Snacks for the perfect binge watch
THE BACONMAN COMETH - Sharwin Tee (The Philippine Star) - May 14, 2020 - 12:00am

With the enhanced community quarantine extended up to May 15 or beyond, we all need that final push to be disciplined and stay home to help ease the burden of our medical frontliners. One of the most entertaining ways to spend time at home is, of course, binge watching.

Among the essentials for a proper binge-watching session — apart from good Internet and a comfy bed or couch — are proper snacks and drinks. I want to share some foods and beverages I’ve paired with some of the shows that you can binge watch.  

Baller: Sweet and spicy nuts complement the exciting Michael Jordan highlights in The Last Dance.

Show: The Last Dance

Snack: Sweet and spicy nuts

Drink: Root beer

The Last Dance (available on Netflix or ESPN+) is a documentary series about NBA icon Michael Jordan chronicling the turmoil surrounding his career and the momentous final championship season (1997-98) with the Chicago Bulls. With the NBA season suspended, this is the closest thing you can get to watching professional basketball at the moment.

What better snack and drink to pair with this show than spiced nuts and root beer? Instead of eating plain salted nuts, try this recipe. All you need is 2 cups of your favorite nuts (peanuts, almonds, etc.), salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper to taste, plus 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and 1 tbsp. butter.

Combine the sugar, water and butter in a saucepan and melt together. Then pour this liquid over the nuts and season with all the spices. Lay on a baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake in a 350-F oven for 10-15 minutes, mixing the nuts once at the halfway point. That’s it! You get a perfect balance of sweet and spicy, plus you have the added benefit of knowing you’ve used all-natural ingredients.

Garlic-butter shrimps go great with the Spanish show Money Heist.

Show: Money Heist (La Casa de Papel)

Snack: Garlic prawns

Drink: Non-alcoholic grape juice

The Spanish show Money Heist (available on Netflix), which has become a runaway worldwide hit, features a team of criminals banded together by a mysterious man known only as “El Professor,” who attempts to rob the Spanish royal mint. The story is filled with twists and turns and major action sequences and surprisingly has become a symbol of resistance around the world.

In keeping with the Spanish theme, make a really quick version of gambas, or garlic prawns/shrimps. All you need are about 1 kg of shrimps or prawns with their shells removed, 5 cloves of minced garlic, 2 green finger chilies sliced thinly (optional), salt and Spanish paprika to taste, 2 tbsps. of olive oil and 2 tbsps. of butter.

In a saucepan, sauté the shrimps or prawns in olive oil, seasoning them with salt and paprika. Remove them from the pan after 2 minutes. Add the butter and garlic to the pan and lower the heat to slowly cook the garlic (and chilies) until golden. Add the shrimps back in and you’ve got the perfect snack, as you decide whether you want to root for the good-hearted thieves who long for a better life or not. With the liquor ban still up, non-alcoholic grape juice or apple cider would be great drinks to pair with these shrimps.

Fish and green-bean chips go with Brit John Oliver’s comedy in Last Week Tonight.

Show: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Snack: Green-bean chips

Drink: Lemon iced tea

It’s tough to read and hear straight news about how the world is coping with COVID-19 day in and day out. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (available on YouTube) is a more lighthearted alternative. The multiple Emmy-winning show presents news updates but still finds a way to make you laugh — definitely not as easy feat. Rest assured, the British comedian and his brilliant team of researchers are not looking for cheap laughs; they deliver mostly facts, uncover secrets that could be detrimental to society and still get their audience to chuckle to provide a momentary distraction.

I figure it would be great to pair the Brit’s dry humor with a perfectly crunchy snack inspired by classic fish and chips. All you need is 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 2 tbsps. salt, 2 beaten eggs, about 200 g of green beans and oil for frying.

Combine flour and salt and place them on a plate or sheet tray. Cover the green beans in flour, dip them into the beaten eggs and then back to the flour. Deep-fry the beans until golden and crispy. You can do this with fish fillets, too! You can make a mayo dip or simply dip into vinegar. They are seriously addictive!

Eat your K-drama feels: Salmon skewers with ssamjang

Show: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo

Snack: Salmon skewers

Drink: Mango juice

This K-drama series (available on Netflix) strays from the usual love stories of glamorous women, rich heirs and overbearing parents and instead focuses on a female weightlifting star and a competitive swimmer, whose friendship and shared passion to excel in sports turns into a heartwarmingly cute love story.

A Korean-inspired salmon skewer dish would be perfect. All you need is 800 g or 1 kg salmon fillets (you can use chicken or pork), 2 tbsps. ssamjang (Korean spicy miso paste), 1/2 cup of honey and soy sauce to taste.

All you have to do is combine the ssamjang (in an emergency, you can use Sriracha or even a combination of miso paste and catsup), honey and soy sauce. Then grill the salmon skewers while basting it with sauce constantly. That’s it! This protein-packed snack is definitely the perfect accompaniment while watching the athletes train and fall in love. I think mango juice makes an excellent pairing with the spicy skewers.

* * *

Sharwin’s book So, You Want To Be A Chef? is available at all National Book Stores and Powerbooks nationwide. Follow Sharwin’s food adventures on Instagram @chefsharwin and for questions, reactions, recipe and column suggestions, you can contact him at www.sharwintee.com.

LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER MONEY HEIST THE LAST DANCE WEIGHTLIFTING FAIRY KIM BOK-JOO
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