Mention “pulutan” and I immediately think of my dad. What can I say, my dad is the quintessential Pinoy barkada. OK, so he’s probably borderline alcoholic and he’s driven us half crazy with his drinking and his inability to deny his barkada anything. “Pakikisama” always comes up in conversations with him. “Pakikisama” is the flip side of “barkada”. “Barkada” is the group of friends you hang out with, “pakikisama” is as Tito Rolly mentioned in his definition of barkadahan, compatriotism. The sense of belongingness and being a part of the group. I don’t want to sound harsh about my dad though, because in truth his friends have become like uncles and godfathers to us; and they do provide for good enterntainment with their singing (read about my previous post on their musical influence here) and rowdiness when they all get together. If only they could do with less booze, I always wished, but then that’s another matter.
Growing up in Baguio, I knew where all of my dad’s hang-outs were. It could be one of the sari-sari stores, bars, or restaurants. I just had a sixth sense of where to find him. It also helped that when we lived in Baguio, it was still small enough that the taxi drivers, most of whom knew my dad, can always point me in the right direction. Before cell phones, I was the designated messenger to call him home. The best thing about that job was, I am usually given a treat before we go home, and sometimes allowed to partake of their “pulutan”. “Pulutan” is just about any edibles consumed while drinking alcohol and hanging out. It could be, as I mentioned before, as simple as peanuts or as grand as lechon (whole spit roasted pig). My dad’s favorite is goat meat, especially made into “kilawen”.
Goat meat is hard to find here in NC, so I couldn’t duplicate his recipe exactly. I was talking to my mom recently and she mentioned that they went to a Filipino party where they served a dish that had the taste of “kilawen” but it was chicken. I knew exactly what she was talking about. So here is a not quite authentic “kilawen”, but still washes down perfectly well with booze.
There are no measurements for this, you taste and adjust to your liking as you go. The trick is to be liberal with the lime and make it as spicy as you want it to be. Here is what you need:
Grilled chicken breast, chopped fine
Red onion, minced
Chili Peppers, minced
Cilantro, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper