The weather continues windy, chilly, and stormy in this part of the world. While it’s the sort of weather that pretty much shoots commuting to hell and then some, it has its compensations.
For one thing, it’s quite conducive for naps and snuggling against something – or someone – cuddly. (Lucky you if you have the latter!) For another, it brings out the sort of food I really enjoy: thick soups, substantial stews, and porridge in both sweet and savory forms.
Lomi, that thick, rich, seafood-based noodle soup, has long been one of my favorite rainy-day treats. Traditionally, lomi is made with a seafood stock: fish bones, prawn heads, along with crab shells and cracked crab claws or lobster tails are simmered with salt, pepper, bay leaves, ginger, and garlic until all the flavor has been leached into the liquid. The resulting stock is then simmered down until it’s thick and the flavors have been concentrated into an umami explosion.
The stock is then thickened further with the addition of a beaten egg. (The principle is similar to egg-drop soup.) Thick, chewy miki noodles are dropped into the thickened broth along with finely shredded Savoy cabbage, carrots, and scallions. In many homes, particularly in Central Luzon, chicken gizzards and livers are added along with small shelled prawns, shredded chicken breast meat, slivers of fatty pork, and quartered fish balls. Those who want to swank the soup up also add hard-boiled quail eggs or sliced century eggs before serving.
Lomi is something I rarely have at home, seeing how my mother is allergic to most of its components and she can’t abide its rather fishy aroma. Once in a while, however, my paternal great-uncle can be persuaded to whip up a steaming cauldron full of this ambrosial delicacy. Most of the time, though, I have to get my fix at a restaurant. It may not be as homespun or as chunky as a homemade bowl of good stuff, it’s still better than nothing.
Other people will choose chocolatey champorado or a savory arroz caldo made yellow with ginger and kasubha (native saffron) to satisfy rainy-day cravings. Others will go for the laissez les bon temps rouler vibe of Chinese congee with a veritable buffet of add-ons. And there are people like me who relish the idea of curling up in a cozy spot with a ginormous bowl of noodle soup. Really, is there really any better treat on a rainy day? 🙂