Much like the moment a child discovers the truth about Santa Claus, that was the day I learned that hot dogs were neither authentic nor integral components of spaghetti. As many of you already know or may have heard, sweetness and weiners are the hallmarks of Filipino-style spaghetti, for which Malou of Skip to Malou offers an excellent recipe. For those of us who grew up with it, these flavors are solidly embedded in fond memory. It might have been a crushing blow to my budding food psyche if I hadn't discovered soon after that hot dogs tasted even better out of the sauce.
A 'Dog Named . . .
Frankfurter. Wiener. Footlong. These are just the most common aliases for the generic hot dog. Beyond the plain sausage in a bun, there are countless versions with myriad monikers, particularly in the United States, where it ranks with apple pie as a national food symbol. Thanks to a peripatetic married life, I've tried a few regional variations over the years - dirty water dogs in Washington, DC; slaw dogs in North Carolina; Naked (plain) at The Varsity in Atlanta, and 'dragged through the garden' in Chicago. In Minnesota, there were good ol' ball park franks at Midway Stadium, home of minor league baseball's St. Paul Saints, and Pronto Pups, a pancake-battered, deep-fried skewered hot dog, at the State Fair. Although the latter was invented in Portland, OR, it became the granddaddy of all fried-foods-on-a-stick for which the Great Minnesota Get-together is famous. Some historians believe that it was a Minnesota Pronto Pup franchisee who popularized the corn dog, a near-identical iteration made with corn meal instead of wheat flour.
Of all hot dog variations, the corn dog is my absolute favorite. I love the coating, which is essentially a cornbread - golden, slightly gritty in texture and with a sweetness that is perfect for the salty tube of mystery meat which it encases. Although corn dogs are not unknown in the Philippines, most Pinoys prefer to enjoy their hot dogs in the aforementioned spaghetti, pan-fried and served with plain rice, or mixed into fried rice. Now that I'm a Manileña, I really should adhere to these local tastes, even though I do miss my corn dogs. But who says I can't have my cake and eat it, too?
Corn may be king in the States but here in the Philippines, rice rules! So, when it came time to hot dog it for this month's International Incident Party, I decided to give my favorite corn dog a rice-over. I'd love to say that this is an original Tangled idea, but the distinction belongs to Korean blog Hoya Cooks (introduced by Daniel of Seoul Eats via this Serious Eats post). As Hoya's site is in Korean, I could only go by Daniel's photos of her 'rice-battered hotdogs' and try to come up with my own simple technique. The end result could use a tweak here and there, but as far as Mr. Noodle was concerned, my Rice Dog experiment was a total success.
Like its corn dog inspiration, these fried pups were lightly golden and even crunchier on the outside, thanks to panko crumbs, while the rice inside was soft and just a bit chewy. However, it lacked a distinct flavor like the mellow sweetness of cornbread; next time, I may season the rice with mirin, soy sauce, or add a sprinkling of furikake or shichimi togarashi. Feel free to experiment and let me know what you come up with!
1 cup raw rice* (yields 3 cups cooked)
6 cocktail franks (or 3 regular hot dogs, cut in half), boiled
2 eggs, well-beaten
1-2 cups panko
*For best results, use a short-grain variety of rice, such as 'sushi' rice (japonica), as it is more starchy, and therefore stickier, than long-grain types such as Basmati.
Pour oil about 1-inch deep in a fry pan or pot and heat. Unwrap rice dogs and dip in beaten eggs, then roll in panko crumbs. Fry on one side until crisp and golden, then flip using tongs; when done, remove to a paper-towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Skewer with bamboo sticks and serve with your favorite condiments, especially banana ketchup for a truly Filipinized taste experience. Enjoy!
For a whole pack of imaginative hot dog-themed recipes, please check out the other entries for the current International Incident Party. Hosted by Penny of Jeroxie, IIP challenges participants to create dishes based on a new food theme each month. Enjoy reading the entries and please consider joining the party next time!