My cousin from Bicol just finished her undergraduate studies and now seeks for opportunities here in Manila. She brought us pasalubongs, one of which is the famous pili nuts. Not those ones already processed into sweets, but those ones which were all in their just-picked-from-the-tree (plus 8 hours travel) glory.
We seldom visit our relatives in the province; heck, we even never have family vacations in years so it was my first time to see pili nuts wrapped inside big, black teardrop-shaped shells instead of caramelized sugar coatings which I, and almost everyone else, was used to. =)
My mother taught me how to cook them. Here’s what I learned. =)
First, put the nuts in a pot of water and let them boil. This is to make the first shell softer and a lot easier to break or cut.
And because I was too excited, I cannot wait to for the nuts to cool down on their own. So I washed them repeatedly with cold tap water.
Using a knife, I opened each nut by cutting in the middle and around the nut. Inside each nut is another smaller, flesh-to-brown colored teardrop-shaped shell.
The meat inside the outer shell could already be eaten. You just have to put salt unless you can tolerate a somewhat sweet plus bitter taste combination.
Now, to get rid of the second shell, you have to use a hammer or something really heavy you can use for pounding. Because the shells were really hard and tough, opening them is not as simple as pinching them with your thumb and index finger, or cracking them with your teeth! I knew it because I tried the teeth method and I thought I was going to lose one of my molars. >.<
My mother said that there was a saying in their neighborhood back then that goes ‘If you can break the second pili nut shell evenly in just one hammer pound, then you are a true Bicolano/Bicolana’. Haha. So I got challenged and tried hammering each nut once. I was able to break one evenly. =) All the others, I have to hammer them twice or thrice or more to finally get the actual small pili nuts which are still covered by thin, brown skin like those of peanuts.
The skin is easy to peel off, of course. And TADAA! Finally, the white pili nut! :D
Yum, yum. :D
I admire those people behind the making of each packaged pili nuts that tourists buy at souvenir shops. It really is hard to get the white pili nut out from its shells whole and unbroken.
Parang tao lang eh. Lahat ng tao ay may kabaitan. Kahit pa ang ipinapamalas nila o ang nakikita sa kanila ay puro kasamaan. Sa kaloob-looban nila, mayroon at mayroong nananahimik na kabaitan. Kailangan lang minsan na tulungan natin silang makita iyon. Huwag tayong patatalo sa impluwensiya ng kasamaan sa paligid. :D