After my first post on Filipino spaghetti, I was pretty satisfied with myself and didn’t really have a desire to make drastic changes to my methods. But during my appearance on Kababayan LA last week, I told host Jannelle So that I had Martin PureFoods red hot dogs in hand and was ready to make a more “authentic” version of Filipino spaghetti. Over the weekend, I dropped by Island Pacific Market in Union City and picked up two more items—a bottle of Jufran banana sauce (ketchup, really) and a blue can of Kraft Cheddar “Cheese” (or as a reader called it…”Krap Chis”)—to complete the Holy Trinity of Filipino Spaghetti.
Many of you have probably never seen this blue can of “Kraft Pasteurized Processed Cheddar Cheese Spread” but it’s a pretty vivid food memory from my childhood. The best way to describe it is that it’s like Velveeta in a can. Here’s what it looks like after I removed 1/4 of it to use in the spaghetti (I ended up using half a can).
At room temperature it breaks into pieces easily, especially when using a Microplane to grate the stuff, but it does grate well if you’re careful with it. For the sauce, I ended up doing a rough chop. Here are some shards of “cheese” next to about five red hot dogs that were cut on a bias to make them a little “fancier.” My friend Euge said he mistook the hot dogs for char siu when he first saw this picture and that he was disturbed by them. Mass-produced hot dogs can be disturbing for several reasons aside from some red coloring, but we won’t get into that discussion now. ;)
I started making the sauce as I normally would, sauteeing onions and garlic in a wok for a bit and then adding a pound of ground beef and mixing it all together. After the ground beef was browned, I removed it from the wok and then added the hot dogs, cooking them until they had a nice crust going before adding back the ground beef. Next, I added a whole 26.5 oz can of Del Monte Traditional Spaghetti Sauce.
I was wary of adding any of the banana ketchup to the sauce because I thought it might become overpoweringly sweet, but in the end, I decided to add the whole bottle. The result was really nice because the Jufran gave the sauce a different kind of sweetness than sugar provides, and it also thickened it up a bit and gave it a richer red color. I added salt, pepper, a little brown sugar and about half a can of chopped “cheese” to the sauce and cooked it for about half an hour. I was a little disturbed at how long it it took the chopped “cheese” to melt…grating it into the sauce should accelerate this process.
Here’s how it turned out…don’t forget to grate a little “cheese” on top to garnish.
There was some sauce leftover, and my wife liked it so much that she started using it as a dipping sauce for pandesal. Despite my misgivings about the banana ketchup, this was my favorite version of Filipino Spaghetti of all the ones I’ve made so far and will be the standard that I turn to in the future.