“We’re not really a restaurant,” says Melissa Miranda, Seattle chef Weasel. “We are a common room.”
By the time Miranda and her team opened Musang in January 2020, they already had a loyal following in Seattle, built through countless pop-ups and collaborations. Through Kickstarter, they raised money to help expand their location in the fast-growing Beacon Hill neighborhood, where Miranda grew up. The closure of Filipinx restaurants that were once the mainstay of the community brought Miranda to her vision of ensuring that the city always has a place where she can experience “personal and intimate Filipinx dishes inspired by our childhood memories “.
At the center of Filipino culture is the concept of Bayanihan – living in community and offering generosity to families and strangers alike. Musang is a contemporary embodiment of this value: During the first two months of the restaurant, when the waiting times averaged three and a half hours, Miranda and her crew rode a breathless high. Then the pandemic hit. While she still mourned losses and made sure her employees were paid, she opened a communal kitchen and offered free meals to people in need two days a week with no questions asked.
Here, Miranda presents a range of Filipinx recipes designed to be cooked at home using pantry staples like coconut milk, with salt being seasoned to build up flavor layers. The dishes are inspired by Musang, where the menu is proudly nostalgic but reflects a progressive approach to classic dishes (just like Miranda’s decision to accept Filipinx, a signifier that includes people of all gender identities). In a traditional chicken adobo, the meat is braised in soy sauce and vinegar until it collapses into a slippery submission. Musang’s version is oven-roasted, resulting in tender meat at the bottom of the pot and crispy skin on top – “the best of both worlds,” says Miranda.
By highlighting the pantry staples these six recipes are all about, Miranda wants to show people that “You can enjoy our food and experience our culture in a pretty quick turnaround. I want to make it accessible. “She imagines a home cook looking for inspiration in her kitchen:“ I have chicken, I have soy and vinegar – why not make adobo? ”So fried adobo.
Try chef Melissa Miranda’s recipes and favorite products: