Storytime! So Kansi is one of those regional dishes that one always dreams about. Especially when it’s cold and you need comforting soups that is neither Sinigang, Bulalo, or Nilaga. And Kansi is all of those put together. No kidding.
If you’re a fan of savory and comforting soups, then you need to try Kansi. The taste is mindblowing. I think mostly because we’re so used to Sinigang, and our mind instantly recognizes that, but the addition of lemongrass suddenly hits different and it’s always a surprise. Originating from Bacolod, this beef soup dish is a must-try for any foodie looking to experience the rich and flavorful tastes of the Philippines.
Bacolod is a city located in the Negros Occidental province of the Philippines and is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine. Some of the most famous Bacolod foods which include chicken inasal, and the aforementioned kansi has distinct regional features, Some of these features include:
- Sweet and savory flavors: Bacolod cuisine is known for its balance of sweet and savory flavors, with dishes like chicken inasal, and even kansi, which has a slightly tangy and sour taste, showcasing this balance.
- Use of native ingredients: Bacolod cuisine heavily relies on locally sourced ingredients, such as sugarcane, rice, and a variety of tropical fruits and spices such as batwan. This not only gives the dishes a unique flavor profile, but also supports the local economy.
- Slow cooking methods: Bacolod cuisine is also known for its slow-cooking methods, with dishes like kansi requiring hours of simmering to develop their rich and hearty flavors.
- Mix of Spanish and indigenous influences: Bacolod has a rich history, and its cuisine reflects its Spanish colonial past as well as its indigenous roots. For example, chicken inasal, a popular Bacolod dish, is believed to have been influenced by the Spanish way of grilling meat, but also incorporates local spices and flavors.
- Celebration of flavors: Bacolod cuisine is all about celebrating flavors and coming together to enjoy good food. From street vendors to fancy restaurants, food is a central aspect of the Bacolod culture and is meant to be shared and savored with others.
What is Kansi
So what exactly is Kansi? It’s a type of soup that’s made with beef shanks and tendons that have been slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in a rich and hearty broth. The broth is then flavored with a mixture of spices and lemongrass, giving it a tangy and slightly sour taste that will leave your taste buds wanting more.
But what really sets Kansi apart from other soups is its secret ingredient: the batwan fruit. This unique fruit adds a unique flavor profile to the soup, making it a truly one-of-a-kind dish. Sadly, of all the Kansi I tasted, even those that claim to be original, I am not a hundred percent sure if I’ve tasted the real thing. I’d come back and update once Im sure I tasted the real batwan.
If you’re a fan of the hit TV show “MasterChef Asia,” then you might remember when one of the contestants made a creative twist on Kansi by adding a touch of sriracha sauce. It’s dishes like this that show just how versatile Kansi can be, and how it can be tailored to suit anyone’s personal tastes.
So if you’re ever in Bacolod, be sure to try Kansi. Or not! If you’re craving like me, then, of course, you can prepare it at home with all sorts of substitute and replacements. You can actually order batwan in Shopee if you’re willing to wait, or if you’re like me, you can replace the ingredients with whatever is available in your area.
Substitutes in Kansi
- For batwan, use kamias if you’re in Southern Tagalog or MIMAROPA like me. Calamansi should also do in a pinch!
- I also used our local Kamansi (breadfruit) instead of jackfruit in this recipe because that’s what I have available. I think you can also use Rimas (also a relative breadfruit vut this one is sweeter)
- A note on the Annato powder. I also used that because that’s what I have in my pantry but you can go ahead and use the real one. Increase the ingredient x 2 and saute as per instructions. When it’s read, remove the seeds and discard. (PS, this is actually Anatto oil – you can make a batch and use it on something else like Java rice))
Whether you enjoy it with a side of rice, or prefer to sip it straight from a bowl, one thing’s for sure: this delicious soup is sure to warm your heart and fill your belly. And who knows, you might even end up being a Kansi convert!