Bangkong Kahoy Valley in Dolores, Quezon is blessed with clean air and water, including wonderful buffer zones and high humidity that give the greatest chance of growing the best oyster mushrooms ever. The mystical air in the valley puts you in a quiet trance and you realize why people gravitate here.
Three years ago, mushroom growing was introduced to Bangkong Kahoy as a sustainable livelihood program for locals who were resorting to exploiting the forest to make a living. After several setbacks, including typhoons and pest infestations, the farmers are successfully growing oyster mushrooms, with shiitake mushrooms soon to be introduced.
Dion Pullan, an active member of Spread Organic Agriculture in the Philippines (SOAP), recently invited Chef Ronnie Guance of Bacolod to visit Bangkong Kahoy and develop recipes, like pickled mushrooms and this mushroom kinilaw, that the community can use so that nothing goes to waste and as an additional source of income.
Serves 8 to 12
1 kilo fresh oyster mushrooms
4 cups natural vinegar
1/4 cup rock salt
1/2 kilo onion bulb, chopped
1/2 kilo ginger, chopped
1/4 kilo chili pepper, chopped
1. Wash the freshly harvested mushrooms thoroughly. Cut the mushrooms into desired sizes.
2. Blanch in boiling water for 20 minutes. Immediately rinse in ice-cold water for 10 minutes then drain in a colander.
3. Boil vinegar and salt. Add mushrooms to the boiling vinegar solution and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add chopped onions, ginger and chili pepper before removing from heat. Mix thoroughly and let cool.
5. Bottle cooled mushroom kinilaw. Pasteurize for 20 minutes in a steamer.
Originally published in FOOD Magazine, Issue 1, 2015. Article by Sandra Celi, recipe by Ronnie Guance, photograph by Justin de Jesus, and styling by Tina Concepcion-Diaz. Follow Food on Instagram and like their official Facebook page.