Oct 10, 2007
Anyway, River Cobbler, despite being catfish, tastes nothing like our local catfish hito. It has a delicate texture and nice, white flesh. Judging by the taste, size and appearance, I think it's the same fish used by Fish and Co. for their fish and chips. If you've had that, you know the flesh is juicy and tasty, the stuff fish-lover dreams are made of. :)
This River Cobbler though wasn't deep-fried but turbo-broiled wrapped in aluminum foil. The cajun seasoning gives the broil an interesting kick -- not really spicy but not actually tame, and the mix of herbs and spices (cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, thyme, sweet basil and bay leaf) just adds dimensions of taste and aroma to the dish. I think this makes a nice Friday night dish, a great way to end the monotony of the usual dishes of the week.
There are many commercially available cajun seasonings, like McCormick Cajun Seasoning which I used here, but you can also make the seasoning from scratch (recipe here).
CAJUN RIVER COBBLER
What's In It?
1 pack River Cobbler Fillets (about 500g.), thawed
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pack McCormick Cajun Seasoning
Wash the fish fillets and drain over wire racks. Combine salt with cajun seasoning, then rub over both sides of the fillets. Wrap fillets in aluminum foil, leaving some air pockets between the top side of the fillets and the foil (to allow steam to circulate and prevent burning/drying).
Carefully place over wire racks in the turbo broiler and broil for 15 minutes at 180 to 200C.
Serve with blanched/buttered vegetables.
PS: If you're partial to frying, you can opt to cut the fillets lengthwise into halves, dip them in eggwash (1 beaten egg + 3 tablespoons water) then deep fry for 3 minutes or until golden. Drain excess oil from the fillets then coat with the cajun seasoning.
Oct 1, 2007
Sarciado is a quintessential "pangat" dish -- pangat being short for pangatlo (third), a standing joke among Filipinos for our tendency to have and recycle leftovers, and serve them a second, even a third time. Of course we do get creative in the process of recycling, making the leftover look and taste different from the original. Fried chicken gets redone as sweet and sour chicken, or shredded for pancit or sopas, or diced for lumpia, meatballs, etc.
Sarciado is take two for fried fish. Other options would be escabeche (sweet and sour fish) and fish with tausi (black beans).
What's In It?
1/2 kg. fleshy fish - 5 to 6 pcs. - fried/leftover Dalagang Bukid (Yellow Tail Fusilier)* or Bisugo (Threadfin Bream)*
5 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
3 ripe tomatoes, washed, seeded and sliced
3 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup oil for reheating/refrying fish (if using leftovers)
3 teaspoons cooking oil for sauteing
1 1/2 cups water
In a deep pan or wok, heat oil. If using leftover fish, reheat/refry the fish until crisp and firm. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same oil, saute onions, tomatoes and garlic until tomatoes wilt.
Pour in fish sauce, stir a few seconds, then add ground black pepper and water. Turn up heat to boil the mixture. Add in beaten egg, stir continuously to make the eggs set in strips/strands (instead of one whole blob). Add in fried fish, turn down heat and let simmer for 2 minutes more.
Serve hot with steamed rice.
*english names courtesy of Wyatt's Kitchen
Sep 30, 2007
Once back in highschool we were grouped into teams and were asked to come up with extraordinary recipes in Home Economics class. The other teams came up with pretty interesting dishes; the most remarkable, Banana Cake made from banana peels. That tasted okay, up until I imagined where the banana peels could have come from, and gagged.*
Anyways, our group's recipe wasn't extraordinary (supplied at the last minute by the mom of one of my mates who rescued us from impending non-submission). 'Twas called Meatball Surprise, just a meatball with a quail egg inside.
I made this to reconcile two different requests - Kwek-kwek for Gambel and Meatballs for Jam.
(I've made kwek-kwek/tokneneng before, here.) I was on the phone with Claire while rounding the balls and wasn't paying attention to how centered/uncentered the eggs were. Sowee. :)
QUAIL EGG SURPRISE
What's In It?
12 quail eggs, hardboiled and peeled
1/2 kilo ground pork
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated (or diced, if you like)
1 small red bell pepper, diced finely
1 medium onion, peeled and diced finely
1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour or bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup flour (for coating the eggs)
1 1/2 cups cooking oil (for frying)
Heat cooking oil in a deep fryer or wok over low fire. While waiting, work on the meatball mixture.
In a bowl combine ground pork, carrots, bell peppers and onions. Season with salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly, then add in flour or bread crumbs. Mix a few more strokes, then pour in beaten egg. Mix to ensure the egg wets and combines with the mixture. (I use my hands to mix, for a better feel.)
Roll quail eggs in flour to coat. Then take a tablespoon of the mixture and line each flour-coated egg with it, shaping into balls as you go. Carefully drop the meatballs into the waiting oil. Deep fry for 3 minutes or until brown and golden.
Serve with sweet and sour sauce or sweet chili sauce.
By the way, you can do this using chicken eggs, and end up making what is called Scotch Eggs.
*Of course I trust my classmates have been very careful, but I do have a very active imagination. :P
Sep 29, 2007
But heaven was gone too soon! 284 grams of goodness lasted only a few breakfasts, topping toasted and buttered wheat bread or pancakes, or sometimes licked right out of the teaspoon. I can't get enough of the goodness, and it seems like the rest of the household felt the same way. The spread barely lasted two days from the day it was opened..
And here's probably why:
St. Dalfour ‘Rhapsodie de Fruits’ are made in the heart of the French countryside to an old recipe from the Loire Valley. They are pure fruit. No sugar is added. Only the natural sweetness of concentrated grape juice is used. This natural sweetness produces a taste which is much fresher and more delicious than the heavy taste of sugar. -St. Dalfour websiteSpeaking of heaven, writing this post made me curious about St. Dalfour. Who was he and how did he live? Why was this piece of culinary heaven named after him? Was he a cook so good, his concoctions merited him a place in heaven? If that's the case then there's hope for me! Hahaha! Not to toot my horn and say I am a good cook, but to say I can work on making great dishes ala St. Dalfour and maybe have a place in heaven. :)
Sep 25, 2007
One of our treasured finds are the frozen squid heads that come for P150.00 per 1-kilo pack. They're great battered and deep fried or skewered and grilled like I did here.
I wrapped and tied up the squid tentacles with tanglad (lemon grass). Apart from imparting a unique flavor and tantalizing aroma, the tanglad kept the tentacles from falling into the grill slats.
Be sure to tie them tightly as the squid will shrink as it cooks.
And a cheat: you don't have to make marinade from scratch. Here I used bottled marinades. :)
SWEET-SPICY INIHAW NA PUSIT
What's in it?
1 pack (1 kilo) squid (heads only or whole squid, cleaned)
1 bottle Mother's Best barbecue marinade
1/4 cup chili/tabasco sauce
10-12 stalks tanglad (optional)
Combine barbecue marinade and chili sauce in a deep bowl. Stir to mix well. Add in squid and marinate for 20 minutes to half an hour.
Skewer in pre-soaked barbecue sticks and tie with tanglad, if using. Make sure grill is hot and ready before putting squids. Grill over flaming hot charcoal for 3 minutes each side.
Sep 13, 2007
Among Cebuanos, tuna is referred to as bariles, the vernacular for water drum. Bariles because the body of one adult tuna is so huge, the diameter could be as round and large as a water drum. Could be as heavy, too. The average bariles weighs about 50 kilos!
And now, a short narration from my husband, who was born and bred in North Cotabato:
"Ang GenSan (Gen. Santos City, South Cotabato), highway ng tuna. Doon dumadaan ang tuna papuntang Pacific Ocean. Sa dami ng tuna na dumadaan, puedeng magtago ka na lang sa bato, pagdaan ng tuna, sapakin mo sa panga!"
Hahahahaha! Maybe that's where Manny Pacquiao trained early on. :)
Anyway, the tuna used in this recipe is from GenSan, one of his pasalubongs from his latest homecoming. Usually sinuglaw uses tilapia, but since we had frozen tuna belly we used that instead.
SINUGLAW NA BARILES
What's In It?
- 500g tuna belly, sliced diagonally into 4-5 large chunks
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 knob ginger, peeled and sliced
- 3 to 5 pieces siling labuyo
- 2 bunches pechay, washed and bottoms removed
- 1 cup tap water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper corns, ground coarsely
- 1 cup coconut cream (kakang-gata)
Line a deep pan or sauce pot with the onions, garlic, ginger slices and sili. Top with the tuna belly chunks. Pour in water, fish sauce and vinegar. Sprinkle with black pepper corns. Cook over moderate heat. DO NOT STIR until the mixture boils.
Add in coconut cream and stir a little to allow the ingredients to meld. Turn down heat and let the mixture simmer for 3 minutes or until the sauce gets reduced a little. Top the mixture with the pechay leaves, cover and let simmer for one minute, or until the leaves sweat. Remember to keep the leaves crisp and green.
Serve hot with steamed rice, and some fried tuna belly if desired:
Sep 5, 2007
Mussels, being sedentary creatures are perennial victims of the red tide. When the rains come, even without a red tide alert, we usually avoid buying mussels at the market, to be on the safe side.
Fortunately, supermarkets now carry imported and local mussels, some of them totally removed from the shell, some of them in the half shell, ready for baking. We were so happy to find New Zealand mussels in the frozen seafood section of the South Supermarket in Alabang. A box of about 500g. cost P310.00 on the average, and considering they were amazingly large (2 1/2" long), fleshy and fresh (not to mention being from the much cleaner waters of NZ), I'd say it was a good buy.
The mussels came in the half-shell and parboiled, making them ideal for baking but we were hankering for something spicy and so came Spicy Mussels.
What's In It?
500g. NZ mussels, thawed
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
5-6 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce*
5-6 tablespoons reduced-sodium oyster sauce*
2 stalks leeks, cut into 1/2" strips
5-6 stalks green onions, cut into 1/2" strips
3 tablespoons cooking oil
Heat cooking oil in a wok. Add in chili garlic sauce, stir fry for 30 seconds then add in onions. Saute for another 30 minutes.
Add in mussels and oyster sauce, stir and toss to coat for one minute. (If you're using raw mussels, this part should take 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until the shells open.) Stir in leeks and cook for another minute. Add in 1/4 cup water if a little sauce is desired. Top with green onion slices and serve.
Great with white wine. :)
1. Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce is available in most supermarkets, some in sachets good for one dish, costing P20.00 (or less). If unavailable, substitute with diced chili, a little sugar, salt and diced garlic.
2. I use reduced-sodium oyster sauce because we need to watch our sodium levels. (Doc's orders.) This results to a less-salty dish that might be bland to some. Of course you can always use regular/classic oyster sauce instead.
Aug 11, 2007
More than that, the movie made me realize three cooking philosophies I am passionate about:
1. ANYONE CAN COOK (said in the movie by the character Chef Auguste Gusteau).
I've always believed that cooking is no rocket science and that anyone who tries hard enough can whip up something tasty and edible. I've always believed that cooking is something than can be learned and honed. I believe that one's cooking talents improve in direct proportion to the interest and desire to learn, coupled with the commitment to try, practice and explore. Put another way, if you're uncomfortable with your cooking, or people are uncomfortable with what you cook, that only means you need to learn some more (from other people, from experiences, from mistakes) and practice some more. :)
2. There are no hard and fast rules about cooking, only possibilities. While there are basics that you need to know (er, like salt is salty and you don't want too much of it in your cooking), the rest is subject to interpretation and how you want your finished product to be. You want it aromatic? Ass-kicking spicy? On the sweet side? The dish is your canvass and the ingredients are the colors you would paint your canvass with. It's all up to you.
And because it's up to you, cooking is more an art than a science; more liberal than precise. In the movie, Remy shied away from recipes and had no precise measurements for the things he threw into his pot. I am that way too; when I cook, my measurements are usually by handfuls, pinches, swigs and dashes. (So a little confession -- it's always an effort for me to quantify the measurements I used when I write the recipes for this blog.) My sense of doneness and readiness isn't measured by time but by the smell and appearance of the food. I don't open cookbooks and execute the recipes. My cooking sessions are usually fueled by the desire to replicate something I ate and liked somewhere.
3. Get into the heart of it. Good cooking is from the heart. Just like good writing, good food is heartfelt. It is good because the one who made it cared enough to make it right and make it well and gave himself or herself to make it the best it could be.
And best doesn't have to mean expensive or complicated. In the movie, the peasant-dish Ratatouille, a simple, pan-fried-then-baked mixture of eggplants, onions, tomatoes and zucchinis rocked the critic Anton Ego to the core because it reminded him of his mother's cooking. As simple as the dish was, perhaps it tasted, looked and smelled of a mother's careful attention to detail, and the overwhelming desire to give her family the best. Heartfelt.
So go out there (into the kitchen), wow them, wow yourself.
Jul 31, 2007
Presenting the ubiquitous Laing, which, like its equally famous sibling Bicol Express, has received several Tagalog versions. The Bicol Express as it is known hereabouts is just like Ginataang Baboy -- pork with a little sili. In Bicol, sili (siling pansigang or finger chili) is the main feature of Bicol Express and the pork bits are added just for flavoring.
The Tagalog version of Laing uses just the leaves of the gabi (taro), and is sometimes not even a bit spicy (example: Goldilocks Laing). The ingredients are minimal -- sometimes just the shredded taro leaves and coconut milk.
The authentic, Bicolano Laing uses the stalks as well and is made special by the addition of pork and fresh shrimp. The sili is "all you can" -- all you can put, all you can possibly take. :) The serving/presentation is just as special and detailed -- the laing mixture is wrapped in gabi leaves and topped with curdled coconut cream. Real laing is eaten not in spoonfuls but by the pinch -- because that's the only way you can stand the level of spice.
Don't worry though, for in this recipe I scaled down the spiciness to tolerable levels. But of course this won't be real Laing if it's not kick-ass maanghang.
Warning: If you're on a diet and need to avoid eating rice, READ NO FURTHER. :)
What's In It?
5 bunches gabi leaves and stalks -- drier, better
2 large cans coconut cream, or 6 cups coconut cream (from 2 coconuts)
1/2 kilo pork liempo, diced
100 g. small shrimps, (alamang) fresh, not salted
3 teaspoons brown sugar (optional)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced finely
1 large knob of ginger, peeled and diced finely
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 pcs. finger chilies, sliced diagonally into thin rings
5 pcs. ripe siling labuyo
1/8 cup cooking oil
1 shrimp broth cube
1 pork broth cube
PREPS-- Cut the gabi leaves off from the stalks. Check for the largest and best leaves (those with the least tears or holes) and set them aside (you will need about 8 to 10). Shred the rest using your fingers or kitchen scissors. Set aside.
Cut off the prickly part of the stalks and discard. Carefully peel skin from the gabi stalks and set aside (for use in tying the wraps later). Dice the peeled stalks into bits, set aside.
MAKING THE FILLING -- In a deep frying pan or wok heat oil then saute onions, ginger and garlic for one minute. Add in pork and sliced chilies, stir frying for 3 minutes or until pork loses pink tint and is half cooked. Add in alamang, brown sugar (if using) and diced stalks. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
Pour in 2/3 cup of the coconut cream. Stir to combine. Reduce heat and let the simmer for 3 minutes or until the stalks are tender. Add the shredded gabi leaves and cook for 3 minutes more. Remove pan from fire when the leaves have wilted.
WRAPPING UP -- Put the whole gabi leaves on a flat surface. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the cooked mixture over each leaf, avoiding any tears or holes. Fold the leaves into a square, making the edges overlap. Secure and tie each wrap with the gabi skin strips. Repeat until all the mixture has been wrapped.
COCO CREAM BATH -- In the same deep pan or wok, heat coconut cream, broth cubes and siling labuyo to a pre-boil. Squish siling labuyo to allow the spice to meld with the coconut cream. Simmer for half a minute then carefully add in laing wraps. Let boil and simmer until the coconut cream gets reduced to half of its original volume.
Serve with hot, steaming rice, fried galunggong or tilapia, and glasses of water. :)
This is my entry to the 20th edition of Lasang Pinoy, which features wraps as a way of Filipino cooking and food presentation. Read more about the theme here.
Jul 28, 2007
We usually eat at the office when we have baon I packed from home. Sometimes we buy from my suki point-point (a.k.a. turo-turo/carinderia). Often, when we have to head out for business meetings, we have little adventures trying out restaurants we've never been to before.
The photo above was taken on one of those lunch dates, at the Hula-Hula Seafood and Barbecue House at Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong. The restaurant serves fusion cuisine (Hawaiian-Filipino-Japanese-etc) and in the menu are items like Island Paella in Bamboo, Bangus Sisig, Spicy Seafood Udon... you get the drift. :)
That above is their Davao Gulf Luau Feast. It's actually a feast for 3-4 persons (don't worry, we didn't finish all of the food!), and is made up of Grilled Mussels, Tuna Belly, Squid and Liempo. It's accompanied by Fish Kinilaw, Mango Salad and Cucumber Salad, and two heaping (more like mountains) of two kinds of rice: Pineapple Fried Rice (the light yellow-colored mound) and Baby Shrimp Fried Rice. The feast is served on a giant bamboo tray (the size of a four-seater table) lined with banana leaves, so you can actually eat straight from the tray and feel like you're dining in some island and not in a busy mall. :)
And how much was that? P695.00 plus the cost of drinks (I had a guyabano shake for P95.00) and VAT. I suppose for a party of 3 or 4 the cost would be about P300 per person, same amount you'd shell out for a meal at Dencio's or Gerry's, or a plate of pasta at Italianni's.
And how was the food? Good. I think it's comparable to Dencio's and Gerry's, only the presentation is a novelty and the ambiance is far less noisy and far more conducive to an enjoyable lunch. (I don't know about dinnertime or Friday nights though.)
Hula-Hula has another branch at Westgate Alabang, which we've been to about 3 times already. Apart from being closer to us, we like this outlet better because it is bigger and more spacious, and the airconditioning is better than the one at Shangri-La Plaza. The last time we were there we also ordered the Crab Maritess (proclaimed as their bestseller, garlicky and cholesterolic). While dining we were treated to a modernized hawaiian dance number by the food attendants. :)
Jul 26, 2007
We also love spice. And herbs. Me, I am crazy about basil. Given a choice I will always have pesto (proof: here). I sprinkle dried basil on my pasta each time we eat at Sbarro, and I will always find an excuse to put it in stir-fries whenever possible.
I love that its smell and flavor are interestingly indescribable. There's no way to say in a few words how it specifically smells or tastes. This is because the aroma and flavor of basil is an interplay of the essential oils present in its leaves: cinnamate (same as in cinnamon), citronellol (geraniums, roses, and citronella), geraniol (as in geranium), linalool (a flowery scent also in coriander), methyl chavicol (which gives tarragon its scent), myrcene (bay, myrcia), pinene (which is, as the name implies, the chemical which gives pine oil its scent) and ocimene terpineol. (Wikipedia) There's simply no way a dish will be bland with basil in it!
There's also quite a number of basil varieties, but the most commonly known and available is sweet basil. (This is also the kind commonly used in Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese cooking.) I usually find Sweet Basil in the fresh produce section of Shopwise and SaveMore, with 100grams costing less than P20.00. (When they're in season, of course.) What an inexpensive way to put a little kick in your cuisine!
SWEET BASIL SQUID
What's In It?
- 1 kg. squid, cleaned, ink sacs and backbones removed, body cut into rings
- 1 large scallion/onion, peeled and sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 pieces red pepper (siling labuyo), sliced - optional
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 5 tablespoons oyster sauce
- a bunch of sweet basil, leaves removed from stalks and washed well
- some leeks, sliced diagonally into rings, for garnish
In a wok over high heat, saute onions and garlic in oil for one minute. Add in squid heads and rings, siling labuyo (if using) and oyster sauce. Stir fry for a minute then add in sweet basil leaves. Stir fry a few seconds more, just to cook the leaves a little*. Adjust and correct seasonings by adding a pinch of salt or sugar.
Garnish with leeks. Serve while hot.
- If you overcook the basil the leaves will turn black and leak all the essential oils into your food. The flavor will be very strong.
- Squid becomes hard and rubbery when overcooked, so cook it over high heat quickly.
Substitutions: You can use Thai Basil for the sweet basil, other meats like pork, beef, shrimps and chicken (see at left) for the squid. Prolong stir-frying to about 3 minutes if using pork, beef or chicken, but only 1 minute for shrimps.
Jul 22, 2007
Every now and then -- no, make that most of the time -- I have difficulty producing good shots for this blog. You see, I usually cook for dinner and dinner happens, well, at night. The lighting isn't really the best, and I'm not (yet) very familiar with the flash settings of my cam. Add to that the fatigue from really long days... the picture above is an example of one of my wanting shots.
Ginataang Santol. Would you call it exotic? When I was 14 we had some visiting seminarians over for lunch and my lola served this dish. One of our guests asked what it was (he had trouble placing the taste) and I jokingly answered, "Ginataang Cactus." He looked so bewildered -- his tongue was saying it was good and okay, but his mind was telling him otherwise, so I told him right away it was santol before he could barf and ruin lunch for the rest of us. :)
Santol isn't exactly the stuff your usual ulam is made of. If you like some excitement and tang in your ulam I bet you'd like this, paired with crispy fried fish (tilapia, galunggong...) And I'm proud to say I'm the first ever (half) Bicolana to post it! Yay! Now would you be the first non-Bicolanos to cook it? :)
The recipe is how I recall it from weekends watching my lola's cooking.
What's In It?
3-4 pcs. Santol
4 cups coconut milk
1 scallion/onion, peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 teaspoons salt or 3 teaspoons raw bagoong alamang
3-5 pcs. siling labuyo
Peel santol. Cut in halves, remove the seeds and set aside. Dice pulp. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon salt over the diced santol, mix then pick up handfuls of the diced pulp and squeeze to remove some of the juice. (This is so the dish does not go sour beyond edibility. Hahaha.)
In a deep pan heat coconut milk, onions and garlic, stirring every now and then to avoid curdling. When the mixture boils, add in santol and salt (or alamang). Continue stirring slowly until the mixture boils. Add in siling labuyo and let the mix simmer until the coco milk is thick and reduced, about 15 minutes.
Serve with steamed rice and fried fish.
Jul 18, 2007
(Our lemon grass are potted because we just carried them over from when we were renting, and back then all our plants were potted for better portability.)
I made Lumpiang Shanghai and after a few dozen rolls, ran out of lumpia wrapper. What to do with the excess lumpia mix? Well, meatballs of course! I stuck in lemon grass stalks, courtesy of our potted-tanglad-garden, for interest. Okay, di ba?
Jul 5, 2007
The theme of Lasang Pinoy's 19th edition -- Barrio Fiesta: Eat 'Til You Drop is the essence of the fiesta as I knew it, growing up. The feasting didn't just happen for a day -- the fiesta, the food and the merrymaking lasted for days, at least in our home.
The fiesta in our parish, The Holy Family, happens every last Sunday of the year. Before that, the following things happen: three birthdays -- my brother's, Dad's and mine (8,18 and 24) and Christmas Day. The parish fiesta usually falls somewhere from the 26th to the 29th. After that, the food-laden table on New Year's Eve and more eating on New Year's Day. (And a few days after that, my mom's birthday on the 4th.) Did you count? Eight days of eating.
And so you'd probably understand when I say it's pretty hard to remember whether there was exactly a dish we prepared especially for the fiesta. :)
Anyway, since the fiesta was practically sandwiched in between special holidays punctuated by non-stop cooking and eating, it has become a peculiar custom among us neighbors to make the fiesta a leftover potluck day. Long tables are laid out on the street and each household brings out something to share, usually leftover from Christmas day. The table gets lined with various versions of macaroni salad and/or spaghetti bolognese, laneras of leche flan and loads of ham. From time to time some lechon/lechon paksiw, morcon or festive-looking bread breaks the predictability and disappear fast from the long table.
My Callos was one such hit. :)
Thanks to the wonders of pressure-cooking, making Callos is no longer as tedious and time-consuming as it used to be. And because ox tripe and ox legs (cow's pata) are readily available from the meat section of major supermarkets, you need not wait for a fiesta to taste or serve it. :)
What's In It?
1 1/2 kilos beef tripe (tuwalya)
1 1/2 kilos ox leg (have the butcher chop it into 4 large chunks)
2 T garlic, minced
2 pcs. medium-sized onion, sliced
3 pcs. red bell pepper, sliced and seeded
1 kilo fresh tomatoes, blanched, peeled and sliced
1 cup grated quick-melt cheese
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 cup chick peas (garbanzos)
1 large potato, peeled and sliced into thick strips
3 pcs. Chorizo de Bilbao, sliced diagonally
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thick strips
4-6 bay leaves
5 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pitted green olives (optional)
Wash ox leg and tripe. Boil in enough water for 30 minutes, then discard the stock*. Replace water (enough to cover the meats) and cook in a pressure cooker. The meats should be under pressure** for no more than 20 minutes. Remove from fire and let cool for 10 minutes. Check pressure by raising one of the vents. If no steam comes out it is safe to open the pressure cooker.
Remove meats from the pot. Chop tripe into rectangular strips. Remove the softened ligaments from the bones and chop into the same shape and size as the tripe. Reserve stock for later.
In a deep saucepot, saute garlic, onions and tomatoes in oil. Add bell peppers and tomatoes and saute for one more minute or until tomatoes have wilted. Add in tripe and ox ligaments. Season with fish sauce and ground pepper. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add stock, chili sauce, potatoes, carrots and bay leaves. Simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are fork-tender. Stir in grated cheese, let simmer for two minutes more. Remove from fire and garnish with olives if desired.
*This is so that the stock does not get masebo and yucky smelling.
**The pressure is on if the pressure cooker begins hissing. With some pressure cookers the vents actually lift a little and dance on their bolts like polka dancers. :)
Jul 4, 2007
My Luk Yuen staples: Deep Fried Tofu, Fish in Tausi, Beef with Kangkong and Bagoong, Bird's Nest soup and Tossed Rice Noodles. Worth the drive, worth the guilt, worth the little extra.
Jul 3, 2007
I was raised in a carnivorous household and I can count by my fingers the number of times we were admonished to eat vegetables. And mind you, vegetables basically meant upo (bottle gourd), kangkong (swamp cabbage), repolyo (cabbage), kalabasa (squash) and sitao (string beans) -- the kid-friendly, better-tasting kind. Yet, even then, in the rare occasions when I did eat these veggies, the servings were in such small bits or mashed and taken with lots of rice, or covered with tocino, or followed up with gulps of water. Drama, suspense, action.
I hated vegetables.
And so it is a big surprise to my mother-- and moreso, to me-- that now, 30+ years after, I am now an avid fan of vegetables. I crave them. I make menus around them. I bring them to potluck parties. I skip restaurants that do not serve them. I make salads out of ampalaya, fill broths with saluyot, even go to Antipolo for bulaklak ng katuray for ensalada. Drama, suspense, action.
I woke up one day loving vegetables.
And so, for the 18th edition of Lasang Pinoy, I am writing about my first-ever attempt at Bulanglang. Bulanglang is an Ilokano dish that contains the stuff vegetable haters' nightmares are made of: saluyot, okra, talbos ng sitao, bulaklak ng kalabasa. Cooking-- and enjoying--this dish is a testament that I've really come full circle. :)
What's In It?
1 medium-sized bangus (milkfish), cut daing-style (butterfly)
2 bunches talbos ng sitao
2 bunches saluyot leaves
2 bunches okra (ladyfingers)
2 bunches squash blossoms
2 bunches string beans
5 to 6 cups water
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup bagoong balayan
Season bangus with 1 teaspoon salt then grill over charcoal until done. Remove from fire and set aside.
Wash vegetables carefully and thoroughly. Cut sitao into 3" segments, okra into halves, crosswise. Remove squash blossoms, sitao tops and saluyot leaves from their stalks. Set aside.
Boil water in a sauce pot over high heat. Add onions and bagoong balayan, let boil for a minute or so. Add in grilled bangus. Let boil for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the flavors of the fish to meld with the broth.
Carefully remove bangus from the pot and transfer to a serving bowl. Add in okra and sitao and let simmer for one and a half minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
Add in the rest of the ingredients. Let boil for another minute or until the greens are crisp tender. Remove from fire and serve topped with the grilled bangus.
Read about other veggie recipes posted by Pinoy Foobloggers in the Lasang Pinoy 18 roundup, here.
(Many, many thanks to my ageless, proudly-Ilokana friend Mama Norms who introduced this Bikolana/Tagalog to Bulanglang, and for sharing the recipe. Stay sexy. Mmmwah!)
Jun 27, 2007
Hong Tai Yang's billboard beckoned : "Over a 100 food choices." Clearly it was a marketing jab but what the heck, we drove in and followed the arrows to the back end of the Hobbies of Asia compound.
To our surprise, the restaurant was bustling with diners. And there, a stride from the door is the buffet counter filled with quite a variety of shabu-shabu (hotpot) and grill ingredients -- dimsum, hakaw, meats and poultry (fresh and processed, including tocino and bacon), innards and other laman loob bordering on the exotic, fish and seafood, lots of greens and other veggies....
We had a choice from among chicken, satay (which I took) and sinigang (Mike's choice) for the hotpot broth. Half an hour later we have tried half a dozen "courses," using the Teriyaki, BBQ and other condiments available, then helped ourselves to the all-you-want ice cream and halo-halo. Hay, patay na naman ang diet!
When we asked for the bill, the waiter was profuse with tips: "'Pag pumunta po kayo dito dapat yung gutom talaga kayo, tapos 'wag n'yong bibiglain. Yung iba kasi nabibigla, ayun, nagsasawa agad. Sayang din ho kasi 'yung bayad n'yo."
Anyway, we did come back four times more (and better prepared) after that, with the kids, with mom (on Mothers' Day -- boy, was the place packed!) and some friends. The kids liked the idea of being allowed to cook their own food -- and the seemingly endless supply of ice cream. :)
Hong Tai Yang opens from 11 am to 11pm daily. Lunch buffet costs P360 per head; dinner P395 (excluding rice and drinks). Kids pay only half (except on holidays). The place gets really full on weekends and special occasions, so the best time to come would be for weekday lunch, or call in for reservations.
Hong Tai Yang is at the back end of the Hobbies of Asia compound, along Macapagal Boulevard. (The entrance to the compound comes right after the Blue Lotus Spa.) HTY's frontage faces the Senate Building and is on the same row as Susan the Cooking Diva's kitchen.
Jun 26, 2007
This post is more than a month late for the 17th edition of Lasang Pinoy, thanks to my hiatus from blogging and bloghopping (I read the LP announcement just last night). I'm hoping the good people of LP will accept it anyway and include it in the (post) round-up.
Tokneneng is the baby version of Kwek-Kwek, boiled chicken eggs coated with orange-tinted batter commonly sold on the street. Tokneneng is made of boiled quail eggs. Both Kwek-kwek and Tokneneng are my boys' favorites, and today I decided to treat them to the hygienic version. (As most people know, Tokneneng and Kwek-kwek get additional flavor from the spraying of smoke, dust and other airborne elements from people and vehicles passing by as they sit on display on the karitons.)
What's In It?
24 pcs. quail eggs, hard-boiled and shells removed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp + 1 pinch iodized salt
a pinch or two of black pepper powder
a pinch of Maggi Magic Sarap (optional)
1/2 cup tap water
2-3 drops red food color
2-3 drops yellow food color
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (for dusting)
1 cup cooking oil (for frying)
1) In a shallow pan prepare and heat cooking oil over medium heat.
2) Meantime, stir in food color into water until you get the desired tint. (Tip: Go for a little darker because the shade will pale when combined with the starches.)
2) In a medium bowl combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper and Magic Sarap or MSG (if using). Gradually add-in colored water, pouring a little at a time as you beat the batter with slow strokes. Add in any remaining water until the batter is fluid but thick. (See picture above. PS - I ran out of red food color so the batter is yellow.)
3) Pour the extra 1/4 cup all-purpose flour into a plastic bag or container. Add in the shelled quail eggs, cover/seal and roll to coat. (This gives the batter something to cling on.)
4) Dunk the floured eggs into the batter. Pick up using two teaspoons (so that you can keep the eggs rolling and coating in the thick batter and keep them as round as possible) then pop into the hot oil.
5) Fry for a minute each side or until the batter sets. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool and drain on a colander.
6) Serve with sweet-chili sauce or sweet and sour sauce (bottled versions available at supermarkets) or spiced vinegar (white vinegar with minced red onion and a sprinkling of ground black pepper and salt). Enjoy!
PS uli: Today's tokneneng, happening on a school day, figured in the boys' lunch box. To make sure the Toknenengs stay crisp and fresh, the sauce was stored separately, to be poured in just before eating. The extra sauce packs I take home and keep from our fastfood eat-outs came handy. :)
1) A quail egg has 3 times more cholesterol than a chicken egg.
2) The chicken figurine in the picture above is a candlestick holder, part of a set I bought in 1997. Her partner, the rooster, fell into pieces after being thrown into the air by one of my nieces, who thought it was plastic and was a toy. They were samples for an export project, and I have not found a replacement for Mr. Rooster.
3) The Easter Eggs (at the background) I bought from the Custom Clay Shop factory in San Pedro, for P10.00 each (I think they sold for P120 each at the malls). Gambel accidentally broke one of the eggs yesterday when his kicking pad flew while practicing TKD.
Jun 16, 2007
Sorry to cross your hopes, but nope, I am not infanticipating. This craving is strictly weirdo.
Shown here are the makis I ordered at Teriyaki Boy in Megamall, right when we took a break from my ninang dress adventure. Sorry if the photo leaves much to be desired -- there's only so much that can be done under poor lighting and with a camphone.
The makis, however, performed according to expectations.
Apr 11, 2007
So I'm back -- after 10 years. :) I've been back in the kitchen but haven't been as prolific as before, so I'm afraid my posts would still be not as frequent as they were. For now I'd like to share the "recipe" for easter egg dyes and how to paint easter eggs.
Of course it'd be a lot simpler to just buy chocolate eggs, or just fill up plastic eggs with goodies, but where's the fun in that? My kids and I spent 2 hours painting last Saturday-- 2 hours less of boredom and inactivity.
What's in it?
20 eggs - good for 4 kids/kids at heart (a child can paint 5 eggs and still be bitin!)
food colors: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, violet, pink... you get the drift. :)
For the eggs:
1. Put eggs in a saucepan and add water, to level that's just enough to cover all the eggs.
2. Bring water to a gentle boil (use medium heat)
3. When water boils, throw in 1/2 t salt (to prevent the eggshells from cracking)
4. Let the eggs boil for 4 minutes.
5. Remove eggs from saucepan and transfer to a deep dish with water. Let cool for half an hour.
6. Remove eggs from waterbath and air dry or wipe with cloth.
For the egg dyes:
Combine 2 teaspoons food color, half a cup of water and 2 teaspoons white vinegar in plastic cups.
To paint the eggs:
(Be sure to line the work area with old newspapers for easy clean-up afterwards.)
Plain, colored eggs - slowly drop the egg into the cup of egg dye. Remove after a minute at least. (Keep the egg longer in the dye if you want a darker shade of the color.) Remove with the use of 2 plastic spoons and lay on an egg tray to dry.
Color-Resist eggs - draw designs and shapes on the egg using crayons. Then slowly drop the egg into a food color cup of contrasting color and let it sit there for about a minute or longer for a darker shade. Remove with the use of 2 plastic spoons and lay on an egg tray to dry.
Double-shade eggs - follow directions for plain colored eggs. When the egg is dry, carefully lower half of the egg into a different-colored egg bath and hold it there for half a minute or more (depending on preferred shade).
Marbled eggs - follow directions for plain colored eggs, but apply new/different colors when the egg is almost dry, using sponges, brushes, etc.
Handpainted eggs -- follow directions for plain colored eggs, let dry then apply drawings (swirls, flowers, stripes, objects, etc.) using tools at hand.
Get adventurous, try mixing and matching . :)
Mar 13, 2007
Feb 13, 2007
Call me weird, but I have "staple food" in the restaurants/food outlets I frequent. If it were a new restaurant I'd be adventurous and try new things, but if it were McDonald's I'd have nuggets and fries; Sbarro--Spinach and Mushroom Pizza and Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce; TOSH--Pesto with Grilled Chicken on Spaghetti; Teriyaki Boy--Agedashi Tofu, Yasai Itame and Futo Maki; and at Luk Yuen--Seafood Roll, Beef with Kangkong, Deepfried Tofu and Tossed Rice Noodles.
The first time I was served Tossed Rice Noodles (at Luk Yuen Magallanes), I was intrigued. It looked like a pale, Chinese version of our Pancit Malabon. I was skeptical, thinking it'd taste the way it looked.
I was wrong. The dish was an interesting interplay of flavors of char siu (chinese barbecue), chinese mushroom, sesame oil, shrimp and celery. I was hooked.
Since then I've tried to replicate the dish in my kitchen. The problem however, was finding char siu. So I substituted -- with smoked octopus (for the smoked, roast flavor) and bacon.
The result isn't an exact replica of the real thing, but close nonetheless and something worth the effort. :)
TOSSED RICE NOODLES
What's In It?
200g. Rice Noodles (Q Pancit Palabok)
100g. honeycured bacon
50g. smoked octopus (optional)
100g. medium prawns, shelled and deveined
5-6 pcs. dried chinese mushroom, soaked, softened and cut into thin strips
1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
1 chayote fruit, peeled and julienned
1 small bell pepper, julienned
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cooking oil
a pinch each of salt and pepper
5 teaspoons fish sauce
1. Soak rice noodles in tap water for 15 minutes.
2. Meantime, make a thin omelette of the egg. Remove from fire and cut into strips. Set aside.
3. Fry bacon into crisps, then cut into 1/2" strips.
4. Cook rice noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
5. Heat cooking oil in a wok or deep pan. Saute onions and garlic.
6. Stir in carrots, bell pepper, mushroom, chayote and celery. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
7. Add in cooked rice noodles. Season with fish sauce and stir fry for another 30 seconds.
8. Toss in egg strips, bacon and smoked octopus. Add a dash of sesame oil then stir fry for half a minute.
9. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and minced green onions if desired. Serve hot.
Happy Eating! :)
Jan 29, 2007
Thirty-three, and I find myself liking -- no, loving -- coffee. And green salads. And craving for vegetables. And yes, guyabano.
Guyabano, like its relative durian, is the caviar of fruits. You either love it or hate it. I'm on the love side now.
I shook with excitement when I saw it in the Carmona Public Market. I checked with the vendor if it could be eaten right away. When she said yes, I paid her P40.00 for my 750-gram treasure.
At home after snapping a few shots (just so I can tell you), I sliced the guyabano open, sprinkled one slice with a few grains of salt, then slipped away a few moments to salty-sweet-sour heaven.
Jan 25, 2007
"Bugyo. Flying fish."
"Ano ho'ng luto diyan?"
"Paksiw. Saka prito."
"Sige, pabili nga ho ng kalahati. Pero wag n'yong putulin yung nguso, para makita ng mga anak ko."
I do not trust myself with buying fish. Checking for freshness, what's good for what isn't exactly my forte, and so it is my husband who buys fish. But it isn't always that I see this fish at the wet market in Pacita Complex, and I knew the find would be news to my husband:
"Wow! Saan ka nakakuha niyan?"
"Sa Pacita. Ano'ng tawag sa inyo nito?"
"Bangsi. Flying fish yan e."
"Sabi nga sa akin."
And so he fried up the bugyo/bangsi/flying fish while I cooked up the monggo.
I remember the story of one classmate who, according to lore, sauteed monggo beans straight up -- sans pre-broiling-- and invented the first ever chunky Monggo Guisado. I heard of one story too where another beginner made ginisang monggo with what seemed like a balde (pail) of sabaw. And so while I trust you are all adept *kitcheners,* (kusineras -- hehehe) I'd have to post the recipe for those who need a tip or two.
Tip #1: To save on gas and to shorten cooking time, wash then soak monggo beans in water for at least 30 minutes before boiling. You can do the soaking in the same pot where you intend to boil the beans. (Better if you can soak for 2 to 3 hours prior.)
Tip #2: Boil the monggo beans to soften them before sauteeing. If you've soaked the beans for at least 30 minutes, boiling time would be about 15-20 minutes. The beans are soft if the seed coat separates from the seed.
Tip #3. Do NOT boil monggo seeds in your pressure cooker.
Tip #4. They MULTIPLY exponentially. So do not cook a lot unless you intend to eat monggo for one whole week or feed a whole baranggay. One cup (about P10.00) feeds 6 to 8.
Tip #5. To pre-boil the beans, use 4 cups of water for every cup of monggo beans.
Tip #6. The green ones work best. Although some swear by the yellow ones. As for me, the red variety is strictly for hopia. ;)
What's In It?
3 T cooking oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 medium ripe tomato, washed and sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (about 80 g.) green monggo, pre-boiled
50g. hibe (dried shrimps), optional
50g. pork pigue, diced*
2 to 3 pcs. tinapa (smoked fish), scaled and flaked
4 to 5 cups water
1 bunch ampalaya (bitter gourd) tops, washed, leaves separated from vines (optional)
patis (fish sauce) to taste
Heat oil in a wok or deep pan. Saute onions, garlic and tomatoes for one minute. Add in pork and stir fry until lightly browned. Stir in hibe, tinapa, pre-boiled monggo beans and patis. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes over low fire.
Add in water and let simmer for another 5 minutes to allow the ingredients to meld. Top with ampalata tops and let simmer for half a minute or until the leaves change color. Serve with fried fish and steamed rice.
*or use 1 pork broth cube or 50 g. chicharon
Jan 22, 2007
On our way back from Baguio on New Year's Eve we passed by a series of street vendors selling tiger prawns along the highway at Sison, Pangasinan. The prawns were really huge -- an outstretched piece measured 6 inches on the average. We stopped to ask and lo, a surprise -- we were told the prawns sell for only P450 a kilo! (Back in Manila Mike bought much smaller ones for P550 per kilo, so we actually exchanged surprised, incredulous glances when we heard the price!) My husband hastily bought two kilos, and I dreamed of making Prawns Thermidor for media noche.
When we got home many hours after we weighed the prawns in and found to our dismay that the pack was short of 500g or so. Talk about disappointment. Filipinos cheating fellows. Shame.
Mental note to self: Bring your own weighing scale the next time.
Anyhow, I was too tired and low bat (and much too much in a rush) that I didn't get to make Prawns Thermidor that night. I cooked half the bunch into Chili Butter Shrimp instead. Of course, if and when I get to make Prawns Thermidor, you'd see the recipe here.
The prawns you see up there were bought and cooked many months ago (on Easter Sunday in fact, the next one but a few months away). Ang layo ba ng segue? Hehehe. Sowee!
Sinigang na Sugpo (Prawns in Sour Soup)
What's In It?
500g. prawns or shrimp
6 to 8 cups rice washing or tap water
1 bunch sitao (string beans), cut into 2" lengths
1 to 2 pieces labanos (radish), peeled and sliced into half-inch wedges
2 bunches kangkong (swamp cabbage), leaves separated from stalks, washed
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
2 large ripe tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 knob ginger, peeled and sliced into rings
2 pcs green peppers (optional)
juice of 6 to 8 calamansi (Philippine lemon) or 1 sachet Knorr Sinigang sa Calamansi
1 1/2 t iodized salt or 1 T fish sauce
In a saucepan combine the ricewashing/water, onions, tomatoes, ginger and green pepper then heat to a rolling boil. Add in shrimps/prawns, radish and string bean slices and let boil for another two minutes or until the radish becomes translucent. Season with the salt/fish sauce, calamansi juice and simmer for 30 seconds, then add in kangkong leaves. Let simmer for 30 seconds or so, enough to blanch the leaves.
Serve while hot.
Jan 16, 2007
After 10 years (tee-hee-hee), I'm back in blogging form. Not to spoil the surprise, but let me say there'd be changes in this blog soon, and this post will be among the few of the 'old school'. Let's enjoy it while it lasts. :)
First off for this year is a fish dish, payback for all the crimes committed during the holiday season. :)
Here's the fish: a fairly large one. As I write this, my husband is in China and isn't around to identify it for me, so for the moment let's call it Pescado Grande. :) We bought it at the Arranque Market for P250 per kilo, and I think it weighed in close to 2 kilos. That's a broadsheet newspaper it's lying on, and it occupied 2/3 of the sheet. Pretty big, huh?
Anyway, after the descaling and slicing into more manageable slices, Mike fried Pescado Grande and I took it from there. Recipe below. I'm scaling it down to a more manageable size for you who are not too much into fish eating. :)
FISH WITH SALTED BLACK BEANS
What's In It?
500g. to 800g. fried fish*
3-5 T cooking oil
2 T tausi (salted black beans)
3 T ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 red onion, sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c to 3/4 c water
3 -5 T brown sugar
3 t cornstarch dissolved in 5 t water
Lay fried fish/fish slices on a serving platter.
Heat cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Saute ginger, onions and garlic until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add tausi and stir fry for 30 seconds before adding water.
Let simmer for 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings by adding a pinch each of salt and pepper, then stir in cornstarch mixture. Let simmer for a minute or so or until the sauce thickens.
Pour over the fish slices and serve immediately. Garnish with chopped spring onions or wansoy if desired.
*Fried tilapia, labahita, bangus, dalagang bukid, bisugo, maya-maya will work just as well.