Great things come in small packages. Just like the Sardinella Tawilis (or Freshwater Tawilis) a small fish which can measure up to 15 cm and weighs about 30 g and can only be found here in Batangas particularly in the Taal Lake.
A kilo of tawilis normally costs around P100-P150, depending on the season. It’s another product na tatak Batanggenyo. And we should take pride now that tawilis is becoming the main ingredient for world famous, quite sosyal, dishes with a twist.
Tawilis can be cooked in different ways: swekered, boiled, pinais (boiled and wrapped in banana leaves), or paksiw (stewed in vinegar and garlic). But through the innovativeness of some Filipino culinary experts, tawilis can now be a star of foreign dishes!
Here are five sample dishes that you can try at home. Easy to cook, easy to prepare, but definitely delicioso! (Note: These are not actual recipes, these are just ideas of dishes where you can use tawilis as an ingredient. Original recipes are available on thousands of food websites)
Most of us know the ingredients and the process of cooking spaghetti so I won’t be taking it all down here. Tawilis Pasta is just like the usual sardines pasta where instead of meatballs and hotdogs, you use sardine flakes as toppings. You can deep fry tawilis to make it crispy before incorporating it with the sauce to give your spaghetti a bit more texture.
Pizza dough of different sizes and thickness can be purchased on supermarkets so you won’t have a hard time making your own pizza dough. And again, instead of meat toppings, have our very own tawilis as an alternative ingredient.
Veggie Salad with Tawilis Flakes
This depends on the vegetables that you eat. Some are too picky when it comes to vegetables so have it your way. Basic veggie salad ingredients are lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli, croutons for added crunch, and a choice of either chicken strips or bacon bits. For a healthier option, try tossing in tawilis flakes – no worries about cholesterol (fry tawilis on vegetable oil if you’re too health concious). Dressing depends on your choice.
Have you tried bruschetta? This is a famous Italian appetizer that has been featured in various local cooking shows. I learned of the Tawilis Bruschetta from Chef Rosebud Benitez of Quickfire on QTV Channel 11 during her month-long seafood special.
Okay, a simple bruschetta recipe includes grilled bread (French bread or baguette or even pan de sal) brushed with garlic and olive oil then topped with tomatoes, red pepper, onions, mozarella cheese, basil, and meat options. But this time, you can use again the tawilis flakes. I’m sure Filipino-Italian folks would love this recipe!
Crispy Tawilis with Salsa
Fry tawilis until their crispy enough so you can dip it on salsa. You can grab a bottle of ready made salsa dip from your favorite supermarket.
Dito sa Batangas, pati isda ay bumibida!