For now, the Philippines is on extended Enhanced Community Quarantine for Covid-19. Food rations are an issue because people can’t work and many Filipino citizens rely on daily wage. Plus, Covid-19 relief packs are also hard to come by. Here’s a 50-peso dish that a family of four or five can share during this difficult time. You can make it healthier, too.
Covid-19 Relief Packs
The most common elements in a relief pack in the Philippines contain rice, noodles, sardines, and egg. While some localities give pancit canton, corned beef, and luncheon meat, these four things are the most common seen in all barangays. Come to think of it, these four seem to be the food of hope among Filipinos. As long as you have them, you can never go hungry
Aside from the relief packs, another novel thing in this Covid-19 outbreak is the Social Amelioration Program (SAP). It is financial assistance for some people during the quarantine when people can’t work.
There is a set amount depending on where you live and is supposed to be given monthly by the DSWD for April and May. This is supposed to help Filipino families who have no income during this time.
SAP is NOT Enough
However, many marginalized people interviewed on TV complained that the amount to be given is their weekly budget. Here in the provinces, a P6000 for weekly budget is P24,000 per month, so of course, the middleclass are violently protesting this. It’s their taxes, after all, that’s being used for most of the things that the government is spending on.
In the midst of all this, I would like to offer you one solution to extend your family budget. Aside from the rice, the dish (or ulam) itself may be shared by 4-5 pax. Eaten with rice, it is already very filling and without the usual lansa of the sardines.
This may not be much but at least, that’s one meal crossed out of your menu. Plus, it is very versatile, because you can extend it or even make it healthier. You can add either kamote leaves, malunggay, toge or bean sprouts, saluyot, pechay, or even carrots.
By the way, you can make your own bean sprouts at home! Here’s how to do it, click this link: https://businessdiary.com.ph/3907/sprouted-mongo-toge/
My Spicy Sardine Frittata was inspired by two people. One is from my friend Divine Legaspi who is now stuck in Hong Kong because of the Covid-19 travel ban. Since she has more ingredients there, she was able to incorporate cilantro in her dish.
The second one is the super pretty beauty influencer Marie Verde of Bacolod City. She prepared sardines omelette for herself and her son during the ECQ. Yes, she eats sardines! haha
Now, my frittata recipe is like a cross of their two dishes — with noodles plus an extra egg. But still, it has 555 sardines!
Both became very creative during this difficult time for all of us. Let’s try to incorporate more fun and creativity during the Covid-19 ECQ. The important thing is, we have our family with us and we can still share meals with them, even if these are made of simple dishes.
So without ado, here is our sosyal na quarantine recipe: Spicy Sardine Frittata.
Spicy Sardine Frittata Recipe
Simple and versatile, this dish made out of ingredients commonly found in Covid-19 relief packs is so tasty and smells oh-so-good!
Disclaimer: All the ingredients used here for this recipe were taken from our pantry and our family budget, not from the government. No relief packs for the middle class, remember?
- 1 pack noodles
- 1 can sardines
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp. corn starch
- ½ onion, sliced
- Chili, sliced
- Garlic, chopped, optional
- ½ cup Vegetables, chopped, optional *
Below is an approximation of the prices of the ingredients used in this recipe. These prices may vary, depending on the brand and where the items were bought.
- 1 Noodles – P8.50
- 1 Sardines – P18.00
- 2 eggs – P12.00
- Oil, onion, chili, cornstarch – P10.00
Total Price – P48.50
And it can already serve up to five members of the family!
- Boil about a cup of water and season with half the pack of noodle seasoning. Blanch the noodles, just enough to soften them a bit. Drain the water from the noodles and set aside.
- Separate the fish and sauce of the sardines. You may want to remove the innards from the fish. Using a fork, mash the flesh along with the soft bones.
- In a bowl, beat the 2 eggs with the corn starch and season with the noodle seasoning pack. I did not finish all the seasoning.
- Mix in the mashed sardines, noodles, chili, and onions.
- Fry in low heat, making sure that one side is cooked well before turning over. Turn over your frittata and fry some more. Serve hot with rice, topped with the sardine sauce and maybe some additional catsup if available.
It is best to prepare this dish just when you are about to eat. Letting it stay long will make the noodles soggy.
*Again, some of the vegetables you can include are leafy greens. You may choose between malunggay, sliced pechay leaves, cabbage, onion greens, toge (bean sprouts), saluyot, or kamote leaves. Sayote might be too watery but carrot strips or diced carrots would mix in there nicely. If you will add vegetables, you will need to finish the seasoning pack and maybe add some salt.
And the name: Sosyal ang dating diba? Frittata. So when somebody asks, “Anong ulam nyo?” You proudly say, “Spicy Frittata” sabay talikod with a flick of the hair.
The Poverty Mentality
Our society, especially the media, are glorifying the poverty mentality. Just see those talent contests. It is no longer just about skill and talent but how sad the story you can bring on national TV. The harder the life, the sadder the story, the better chances at winning, especially from people’s votes.
It seems that even though you don’t have a sad story, you have to find one, just so you would appeal to the sympathy of the viewers. For example, I passed by the TV when an amateur singing contest was on. The mother was interviewed and she encouraged her daughter, “Anak, ang baon lang natin ay ang pangarap mo. “(We only brought your ambition with us.)” If you stop there, you would think this is a poor family. Listening further, I learned that her father and two older sisters were actually OFWs. Wow! If I stopped at the first sentence (like most people do), you would think that they come from a marginalized family. Toink!
It is no wonder then that the poor people who were interviewed about the SAP said that they need more. That what will be given won’t be enough, etc. etc.
In reality, P6000 for a month may not be enough for them during normal circumstances. But in this crisis, where we are called to stay home (and not play tong-its), the kids don’t have to go to school, and only spend on food, I think P6000 is enough.
It’s just the mentality that maybe, if they dish out a sad story, the government will empathize and they will be given more. Bad thing is, this is not a reality show — this is REALITY.
Education and Motivation for Filipinos
Honestly, it’s a sad cycle. But all of us have a role to educate everyone. The media, since they have a wider reach, should really think of shows that will educate people–not create more dummies.
We should stop glorifying these sad stories and start encouraging people to work smart and save for rainy days. My two cents’ worth in this time of crisis.
Other Covid-19 Posts
Meanwhile, here are some other posts about the quarantine and Covid-19.
- Continuous Wearing of Face Masks and Frequent Hand Washing Fight Covid-19
- Arroz Caldo Recipe: How to Liven Up This Comfort Food
- Activities for Kids During Home Quarantine for Covid-19
- Improve the Air Quality in Your Home
- Working from Home and Homeschooling Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic
- nCoV Scare: Don’t Panic But Be Careful About the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (covid-19)