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Lugaw Pang Mayaman, Batard sourdough and other treats worth the carb

By SHARWIN TEE, The Philippine STAR Published Apr 21, 2022 5:00 am

You’ve done the work. These past few months, you’ve sacrificed by avoiding carbs and doing your workouts to get that summer beach figure. Isn’t it time to celebrate? I’m trying to watch my sugar intake myself, so I can’t blame people who avoid carbs. I just think there are certain carbs that are worth the trouble and, if you want to have some on your cheat days, I’ve got the perfect list for you.

Nice rice

Living in the Philippines, not enjoying rice altogether is like trying to defeat the final boss of any video game. It is tremendously difficult and you will need several tries to even have a remote chance of being successful. If you have, however, been moderately successful these past few weeks and been craving for some rice on cheat day, may I suggest lugaw? Yes, there is paella, silogs and bibimbap, but there is also the Lugaw Pang Mayaman from Fat Roast and once you see this one, you will know why it’s atop my cheat-day list.

Lugaw Pang Mayaman is a flavor bomb from Fat Roast.

The (evil) geniuses at Fat Roast , a sister company of Leonardo’s Lechon, must have been undecided on how to enhance rice porridge during their brainstorming session since they decided to drop everything into the once humble lugaw. Firstly, they create a broth from lechon bones and use that rich liquid to cook the rice in, packing it with flavor. Then, they dot the porridge with strands of lechon meat and chunks of tendon. If that has your heart pumping already, I’ve barely gotten started. They top the lugaw with your usual hardboiled egg, fried garlic, calamansi and green onions, but that’s apparently too ordinary for them, so they also add in crunchy chicharon bulaklak and beef bone marrow.

Once I sunk my spoon into this bowl of madness, there was only happiness to be had. The porridge is rich, packed with umami and loads of contrasting textures. Of course, this is not a bowl you should eat every day, but if you’ve been so good working out and dieting for a while, this is definitely a proper reward.

‘Masta’ the pasta

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of YouTube videos now teaching us how to make fresh pasta. It’s something I think everyone can do at home. Combine flour, eggs and maybe a little water, and you have your pasta recipe. Even without a pasta attachment to your mixer or an old-school pasta maker, you can make your own noodles by rolling it thin and cutting it with a knife.

Cavatelli with Pecorino Cheese and Black Pepper is simple but so good.

If I’m being perfectly honest, though, even as a chef, it can be tedious to make fresh pasta, especially when we’re talking about stuffed pastas like agnolotti or ravioli and uniquely shaped ones like farfalle or cavatelli. It’s a good thing I can hook you right up.

Made by Nadine is the answer to your fresh pasta cravings. Each ordering season, she makes a variety of pastas, from noodles to uniquely shaped ones to filled ones and be sure to get your order in early as she makes small, limited batches each time. You order through the order form, pay online and then you can arrange to have the orders picked up. I ordered some cavatelli (small, shell-shaped pasta) and I also got some of her bestselling corn agnolotti (pasta folded over a stuffing) and both were not only easy to prepare but also marvelous.

I combined the 200 g of cavatelli with a cup grated pecorino cheese, about a half cup of the water the pasta was cooked in and some freshly cracked black pepper and that was all I needed to do to have a delicious dinner. The cavatelli has such a wonderful, chewy texture and it stands up well to heavier cream- or cheese-based sauces.

Corn Agnolotti in Brown Butter is a wonderfully fragrant treat.

Meanwhile, the agnolotti was even easier to prepare. As they were cooking, I browned about 2 tbsps. of butter and added a touch of dried sage. Then, when the butter was fragrant and sufficiently browned, I added in the agnolotti, tossed it for a minute or so and dinner was ready. The pasta was thin, giving the filling the platform to shine. The corn filling was sweet and salty, only made more delicious with the fragrant brown butter. Now, if that doesn’t sound like a proper cheat-day meal, what does?

Eating too much may not be good for you, but there are times when we just need some carbs in our lives.

Don’t dread the bread

I always make sure I have some Sourdough Batard at home.

If there’s one carb I cannot live without, it’s actually bread and not rice. Yes, that’s very “un-Filipino” of me, but I just can’t say “no” to good sourdough bread. Whenever I need to stock up on my sourdough, I turn to W Bakehouse and they deliver, both figuratively and literally. Making relatively small batches every week, they do have a nice variety. I particularly like their batard, with its crisp edges and pillowy-soft insides and their focaccia, which is wonderfully risen, giving it the delicious fluffiness and chewiness that I look for whenever I need comfort.

Beautifully risen: Focaccia from W Bakehouse

Date the carbohydrate

When facing an undertaking or task, I always ask myself, “ Is this worth it?” I ask the same question whenever I’m about to eat something as well. It may not be trendy and eating too much of it may not be good for you, but there are times when we just need some carbs in our lives. With these carbs, I can tell you for sure that my answer is “yes.”