December 18, 2010


lukot-lukot in Chavacano (Zamboangueño)
tagaktak in Cebuano
ja in Suluanon, Joloanon, and Tausug
amik in Davao del Sur

tinagtag (ti-nág-tag; Maguindanaon snack) [n.] rice fritter. This native snack of Maguindanaons looks like a triangular net of fine and curly strands of browned pancit bihon. This is similar to Cebuano’s tagaktak that is also folded into triangle. 

This delicacy is made with finely ground rice, sugar and some water, mixed well to become a thick but flowing batter. The batter is placed in a pangulayan (a native coconut shell strainer). The batter would pass through the tiny perforation drilled at the bottom of the coconut shell, coming out like string of noodles falling directly into the hot pan with cooking oil. The pangulayan is quickly swayed in crisscrossing or circular motion so the falling strands would create a net-like pattern on the pan. The falling strands of batter is quickly fried and cooked till it is golden brown and crisp. Using gagawi (Maguindanaon wooden ladle), the rice fritter is removed from the pan and immediately folded into half-moon (folded once to become semi-circle in shape) or rolled to become tubular in shape. It would stiffen and turned crisp as soon as it cooled down. 

Maguindanaon vendors of native delicacies at the Cotabato City's Super Market (not supermarket)
As part of the ceremonial cooking, the Maguindanaons would ask first the blessings of Allah before cooking this delicacy. They also profess that the presence of a wicked person or someone who has a bad disposition, while tinagtag is being prepared, would cause the tinagtag to have an unpleasant taste or easily get spoiled. 

A good and finely cooked rice fritter has a shelf life of one month or even more. Maguindanaons traditionally would prepare and offer this delicacy during special occasions such as in weddings, feast, and during the observance of Eid al Fitr or the end of Ramadan or Maulidin Nabi

They traditionally have to perform the ceremonial preparation and cooking of tinagtag while listening to the rhythmic beat of balabad (wooden drumstick) and dabakan (a native drum made with dried animal skin).

Two shapes of tinagtag sold by Maguindanaon vendor at the Cotabato City Public Supermarket in Cotabato City, Maguindanao province. One is a semi-circle (actually a folded disc-shaped tinagtag, above), and the other is tubular (rolled tinagtag, below) 

For more about Pinoy foods, see also my OPEN & FREE food dictionary.

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