Ginisang Bagoong is a Filipino condiment or side dish prepared with fermented minute shrimps sautéed in garlic and onions then cooked with sugar and chillies.
Bagoong is such an important ingredient in the Philippines, this pungent smelling salty fermented minute shrimps are an essential ingredient to many of our popular dishes like Kare Kare, Pinakbet, Binagoongan and Bicol Express to name some. They are also used as a dip or topping on items like green mangoes, jicama, boiled okra, or grilled eggplants. For the less fortunate ones this can even be a dish on its own since a small tablespoon of this can go a long way with freshly steamed rice, I had experienced this and probably most of the Filipinos out there.
For the first timers, this thing is quite revolting, its worse than sniffing fish sauce for the first time but it’s one secret weapon to make some Filipino dishes shine. If you visit any Asian grocery and pass by the Filipino section you will notice two distinct types of bottles, one is vividly pink and the other is deeply dark red. The pink shrimps are its raw version while the dark red are already cooked with spices.
The cooked bagoong is regular item on our pantry, similar to ketchup to many but there was one time we ran of them, I quickly ran to the Asian grocery, but they only have the pink ones. I rarely use them as I don’t want to cook it at home due to its pungent nature as you cook them, it’s so smelly, I bet if you made one at home, the neighbours would notice but I don’t have choice this time since we prepared Kare Kare and some of our friends are coming for dinner, there is no other option but to buy the pink ones and cook them at home.
It was quite some time before the last time I made one, but the recipe is quite simple, so if you ever been into this situation, keep this recipe handy, it’s one of the best ginisang bagoong I made to date.
Place raw bagoong alamang in a fine mesh sieve, quickly rinse it in running cold water to remove excess salt. Drain then set aside.
In a wok add around three tablespoons of oil, place in medium heat then sauté garlic until golden brown in colour.
Add shallots then continue to cook in low heat for a minute.
Add sugar then let it caramelize.
Now add the bagoong, vinegar, red chillies, and green chilli, stir fry in medium heat for 5 minutes. You may add a bit of water, so it does not dry out. Once the consistency is thick, season with freshly ground black pepper. Turn the heat off then its ready.