I’ve been here in Thailand for eight months already and the last time I was home was in August last year. The bane of living far from family is the bouts of homesickness I occasionally endure. While Thailand and the Philippines have almost the same vegetables such that I can cook most Filipino food I want, there are just some Filipino dishes that brings me closer to home. One that I might call comfort food. Law-uy or bas-uy (a Cebuano soup dish) takes me back to my childhood. It is a lemongrass-based soup with seafoods and leafy green vegetables. I have previously talked about law-uy.
There’s a street market near my house that is open in the afternoons. It is a family-run affair and they sell vegetables, meat and ready-to-eat viands. One day, I was so surprised to find they sell alugbati or Malabar night shade which is a very important component in the makings of a good law-uy. Just the sight of that bunch of alugbati made me drool! To make the long story short, I bought a bunch of alugbati, several stalks of lemongrass and a piece of long eggplant. To make the soup more tasty, I first make a broth of fried fish and lemongrass before adding the rest of the vegetables. In this case, I kept the law-uy simple – just alugbati and eggplant. Oh, and plenty of rice, please.
1. In a pot, bring to the boil about 1 1/2 cups of water. When boiling, add the fish and lemongrass and simmer for a few minutes till broth becomes flavorful.
2. Add the eggplant and alugbati and simmer till vegetables are cooked.
3. Season to taste with fish sauce then serve while hot.