I’m ecstatic to present a recipe from guest blogger, Charmaine aka “The Raw Manileña“. Charmaine mind-blowingly veganized a Filipino delicacy called “Itlog na Maalat” or Salted Eggs.
In the Philippines, the eggs uniquely complement as a side dish to any meal. Now, Charmaine has transformed “Itlog na Maalat” to a vegan treat. Not only that, she has also given us a little back story to the culture of eating such eggs.
ITLOG NA MAALAT, VEGANIZED
By: Charmaine D. Mercado aka “The Raw Manileña”, a raw foodie who lives in Manila Philippines.
It’s pretty much a part of Philippine culture to eat duck eggs. Children are fed balut (fertilized duck egg) and penoy (unfertilized duck egg) at a very young age. My own folks and grandparents used to give me both eggs whenever they heard balut vendors announce their presence as they made their nocturnal rounds in the neighborhood. I never ate the hairy sisiw or duckling of the balut though as it looked too disgusting for me. Either my dad or my mom ate my leftover. It weirded me out that they’d throw out the egg white and eat the dead baby duck instead whereas I’d be doing the opposite (yes, I liked eating even the hard and tasteless egg white with a bit of rock salt). I remember always cringing at the sight of them eating their own sisiw and mine. I always said ewww, how can both of you like eating that? Gross! I had been making that comment since I was a pre-schooler up to my late twenties, just before my conversion to veganism. My parents initially kept answering because it tastes good, but since I was never satisfied with their reply they just learned to ignore my tiring, disapproving remark for more than two decades.
When I reached college I switched to itlog na maalat (salted duck egg) as my duck egg of preference. I just got tired of swinging from balut to penoy most of the time. I remember pairing tomatoes and salted duck egg with barbecue pretty often back in my old days as a meat head in the UP Diliman campus. Sometimes I just ate the tomato and duck egg combo with cooked white rice and I’d already feel full on this seemingly light meal.
Salted duck egg is cured with salt and coated with mud (garden soil plus water) for more than 2 weeks. It is then boiled and dyed afterwards. The shell of salted duck egg is dyed purplish-red to differentiate it from other duck eggs such as balut and penoy (balut is usually marked with a black Pentel pen while penoy is completely unmarked and uncolored).
Though I ate it a lot, itlog na maalat wasn’t exactly my favorite duck egg. I moved on to century egg after college, a classier type of duck egg that sold for around 50 bucks a pop the last time I ate it. I still ate kamatis at itlog na maalat though whenever I could. I’ve been racking my brain since 2007 for a raw vegan version of itlog na maalat until I was finally able to figure it out late last year. I have no luck yet with century egg. Maybe I’ll come up with a raw vegan version in a few years. But for now I’d have to be satisfied with eggless itlog na maalat.
I never thought the recipe of vegan salted duck egg would be so uncomplicated. The duck egg stand-in for my vegan version of the itlog na maalat makes use of two kinds of fermented soy foods. Some countries in Asia are popular for their own fermented soy products. The Indonesians have tempeh, the Chinese have fuyu, and the Japanese have miso, tamari, and natto. Unbeknownst to many the Philippines also has its own fermented soy product known as tahori (also called tahuri, tahuli, and tahore).
Tahori is made by curing tofu with nothing but salt in sealed cans for several months. To me tahori doesn’t just taste like the egg white of itlog na maalat. The texture is also the same. The other ingredient for the vegan duck egg is unheated dark miso. Here’s the recipe. It’s so simple I don’t know why I didn’t figure it out much earlier!
Raw Vegan Recipe for Kamatis at Burong Itlog na Maalat
- chopped fresh tomatoes
- fresh tahori, diced into small pieces
- pinches of dark soy miso (I used Yamataka brand)
The taste of dark soy miso for me is pretty close to that of fermented duck egg’s mantecado, or its hard, oily yolk. Tahori in my tongue’s opinion tastes exactly like the uber-salty egg white of the itlog na maalat. I can’t think of better substitutions than these two for my raw vegan salted duck egg.
Tahori and miso are both extremely salty to my taste, so if you look at the photos you’d see that I was very sparing in adding them to the tomatoes. In my neck of the woods tahori is always sold fresh. I have never seen it sold in cans. If only canned tahori is available in your side of the planet then you can use that instead, though I’m not sure if it is just as salty as the fresh one since I have never tried canned tahori before. As for the dark miso I don’t think those that aren’t soy-based will cut it. I have tried Eden Food’s dark miso paste and it didn’t taste like salted duck egg yolk to me. Also, make sure that your miso has no preservatives, monosodium glutamate, and non-vegan ingredients such as bonito or shrimp extract.
Eat vegan tomatoes and salted duck egg with plain cauliflower, jicama, or parsnip rice for a raw meal. You would need at least 2 cups of raw rice because the tahori and miso are really salty. You can also eat it with cooked white or brown rice and a compatible viand such as grilled eggplant or vegan bangus (milk fish) if you prefer a heavier cooked meal. Serve on banana leaves and eat with bare hands for an authentic and rustic Pinoy dining experience!
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