October 13, 2013

betute tugac

I got this freshly fried betute tugac during the sneak preview of MarQuee Mall's 'Big Bite' The Northern Food Festival in Angeles City, Pampanga in October 2013.
etute tugac - (ba-tú-tè tu-gák; Capampangan exotic dish) [n.] fried stuffed edible frog.
a.k.a. batute or batute tugak in Capampangan 
also spelled as betute tugak in Capampangan
I found this skinned ricefield frog sold in the public market of  Cabanatuan City January last year. There are ingenious Capampangans and Novo Ecijanos who would tan the skin into leather and made into taxodermy-like coin purse with keychain holder

A fried relleno-like skinned farm frog stuffed with minced frog meat or ground pork and finely chopped fresh herbs and spices. It is an exotic dish made of whole tugac (farm frog) caught from the river or rice paddies in Pampanga.

When I came back to Cabanatuan City last June 2012, I brought home and cooked these skinned frogs.

The frog is skinned and all its entrails are removed, feet are cut off, its head decapitated and thrown away. The cleaned hollowed body is then stuffed compactly with minced meat of another frog, or ground pork, or finely chopped meat of chicken, or their combinations.

The internal organs of the frog have to be removed and the hollowed cavity has to be filled with ground meat mixed with seasonings and minced tangle leaves if you are going to make a betute tugac.

Betute tugac is deep fried till brownish red or darker and crisp. The Capampangan betute actually means butete in Tagalog or puffer fish in English.

The host was trying to impress us with a serving of betute tugac during the sneak preview of MarQuee Mall's 'Big Bite' The Northern Food Festival in Angeles City, Pampanga. 

The stuffed frog is called betute because of its bulging filled belly that makes tugac (frog) to look like a betute (puffer fish)

The stuffing of minced or ground meat is mixed with chopped leaves of tangle (fragrant premma tree) and seasoned with any locally available herbs and spices (i.e. garlic, red onions, ginger, tangle, tomatoes, kuse, kulitis, etc.) all minced or chopped into small pieces.

This one is filled with ground meat and minced vegetables. The tangle leaves in it added the aromatic flavor.

Betute tugac is eaten with a dipping of spiced up vinegar, chili sauce, or toyomansi. Without the dip, the fried frog would taste flavorless, and its two spreading legs but just a tough piece of meat.  The fillings could be tasty if it is made with ground pork or beef with all the seasonings and herbs mentioned above.   

Dipping the betute tugac in spiced up vinegar (or any Pinoy dipping sauce) would bring out the taste and enhance the flavor of this exotic dish



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