Thursday, July 21, 2005

Etag

When cured to perfection, these pieces of meat will make your pinikpikan heavenly. The slabs of meat are rubbed with coarse salt and usually dried under the sun for about three days before they get kept in a jar called "gusi" for curing. Curing takes about 3 weeks at least and I would say 3 months at the most; otherwise the meat will start to taste bitter. (the slices of meat in the picture are only 2 days old--i sprinkled them with ground pepper)

Etag is a must have in any Igorot canao. This is actually the one that makes your otherwise bland Igorot meal superb. I do not remember very much if the Ibalois made these but I know the Bontocs do. After all, I learned how to prepare this from an "Ibontoc" friend. I do remember my father making these from his "afag" during canaos but most of the time, we were laughing at how he tried very much to become an Igorot. I must admit that from the very little memory I have about etag when I was young, the legumes he cooked with these meat tasted really good.

I am guessing that the origin of etag started way back when there was no electricity in the remote areas of the Mountain Provinces that makes freezing the meat impossible. You see the "highlanders" as we sometimes call them were hunters back in the olden days because of the Mountain Province' geographical location. I am also guessing that if they caught an "alingo" (wild boar), they would try to preserve it for as long as they can to stretch out the days when they can enjoy having meat in their meals. Of course that is just my wild guess, which might just be true. Etag is perfect with "cardis", which I was told is of soya variety.

So how do you make etag? Where I am, sale of meat is very much regulated for health and sanitary reasons so much so that the skin usually has already been discarded even before the meat make it to the shelves. However, an etag is not complete without the skin so I try to buy meat from fly-by-night Filipino meat vendors (shhh). The best part would be the bacon side but a friend of mine actually can make a good etag out of bones attached to even just the tiniest piece of meat.

Rub the meat generously with coarse salt and dry the meat. Please bear in mind that the meat will attract flies so when drying in open air, cover the meat with a screen to keep the flies and bees from contaminating the meat. If you are not very careful, the bees and flies will cause growth of worms that will render your meat worthless.

I dry mine right underneath my oven blower. In that way, I am assured that there will be no flies flying around my science project. Dry for about 3 to 5 days and then keep the slabs in a covered container undisturbed for at least 3 weeks. The meat will turn yellowish when cured.
I hope you'll have the guts to try it.

5 comments:

joel said...

manang, siguro, daytoy etag a kunam ket kasla daytay palag. ay naimas ti palag no daytay medio aganguten. suna lang diay palag ket awan asinna.

thank you itay panangpalubosmo kadakam a mangipablaak kadagiti resipem. Ikkandakanto iti magasinmi a mai-relaunchto.

bugsybee said...

Ting, when I went to a town once, the father of a friend prepared something like this - pork sprinkled with a little pepper and plenty of salt, then stored in a clay jar for several days until the pork was cured. He fried it and served it with very cold beer. Yumyum! He said they usually had this during the war so they could preserve pork even without refrigerating it. For lack of a name, we called it WTP - war-time pork. :)

eye said...

hi aling ting, it looks sinful but heavenly, pero hindi pa ako nakatikim nito. bagnet pa lang ata ang natitikman kong local meat from the north :)

ting-aling said...

Hi Joel. Thank you and you're welcome. Palag? maybe but it is my first time to hear about palag.

Oh Bugsybee..talaga, you can fry it too? I knew preserving the meat had something to do with the lack of technology then that we have now.

Ah, eye, pag-uwi ko, magpapaluto ako ng maraming bagnet. Bagnet is cooked, this is dried raw.

bugsybee said...

Alam mo Ting, yung bagnet dream na dream ko to taste it but until now, dream lang sya. I went to Manila and looked for a place to buy bagnet but couldn't find any.