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Shopping Filipino

October 04, 2000|BARBARA HANSEN

The special ingredients for Filipino dishes can often be found in well-stocked general Asian markets, as well as in shops that are more specifically Filipino.

However, you must go to a store that carries Spanish groceries, a Cuban or Spanish market for example, for Spanish chorizo de Bilbao. Do not substitute Mexican chorizo, because it is too crumbly to slice and the flavor is different.

Filipino shrimp paste, bagoong, is an aromatic seasoning with a different flavor and texture from Indonesian or Malaysian shrimp paste. The type used in Guerrero's ginatang kalabasa is ginisang bagoong (sauteed shrimp paste), a dark-colored soft paste flavored with onion, garlic and sugar, and packed with oil in a jar.

Buko juice is young coconut juice, available canned in most Asian markets. Pinipig (pounded young rice) looks like flaked cereal. Imported from the Philippines, it adds pleasant crunchiness to desserts.

Gulaman is the Filipino name for a stick of agar-agar, a gelatinous product made from seaweed. The lightweight, translucent bars are about 10 inches long. They can be found in Japanese markets under the name kanten. Desserts made with agar-agar will be firm at room temperature. One stick sets enough liquid to make 6 servings. It must be stored in the freezer.

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