Sunday, October 14, 2012

CAMOTE-QUE


CAMOTE QUE - - is a popular Filipino snack food, a portmanteau of the words 'camote' (sweet potato) and 'barbeque'. In 1565, the Spaniards brought camote to the Philippines from Mexico via the galleon trade but they didn't know that camote could be cooked camote-que style. The native Filipinos cooked the early form of camote-que by roasting camote with the skin over open fire using bamboo skewers...



The use of bamboo skewers for roasting rootcrops was an ancient tradition we learned from our Indonesian ancestors dating back about 7,000 years ago.

After roasting, the camote was dipped into a raw form of muscovado sugar made from sugarcane. Sugarcane was already growing all over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao long,long before Magellan discovered the Philippines in 1521. By the time the Spaniards came, the early Filipinos were already enjoying a form of delicious and nutritious sweetener called 'pulot' used in their suman and kakanin ( various rice cakes).

When the Spaniards tasted the sweetened roasted camote, they liked it and called it 'camote endulzicada'. Other variations included frying the camote first with fresh coconut oil before dipping into the sweet sauce and putting on the bamboo skewers for easy handling.

When the Americans came at the turn of the century, they coined the word 'camote-que' for the same simple sweetened camote delicacy that they too enjoyed eating. Today, camote remains to be a staple Filipino crop, symbol of high nutrition and extraordinary good taste.

Here is the way I cook my camote-que.


Ingredients:
3 c camote (sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into thick slices
1/2 c sugar, muscovado sugar or crushed panocha
oil for frying
bamboo sticks (skewers)

Procedure:
1. In a frying pan, fry camote until golden brown. Drain and set aside.
2. Remove oil from pan leaving about 2 Tbsp oil. Put back the fried camote pieces into the pan. Add sugar (according to desired sweetness) Cooking over low heat, allow the sugar to melt, mixing slowly so the camote becomes coated with the melted sugar. Remove from fire.
3. Arrange camote pieces in bamboo skewers and serve.



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