Lasang Pinoy 11 has a theme that’s close to every Pinoy’s heart. Summer was always a great time to just enjoy being a kid. I decided to finally feautre a family favorite from my dad’s side of the family. He remembered it was usually served warm but my mother decided it was too refreshing and made it a very cold drink and this is how I remember it. Maybe you can try and guess what it is from the photo above, before moving to the next page…
A lot of our childhood summers were spent at a private beach that belonged to a maternal relative. The only “facility” in this private strip of beach tucked below the national highway from Olongapo City to the town of Subic was an old water pump, an enclosed toilet and a bathing area next to the toilet, no plumbing whatsoever. I’m sure you can clearly see this in your head if you’re a true Pinoy. We had free access to this beach year round and the caretaker would be waiting for us even without prior notice (or so I thought). Surprisingly, I cannot recall ever sharing our time there with any other of our Zambales relations…
So it was, my cousins and I had the beach all to ourselves. We would stay out in the water and we turned darker as the day wore on. No admonition from our mothers would get us out of there….we had our best playmates, the sand and the water, our incongruously large “salbabida” that we all tried to fit into – at once – and the glorious sun on our little faces.
The ride home to Quezon City was always torture because our clothes were rubbing on our sunburns. I can still remember how that feels and how excited I would get when the sunburn was starting to peel after a week. There was never time to heal enough before school started cause we would go back to the beach in Calapacuan, Subic every chance we got. I’d always go back to school brown as a monkey…but happy as a clam.
Back to my featured summertime cooler, it’s a cucumber, pinpig and coconut milk concoction which I haven’t encountered elsewhere. It’s refreshing, different and a perfect thirst-quencher on a hot summer day in the tropics.
We would stop whatever game we were playing with our neighbors or cousins to have this PPG (pipino, pinpig, gata) quencher. You had to have it soon as it was ready lest the toasted pinipig became soggy. The contrast of the crispy pinpig and the soft cucumber strips is my most vivid memories of this drink which I’ll name after my father.
Unfortuantely for me, the only pinipig available at the Filipino Sari Sari Store was the same Vietnamese pinipig I featured in an earlier post. Rather than spoil the whole thing, I went ahead and substituted the pinipig with some crushed cornflakes to simulate the crunch and added just a dash of vanilla. It’s not the same thing of course. Good pinipig has this delicate, sweet aroma and flavor, almost like vanilla. I love the subtlety of that pinipig flavor, only the fresh ones have it of course. If pinipig is not used right after processing, it loses that delicate flavor pretty fast.
Hope you get a chance to try this with good pinipig grains someday..but if you’re in a pinch, try cornflakes or rice crispies.
2 tbsps. pinpig/cornflakes or rice crispies
1 c. fresh coconut milk, diluted with water on a ratio of 1:1
sugar, to taste
dash of vanilla
plenty of ice
Prepare the cucumber by cutting it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and grating the meat into strips. If you don’t have the Philippine grater we use for these things, peel your cucumber, cuti in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. The grate into strips with your regular cheese grater. Set aside in the refrigerator.
In a hot pan, add a bit of cooking oil, toast the pinipig until it just starts to brown. Set aside to cool.
In a tall glass, stir in the sugar and dash of vanilla with the coconut milk and stir. Mix in the cucumber strips then add plenty of crushed ice. Top with the toasted pinpig/cornflakes/rice crispies.
Serve with a straw and a long-handled sundae spoon. Serves 2.
TIP: I used a blender to combine the coconut milk, sugar and ice and made it a frothy drink just this once. Oh, and I served it in a “sexy” glass…I hope no one from the family objects!