I am an Igorot, a Filipino, an earthling. My ethnicity may have made me different, but so does yours and the others out there. Our disparities may be glaring at times, however, if we look through our heart, we will notice our commonality as human beings.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sabeng... Tengba... Distinctly Igorots'

I am tempted to say sabeng is the Igorot version of the Tagalogs' and Kapampangans' burong isda but one is totally different from the other. Burong isda have cooked rice and fish as main ingredient while sabeng is of powdered rice (do I have to say uncooked?) and crab. The process of making the two are similar though and both have "soury" taste and aroma.

There are only three ingredients needed to make sabeng or tengba to some - pounded rice, freshwater crab called gaki in the dialect (talangka in Tagalog), and table salt. Others prefer to take out the crabs' feet for easier screening when preparing the sabeng for cooking but some would mix the detached feet to enhance the crab-taste of the product. Either way, the crabs should be fresh and thoroughly washed. Ordinary rice is used, well-pounded and the large granules are discarded. The are no specific ingredient ratio but the mixture has more or less 2/3 to 3/4 rice.

To make sabeng, the cleaned crabs are heavily sprinkled with salt. The salted crabs are then mixed well to the powdered rice. The mixture is packed in an earthen or glass jar, covered and left to ferment for a week or more until it is liquefied. Fortunately, sabeng can be stored for a long period so one can just take what he/she needs at a time.

Sabeng can be served as cake or thick soup mixed with vegetables and meat. But first, the paste should be sieved to remove the crab shells. The shells are either discarded or returned to the jar for further fermentation. If it is too sour or thick, water is mixed to dilute the paste and adjust the taste.

More Articles About Sabeng:
Traditional Knowledge Journal: Wanted: Gaki from Balas-iyan


elizabeth besoy said...

mayat sa kadya no wada metlang sabeng u ta umyali kau

Eichs said...

Bay-am kabsat ta no makasaa ak,iyaramedak sik-as sabeng.