Palapa: A Maranao Condiment

“Bangsamoro Halal Dish”

With Maria Fhebie Ortil

If our readers can recall at the start of these series of cooked halal dishes, we will tackle all the rare and sumptuous main courses, dishes, and delicacies common to all provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). 

We started our food series with the sumptuous and common dishes and delicacies of the Tausug of Sulu. Hence, after discussing many of the delicious foods of Sulu, we are going to start now the common and popular dishes, delicacies, as well as condiments of the Maranao from Lanao del Sur.

To begin with the kitchen utensils, we will start now with the Palapa, which is a sweet and spicy Maranao condiment consisting of thinly chopped white scallions (sakurab); pounded ginger (luya), turmeric (luyang dilaw ), labuyo chili, and toasted grated coconut (niog). 

And so what is Sakurab? It is a vegetable similar to scallions and is a traditional food seasoning in the Philippines. It is particularly commonly used in the cuisine of the Maranao people. Hence, Sakurab is the main ingredient of the widespread Maranao condiment palapa, where it is mixed with spices, salt and ginger. It can be eaten in its raw form as a side dish.

For emphasis, Palapa really originated from the Maranao people of Lanao del Sur. 

The ingredients are mixed together and cooked briefly or cooked until somewhat dry. It is immediately stored in sealed jars (garapon) after cooking. 

It can be used as an ingredient in certain dishes (most notably in piaparan) or used as a condiment after briefly sautéing (usually with a spoonful of condensed milk).  Thus, Palapa can also be eaten fresh as salad dressing. 

Palapa is an important cultural symbol of the Maranao people and is an ubiquitous accompaniment at every meal.

Palapa Recipe
 Prep Time 10 minutes
 Cook Time 20 minutes
 Cleaning Time 1 hour 30 minutes
 Total Time 2 hours

4 bundles about 2 kg Sakurab, cleaned and dried
4 thumb-sized ginger sliced
4 tbsp birds eye chili depending on the level of spice
1 cup cooking oil you can keep adding up to 1.5 cups
1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
1-2 bulbs garlic chopped


In a food processor, add sliced sakurab, ginger and chilis. You may do this in batches if you are making a huge batch. Just keep the processed mixture in a container and mix everything together later on.

When everything is mixed and done, add cooking oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the sakurab mixture and turmeric powder (turmeric powder is optional but it adds a nice color). Let this cook while stirring from time to time to avoid the mixture from sticking to the pan. It may take up to 15-20 minutes (or until it changes color or cooked).

This time, you can add salt and also additional oil (if desired).

Let the palapa cool completely before moving or placing it in a dry container.

Recipe Notes:

According to the The Not So Creative Cook, Palapa can be kept at room temperature up to 2 weeks or in the refrigerator  to last longer.

This recipe can be halved or quartered. It is always advisable to make huge batches when given the chance we always use this in our dishes.

The measurements here are just guide. If you don’t have sakurab, you can use the white part of spring onion.

*Best served during merienda or snacks.

One thought on “Palapa: A Maranao Condiment

  1. Can you elaborate po the historical meaning or cultural aspect po of “Palapa” on how it became as their main condiment, po? for our research purposes po because it is hard to search written documents(literature) of our meranao tradition or culture po. I hope you can help us po for our research.


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