Chef JP Anglo is known for his restless imagination when it comes to cooking. Watching him cook in episodes of our Stay-At-Home Chef, one gets to see how inventive he gets in the kitchen, usually beginning with a simple idea of a dish and then ending with a jazzed-up version that’s a celebration of flavors.
His latest experiment is part of his continuing support for the dishes his hometown Bacolod is known for—he recently introduced a piaya to the Sarsa menu. A traditional piaya, perhaps the most popular pasalubong from Negros, is made of unleavened bread stuffed with a syrupy, sticky muscovado sugar mixture. It is then flattened with a rolling pin and then cooked on a griddle.
The muscovado anchors it to Negros which is, of course, sugarlandia, but JP’s take is not a dessert piaya—although there’s definitely a sweetness to it. “Some people don’t eat as much piaya because it’s too sweet naman daw,” says the chef who learned how to make old school piaya in a small barangay in Silay 15 or so years ago. “So sabi namin pasubok nga: why don’t we make it savory?” His first attempt at it is with longganisa, but one that’s not from Bacolod—he used the variant from Tuguegarao, which tastes a lot like Vigan longganisa with its saltiness and garlicky quality.
When the chef was satisfied with the results, he tried for a second flavor, and this time he brought the dessert flatbread back to its—and his—roots. He made an inasal piaya: chopped Sarsa inasal chicken stuffed in a bread casing made from flour and shortening. The result is a great snack that is both savory and sweet. It hits just the right flavor spots that a single helping won’t be enough (a single order is a box of 8 pieces, for P480).
“I dedicate that dish to my hometown,” says Chef JP who has been deprived of his frequent visits to Negros since the lockdown in March. “I miss Bacolod so much. I wanna go home and see my folks!” In the meantime, the inasal piaya will serve as his love letter. “Maybe I can send some to them.”
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