April 26, 2011

Alugbati Salad | Recipe

It takes balls to eat and enjoy alugabati leaves.

By the way, it's English name is Malabar nightshade.  In the Ilocos region, people add the leaves to their dinengdeng and pinakbet recipes, but then again, not too many are crazy about alugbati, even Ilocano themselves.  It's probably because of the slimy, earthy taste.

Staunch enemies of this humble, underrated vine say the leaves are only good as a poultice for boils.  Fine.  But if you ever come across alugbati leaves in the market, know that they make a wicked salad.  

Alugbati and sardines also make a nice sauce for pasta (more on that later).  

So for this simple salad recipe, forget the lettuce for the meanwhile.  The alugbati's dark green and slightly shiny leaves are loaded with vitamins and minerals.  They're easy to grow besides.  Just stick a stem into the soil and before you know it you've got a thriving vine in the garden.

A handful of Alugbati leaves, washed and patted dry
2 Tomatoes, sliced
1 can Pineapple tidbits (reserve the syrup)
1/3 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Toasted Cashew, chopped 

1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
a squeeze of Calamansi
Syrup from the can of Pineapple tidbits
Freshly-ground pepper
A pinch of Salt

1. Steam the alugbati leaves for about 3 minutes, blanch afterwards.  (You might have to separate the leaves which have stuck together while being steamed.)

2. In a bowl mix the alugbati leaves, tomatoes, pineapples, raisins, and cashew.

3. Drizzle with the dressing.

4. Enjoy!

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