Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ifugao heirloom rice displays its colorful versatility at Filipino gourmet food festival

Blue paella by Chef Jaja Andal
TAGAYTAY CITY, Philippines, 2 August—The Ifugao heirloom rice variety Dona-al was recently featured with other Filipino gourmet foods at the media launch of Discovery Country Suites’ Feast of ColoursThe main event will be on 13-14 August. 

Food connoisseurs and bloggers got the chance to relish an array of delectable Filipino dishes, among which is Chef Jaja Andal’s Blue paella, a stimulating combination of seafood and Dona-al, a traditional rice unique to Ifugao Province. Chef Jaja dyed the heirloom rice using pea flower, an herb that also has therapeutic effects, to give it a delicate blue hue that added an extraordinary visual impact to her creation.

The flower from the blue ternate was used as colorant to the Blue Paella, using the variety Dona-al as main ingredient 
Dona-al (a sub-variant of Tinawon) can better absorb the blue hue from the pea flower and is therefore an apt choice for the blue paella recipe, noted Dr. Rochie Cuevas, a grain quality specialist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

The idea behind Feast of Colours is derived from the vibrant colors and vigor of Tagaytay City’s lush landscapes. Conceptualized by Discovery Country Suites’ Chefs Anthony Raymond and Rhea Sycip, in collaboration with guest Chefs Nancy Reyes-Lumen and Jaja Andal, the Feast of Colours highlights home cooking as an integral part of Filipino customs and traditions and accentuates the Philippines’ colorful array of delicacies.
Chefs Jaja Andal, Rhea Sycip, Anthony Raymond, and Nancy Reyes-Lumen 

Having the heirloom rice recipes from the Cordillera Region in Discovery Country Suites’ Feast of Colours speaks of the successful collaboration of the Heirloom Rice Project with the players in the burgeoning niche market for these varieties.

IRRI and the Department of Agriculture (DA) are always on the lookout for partners to ensure the survival of the region's rice culture and the revered terraces, in this case, through restaurants that offer heirloom rice. The DA-IRRI Heirloom Rice Project also safeguards the link between end-users and the farmers as demand for this specialty rice is expected to increase over time.

A plate of colors: blue paella, duck adobo, crispy lapu-lapu, seafood bicol express, and muffin for dessert

The Blue paella was complemented with an equally delicious entrée from Discovery Suites’ roster of excellent chefs to create a feast of colors on the plate. Chef Anthony Raymond prepared hearty well-loved viands such as Seafood Bicol express, Crispy whole lapu-lapu, Duck adobo, and his take on Oysters Rockefeller for appetizers.

Guest Chef Nancy Reyes-Lumen cooked Mechado paprika and Rodrigo’s roast, a recipe from the well-celebrated The Adobo Book that she co-authored. Aside from the paella, Chef Jaja also served a salad of Tagaytay flowers and greens, and crab paté. The desserts by Chef Rhea included Amadeo muffins and Avocado sponge cake

Heirloom rice varieties are already a big favorite among the clients and customers of Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay City. In its Restaurant Verbena, Chef Celmar Ambida uses aromatic red-grained Imbuucan to produce Arroz loco, a paella-like creation that fuses the flavors of the heirloom rice, lobster oil with tiger prawns, clams, herb-baked oysters, sausages, crab roe, crispy chicken thighs, barbecued red-braised pork belly, salted duck egg, shaved queso de bola, and chicken fat croutons. 

Drs. Casiana Vera Cruz, Digna Manzanilla, Rochie Cuevas, Cyril Domingo, and Anne Marie Eligio from the Heirloom Rice Project attended the food festival media launch. The team mingled with the creators of the innovative heirloom rice recipes and shared information about the varieties.

Arroz Loco paired with heirloom rice

Lechon Roll is served with heirloom rice and dipping sauces
A Lechon roll is also available from the restaurant’s menu. Their version of the classic lechon kawali is served with Dona-al and with three different dipping sauces: pork liver, spiced vinegar, and pickled papaya.

Chef Celmar makes use of Tinawon varieties for his varied heirloom rice recipes at the Discovery Suites Restaurant Verbena

Guests from the media and the DA-IRRI HRP team with Chefs Jaja Andal and Nancy Reyes-Lumen, Rhea
Sycip and Anthony Raymond

HRP Project Leader Casiana Vera-Cruz and Co-Project Leader Digna Manzanilla enjoy the blue-dyed
Dona-al, cooked paella-style by Chef Jaja Andal

Talangka paté by Chef Jaja Andal

Rodrigo’s roast by Chef Nancy Reyes-Lumen from the Adobo Book

Mechado paprika by Chef Nancy Reyes-Lumen

Seafood Bicol express by Chef Anthony Raymond
A salad of colorful flowers and greens of Tagaytay

Pinoy baked rockefeller by Chef Anthony Raymond

Avocado sponge cake by Chef Rhea Sycip

Photo credits: Anne Marie Eligio, Discovery Suites, Cyril Domingo

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