The name sounds funny—vulgar even because it’s almost like saying “vagina-vagina” in Tagalog. Believe me, I have wondered so many times about the origin of the name of the dish. I wondered if someone with a wry sense of humor was responsible for it.
But poqui-poqui’s name, it appears, is more culturally significant than someone’s dirty mind.
… according to Chita Sanculi of Divine Word College in Ilocos Sur, poqui poqui’s name origin can be traced back to the ’80s. Around that time, many Filipinos migrated to Hawaii to plant pineapples. The word “poki” in Hawaii means “to cut up” or “mash.”Source
In name, therefore, poqui-poqui is related to poke bowl. But just in name.
Granted that it’s not the best-looking vegetable dish in the world. But, oh man, it sure is one of the tastiest meatless dishes I have tried—and I have tried a lot. It may be a simple dish but “deceptively simple” might be the more appropriate phrase to use to describe how it is cooked. But even before the cooking, there’s the matter of the ingredients.
First, the eggplant. Not all eggplants are created equal—some are sweet, some are bland, some are somewhat bitter. The best eggplants for poqui-poqui are the sweet ones because they create a delicate balance with the tartness of the tomatoes. Asian eggplants, in other words. The long ones. They are sweet and creamy.
Second, the proportion of eggplants to eggs. Use too many eggs and the egg flavor will overpower the delicate sweetness of the eggplants. Use too many eggplants and the texture doesn’t turn out so good.
Third, use shallots instead of onions.
Fourth, season with fish sauce.
- Grill the eggplants. The easiest way is to place them directly on the gas stove. Move and rotate them occasionally for even charring until cooked through. Cool the eggplants.
- While the eggplants cool, peel and mince the garlic; peel and thinly slice the shallots; and roughly chop the tomatoes.
- When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, use paper towels to rub off the charred skins.
- Finely chop the eggplants.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Saute the garlic, shallots and tomatoes for about a minute.
- Add the chopped eggplants. Season with fish sauce. Continue sauteeing until the mixture appears dry.
- Pour the beaten eggs in a thin stream, stirring the contents of the pan with one hand as your pour the eggs with the other.
- Drizzle in more fish sauce.
- Cook, stirring, just until the eggs are set.
- Serve the poqui-poqui at once.