These past weeks, I have been dusting off my father's recipes in my mind and cooking up what I learned from hovering around him in the kitchen, when I was still very young.
As a child, one of my favorites among my father's dishes was bola bola or meatballs.
I remember how I would pester him to make them at least once a week, until I grew old enough to learn to cook them myself.
You start with at least a kilo of good ground pork, not too lean since fat gives meatballs that nice juicy texture.
Daddy just used minced onions but I add some finely chopped kinchay and chives for that added flavor.
This part of the prep is actually what I enjoyed best, when I was young and making a pest of myself in the kitchen. Every time that my father cooked bola bola, I would insist that I get my hands in the ground meat to mash and squeeze the meatballs myself.
Get your own hands in the mix and form the meatballs by squeezing them out in small balls through your fist. Don't bother about using a meatball shaper or any other cooking utensil -- meatballs are handmade!
Next fry your meatballs in hot oil, being careful to leave space between them so they don't stick together. Turn them once done. Set aside in a colander to let the oil drip off.
Now for the sauce! Daddy would saute pork cuts , usually taken from the pig tail -- in garlic and onions with some soy sauce. Once browned, pour in some water until the meat is slightly covered. Let simmer till meat is tender.
Once the meat is tender enough, pour the cooked bola bola back into the pan. If you have green peas, that would be a good addition, for a bit of color. Heat through then you're all done!
And if my memory serves me well -- these taste remarkably close to how daddy used to make them!