Kinagang: A Sorsogon delicacy

Filipino food advocate, author and restaurateur Amy Besa shared at The Maya Kitchen recently some of their well-loved recipes such as the Kinagang. Amy describes says “it’s almost like a tamale and most people think it’s rice-based, but it’s really a mixture of lukadon and buko.”


This is an easier version of the Irosin kinagang, which Amy serves as an appetizer special at their restaurant. They combine buko, crabmeat, sliced scallions, and lemongrass, wrap the mixture in banana leaf, and steam it. As a variation, you could add shrimp or scallops to the crabmeat for a more full seafood flavor.

Makes 8 kinagang

One 1-pound package banana leaves
1/2 cup lime juice
1 or 2 chopped red or green chiles
2 cups (1 pound) lump crabmeat
Four 1-pound packages shredded unsweetened buko, drained and coarsely chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 lemongrass stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces and cut in half lengthwise

1. Cut out eight 10- by 12-inch pieces from the banana leaves. Cut off the tough rib at the top of the banana leaves. Cut out 1/4-inch widthwise strips of banana leaves to use for tying the kinagang—you’ll need to tie two or three of them together to make them long enough to fit around the kinagang. (Alternatively you can use kitchen string.) Clean the banana leaf sections by wiping them on both sides with a damp paper towel. Pass them over a medium flame on both sides to soften and make them more pliable.

2. Combine the lime juice and the chiles in a small serving bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, buko, shallots, scallions, salt, and pepper.

4. Place 1 cup of the crabmeat mixture in the center of each banana leaf section. Flatten to create a square shape about 4 inches square. Place two lemongrass sections over the mixture.

5. Firmly wrap the kinagang in the banana leaves by folding over the sides, first lengthwise, then widthwise. Place seam side down and tie together on either side with the banana leaf strips.

6. Place the kinagang in a steamer basket placed over simmering water. Cover and steam for about 5 minutes, just to heat through. Unwrap the kinagang and serve with the lime-chile mixture.

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