May 19, 2017

Shui Zhu Yu, 水煮鱼 Sichuan Boiled Fish

Last week, my husband, an avid pescetarian, bought a whole Lapu-lapu (grouper) that was 10 kgs. (Yeah, surreal!)  As I was still banned from kitchen duty having been only a week post-surgery, the Lapu-lapu was cooked the way those who were cooking knew how. 

Now my husband has a favorite Sichuan fish stew, called Shui Zhu Yu, 水煮鱼. for which I found a recipe at  As he was traveling to China, I asked our friend there for help with the ingredients, and my husband took them home to me.  Ang dami!

This is only half of the stash that our good friend bought for me, as there wasn't enough space in my husband's luggage for it. The rest would have to come on his next trip to China. To think I was only asking for a pack each!

Anyway, so I got all excited and tried making Shui Zhu Yu 水煮鱼 last night, following the recipe I found to the letter.

How did it go?

Not bad for a first time, it was delicious, but lacking the oomph of the authentic dish. Usually the dish is really spicy, heavily laden with peppercorns and dried Sichuan peppers, so I was surprised that the recipe called for very little. It wasn't as spicy as the one I had in Guangzhou, and it wasn't as red and inviting.  I was actually a tad disappointed, parang palpak. :) Di bale, I will put an entire pack of chilis and heaps of the doubanjiang next time.  

Usually this stew is also very oily, because the last step involves about half of a cup of oil and pouring it over the stew. Here's how it should be according to my recipe source:

I decided to use less oil.  Maybe that also made the difference?

Since I followed recipe to the letter I will no longer post it here.  I will try making it again with tweaks and when I succeed making it as authentic-tasting and authentic-looking as it should be, I'd post my recipe.

May 16, 2017

Escabeche (Sweet and Sour Fried Fish)

Growing up as a child of the Martial Law years and into the recession of the '80s, I grew in a mindset of cost-cutting and zero wastage, especially when it comes to food.  The downside of that was, sometimes we'd think we'd never see the end of a particular food (especially if there'd been a lot of leftovers); the upside was that this made us resourceful and creative especially in giving food some bagong-bihis.  I've carried the habit over the years, and I always pore through the contents of my refrigerator for what I can put together into a "new" dish before I even take something out of the freezer.

This dish is one of such 'upcycled' ones. :)


What's In It?

Leftover fried fish (preferably fleshy ones like dalagang bukid, alumahan, hasa-hasa)
3-5 T cooking oil
2 T peeled and sliced ginger
3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1 large scallion/red onion, peeled and sliced
2 finger chilis, sliced into rounds
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 c water
2 T brown sugar
2 T fish sauce
1/3 c white or cane vinegar

Kitchen Conjugations:

In a wok or deep pan, heat oil.  Reheat left-over fried fish until crispy.  Remove from heat and transfer onto serving dish.  Set aside.

Onto the waiting hot oil, add in ginger, and let fry in hot oil for half a minute.  Add in red onions and stir fry for another half minute.  Add in garlic and finger chili and continue sautéing for  15 seconds.

Pour in brown sugar and fish sauce and stir to combine.  Add in water.  Let boil then pour in vinegar. DO NOT STIR. Let mixture boil then lower heat to simmer for 3 minutes.  Check seasonings, add sugar or fish sauce or ground black pepper or vinegar, to achieve the right balance of sweet-sour-salty and spice.

Remove sauce from heat and pour over fried fish. Serve hot with steamed rice.  Enjoy!



1.  Some opt to add the fried fish into the simmering sauce to allow the fish to absorb the taste of the liquid. For me this makes the fish soggy, which I don't like, so I opt to pour the sauce right before serving.  But of course you can always have it either way. :)

2. It is important NOT TO STIR vinegar when it has not yet boiled, as otherwise it will taste raw.

May 15, 2017


I'm a huge Takoyaki fan, and so got excited to the bone when I finally found a Takoyaki maker last December.  But life got in the way and I never got to try making Takoyaki until today.  I'm very happy to report that it turned out perfectly well, and we wiped out all 32 balls we made from this recipe. :)


What's In It?

Takoyaki Batter

  • 2 sachets Ajinomoto Dashi powder
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2 large eggs, or 3 small ones, beaten lightly
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

  • Diced Tako (octopus), about 1/2 cup
  • Finely chopped cabbage, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 T beni shoga (red pickled ginger), diced finely*
  • 1/2 cup dried alamang (baby freshwater shrimps)*
Cooking oil

Kitchen Conjugations:

1. Make Takoyaki batter by first dissolving the dashi powder into the warm water.  Add in salt and soy sauce.  Pour in 2 cups water, then check seasonings.  Adjust by adding more dashi powder if desired. 

2. Check the dashi stock's temperature, which should be room temp. Slowly stir in the flour alternately with the beaten eggs.  Stir to combine well, ensuring the batter is free of lumps.  Set aside.

3. Plug in and turn the Takoyaki appliance on.  Brush each cavity generously with cooking oil.

4. Pour batter to each cavity to half-full.  Drop a little of each filling into each cavity. Let cook for about 3 minutes.

5.  Using skewers tilt each Takoyaki to check if the batter has cooked. Remove each half carefully, a row each time, and fill the vacated cavities as you have in step 4. Take the cooked Takoyaki halves back to their places, covering the other, still cooking half.  Do the same for the other Takoyaki halves.

6. Tilt the Takoyakis from time to time to ensure even cooking, also to make round them off.  Cook for another 3 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Remove from pan, serve drizzled with Takoyaki sauce and Kewpie mayonnaise (which I didn't have), sprinkled with Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes, which I didn't have as well--bummer!) and aonori (green seaweed).

Tabemashou! 食べる食べましょう!

May 7, 2017

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

In our home, we consider everyday a special day, and so we don't wait for special occasions to eat something special. Siguro na din because we are all foodies and I really like being in the kitchen, each chance we get, we gun for something out of the ordinary.

This plate is our own version of Shakey's Bunch of Lunch.  Instead of having spaghetti with meat sauce, I made Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Spaghetti with Garlic in Olive Oil) since the tomato sauce would be redundant, as pizza already had tomato sauce.


What's In It?

300 g spaghetti
1 liter water
1 T salt

1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, peeled and sliced crosswise
1 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1 t crushed red pepper flakes

Kitchen Conjugations:

Boil water in a large pot over high heat. When water gets to a rolling boil, add salt and slowly add in spaghetti.  Stir to ensure the pasta doesn't clump together.  Cook covered for 8-10 minutes, until spaghetti is al dente.

Collect a cup of water from the pot, set aside, and drain the pasta.  Set aside.

In a deep pan or wok, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute garlic for about 2 minutes. Add in the pasta water and increase heat, bringing the mix to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat.  Add in the pasta, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, black pepper and chopped parsley. Toss well to distribute the sauce evenly. 

Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese if desired.  Serve hot.

Jul 15, 2016

Chicken Parmigiana

I did a lot of driving back and forth today, and barely had time for lunch. Caught up in traffic I looked up to see a McDonald's billboard, which showed their newest offering, which they called Chicken Italianna. 'Our signature chicken fillet with meaty tomato sauce,' it said. I decided to make a quick drive-through to give their new dish a try.

It was good. Or baka gutom lang ako. :)

Anyhow, that inspired me to make Chicken Parmigiana for dinner.  My mom wanted Afritada, but all I had in my freezer were chicken fillets, and I was really gunning for Parmigiana. :)


What's In It?

1 kg chicken thigh fillets, pounded to 1/4" thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 pack Aji Crispy Fry breading mix
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup butter
1 can Del Monte Diced Tomatoes
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (parsley, thyme, basil and oregano)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar (optional)

1 cup shredded mozzarella

2 cups + 3T cooking oil, for deep frying and sauteing
a few stalks of parsley, chopped, for garnish

Kitchen Conjugations:

In a small wok, heat oil over medium heat.

In a bowl, marinate chicken fillets in salt and pepper.  Set aside and assemble the ingredients for breading:
In a shallow plate, pour flour.  In another bowl,  beat eggs.  In a third bowl, mix bread crumbs, breading mix and parmesan cheese.

When the cooking oil is hot and ready, start breading the chicken fillets-- coat them with flour, dip them in the beaten egg, then coat with the bread crumb mixture. Drop 3-4 pieces at a time into the hot oil and deep fry until golden brown.  Do the same for all the chicken fillets.

As the chicken cooks, prepare sauce-- in a wok or shallow sauce pan, melt butter, then saute onions and garlic. Stir fry for about two minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent.  Pour in the diced tomatoes and press the tomatoes to the sides of the pan to release the juice. Stir in salt and pepper, and allow the sauce to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.  Add in sugar if using, then allow to simmer for 1 or 2 minutes more. Stir in herbs, check seasonings, simmer for 30 seconds more.  Remove from fire and set aside.

In a baking dish, pour some of the sauce to line the bottom of the pan. Arrange chicken pieces on the pan, top them with some of the sauce and the shredded mozzarella.  Bake for 15 minutes at 200C or until cheese melts.  Garnish with chopped parsley or other Italian herbs and serve.

Great with any pasta, baked potatoes, even steamed rice. :)


1. The baking gives the dish a new dimension in terms of flavor and texture, but if you do not have an oven, you can skip the baking part and serve the Chicken Parmigiana after topping it with sauce, cheese and herbs. 

2. Quickmelt cheese can be substituted for the mozzarella.

3. Clara Ole Three Cheese Spaghetti Sauce is a good alternative for the diced tomato sauce I used here.  I just like my sauce to be a bit chunky kasi.  I think the 250 g pack will do.

4. Vegetarians can use sliced eggplants in place of the chicken.  

5. Pork cutlets and fish fillets can also be used in place of the chicken. 

6.  In place of the Crispy Fry breading mix, you may use 1/4 cup all purpose flour + 1/4 cup cornstarch + 1/4 teaspoon salt + 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper + 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder + 1/2 teaspoon onion powder + 1/4 teaspoon paprika + 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Jul 10, 2016

Chili Garlic Squid

This dish was inspired by a dish we ate at a Chinese restaurant somewhere in Quezon City last year. That one didn't have carrots and green beans, though. :)

I always turn to seafood whenever I need something quick, because it is the quickest-cooking things on the planet. :) Last Wednesday, having been preoccupied with general cleaning, I lost track of time and didn't have much time to prep for dinner. So, we had New Zealand Greenshell Mussels in soup, and this dish.

I love how the knifework done on the squid to make it look this fancy, and the fact that they're available at the frozen goods section of Shopwise.  Alternatively, you can use squid rings, squid heads, squid wings, frozen or fresh (as long as they've been gutted and the ink sac removed), even baby octopus.


What's In It?

1 kg squid, flower-cut (thawed if frozen)
150 grams green beans, ends removed, sliced diagonally into 2" cuts
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into strips
a pinch of salt
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 medium scallion (red onion), peeled and sliced
5 T cooking oil
2 T Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce
2 T Lee Kum Kee Hoisin sauce
1 t brown sugar (optional)

Kitchen Conjugations:

Heat cooking oil in a wok over high heat.  Stir-fry carrots and green beans with a pinch of salt until half-cooked. Remove from the wok and set aside.

In the same wok, saute scallions and garlic for one minute, or until scallions are soft and transparent. Stir in hoisin sauce, then add in squid. Stir in chili garlic sauce (and brown sugar, if using) and stir-fry the mixture for one minute. (No need to add any water as squid is watery and will leak out water during cooking.)  Add in the carrots and green beans and stir fry for another minute or until the veggies are cooked but still crunchy.

Serve with hot steamed rice.  Enjoy!


1.  These squid have been parboiled, already cooked, that's why stir-frying time has been limited to 2 to 3 minutes to prevent them from getting tough and rubbery.  If you're using fresh squid, cooking time will take about another 2 minutes (over high heat).

2. Shrimps, chicken breast strips, firm fish fillets and mushrooms can be used instead of the squid.

Jul 3, 2016

Spicy Floss Bun

Rain, me, coffee and this floss bun. Splendid!

Couldn't believe how much floss is on this one considering it cost only P25.00 each, much less than what one would shell out at BreadTalk.
Hurray for Shopwise bakery!

(Another favorite of mine is their Spanish Bread, which costs only P5.00.  If you're lucky you can get the freshly baked, hot off the oven ones.. so yummy! Or have them warmed for you for free.)

Since I ate my floss bun three days after purchase, I found the bun wasn't as soft as it was. But that 'issue' was quickly resolved  by a few minutes of warming in a preheated oven toaster. :)