Bringhe (Native Paella) Recipe
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.