Dec 5, 2006

Chicken Teriyaki - Pinoy version

The word teriyaki is a combination of two Japanese words: teri, which means luster and yaki, which means grilled. Of all meats, chicken is the most commonly used for teriyaki, although the recipe works well with other meats like beef, pork and turkey, as well as fish and seafood.

My first taste of teriyaki was back in UP, from one of the outlets in CASAA. Back then though, owing perhaps to the constraints of affordability, time and effortlessness, CASAA teriyaki were not grilled but were stir-fried (quite like bulgogi) on flat, stove-top griddles. Instead of whole chicken thighs or breast cutlets we got strips. Back then too, a set of beef teriyaki with sauteed mongo sprouts and a cup of rice, takeout (that costs higher than dine-in because you pay for the styro pack) is a measly P24.00!

Ah, those were the days. All I had to think about was how to budget my baon and how to make it through my next Calculus exam!

But going back on track, here's my recipe for Teriyaki. A cross between the budget-conscious UP version I loved and the sosy version everybody loves.

What's In It?

2 chicken breasts, skinned, deboned and cut into bite-sized strips
1/3 c light soy sauce
1 T brown sugar
2 T corn oil
1 T vinegar
1/2 t ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced

Kitchen Conjugations:

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Heat about 1 teaspoon of cooking oil in a wok then stir-fry the marinated meat for 2 minutes. Add a little of the marinade when the meat gets done and simmer for 2 minutes more.

Serve hot with sauteed mongo sprouts with steamed rice and a garnish of onion leek strips.

How is this different from the authentic Japanese version? Well, that one uses mirin (sweet rice wine) and sake (rice wine). Here, those are substituted with vinegar balanced by the brown sugar. And since this is stir-fried, you can easily make it in the morning for school or office baon.

Ginataang Kalabasa at Sitaw (Squash and String Beans in Coconut Milk)

Checking my site stats I was surprised to find out that many people have landed on my site in their search for a recipe of Ginataang Kalabasa and Sitaw. I thought nothing of it back in October, thinking that perhaps many Filipinos were simply looking for what to do with the flesh of carved pumpkins/squash used for halloween. But guess what, it's almost Christmas but "ginataang kalabasa" still figures prominently in my site's keyword activity! Strange, but true.

Anyways, I've been honored by a request from starlightjulian, who asked for an English version of the recipe I posted in August (I posted in Filipino, in commemoration of Filipino Language Month). Here it is, enjoy!

GINATAANG KALABASA AT SITAW (Squash and String Beans in Coco Milk)

What's In It?
  • 2 squash segments , washed well and cut into cubes (leave unpeeled)
  • 1 bunch string beans, cut into 2" portions
  • 1 medium sized onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 knob ginger, peeled, sliced and pounded
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and pounded
  • 3-5 pieces chili (use less or none at all if spice is an issue!)
  • 6 to 8 cups canned/instant coco milk, or freshly squeezed from 1 large coconut, or 2 medium ones
  • 100 grams pork fat (optional)
  • dried anchovies or shrimp fry (optional)
  • salt, according to taste

Kitchen Conjugations:

Follow package directions to make instant coco milk. If using fresh coconut, pour one cup lukewarm water over coco meat and leave for 1 minute. Add about 4 cups of tap water to moisten all of the coco meat. Take a handful or two of the moist coco meat, squeeze it between your hands, catching the coco milk with a strainer over a deep bowl or the saucepan you will use for cooking.

Add in the onions, garlic and ginger and the pork fat (if using) and heat the mixture over medium fire, stirring continuously to prevent curdling. (Use left to right slow sweeping motions to introduce motion into the mixture without unnecessarily dissipating heat and allow the mixture to boil.)

When mixture boils, add in the squash and allow to boil, stirring from time to time until the squash is half-cooked. Add in string beans and chili (if using) and simmer until the beans sweat and changes color. Season with salt and sprinkle with smoke fish flakes, dried anchovies or shrimps if desired. (If you're brave enough go ahead and crush the chili on the sides of the pan and stir back into the mixture.)

Best served hot with steamed rice and crispy fried fish.

Pasta Negra

Since sampling Pasta Negra at The Old Spaghetti House I've been wanting to make a go for my own version, but I haven't had luck finding squid ink pasta in Shopwise or SaveMore. Last Saturday, as I was cleaning some giant squids my husband brought home from the weekend market, one of the ink sacs burst and gave me a "try and see" opportunity. First, to see whether I can blacken regular spaghetti by adding some of the ink to cooked spaghetti and then to see whether I can make savory squid ink sauce without the lansa.

I failed the first test. The spaghetti didn't blacken. Maybe I should've added the ink to the water during cooking, before adding the pasta, to give the spaghetti enough chance to absorb the blackened water.

I passed the second challenge however. The sauce wasn't malansa. Yipee. The secret? Check out the recipe:

Pasta Negra (Squid Ink Spaghetti)

What's In It?
250 g. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions/until al dente

3 T olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, minced

250 g. squid, sacs removed and ink reserved, sliced into rings or bite sized pieces

2 packs 250g Clara Ole Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce

1/4 c cooking wine or white wine*

1.5 t iodized salt

1.5 t ground black pepper

1/2 t dried basil leaves (or rosemary)

Kitchen Conjugations:

In a saucepan heat oil then saute onions and garlic for one and a half minutes or until onions are soft. Turn up heat then add in squid, stir frying for 30 seconds, then stir in salt and pepper and (cooking) wine. Let simmer for 30 seconds then add in spaghetti sauce and squid ink, then leave to simmer for 2 minutes. Sprinkle dried herbs and let simmer for 30 seconds more, then adjust seasonings as necessary.

Stir in cooked pasta and toss to coat. Serve with garlic toast (and a glass of chilled Riesling, Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc. Hehehe).

Would have been great for Halloween, and what shrieks would have been if the tentacles suddenly moved on their own just as you were digging in! :)

*You may also use Mirin, Sake with a little sugar, some beer, or whatever wine you have available AND enjoy drinking.

Dec 1, 2006

Sinigang na Bangus with Tanglad

Rainy and windy (albeit stormy) weather is always good for one thing -- hot broths. Bulalo would have been nice, but my, the cholesterol! So we opted for Sinigang na Bangus.

As in all broths and stocks, the best flavor comes from the bony parts -- the bone marrow makes bulalo savory, the buto-buto or ribs makes Sinigang na Baboy flavorful. For fish sinigang, well, I believe the head and the tail are the best parts. (Reserve the belly for frying. Make it crisp and wow -- you've got the best combination!)

Anyhow, I discovered SeaKing's Bangus head and tails pack in Shopwise. The pack, which costs P30.00 max, is all head and tails, 500 grams. Throw in some veggies and you have soup for 8! Great, di ba? The tanglad was thrown in for flavor, but go ahead without it and you'd be okay. :)


What's In It?

500 g. Bangus, head and tails

1 teaspoon salt

1 large red onion, peeled and quartered

1 large or 2 medium ripe tomatoes, quartered

1 knob ginger, peeled and sliced diagonally

juice of 8 calamansi or 1 pack Knorr Sinigang sa Calamansi mix

1 bunch tanglad (lemongrass), about 8 stalks

8 to 10 cups rice washing, or tap water

2 bunches kangkong, leaves separated from stalks

1 bundle okra, sliced diagonally into 2" pieces

2 teaspoons salt or fish sauce

Kitchen Conjugations:

Wash head and tails and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

In a saucepan, boil water/rice washings with the onions, ginger, tomatoes and tanglad. Add in okra and fish when water comes to a rolling boil. Simmer for 2 minutes then season with calamansi and salt or fish sauce. Simmer for another 2 minutes, then add in kangkong. Leave to boil for another minute then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings if necessary, then serve.

Tanglad is usually removed before serving, but I always leave it in for drama. :)