Paella is usually associated with Spain, where this hearty rice dish originates from. However, did you know that we also have a native version of paella in the Philippines?
Bringhe is a rice dish very similar to paella, originating in Pampanga. Both rice dishes are prepared similarly: in large flat pans, cooked slowly, and topped with a variety of meats and vegetables, but there are several ingredients that make bringhe quite different from the Spanish paella.
What’s the difference: Philippine Bringhe vs Spanish paella
Traditionally, bringhe or native Filipino paella is made with chopped chicken, chicken liver and gizzard, and chorizo. It is often topped with vegetables and wedges of hard-boiled eggs. Unlike Spanish paella, which usually uses short round or long grain rice, the native Filipino paella uses glutinous or malagkit rice. It is also flavored with coconut milk rather than water or stock.
Whereas the bright yellow hue of Spanish paellas like paella Valenciana is achieved with saffron, Kapampangans use turmeric, or luyang dilaw, to color the rice and give it a light, herby flavor that pairs well with the coconut milk.
Lastly, the most unique difference is the use of banana leaves. Traditionally, after sauteing most of the ingredients and softening the glutinous rice with coconut milk, the mixture is transferred to and wrapped in banana leaves. The rice mixture is then returned, banana leaves and all, back into the pot to allow it to finish cooking. The banana leaves serve two purposes: to imbue the bringhe with its light aroma and flavor and also to prevent it from forming hard crust as the rice finishes cooking.
Tips On Cooking Bringhe
The classic bringhe features chicken meat, liver, and gizzard, but you can also switch it up by adding or replacing the chicken with seafood. You can sauté squid or calamari, peeled and deveined shrimps, or even shellfish like clams and mussels.
If you love squid ink paella or paella negra, you can also incorporate the squid ink into the coconut milk!
Lastly, if you can’t find fresh turmeric or luyang dilaw, you can substitute this with a teaspoon or two of turmeric powder.
Bringhe (Native Paella) Recipe
Bringhe (Native Paella) Ingredients
- 450 grams (about 2 heaping cups) sticky rice (malagkit)
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1/4 inch turmeric (luyang dilaw) peeled, grated, and soaked with about 2 teaspoons of water
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
- 150 Grams Chicken cut into large cubes
- 80 Grams chicken liver cut into large cubes
- 500 ml coconut milk (gata)
- 1 piece banana leaf
- 1/3 Cup carrot sliced
- 1 quarter red bell pepper sliced
- 1 large Egg (boiled), cut into wedges
- Wash the rice very well, drain the water and set aside
- In a medium pan, or a medium paellera, if available, heat cooking oil and add onions and cook until transparent. Add the garlic and cook until the aroma is released. Do not brown the garlic.
- Squeeze grated turmeric to extract the juice and add it to the pan.
- Season with fish sauce.
- Add the chicken pieces and allow to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add the liver and saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and saute for about 1 minute just until it turns transparent.
- Add the coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes just until the rice is cooked.
- Traditionally, banana leaves are inserted at the bottom of the pan and the bringhe is allowed to cook until almost all liquid has been absorbed. For simpler method, transfer the rice mixture to another bowl and line the same pan with banana leaves. Place the mixture back in the pan and top it with carrots and bell pepper and allow to cook until all the liquid is gone.
- You may serve this right from the pan if you’re using a paellera, or simply use a spatula to transfer the rice with the Banana Leaf lining in a serving plate. Top with wedges of hard boiled egg.