Balao-balao or burong hipon is made from fermented rice and shrimp use as dipping sauce for grilled, roasted or fried fish and vegetables like okra or eggplant. This shrimp buro is almost the same in preparation as the traditional fish buro where fish and rice is mixed and fermented. Buro (fermented fish or shrimps) is very popular in Pampangga but there are other provinces that also makes this kind of delicacy. If you know those provinces, please share it by commenting below.
A Delectable Journey with Balao-Balao Recipe
If you’re a culinary enthusiast or just someone eager to explore the diverse world of Filipino cuisine, you’re in for a treat. Today, we delve into the enchanting realm of Balao-Balao or Burong Hipon, a shrimp-infused delight that’s bound to tantalize your taste buds. Let’s embark on a culinary adventure and uncover the secrets behind the preparation and cooking of this mouthwatering delicacy.
Discovering the Essence: What is Balao-Balao?
Balao-balao or burong hipon is a unique creation hailing from the vibrant culinary landscape of the Philippines. Essentially, it’s a concoction of fermented rice and shrimp, a perfect companion for grilled, roasted, or fried fish, and an array of vegetables like okra and eggplant. Originating in Pampanga, this shrimp buro shares its preparation roots with the traditional fish buro, where fish and rice blend seamlessly and undergo a delightful fermentation process.
Ingredients: The Symphony of Flavors
Before we dive into the culinary process, let’s take a moment to acquaint ourselves with the star players in this gastronomic symphony.
Shrimp: Begin by washing the shrimp meticulously under running water, ensuring they are clean and free of impurities. Drain them well and place them in a large bowl.
Salt: The salt acts as the catalyst for the fermentation process, infusing the shrimp with a savory depth. Mix it generously with the shrimp, using gloved hands for an even distribution.
Rice and Bamboo Shoots: Elevate the texture and taste by introducing rice and bamboo shoots into the mix. The rice adds a wholesome base, while bamboo shoots contribute a unique crunch. Blend them seamlessly with the shrimp.
Crafting the Magic: Making Balao-Balao
Now, let’s uncover the step-by-step process of crafting this culinary masterpiece.
Layering the Mixture: Pack the shrimp, salt, rice, and bamboo shoot mixture in layers into a clean, dry 1-2 gallon jar. This step ensures an even distribution of flavors and kickstarts the fermentation journey.
Cover and Wait: To let the magic happen, cover the mouth of the jar with a clean plastic sheet and secure it with the lid. Now, the jar needs a cool spot to ferment for the next 3 days, allowing the flavors to meld and intensify.
Refrigeration Touch: After the 3-day fermentation period, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. This step halts the fermentation process, preventing it from going too far. The result? A perfectly balanced Balao-Balao ready to grace your table.
Savoring the Delight: Cooking Balao-Balao
With the fermented mixture in hand, let’s move on to the culinary finale – cooking the Balao-Balao.
Batch Cooking: To ensure optimal results, cook the mixture in batches rather than all at once. For this recipe, start with 1/4 of the mixture.
Saute Brilliance: In a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over low heat, infuse the dish with aromatic brilliance. Heat oil and sauté garlic and onions until the garlic turns a light brown hue, and the onions wilt.
Tomato Tango: Introduce tomatoes to the sautéed mix, allowing them to simmer until tender. Stir continuously to prevent sticking.
Balao-Balao Fusion: Add 1/4 of the fermented rice mixture to the pan, cooking it for about 10 minutes. Stir continuously to blend the flavors seamlessly.
Seasoning Symphony: Adjust the seasoning to perfection, ensuring the dish is not overly salty. Let it cool until the aroma reaches a harmonious balance, not too overpowering but just right.
A Culinary Symphony: Serving Balao-Balao with Finesse
Now that the Balao-Balao is cooked to perfection, it’s time to present it with finesse.
Pairing Perfection: Serve this delightful creation with fried, charbroiled, or grilled fish. Add a side of steamed vegetables and hot rice for a complete and satisfying dining experience.
As you embark on this culinary journey with Balao-Balao, remember that the key to its exquisite flavors lies in the patience of fermentation and the artistry of cooking. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice, this recipe invites you to savor the essence of Filipino cuisine and create a memorable dining experience for yourself and your loved ones. So, set your table, indulge your senses, and let the flavors of Balao-Balao transport you to the heart of Filipino culinary excellence.
How to Cook Balao-Balao or Burong Hipon Recipe
- 1/2 kilo fresh 2 inch long shrimp alive if possible
- 1 cup sea salt
- 5 cups rice boiled with 10 cups water until cooked, cool after cooking
- 1/4 kilo young bamboo shoots sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1/4 kilo fresh tomatoes coarsely chopped
How to make Balao-Balao or Burong Hipon:
- Wash shrimp in running water, then drain well. In a large bowl, mix shrimp with salt.
- With gloved hands, add rice and bamboo shoots. Mix with shrimp.
- Pack mixture in layers into a clean, dry 1 - 2 gallon jar.
- Cover mouth of jar with a clean plastic sheet, then cover lid.
- Set aside in a cool place to ferment for 3 days.
- After 3 days, keep it in the refrigerator so it does not ferment too much.
How to cook Balao-Balao or Burong Hipon:
- Cook the mixture in batches, not all st the same time. For this recipe use 1/4 of the mixture. In a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over low fire, heat oil and saute garlic and onions until garlic is light brown and onions are wilted. Add tomatoes and simmer until tomatoes are cooked, stirring to prevent sticking to bottom of pan.
- Add 1/4 of the fermented rice mixture and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring continuously. Adjust seasoning, it must not be too salty. Let cool until the smell is not too strong. Serve with fried, charbroiled or grilled fish, steamed vegetables and hot rice.
Cooking Tips of Balao-Balao recipe:
- Perfectly Balanced Fermentation: Ensure an optimal fermentation process by packing the shrimp, salt, rice, and bamboo shoots in layers, promoting an even distribution of flavors. Allow the mixture to ferment in a cool place for precisely 3 days, striking the right balance between enhanced taste and preventing over-fermentation.
- Mastering the Sauté Technique: When cooking the fermented mixture, sauté garlic and onions over low heat until the garlic is light brown and onions are wilted. Add tomatoes and stir continuously, ensuring they are cooked to perfection. This meticulous sautéing process forms the flavorful base of the Balao-Balao.
- Seasoning Sophistication: Achieve culinary perfection by carefully adjusting the seasoning during the cooking process. Regularly taste the dish to ensure it's not overly salty, striking a harmonious balance that allows the natural flavors to shine through without overwhelming the palate.