Saturday, March 23, 2013

Buttermilk Maruya with Langka

Sultry afternoons are forever slick with the grease of fried meryenda crowding a bilao carried on the head of a tia, who sashayed along sidewalks accompanied by tireless, endless hollering that starts as a bass and ends in a clarinet.

I've had buchi, holed donuts, green bean lumpia, turon. And of course maruya, banana fritters dredged in sugar, eaten hot, the cooking oil from which it had recently been spluttering slowly tracing jaw and neck and the insides of my hand and arm.
Immense, rotund, odoriferous ripe jackfruits squat on pavements of market stalls in various stances - whole, slashed, sectioned, quartered, flayed and bagged - their pungent sweetness sitting heavily in the idle air. 
I stand inert, breathing in the scent that paints pictures of kineler (ginataang bilo-bilo) and turon

Turon, and maruya, don't seem to be popular in Cavite. I have yet to come across vendors carrying them, while native kakanin are present year-round. Not that I would buy, of course. There are always bunches of small saba on sale that boil into large thumbs of sweetness, and are particularly dulcet fried. What's more, the ratio of banana-to-langka in the innumerable turon I've eaten I've always found to be unfairly favorable to the saba.

So my home-made turon is pungently aromatic and sweet. And because a friend handed me a section of the sweetest tree-ripened langka from her backyard, I put langka in my maruya, too.  
I hear that in the Bicol region maruya is made with rice flour, which makes the snack unbeatably crispy. So I use rice flour in my maruya, too, but not all the time, because a few hours would irreversibly harden them. 

We make maruya as early as breakfast time, and we make a big batch so the kids, who are home the whole day now with the summer school break, can snack on them anytime they want. So it's imperative that the maruya remain softly chewy until sundown.

I like my maruya in a thick batter, cooking into discs that are like dense, chewy pancakes.  Filled with slices of saba and strips of langka, creamy with a splash of buttermilk and some butter. When cooked, they are sprinkled with brown sugar for a touch of caramel sweetness. A smear of condensed milk  brings in a new creamier level.

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Unknown said...

Where do you get your buttermilk? I've scoured the local groceries accessible to me in metro manila but couldn't find any. Can you point me somewhere in Quezon City that sells them?

Kai said...

Oh sorry I haven't been to any grocery in QC for the last 15 years or so! Maybe you could try shops selling baking ingredients? The only supermarket in Metro Manila I've seen selling buttermilk is the Metro mart at Market!Market! mall. I get my supply at Basilio' grocery at the Cavite City public market.

rp said...

i love your blog- it [and pinakbet republic, among few others] serves as a touchstone to 'home' tho i've not visited the country in like forever. i'm a pinoy in the SW USA-- this particular one has two well crafted sentences that hooked me [the first and 3rd lines]!

Kai said...

Gee thanks! there's a lot more, feel free to troll the archives!

kiellr said...

Can I have the recipe of your Maruya? Thanks mate.
Is the buttermilk you're referring to is the powdered milk kinda similar to skimmed milk?

Kai said...

Yes it's like skimmed milk but not bleached white and it dissolves better. It's a bit yellowish in hue. My maruya mixture is like that of a pancake, without the leaveners and egg. 3 cups rice flour, 3 spoonfuls buttermilk powder dissolved in a cup of water, 2 spoonfuls sugar, 3-5 pieces saba sliced thinly, a handful of sliced langka, cooking oil. Mix everything together, then heat some oil in a flat pan. Pour some of the mixture onto the pan, tilting the pan to thin it a bit. Cook until it's pale brown, then flip over gently to cook the other side. When it's done roll on sugar. I also like to not mix the banana and langka into the batter, adding them when the batter has been poured onto the pan, but it's messier and fussier.