Monday, June 13, 2011

Nihayah Halal Food: Embracing Maranao's Cuisine

It's been a while since I tried the dishes made by our brothers from the Islamic faith. Thanks to Sooo Pinoy of Unilever Food Solutions we visit Nihayah Halal Food in Quiapo it is located near the Manila Golden Mosque (Globo de Oro). The restaurant is a simple "carinderia" that serves Maranao cuisine, that halal and cooked with unique spices to bring out the flavor in the beef, chicken and fish.

Halal is an Islamic term which means permissible or acceptable in accordance to the Islamic law, it usually used to describe the process done in preparing the food and medicine. The opposite of Halal is Haraam or forbidden, pork in Islam is haraam that is why it is not part of their diet.

Badak (P25). Langka cooked in yellow curry with other spices like pepper with beans. This one reminds me of the usual ginataang langka that is cooked with fish like daing or shrimp and yes it is spicy.

Beef Rendang (P60). Tender beef chunks cooked slowly in coconut milk and spices like pepper to bring that spicy kick in every bite. Other variation of rendang includes chicken and duck. It reminds me of beef caldereta which is less sauce to dry to make it spicier and no vegetables at all.

Yellow Fin Tuna Kilaw (P75). This one caught my attention aside from the fact I love tuna, is that it was prepared as kinilaw. Every chunk of tuna has a spicy and sour kick including the onions that gives that distinctive aroma making every spoon full of it with steamy rice is comforting to the stomach.

Inaluban (P70). Fried or grilled tilapia later cooked in yellow curry with coconut milk, spices and vegetables. This dish is not that spicy as I imagined but I love how curry compliments with the sweet and tenderness if the fish.

Atay Papar (P40). Chicken liver cooked in desiccated coconut shreds with spices. The desiccated coconut was the first ingredients cooked in the pan and the oil inside it comes out that is where the chicken liver is poured and sautee with other ingedients to make the liver more tender. I don't each liver that much because of the mild bitterness and starchy texture but this one it changes my views about liver that aside from grilling it, I rather cook it with dried coconuts.

Most of the Maranao's eat their meals with bare hands with no utensils. It is part of their tradition and also by faith where as Muhammad eats using bare hands, now it is included in their sunnah or habit in Islam. I considered Maranao Cuisine Sooo Pinoy because it is their dishes is less influenced by other countries and it is rooted on their faith and passes through generations.

This is part of the Sooo Pinoy campaign. It is a culinary tourism advocacy of Unilever Food Solutions on making Filipinos appreciate their rich heritage and resources, and the delicious food here in the Philippines made by passion and love. Visit and share what makes your favorite food and restaurant so Pinoy.

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