and place in a container. Take half the tahong, remove the meat and place in the same container. Take around 3/4 of the shrimp, Remove the shells, de-vein, and then place in the same container. Allow the halaan and tahong to cool down a bit. Put them all on a chopping board and chop all finely. Place back in the container.

2. You have some remaining unshelled shrimp and half of both the halaan and tahong still in the shells. Just set them aside for now.

3. Take the green pepper (siling haba), remove the seeds and chop finely. Chop around 8 big leaves of fresh basil. Chop the same amount of kinchay. Grate the ginger finely with a cheese grater. Chop two red bird's eye chili. Put them all in the same container with the halaan, tahong and shrimp. Mix well.

4. Sautee the garlic and onion in olive oil in a pan for a few minutes on medium-low heat until the onion becomes soft and the garlic becomes slightly brown. The reason why this can't be on high heat is because it will brown the garlic quickly and make it bitter.

5. Turn the heat to medium high and then throw in the shrimp, tahong, halaan and vegetable mixture you made into the pan. Add the ground black pepper and salt and stir for several minutes until the shrimp is cooked. This is now your stuffing for the fish. Allow to cool for several minutes.

6. In the meantime, prepare your Lapu-Lapu. Cut the stomach side of the fish so you can open it up like a book. Carefully remove the backbone. You can have them do this in the market. Salt the outside of the fish on both sides.

7. Place a large piece of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Take your banana leaf and pass it carefully and quickly over the fire on your stove to make the leaf more pliable. Place the banana leaf on the aluminum foil. Place the fish on the banana leaf.

8. Open the fish and stuff the cavity with your stuffing. You don't have to jam all the stuffing in. If it's already full, you can set aside extra stuffing in the ref for the meantime (you can make tortang talong out of that if you like at a later time).

9. Carefully close the fish back up again, and if it doesn't close all the way, that's OK. Wrap the banana leaf completely over the fish, and then wrap the aluminum foil over everything. Make sure it's completely sealed in the foil.

10. Place the wrapped fish in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C for 45-50 minutes.

11. While the fish is baking, take the tahong and halaan  that's still in the shell that you set aside earlier, and remove half of the shells that do not include the meat.

12. In a pan, place a small amount of olive oil in a heated pan, add the butter and allow the butter to melt. Add the garlic and stir for a few minutes. Throw in the shrimp and stir until it is almost cooked. Throw in the tahong and halaan, sugar, salt, ground black pepper and chopped basil. Stir on high heat for a few minutes. Turn of the heat and pour in the sesame oil. Stir it well. Set aside to cool.

13. Once the fish is done, carefully remove from the oven and transfer the fish, along with the banana leaf into a serving tray. Decorate the the fish with your tahong, shrimp and halaan, along with the lemon. You can further garnish it with some kinchay leaves and pepper.

*You can squeeze the sliced lemon into the fish while eating. It gives the fish a much fresher flavor.



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