Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Vida's Champoy (Prunes in Balsamic Vinegar)

When I was in grade school in the Philippines, we used to go to the so called annex of the school I was attending, St. James Academy in Malabon Rizal, for our recess.  After I ate my "baon" or food I brought from home, I would spend a few centavos to buy snacks from Mang Pilong's store.  One of my favorites was the so called "hostia" or red host like Chinese candy.  I love the resulting red lips I got from eating it. The other goodies I liked to buy was the champoy specifically the red dry salty sour ones shown in the picture below.  They came in small packets since you could only savor a few at a time for they were really sour.  It was easy to tell who was eating this champoy from the grimace in his or her face.

Champoy is one of the food that the Chinese in the Philippines have shared with us Filipinos. There are different varieties and the one shown below is one of the special ones you buy from Chinatown in the Philippines.  It is made of plums that had been further sweetened and preserved.  It has a slight sour taste but the sweetness predominates.  Each sweetened plum is individually wrapped.  It is pricey as compared to the red champoy I bought from Mang Pilong's store during recess.

In this blog post, I am sharing a recipe for a version of this special champoy.   I obtained it from my childhood friend, neighbor and classmate from St. James Academy, Vida Rivera Isip.  It is made from readily available dried prunes from a box from the grocery.  She shared this "Vida's Champoy" with some of her classmates from St. James Academy who are now residing in the United States during their mini reunion at her beautiful house in Los Angeles in 2008.  I have shown pictures below from that heartwarming reunion.  Beautiful memories!

When I asked Vida for the recipe of the Champoy, she emailed me the following:

Hi Ondes!
Maraming salamat talaga sa lahat!! Very simple and easy ang champoy made of regular prunes. Soak in balsamic vinegar, just enough, not too wet and put salt to taste. Magaagaw na ang sweet (from the natural sweetness of the prunes) and salty and soury taste. Bahala ka na sa amount ng saltiness na desire mo. Walahhh, tapos!
Take care and God bless!
When I had a hankering for champoy recently I searched for Vida's email and prepared it according to the simple instruction she gave.  As she said in her email the natural sweetness of the prunes and the sour taste of the balsamic vinegar had a give and take relationship (my loose translation of the Tagalog word "Magaagaw").  Do try this easy recipe and savor the delicious addictive sweet and sour taste of this popular snack.

Vida's Champoy

  • Dried prunes from a box or plastic container from the grocery
  • balsamic vinegar (enough to cover the prunes)
  • salt according to taste
Place the prunes in any glass bottle you have and pour enough balsamic vinegar to cover the prunes.  Add salt according to your taste.  Place overnight in the fridge.  Enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment