I eats me spinach

18 08 2010

Spinach on a bed of instant extra hot chili pancit canton (Filipino braised nooodles)

MY PENCHANT for these greens would surely make Popeye the Sailor Man so proud.  Honestly, these past couple of weeks when I’ve constantly had this, I did find myself singing, “I’m strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach!”  But I’m no Popeye the Sailor Man.

Our local farmer’s market (read:  palengke) has spinach in abundance.  I don’t know if “spinach” translates to Filipino.  But who cares?  So long as I get the flavor and the nutrients – iron and calcium most notably – I couldn’t be bothered dealing with translations.

Though I have to point out that unlike its American counterpart that has really rounded leaves – almost watercress-like – the locally grown variant has really ovate leaves.  Though both are really quite succulent (think cactus) and taste quite nutty.

Local spinach is sold with the roots still intact. The leaves are quite succulent, but not as rounded as their American counterpart.

The leaves have been picked and are ready for washing. At least three times!!!

See how much a "lot" of spinach wilts down after blanching!

The year and a half I lived on my own, I would always hoard these.  I would always get enough to last me a week.  But realistically, I’d go through my supply in just a couple of days.  It helped hugely that each bag was already triple-washed, ready to be eaten.  I would just rip one open, throw everything in a large wooden bowl, add to it sections of mandarin oranges, and dress the whole thing with extra virgin olive oil, a little red wine vinegar, a sprinkling of kosher salt, and a few grinds of the pepper mill.  Sometimes, I would add a splash or two of fresh orange juice.  And I would have a salad in seconds.  But I do remember that I often also ended up just munching on the baby leaves, straight from the bag, while watching TV.  And there were also times when I used spinach to substitute for kangkong (swamp cabbage) in Filipino dishes.  No wonder it took no time to deplete my weekly reserves.

Here at home, I’ve started to put spinach in most everything.  Last week, we made a stew of mung beans.  And eventhough we’d already put lots of bitter gourd tops in the dish, I served myself a portion that had the leaves from one bunch of spinach.  The sinigang na baboy (pork in a broth soured with tamarind and tomatoes, with lots of fresh vegetables) I brought for The Green Lantern the other day also had spinach.

But my favorite has got to be spinach in pancit canton (the instant kind, extra hot chili please!).  All I need each time I have a craving are a couple of packs of Lucky Me Instant Pancit Canton (extra hot chili variant), three dashes (or even more now) of McCormick Cayenne Pepper, and the leaves from one bunch of local spinach.  When the spinach is really young and fresh, it’s only the roots I remove (as I can eat the whole thing)!  I prepare the pancit canton according to my specifications, while about the same time, I finish blanching the spinach.

Look at the photos, doesn’t a pile of crunchy, bright green spinach put the perfect crowning glory to an otherwise ordinary fare?!

I stick my fork in a lot of spinach before I twirl the noodles.


This dish is a party in your mouth, both in terms of textures and flavors.


The noodles are cooked to "al dente" and the vegetables have a bite to them still. Sarrrap!


Lucky Me Pancit Canton

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.



One response

18 08 2010

Spinach is indeed yummy!

To being Popeye devotees (not really!)


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