I received a letter from my friend, Mia last night. Her letter was brief but it evoked vivid memories. We have been friends for over 30 years. We went to the same high school and eventually it was in college when we grew closer together. We went on double dates and had lots of fun at the bars and restaurants popular in Manila during the late 80's to early 90's. Places like Pep's, Rhythm and Booze and Reasons. Receiving my friend's letter triggered a lot of powerful and pleasant memories in my mind.
I was inspired to make gambas and it clearly invoked in me the same memories. I was transported back in time. The vivid orange color and the smell made me recall the fun times spent in those places. I heard the laughter and the cajoling, I could smell the fresh scent of Nenuco and Denenes. I felt my hair fluff-up like the 80's hairdo and smelled the can of hairspray. I was dancing and singing to the tune of the Swing out Sister's Breakout. Similar to Proust and his madeleines, it awakened vivid memories and the excitement associated with it.
Yes this is the "in" appetizer to order during those days. And before I get lost in all the memories from the 80's, let me go ahead and share the recipe with you.
Gambas Al Ajillo Filipino Style
2 lbs shrimp
1 small can tomato sauce
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp maggi seasoning
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
In a frying pan add olive oil and butter, saute garlic, add shrimp and make a quick stir. Add tomato sauce. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add seasoning and cayenne powder. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.