Aug 18, 2014

Sayote Tops Guisado

As you get older, you tend to shy away from what's complicated and drawn towards what's simple and no-frills. Or am I just speaking for myself?

Anyhow, I found that I no longer drool over fatty, cholesterolic food and crave more whole, organic and healthy fare. I don't know if it's just in my head, but after eating a hearty (read: fatty) meal, I feel battered and really exhausted; which is ironic because food is meant to replenish and energize.

Because of this we've shied away from meat as much as possible and eat more vegetables like Chayote Tops Guisado, or Ginisang Talbos ng Sayote. 


What's In It?

1 bundle of chayote tops, leaves separated from the stalks, hard portions discarded
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
1 large ripe tomato, washed and sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
3 tablespoons cooking oil
diced cooked meat (pork, chicken, beef), fish or seafood (optional)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
a pinch of ground black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vinegar (optional)

Kitchen Conjugations:

Wash sayote leaves and soft stalks carefully.  Drain excess water then set aside.

Heat cooking oil in a wok or deep frying pan.  Saute onions, garlic and tomatoes until tomatoes are wilted. Add in the diced cooked meat.  Stir fry for a minute, then add the seasonings: fish sauce, black pepper and oyster sauce.

Stir fry for another minute then add in the sayote leaves and stalks. Stir fry for about 30 seconds then pour in water.  Let boil then simmer for one minute.  Pour in vinegar if using but DO NOT stir until the mixture boils. Check and adjust seasonings. Remove from fire and serve.  Leaves and stalks should still be a little crisp.

Best paired with grilled or fried fish. Enjoy!


1. I usually use bits and pieces of left-over meat from fried chicken, pork barbecue for stir fries like this. This particular time I used left-over crispy pata.

2.  Left-over meat (and sauce) from adobo can also be added to this dish.  Doing so will give a new and interesting dimension to the dish.

3. If you want a little kick, go ahead and add a chopped siling labuyo during the saute.


We had lunch in Tagaytay last Sunday and decided to make a quick stop to buy some beef at the Mahogany market.  While we waited for my husband to finish with his marketing, we were approached by some vendors who offered us an assortment of Filipino sweets -- panutsa, calamay, pinipig, ube and espasol. Because we were still busog-lusog from lunch yet I wanted to help the peddlers out, I bought a pack each of the sweets.  Then we drove on home.

So it was so much later when we found out that masarap pala 'yung nabili naming espasol and we were so bitin, and it wasn't hard for my son Gabriel to convince me to make some from the recipe I found in the 'net from a long time ago.

So, here it is!


What's In It?

1 1/2 cups ground glutinous rice flour
1 cup coconut cream
3/4 cup washed sugar (segunda)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup macapuno or buko strips, diced finely (optional)

Kitchen Conjugations:

In a wok, toast the ground glutinous rice flour until light brown over low to medium heat.  Set aside.

In another wok or pan, combine the coconut cream, sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Let boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid curdling.  Add in the diced macapuno or buko strips, and simmer for half a minute (still stirring continuously).

Measure 1 cup from the ground glutinous rice flour and add it into the coconut cream mixture.  Stir to incorporate the rice flour into the mix, until the consistency is like playdough. Remove from heat and set aside.

Take the remaining ground glutinous rice flour and sprinkle it over a tray or plate lined with waxed paper (or banana leaves).  Take about 3 tablespoons of the espasol and roll it out into a tube.  Cut the espasol tube into smaller cylinders then roll them out over the toasted ground rice flour to coat.

Your espasol is now ready to serve. Enjoy!

1. This recipe makes about 15 2-inch cylinders.
2. I made this espasol without buko or macapuno because we didn't have any in the house. It still tasted the same, although I suppose it would have been heaps better had there been macapuno or coconut bits in my espasol.
3. If using sweetened macapuno, reduce sugar a little.
4. If using white sugar, reduce the amount as it is a lot sweeter than washed or brown sugar.
5. I think you can also use toasted coconut flakes (available under the 'Buco' brand in supermarkets) in place of fresh young coconut.