Tag Archives: filipino dish

Mango

Mango

It is no secret that I love mangoes–I love them green, I love them yellow.  I will eat them in whatever form and shape—ripe and golden, green and tart with bagoong, and manibalang (almost ripe, but not quite).

I love mango ice cream, mango cake, mango mochi, mango gelatin, mango shake, dried mangoes…the list goes on.

Nothing compares to Philippine mangoes, and that is a fact!

But rather than wait until I visit the Philippines, I make do with what is available.  Mangoes imported from Mexico can be sweet, but it is just not the same as the ones from the Philippines (Cebu, Zambales or Guimaras)!

Beggars cannot be choosers, so I make the best with what I can get.  For merienda (snack) and dessert, I make sweet rice with mangoes.

Sticky Rice with Mangoes

1 1/2 cups of sweet glutinous rice (malagkit)

1 1/3 cups coconut milk

1/2 cup demerara sugar

1/2 tsp salt

5 ripe mangoes

Cook rice in a rice cooker.  In a pan, combine coconut milk, sugar, and salt over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Pour over warm rice in a mixing bowl, and let stand until the rice absorbs the mixture.  It can be  served warm or cold topped with cubed mangoes.

(Rice can also be steamed.  Soak rice and line the steamer with a cheesecloth.  Cover tightly and steam for about 25 minutes.)

Bistec Tagalog

I always looked forward to visiting my lolas (grandmother) on Sundays. My lola and her sisters lived in Lipa, and we would visit them almost every weekend.  They would always have treats waiting for us when we came.

My favorites were:  Sundot Saging (skewered bananas fried in brown sugar), Pilipit (steamed ground sweet sticky rice, fried and then dipped in caramelized sugar), and Pastillas (sweet pastilles made with cow’s milk and rolled in white sugar).

Although I loved the sweet treats, I enjoyed the special savory dishes more.

For Sunday breakfast, Tita Nena would cook Bistec and serve it with pandesal (bread roll) or fried rice rice and sunny side up.

My lola’s Bistec is topped with raw Vidalia onion rings.  I love onions, but I don’t like them raw.  So, I tweaked the recipe and cooked the onions.

This is one of the few dishes that my children  don’t mind eating with brown rice.

Bistec Tagalog

1 pound of thinly sliced sukiyaki beef

1-2 onions cut into rings

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 lemon

pepper to taste

olive oil

Cook garlic with olive oil until golden brown.  Set aside.  In the same pan, add olive oil and caramelize the onions  (around 4-5 minutes).  Set aside.  Still using the same pan, add a little more olive oil, and cook the beef.  Sear the beef in batches to ensure that pan is always hot.  Once all the beef slices are cooked, put the garlic and caramelized onions back in the pan.  Add soy, water, sugar, pepper, and lemon.  Let simmer for 2 minutes.  Serve with rice.

     

Barbecue

Filipinos have the reputation of preparing excessive food during parties.

They want to have more than enough so when guests come back for seconds, or even thirds, they still have plenty to offer.  For a Filipino host, it would be very embarrassing to say to a guest, “Sorry, I ran out of it”, or in Tagalog, “Ay, naubusan na.”

Hiya is feeling of embarrassment one gets when he perceives himself as socially unacceptable for whatever reason.  It is a Filipino trait with emphasis on fear of losing face. –from Dictionary of Filipino Culture and Values by Tomas D. Andres

Recently, I made a rookie mistake of ordering 60 teriyaki barbecue skewers for a party for 20 people.  I allotted 2 sticks per person, and added a “little extra” for our own future use.

I couldn’t say that I ordered too much dahil baka mapahiya at maubusan (for fear of embarrassment that I may not have enough food); I ordered too much because I simply do not know how much food a person can eat.

Guests would have eaten them all–if not, for the other dishes, and 3 different desserts.  In the end, I still had 50 sticks that I quickly wrapped in foil to send home.  Even then, I still had enough leftover to make Vietnamese spring rolls, Vietnamese pho salad, and quesadilla for a month.

For those trying to figure out what to do with leftover barbecue, here is my recipe for Vietnamese spring roll.  I usually use shrimp or Chinese sausage, but I quickly discovered that barbecue pork and chicken work just as well.  It is the easiest to make because it requires little to no cooking.

Basic stuffing to the spring roll

Rice noodles

Mint leaves

Lettuce

Cucumber

Pickled radish

Carrots

Rice Paper

Choices for protein filling are: cooked shrimps, barbecue pork or chicken, beef slices, even pan fried Chinese sausage.  The beauty of this dish is you can put whatever you want in it–including leftover meat.  Dip rice paper in warm water to soften, and be creative.

Dipping sauce

1/2 cup fish sauce (good quality, unfortunately, Rufina patis does not work well, Thai brands work better)

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp lime juice

1/2 cup water

1 -2 crushed garlic gloves

Thai Chili

Mix well together.

Recipe for Kids

Polvoron is a traditional Filipino dessert that is very easy to make.  The main ingredients are flour, sugar, and powdered milk.  Butter binds them all together.  Philippines was colonized by Spain for 300 years, so it is no surprise that this tiny cake has Spanish origin.

As a teacher, I love making this in class because the only cooking involved is toasting flour that can easily be done days beforehand.  After all the ingredients are measured, the only thing left to do is to mix and mold.  If you’ve had any experience with children, you know why making this dessert with them is always an instant hit.

My mom used to make big batches of this “short bread”.  She would mix peanuts, cashews, or toasted pinipig (flattened immature glutinous rice) to give texture to the otherwise, melt-in-your-mouth dessert.

The trickiest part of this dish is knowing when the flour is toasted just right.   Over do it and the flour will taste bitter; under cook it and it won’t have the nutty taste of toasted flour.  My mom would say that the “nose knows” when the flour is cooked just right.

Aside from the flour turning golden brown, flour toasted perfectly would have a great smell that would spread through the whole house. She would ask me to go up to the second floor hallway of our house and stand just outside my bedroom door;  if I could smell it there, then the flour is ready.

My contribution to this traditional polvoron recipe is adding freeze-dried mangoes.  The hint of mango reminds me of summers in Manila.  I can’t enjoy  Zambales, Cebu, or even Guimaras mangoes (because we don’t get them here), but a hint of mango in my small polvoron cakes can tide me over until my next trip back to Manila.

Mango Polvoron

1 1/4 cup toasted flour (whole wheat or all purpose)

1 1/2 cups powdered milk

1/4 cup sugar (white or demerara)

1 cup butter, melted

generous 1/4 cup pinipig or rice krispies

1.7 oz or 48 grams freeze dried mangoes, crushed

Toast flour in a pan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally to even the browning.  It may take around 45 minutes. DO NOT walk away while the flour is toasting.  Transfer toasted flour in a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.  Pour melted butter 1/3 cup at a time.  You can cut back on the butter once the mixture sticks together.

To shape the mixture into tiny cakes, use polvoron molder or a regular tablespoon for a simple finish. The polvoron will be less crumbly if refrigerated for about 10 minutes.

*The original recipe asks for 1/2 c sugar, I scaled it down to 1/4 cup because of the natural sweetness of the freeze dried mangoes.

What is Adobo?

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Adobo is a Filipino dish of which every Filipino family has a recipe. The basic recipe calls for cooking meat or vegetable in soy, vinegar, garlic, and pepper.  The way I cook my  adobo is a cross between how my Papa cooked it and how my father-in-law prepared his.

I love adobo for its versatility.  Leftovers are used for adobo rice, omelet, or as filling in bread dough.  My kids simply love the salty-sour-aioli taste. They eat adobo either with sauce, or dry and crispy.

In Manila where I grew up, we always ate adobo with boiled monggo (mung beans).  My children are not huge monggo fans, so I serve radish, their favorite, as a side dish instead.  They have no problem consuming a whole platter of brown rice with this combination.

Now the new tradition in my household is crispy adobo with labanos (radish) doused with vinegar and a pinch of salt.  Tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and salted egg is also an alternative side dish.

Adobo

4 pcs of chicken breast

1 cup cane vinegar

1/2 cup light soy

1/4 cup water

3 heads garlic crushed

2 bay leaves

ground pepper

oil and 2 cloves of garlic for sauteing

Combine all ingredients in a pot. Simmer until the chicken breast is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.  Remove the chicken breast and save the adobo sauce.  Using 2 forks, flake the meat.  In a different pan, put oil and brown chopped garlic with chicken flakes.  Put the pan in a broiler oven to make the meat dry and crispy.  Serve the the adobo dry with sauce on the side.

Cooking with Chocolate

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Everyone who knows my family well knows that my son’s favorite breakfast is champorado.  It is made with sweet sticky rice, water, and chocolate.  Everything is boiled together until porridge consistency.  Depending on the kind of chocolate used, sugar can be omitted or added.

I can’t remember when I first cooked it for my son, but I am sure he had it even before I allowed him to eat sweets.  I would let him eat as many bowls of champorado as he wants, and yet I would not allow him to eat a single chocolate bar.  It does not make sense, I know.  I was convinced then, that by allowing him to eat champorado, I was helping him create a memory of enjoying a Filipino dish that would last him a lifetime.

If we were in Manila, we would eat champorado with crispy dried fish–tuyo, danggit, or sap-sap (my favorite).  The contrast of the saltiness of the fish compliments the sweetness of the chocolate meal.  Although I could find a variety of dried fish in the local oriental store, I have yet to try one processed in California.  Instead, I use another complimentary side dish–Bacon!   I broil applewood smoked bacon to a crisp.  It offers that same balance in taste as the salty fish (obviously, with more cholesterol).

I have used Antonio Pueo’s tablea and Bohol Bee Farm tablea.  Good friends who know that champorado is a favorite of ours have brought tablea from Palawan and Davao as pasalubong (thanks, Raquel).  But if in a bind, I use plain and simple chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, Hershey’s, Trader Joe’s).  They work just as well.

Champorado

1 cup sweet sticky rice

4-5 cups of water

2-3 pcs of tablea or 6 oz of chocolate chips (dark or regular)

In a pot, bring everything to a boil.  Stir regularly to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Once rice is cooked (approximately 20 minutes), turn off heat.  Because of the glutinous rice, the mixture will become very thick (malapot) after it cools.  Mixing a little bit of milk will help with the sticky consistency. Condensed milk is perfect to be used if tablea is the chocolate preference.  Otherwise, use regular or non-fat milk.

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