* "the Filipino taste" - a new foodblogging event
highlighting Filipino food!
(edited to add that I posted a full recipe for polvoron here)
Once in a while I have a Filipino Identity Crisis.
This never happened when I lived in California, particularly while I was in San francisco. Filipino stores! Filipinos, walking the streets! Filipino family potlucks, every other week!
But out here in the Vast Whiteness that is the American Midwest, it might be months before I am face to face with someone else who pronounces pancit correctly and whose first comment on learning my ethnicity is not "I once had a nurse from the Philippines" or "Ha ha - do you have a lot of shoes?" or "Oriental women are very beautiful".
And then, if I start to think about how only an obscene amount of alcohol can get me karaoke, and about how I actually have to look up the recipe for chicken adobo, and worst of all, my shameful Tagalog illiteracy, I succumb to an ethncity panic attack.
Am I Filipino enough?
The cure: Go back home to California. Eat lumpia. Stock up at the Filipino store.
The next best cure: Make polvoron.
Polvoron is unlike any other dessert that I know of: a fragile cake of sweet, buttery powder. How polvoron was invented, I don't know; I suspect it was a way to use up the huge amounts of powdered milk that was brought in during the American occupation.
But what I like about polvoron is that much like making lumpia, making polvoron can be a group activity. Picture it: my mom standing over a large wok, efficiently forming firm little cakes, and me and my siblings wrapping them in tissue paper squares and stacking them into a box.
I'm able to make polvoron on my own because it's such a simple process.
Step one: Toast the flour in a skillet until light brown.
Step two: Mix in sugar, powdered milk (infant formula, oddly enough, works too) and melted butter until it has about the consistency of damp sand. Some recipes suggest lemon extract or vanilla extract, or toasted rice, or other such additions, but I'm a purist.
Step three: Shape them into compact bite-size cakes using a polvoron shaper. A tiny ice cream scoop, which we normally use for chocolate truffles, also worked.
Step four: Wrap them in tissue paper.
A little taste of Filipino-ness ...