Nov 24, 2006

Wansoy and Kinchay

It's almost Christmas, yikes! And while I'm gaining headway in the gift-shopping and home decorating department, I realized I have quite a number of unpublished posts, dating as far back as Easter (For shame!). It's time to put them out before they become hopelessly outdated and/or worse, I forget what I did with them in the first place. (Memory gap. Ehem.)

Let me start clearing them out with this: a treatise on how to tell between Wansoy and Kinchay. Profound, no? Hahaha.


At first glance the bunches of greens above would look the same to you. They're so similar you'd mistake one for the other. Many people actually think they're one and the same. In fact, I've been hard-pressed to find references distinguishing the two. Many sites refer to them as originating from Coriandrum sativum, and as I am not a botanist, nay, not even a farmer, I will not try to refute that.

However, my taste buds say the two are different. And so here goes what probably is the first ever article on the difference between Kinchay and Wansoy. Aren't you honored to be reading it? Hehehe.

First off, a pop quiz: which of the two bunches above is Wansoy? Left, or right?

If you said Left, engk! Wrong answer.

A year ago someone in the SM Supermarket at Festival Mall mislabeled their Wansoy as Kinchay. As I didn't know any better back then I bought a bunch and used it in my pancit, to disastrous results. I wanted aroma and tang and I got both, but the different, weird kind. (Quite like using wasabe instead of siling labuyo to spice up your Ginataang Alimasag or Bicol Express. That weird.)

Wansoy (Coriander) is an herb commonly used in Thai cooking. If you've had Tom Yum or Thai Spring Rolls you've probably tasted its unique spicy-sweetish blend, and it's what gives Thai Curry a distinct flavor. Of the two, it is more pungent. (Some even dislike its smell, which they say resemble that of squished bedbugs. Shush.)

Kinchay (Cilantro/Chinese Parsley) on the other hand is a common feature in Chinese cooking, and is more citrusy in aroma. Break off a little piece of its stalk and you'd note that the smell resembles that of celery. If you've had Lumpiang Shanghai or Chopsuey you'd have probably tasted the spice that's uniquely Kinchay.

So, that's it. One way to tell is by smell. After the SM fiasco I stopped relying on labels and started holding the bunches to my nose to smell the roots. I no longer get funny tasting pancit, just funny looks from other shoppers. :)

Anyhow, if you prefer not to look weird when you shop, then take note of the differences in the shape, size and grooves of these leaves:

Kinchay has bigger but narrower leaves, and less grooves on its leaf blade. As you can see, Wansoy looks a little like grown versions of parsley, and a baby version of Celery. So if you're in the greens section and are unsure whether it's Kinchay or Wansoy you're looking at, try to find some parsley and/or celery and compare.

Put side by side they look something like a His and Hers watch. What do you think? :)

Nov 17, 2006

Adobong Kangkong

This would have been my entry to the 15th Lasang Pinoy Food Blogging Event, entitled "Recycled, Reloaded," which was about doing something (meaningful) from leftovers. Apart from challenging the Filipino creative genius (which naturally extends to culinary skills), the theme also promotes cost-effectiveness. Magaling, mura, masarap.

I wasn't able to post this it in time for the deadline though. Sayang.
I was thinking of another dish -- wanted to make Pandesal Pizzas or Bread Pudding (expecting leftover bread) but didn't get around to doing it. Talagang ang trabaho, istorbo sa blogging! :)

Too late did I realize I actually had a post in draft mode which utilized leftovers. Sayang.


(Update: I get in afterall! Lasang Pinoy 15 host Mike Mina of Lafang was kind enough to include this late post in the round up. Yey! Thanks Mike!)

What do you do with the skin leftover from when you have your pork ground by your carnero at the market? Me I cut them into strips, pack them into 50-gram or so portions and freeze them for later use in sautes or as toppings for noodle dishes or vegetable stir-fries, as I usually do for Kangkong on Fire, and in the recipe below...


What's In It?

2 - 3 bundles Kangkong (swamp cabbage), leaves separated from stalks
2 T cooking oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
100 g. pork, cut into strips
1/2 c water
1 T all-purpose flour
1 c water
2 T soy sauce
2 T vinegar
1/2 t ground black pepper

Kitchen Conjugations:

In a pan boil pork skin strips until water dries. Add a little cooking oil and fry skins over medium heat until brown and crisp. (Don't forget to cover the pan, especially if you're a putok ng mantika magnet like me.) Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same oil, saute onions and garlic for one minute. Add in flour and 1 c water, soy sauce, vinegar and pepper. Bring to a boil, then add kangkong, let boil for another minute or just until the kangkong sweats and changes color a bit.

Transfer onto a serving dish and top with the crisp pork skins.

Nov 16, 2006

Buko Tarts

Out in Malabon on official business sometime last month, we were served great tasting Buko Tarts (which, we found out later, came all the way from Tagaytay). I liked it because it was not too sweet, the crust was buttery and flaky and the filling was just in the right level of creaminess. It was so good I was tempted to eat a whole serving (I meant to share the calories with my husband), savoring and complementing (or is 'compounding' the better word?) the sinfulness by gulping ice-cold Coke. Gosh. I haven't done that for ages! (Bless me father for I have sinned...)

Well, you know what happens when I get impressed with food -- I try making it myself in my kitchen. I wasted no time sending out for fresh buko, and made crust. The 'experiment' lasted less than an hour, and produced 18 buko tarts. The verdict? Jam ate three right away, despite the filling being piping hot!

Here's the recipe:


What's In It?

2 cups all purpose flour
1 t. salt
1/2 c butter
3 to 4 T cold water

2 cups buko meat, cut into shreds
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c evaporated milk
1/2 c cornstarch dispersed in
1/2 c buko water
a few drops of Buko Pandan flavoring (optional)

Tools/Wares Needed:
Medium sized Aluminum Puto/Tart Molds (P56.75 per 6 pieces at ValuePoint)

Kitchen Conjugations:

Get the butter out of the ref to soften it a bit. Set aside and start making the filling: In a medium sized pot or deep pan, combine the filling ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer and stir until the mixture thickens. (The best is a gluey consistency that you can still spoon. Be careful not to overcook or else the mixture will get into a paste consistency.) Remove from fire and set aside.

Work with the tarts: Combine the salt and flour in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into cubes with a knife, then cut it into the flour-salt mixture using a pastry cutter or the tines of a fork. (The flour will combine with the butter and you're supposed to end up with a crumbly mixture.) Moisten the dough with the cold water, mix and gather into a ball. Roll out and flatten the dough with a rolling pin (or a floured wine/water bottle) to about 1/8" thick.

Cut out round pieces of the dough using egg rings (if you have), jars or round plastic wares whose mouths are bigger than the size of your tart molds. Cut the remaining dough into even-sized strips (to be used as topping later).

Lightly dust the tart molds with flour, then line each with the round dough cut-outs. Press the dough to the bottom and sides of each mold. Fill each with Buko filling then top with the dough strips, making lattices.

Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown at 200C in a Turbo Broiler. (Note: baking time is longer in a conventional oven; shorter in an oven toaster.)

Let cool before taking out of the individual molds.

Nov 14, 2006

One Beginning, Three Endings

Here's a tribute to working mothers, people who just have so much on their hands, or those with kitchen phobia: A dish that starts with a single, simple step, but which finishes into 3 dishes. Make this ahead and you have something quick for baon (so you can snatch longer Zzzsss), something to serve when you have unannounced company, or for times when you just don't feel like cooking. If you're a newbie cook, today you'd be learning 3 recipes in one!

Note that the each recipe shares an ingredient or two with one of the recipes, to save on prep time. I also used only one pan for the three recipes so there's less to wash up afterwards. :)


The Beginning actually leads to infinite possible dishes but for this post it finishes into Mock Chicken Pastel, Chicken Afritada and Soy Chicken with Mushrooms:

One Beginning, Three Endings

What's In It?

The Beginning: Chicken Saute
1 1/2 kgs chicken breast, chopped into small portions
1 large onion or 2 medium ones, peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 T fish sauce
2 t ground pepper
1/4 c cooking oil

Mock Chicken Pastel
1/3 of the Chicken Saute
1 can vienna sausage, sliced diagonally or into rings
1 small red bell pepper, cubed
1 small potato, peeled, cubed and fried*
1 small carrot, peeled, cubed and fried*
1/4 c green peas
1/4 c button mushrooms (pieces and stems)
1/2 c evaporated milk
1 c hot water

Chicken Afritada
1/3 of the Chicken Saute
1 small sachet tomato sauce (or 5 T tomato paste + 1 c hot water)
3 bay (laurel) leaves
1 small red bell pepper, cubed
1 small potato, peeled, cubed and fried*
1 small carrot, peeled, cubed and fried*

Soy Chicken with Mushrooms
1/3 of the Chicken Saute
1/4 c soy sauce
1 c hot water
1 small can buttom mushrooms (pieces and stems)
3-4 stalks green onion, minced, for garnish

Kitchen Conjugations:

CHICKEN SAUTE. In a wok or deep pan heat oil over high heat. Fry the potatoes and carrots until half cooked. Remove and transfer into a dish. Set aside.

In the same oil, saute onions until soft and translucent, then add garlic, stir frying for about a minute. Add in chicken, stir fry for 30 seconds, then add fish sauce and ground pepper. Stir. Cover and let simmer for 2 minutes or until chicken loses its pinkish color.

Remove about 2/3 of the chicken from the pan and transfer onto a dish. Set aside.

You are now ready to make Mock Chicken Pastel.


Let the chicken saute simmer for three more minutes, then add in hot water, milk and half of the fried potatoes and carrots. Let simmer until the vegetables are fork-tender, stirring from time to time, about 3 minutes. Add in sliced sausages and green peas and mushrooms and let simmer for another minute.

Transfer the chicken pastel to a serving/heat proof dish. Set aside.

Bring the pan back to stove and you're now ready to cook Chicken Afritada.


Pour in the chicken saute and let simmer for two minutes before adding tomato sauce/tomato paste and water. Throw in bay leaves, bell pepper and the fried potatoes and carrots, then let simmer for 3 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) to taste. Add a little brown sugar (about 2 tablespoons) if you want the sauce to be on the sweet side. Let simmer for another minute then transfer the afritada onto a serving/heatproof plate and set aside.

Brick the pan back to the stove and work with the next dish.


Add in the remaining chicken saute. Pour in the soy sauce and hot water, let boil then simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook for another minute. Check seasonings and adjust if needed. Transfer onto a serving plate and garnish with spring onions.

Notes: (Sorry, I can't resist!)

1) Substitute young corn for the mushroom in Soy Chicken and you've got a new dish.

2) For the chicken afritada, add in one or more of the ff: fried saba, baguio beans, cabbage.. and voila! It's Chicken Pochero!

3) Omit the sausage from the Mock Pastel, use coconut milk instead of evap and stir in 4 teaspoons curry powder and you have Chicken Curry!

4) Saute some ginger strips in a little hot oil before you add the chicken saute, then stir in some brown sugar and some rice wine (if available), sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and sliced leeks and what have you got? Chicken Teriyaki!

5) Of course, you can always use beef or pork for chicken.

Goodluck to your kitchen adventures.... tell me about it. :)

Nov 8, 2006

Chili Butter Shrimps

Olive was kind enough to make patol to the question at the end of my "Unposted" post and requested this recipe. Thanks for the moral support, girl! (The rest of you who just lurked -- how could you! Tampo, tampo, tampo....joke!)

Anyhow, I cooked this soooooo long ago that I forgot what I ACTUALLY did with it. That's the problem with unscientific chefs like me who rely on approximations and gut feel... one dish is never like the other because the ingredients and the method are all spur of the moment! Nevertheless, here's what I think I did:


What's In It?

1 kg. shrimps or prawns
4 tablespoons Star Margarine garlic flavor
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar*
1 teaspoon salt*
2 stalks leeks, white part separated from greens,
both cut diagonally into 1/4" strips

Kitchen Conjugations:

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add in margarine and stir until melted. Add in the white part of the leeks, stir fry for ten seconds, then add in shrimps. Stir fry for one minute, or until the shrimp/prawns turn orange. Add in oyster sauce and hot sauce and a little hot water if desired (to make more sauce). Stir fry the ingredients some more or until heated through. Check and adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with the rest of the sliced leeks.


1) Add in the brown sugar if you want the dish to be on the sweet-side. Add the salt if you want the dish to be saltier, although personally I am alright with the saltiness imparted by the oyster sauce.

2) If you have time to spare, you can remove the head, the shells (but leave the tail intact) and devein the shrimp (remove the grayish-blackish strip along its back).

3) If Star Margarine garlic is unavailable, substitute with 3 tablespoons butter or regular margarine and 3 cloves of garlic, minced. Add in the garlic after the butter or the margarine melts and saute for 1 minute.

4) Seafood shrinks when heated, so keep cooking time to a minimum. If possible, choose bigger sizes to keep the food 'visible.' Hehehe.