May 30, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Muffins

Oh wow! I made these muffins and took this picture on March 11, 2008, started this post but never got around to publishing it.  Incredible! The little boy in the picture is now a young man! This post is FIVE YEARS late!  Now I don't even remember the story behind the making of the muffins. :(  Sigh.

What I do remember, judging by the look of the muffins:

1. I had leftover Pineapple Tidbits and decided to use that in addition to the pineapple slices I also had left over.

2. Since I used my trusty Turbo Broiler instead of a conventional oven (because that's all I had back then), some of the muffins rose unevenly, making it hard to turn them upside down.

3. Since I decided to use leftover Pineapple Tidbits I had to scale down by baking the batter in muffin cups rather than a regular cake pan (because the bits would look less pretty on a regular pan than pineapple slices would).  Upon closer look I realized that I actually used llaneras for leche flan instead of regular muffin cups.


What's In It?

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk powder (I used Birch Tree)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can (8 oz.) pineapple tidbits in juice, drained (about 3/4 cup)
9 maraschino cherries, halved

Kitchen Conjugations:

Make the cake by combining the flour, sugar, milk powder, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, water and oil. Beat for 30 seconds on medium speed until the cake ingredients are combined well and the mixture is free of lumps. Set aside.

Grease muffin cups, then make the topping: Combine brown sugar and butter in a bowl. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the brown sugar mixture into each greased muffin cup. Arrange 4 to 5 pineapple tidbits and 1/2 cherry on top of each brown sugar mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups filling up to half of each mold.

Bake in a turbo broiler for 15 to 20 minutes at 250 C or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 1 minute. Run knife around edges of the cupcakes; invert onto wire rack(s). Re-position any dislodged pineapple piece. Best served warm.

May 4, 2013

Linagpang Nga Turagsoy

Seventeen years of marriage not only transformed me into a fish and veggie-lover, it also opened me to the Cebuano way of cooking.  Which is a good thing, actually, because I easily tire of eating the same things, and I like seeing, tasting and cooking a variety of dishes.

Almost 4 years ago when we vacationed in my husband's hometown in No. Cotabato, we had this soup during one of the lunches and I immediately got hooked.  When I asked what it was, they told me it was Turagsoy.

Back in Laguna weeks later, I hankered for the delicate interplay of spice, saltiness and the smoky flavor imparted by the Inihaw na Dalag. So I begged my husband to please find me a dalag, so I can make this soup. I got my wish. :)  I made Turagsoy according to how I imagined it to have been done, based on the tastes I remembered. 

However, while I came up with something good, I knew there were some flavors lacking and I knew I had to get the recipe and make the real thing.  Luckily I eventually had the chance to ask the then-appointed cook, my brother-in-law, who happily gave me the recipe. I realized later though that the recipe he gave me is large enough to feed a large family of 10-12 people, maybe because my husband's family is large. Tee-hee. :)

Wanting to find out more, I tried googling Turagsoy and that's how I found that Turagsoy is actually the Ilonggo term for dalag (haluan in Cebuano), and that this soup is actually an Ilonggo dish called Linagpang nga Turagsoy.  

Linagpang/Nilagpang, according to MyFilipinoKitchen is grilled meat soup. It is similar to the Cebuano tinuwa and the Tagalog pesa, but it requires any meat to be put in the soup (fish, chicken or pork) to be grilled first and is spicy.

LINAGPANG NGA TURAGSOY (Grilled Mudfish in Soup)

What's In It?

2 pcs. (approx. 1.5-2 kgs.) mudfish, cleaned  
1 large piece (approx 1 kg) milkfish, cleaned
rock salt
6-8 pieces tomatoes
2 large onions, peeled
5 stalks onion leeks, sliced into 2" lengths
1/2 to 1 hand ginger, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
2 large red bell peppers
4-5 bird's eye chili
shrimp paste, to taste
2 liters drinking water

Kitchen Conjugations:

Season the mudfish and milkfish with salt then grill them over hot charcoal until juices run clear. Grill tomatoes and bell peppers until slightly wilted.  

Remove any charred portions from the fish', tomato and pepper skins. Slice bell peppers onto bite-size chunks. Cut the fish into smaller portions. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mash grilled tomatoes with the bird's eye chilies (if using).  Set aside. 

Boil water over high heat.  Add in the sliced onions, ginger and bell pepper in a large saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Add in fish slices, let boil then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Season with the mashed tomato-chili mixture and bagoong or uyap,  Add green onions and/or leeks.
Let boil for about 1-2 minutes more, then check and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve with rice.  


1. Local names:  Dalag/Turagsoy/Haluan (mudfish), Bangus (Milkfish), Alamang/Uyap (Shrimp paste), Labuyo (Bird's Eye chili)

2. Dalag is NOT hito (catfish).  Hito has a leaner body than dalag and has more bones making it less suitable for this dish (it is better crispy fried or grilled).   

3. The pictures above were taken when I cooked this dish yet without the recipe from my brother-in-law.  That explains why the tomatoes appear sliced/quartered in the picture instead of mashed.

4. Some recipes do not call for the tomatoes nor the bell peppers to be grilled. I think that's okay, but grilling the vegetables imparts more flavor and therefore adds dimension to the soup so I'd go with grilling the vegetables too.

May 3, 2013

Som Tam (Thai Green Papaya Salad)

Want something different for your side salad? Try Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad). It's easy, tangy and the ingredients available from the supermarket.  It's light on calories and light on the pocket too!


What's In It?

1 small green (unripe) papaya (about 300 g.), peeled and sliced / prepped for grating
a small bunch of string beans (about 6 strings), cut into 1" lengths
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons dried shrimp 
5-6 Thai chilies, chopped
juice from 4 pieces of lime (about half a cup)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1-2 tablespoons roast peanuts, coarsely chopped or ground (optional)
a few stalks of coriander, chopped (optional)

Kitchen Conjugations:

Grate the papaya using a cheese grater or a mandolin. Transfer to a deep dish and set aside.

Using a mortar and pestle, crush garlic.  Add chilies and pound slightly. Add the string beans and quartered tomatoes, pound slightly to bruise them and release some of their juice into the mixture. Add in the sugar, fish sauce, dried shrimp, lime juice, ground peanuts and coriander (if using). Pound the mixture some more to release juices. Mix using a spoon or spatula to evenly distribute the flavors. Let stand for about two minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Check and adjust taste. Pour the dressing over the grated papaya and toss. Serve as a side salad or as an appetizer. Enjoy!


1. Local names for the ingredients:  dayap (lime), wansoy (coriander) and patis (fish sauce).

2. Some people are averse to the smell of wansoy.  It is highly optional and may be used only for garnish.  (So you may add it at the last minute instead of pounding it with the other ingredients.) Wansoy looks so much like Kinchay, but smells and tastes very differently.

3. Ideally, there should be a delicate balance of the sweetness from the sugar, tartness from the lime, saltiness from the fish sauce and spice from the chili. But go ahead and up the ante for one or two of the taste you prefer.  

4. A cheese grater will give you either fine shreds or wide but flat shreds. I used an inexpensive mandolin (kitchen slicer/grater set similar to the one pictured below) I bought for a mere P100.00 in Sta. Cruz.  (I use this same tool when I make pancit and I am able to get shredded/sliced carrots, chayote and beans in jiffy.) 

(I got the kitchen slicer picture here.)

5. I was in a hurry and wasn't able to take pictures while cooking.  To see step-by-step pictures, you might want to visit ThaiTable.