Simply Sweet, Simply “Manyaman”

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“Manyaman” – ‘delicious’ in Kapampangan

I don’t miss having a taste of desserts, especially if it’s locally made, much more if it’s a Kapampangan specialty. My mother brought home uraro (arrow root) cookies when she was in Bataan and Pampanga two weeks ago after her field work. I remember my first taste or uraro when I was a kid – that sweetness playing from crunchy, to powdery, to a smooth and melting sensation in my mouth.  Even a hint of warm and buttery feel eases throughout the munching experience.  That moment I realized that these are my favorite cookies.

Arrow root is said to be a starch powder from the root of the cassava.  It is widely used in cookies and as a thickener in puddings and sauces.  The powder is also called as araruta (in which the name uraro may have been derived) and is also used in making San Nicolas cookies – another Kapampangan special delicacy (I’ll try to feature this in the future once I get hold of these again).  However, when I thought that cassava powder is only used in the Philippines and uraro cookies are only in Pampanga (much more only available here) I found out that it is also made in Colombia as panderos and Dominican Republic as ojaldra.  Doing a little historical analysis here and there, I’d say, it is no surprise since these countries are all former Spanish colonies and cookies and shortbreads at the time are always anticipated.

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Uraro cookies are made by mixing uraro powder with egg yolk, butter, sugar, and coconut milk into a dough and baked in slowly (at roughly 15 minutes).  In the Philippines, these are usually shaped as flowers in bite size pieces.  It is actually the perfect size as its structure is very delicate that you may not want ending the rest of the cookie left as crumbs in your hands or lap.

Since I grew fond of these cookies, I didn’t mind eating them only with water, coffee, or none at all.

ImageLucky for us, you can buy them not only in Pampanga or in pasalubong stores, but in supermarkets as well. As for Filipinos reading this abroad, surely you’re already craving for this one as nothing tastes better than anything that is “home made”.  Now, my cookie stash here is almost out, hope someone will get to bring home soon.

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