beef occasion

Lady Monster’s Rotten Fingers (Cheese-stuffed Meat Rolls)

Friday, October 31, 2014Enz F

I grew up watching this long-running weekend current events show of a popular television network in the Philippines. Every last Saturday before November 1, the show would always feature ghoulish documentaries about supernatural beings and other unexplained phenomena. Being used to be curious and wildly imaginative, ideas about gruesome monsters and suburban mystical characters never failed to amaze and scare me away as a child. You know Halloween is fast-approaching when almost all television channels are already featuring horror-themed and other similar shows.

Costume parties and snacks should always go together.
Unlike the festive costume parties, jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treats popularized by the Americans, Halloween is not an occasion indigenous in the Philippines. This tradition with Western roots though has already crept in to some exclusive residential areas where homes would be decorated with Halloween themes while little kids dressed in their favorite costume would be accompanied by their nannies knocking door-to-door for candies and treats. I never grew up in an affluent subdivision and we never really celebrated Halloween the way it is being celebrated by the Westerns. Local Philippine Halloween, known as Undas, is observed on the 1st and 2nd day of November. It is about candles, flowers and prayers – more of a family affairs where relatives would gather together to pay a visit to their departed loved ones. There is this popular Filipino joke saying that it is better to visit the dead than the other way around. Though Philippine calendar says November 1 is All Saints’ Day, this is the dedicated day where people swarm to the cemetery and memorial parks to commemorate the souls of their deceased. November 2, which is the actual day for the souls or All Souls’ Day, is less congested and more somber. This year, we preferred to visit our parents’ and grandparents’ tombs at an earlier date to avoid traffic and the jam-packed crowd.

This is the cemetery days before the jam-packed All Saint's Day affair.
Caretakers, sprucing up the grass in time for November 1.

Alexia, visiting with us the tombs of our departed loved ones.
I remember my Dad once told me a story about a suburban practice they used to do in his home province when he was just a kid. They had their own traditional version of trick-or-treat which they called “Pangangaluluwa”. Literally means haunting soul, he recalled that village folk dressed themselves in white and would go house to house singing a very popular verse for the dead (similar to house to house caroling during Christmas). They would beg for money or food and the owner of the house must give them anything otherwise, they would threat to steal the eggs and chickens kept under the dwellings. My Dad was a World War II baby and he had seen how modernization awfully and slowly killed the tradition. I have been living in the city ever since and never witnessed the traditional pangangaluwa since it is only known as a rural affair.

Monster fingers to go with the Holiday theme.
While folks from the exclusive block were busy hobgoblin-ing around, I was in my humble kitchen making some “gruesome” snacks. They are burger patties that I rolled with cheese and decorated to look like some spooky fat Lady Monster’s Fingers. I told the kids that I ate the soul of the monster and I left the tasty and cheesy fingers for them to munch on. I got my four-year-old niece Alexia scared and running away from these finger rolls. Lesson learned to have Alexia with me the next time I will be doing some Halloween snacks. It took her some nerves before I could finally convince her to have her first bite.
Lady Monster’s Rotten Fingers (Cheese-stuffed Meat Rolls)
Makes 8 fingers

  • 8 pcs home-made or store-bought beef patties 
  • 8 finger-length strips of cheese 
  • 1 pc. egg, beaten 
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs or panko 
  • 1 pc. red onion (for decorating) 
  • 3-4 tbsps. cooking oil 
  • sweet chili sauce 

  1. Lay one burger patty on a flat surface. Place a strip of cheese at the edge of the patty and carefully furl it through the other edge. Using your clean hands, hold the roll at the middle of your palms and lightly press the roll to firm it up. 
  2. Carefully dip the stuffed roll in the beaten egg and then dredge it at breadcrumbs or panko. 
  3. Heat the cooking oil. Fry the breaded roll until brown on all sides and the cheese starts to ooze out. Place the fried fingers in a platter lined with paper towel. Set aside. 
  4. To decorate, slice a thin round off of a single layer of an onion. Using a pair of scissors, trim the edges into a shape of a human nail. Spread some sweet chili sauce at the white part of the onion to serve as a glue and then place it at the tip of the roll with red part showing on top. Serve on a platter and add more chili sauce. Enjoy! 

  1. You can also use breaded fish and chicken fillets. 
  2. Dip them on catsup or garlic mayo.

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