Sunday, May 30, 2010

One Fine Saturday

One fine Saturday of May we had a guest. A spanish national who's a friend of my cousin whom he met in one of his travels abroad. This is not the first time he's ever been to the Philippines but it's his first in our place. He was amazed at how beautiful my cousins' house is with all the woodwork, the garden and the multitide of species of wild insects, amphibians and reptiles that freely roam and fly around the house as if it were their natural habitat!

And so we prepared a lunch for him that consisted of Filipino dishes like Crispy Pata, Rellenong Bangus and Chop Suey (with a twist). I also prepared some Chili and Cheese and Grass Jelly drink. And of course, San Miguel Beer.

Since he came late at around past 1pm, we ate lunch ahead of him and just prepared the table for him. My cousin accompanied him for lunch. At his first bite of the crispy pata, I videoed his comment and he complemented it with a praise saying that I could be a successful chef in Spain. I thought he was just being polite but as he devoured each and every dish to the bottom, I was convinced that he really liked my cooking. He finished all the Crispy Pata by himself, leaving only the knuckles and bones, more than half the relleno and all of the chopsuey!

In between munches, he talked about history especially the Spanish colonization of Las Islas Felipinas. I learned more from him in just a lunch's time than I ever learned from 10 years of schooling. He said, and I was surprised to know that Philip was not actually the King during the naming of the islands. Felipe was the son of Charles 1 (Carlos Primera, according to him)who was the reigning monarch during the time. It was also interesting to learn that the PESO, the Philippines currency (and Mexico's and Argentinia's) was just a slang for lower denominated REALES of Spain. But the most interesting thing was that the circumnavigation of the world was not actually a pre-thought, strategised and well-researched plan. It was a product of circumstance. When Magallanes sailed to the Indies from Spain, he ought to return using the same route back. But strong winds pushed him further east and bad weather wrecked most of his fleet and soon they were stuck in an island called Mactan!

I enjoyed listening to him as much as he enjoyed the meal. When he left, he told my cousin to tell me how much he enjoyed chitchatting with us over the lunch I cooked for him. I'm glad that he liked it.

Here are some of the recipes:

Rellenong Bangus

4 pcs Bangus weighing about 1.5Kg all in all
250 grams ground pork
a bunch of kintsay
1 medium size carrot, chopped finely
1 medium size potato, chopped finely
1 medium size bell pepper, chopped finely
half a cup green peas
1/4 cup pickle relish
1/4 cup raisins
some bread crumbs or flour
2 eggs

banana leaves
oil for deep frying

Have the fish vendor do the extraction of the flesh from the skin of Bangus so you won't have a hard time doing it yourself. Most fish vendors would be more than glad to do the job for their buyers.

Marinate the fish skin with salt and kalamansi juice. Refrigerate.

Season the fish meat and boil until it's cooked. Let cool and debone by flaking the meat. Use a bowl of water for dipping your fingers to rid of the bones that stick to your fingers.

On a hot pan, saute onions,garlic and brown the ground pork. Season to taste. I put a little oyster sauce in it to kick the flavors.

Then add the chopped vegetables and cook until they're tender. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for a few more minutes.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool completely. Once cooled, break 2 eggs on the mixture and add around 2 tbsp of flour or bread crumbs. Mix. They will bind the mixture and prevent it from crumbling once you slice the relleno later.

Stuff the fish sklin with the mixture a tablespoon at a time, pushing it downward so so you'll have a firm stuffing inside. After all bangus have been stuffed, wrap them in banana leaves and chill for a moment to make sure they're firm.

Deep fry until golden brown.

For a really crispy CRISPY PATA, freeze the pressure-cooked pata first before frying. Deep fry the pata while it is still in the frozen state.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Burlesk Fish

Here's one tasty fish that you can try. It's not always available in the market coz it's seasonal. It appears mostly during summertime but I've seen it also during September through December.
I don't know what its real name but people call it Burles or Borles meaning nude. Maybe because of it's silvery, non-scaled skin. It has a disproportionate head over its body that makes it looks like an alien fish.

Nevertheless, its flesh is so tasty when fried. It's got very little bones that makes it great for filleting.

I have only cooked it fried, I haven't tried making a soupy dish of it like sinigang. It's quite sticky when you fry it on non-stick pans that's why it is best if you dredge it in seasoned flour first. My mother marinate this fish in soysauce and calamansi first before frying.
I like it dipped in ketchup!


Back from his surfing at Real, Quezon, my adventurer-slash-Xtreme sports enthusiast cousin brought home an ice-chestful of squid. The ice chest weighed around 15Kg. It must have been a lot of squid, I thought. I was worried about cleaning each and everyone of it. To my surprise, there were just 3 pieces of really, really big squid that measured a little less than 2 feet each! My worry was replaced by awe and delight! I still worry though about how to store it in the freezer already full of stuff. And that I might run out of recipes.

We ended up eating squid for 4 days. The monster squids were expertly turned into the following:

Grilled Squid
Ginataang Pusit
Adobo Negra, and
Dried Pusit

Even the cats enjoyed a marathon meal of it!

Since I had not enough room in the freezer for the monster creatures, I cut open one of them and sliced it into squares for drying. I salted the squid squares and put on a bilao then let it dry under the sun. It took me 3 days to have it really, really dried. The dried squid meat resembles the fry and pop chicharon when still raw. I had it fried. It tasted like commercially prepared dried squid but a bit more chewy. Maybe because the squid meat was really thick. I should have pounded it before letting it dry.


I made Calamari out of one monster and it was a hit! Here's the recipe:

1 squidzilla
2 eggs, beaten
generous amount of flour
oil for frying

Prepare the squid by cleaning it. That is taking out the innards and skeleton and washing it well. Since the squidzilla is monstrous, I thought it will be tough so I blanched it with boiled water and took off the skin. The skin peeled off easily after blanching.

Then cut the squid into rings. They made bigger than usual rings that even after shrinking during the cooking process, they remained big!

Prepare in separate bowls the following:
beaten egg (incorporate a little milk in it, if you have)
seasoned flour (with salt and pepper)

Make sure the squid rings are completely patted dry before dredging them with the first coating of flour. Shake. Transfer to the egg bowl and then to the final bowl of flour. Shake again, preferably using a mesh. Chicken wire is perfect for this task.

Deep fry. Once it turns golden brown. Transfer to paper towels using a slotted spoon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kamote Q

Meryenda muna mga 'tol! For a delightful pinoy snack, wag kalimutan na palaging may mabibiling Kamote Q dyan sa kanto. Pero kung gusto mong pahirapan ang sarili mo, magluto ka na lang.

Naaalala ko pa nung high school, P7.00 lang ang baon ko sa Makati Polytechnic Community College aka Poly. Tamang-tama lang para sa palamig at kamote Q. Dun, kay manang kami nagmemeryenda at tumatambay kapag vacant period or kapag nag cut kami ng classes (kadalasan Practical Arts ang di namin pinapasukan kasi yung teacher namin, bilhan mo lang ng kung anong tinda nya, PRESENT ka na!)

Si manang kamote Q naman, pwedeng arkilahin kapag bring mother ka! Hahahaha!

Tama na ang memories chuva.... ito na ang recipe:

1 kg Kamote (dilaw, ha!)
1/4 Kg segunda sugar
BBQ sticks

Balatan ang kamote (gumamit ka ng peeler para mabilis). I-slice ito ng pabilog, mga 1.5 inch thick. Mas maigi kung ibibilad sa arwa kahit 10-20 minuto para matanggal ang dakta. Magiging moist kasi ang kamote habang pinipirito, hindi gaano kakapit ang arnibal. In other words, magtutubig.

Painitin ang mantika sa isang malukong na kawali. Isalang ang kamote kasabay ng pagbudbod ng segundang asukal. Segunda ha, hindi pula. Kasi mas matagal ang burning rate nito. Pumapait ang caramel pag nasunog agad. Huwag i-overcrowd ang kawali with kamote. Pag nag caramelize na ang sugar, baligtarin ang kamote at haluhaluin gamit ang siyense.

Pwede nang hanguin kapag brown na ang kamote at kapit na ang asukal. I lagay sa platong may dahon ng saging para di magdikit-dikit.


Roast Chicken

These are two spring chickens I roasted with corn on their cobs.

There are lots of shops around that sell roast chicken. There is the most famous Andok's which has become the national lechong manok of the country, Baliwag Lechon Manok which tails the former, Chooks To Go, a new comer, owned and operated by Bounty Fresh Chicken which claims that their roast chicken is delicious even without the sauce--a slight to Andok's famous lechon sauce where the delicious taste of Andok's manok comes from, some allege. There are hundreds more that sell roast chicken in every corner of the streets in every town and city.

Juicy and tender!

Mother and I buy roast chicken from the supermarket. WalterMart offers the cheapest at only P130.00 per medium size chicken compared to Andok's P230.00. We love it so much that sometimes we buy 2 pieces just for lunch for 3 persons and we eat it all in one sitting. Back when I was employed a few years ago, I had a daily schedule of visiting supermarkets to monitor our product's movements in the shelves so lunchtime was always spent outside the office. My most favorite lunch was quarter roast chicken with rice and honey sauce at any Rustan's supermarket. It was only P65.00 back then, plus a little more for water, I spend about P75.00 per lunch. Quite expensive at first glance. But you get to eat hot-off-the grill chicken so big you can save the other half for dinner too! Then there is Bok's chicken near the LRT-Buendia station. Bok's sell a small roast chicken for just P70.00, would you believe that!??? There are times that the queue at Bok's rival that of the LRT's! It tastes relatively fine considering the price.

This baste/marinade is made up of brown sugar, minced garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, grated ginger and sesame oil.

Roast chicken is so prevalent and affordable that one wonders why bother roast your own at all? With the rising cost of LPG, that is really not an option. But there is nothing like home-cooked meal that you serve to your family. And nothing compares to the joy of making your own meal, especially roast chicken. all the marinating, rubbing, basting and the anticipation add to the thrill and excitement of devouring a meal you made yourself!

Look how fresh the chickens are! Marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours, overnight is ideal, so the flavors really get into the chicken meat.

Ive done it so many times and so many ways. Garlic and lemongrass, rosemary, honey mustard, plain salted, satay style with peanut butter, with sugar, with sesame oil, with five spice and what not. My most favorite is the lemongrass.

Oooops! I will never ever eat my own pet!

To save on gas, I accompany the chicken in the roast pan with all sorts of things like mixed veggies--bell peppers, carrots, leeks, potatoes, turnip, onions and others; also I like roasting with corn and the smell is absolutely delicious.

Basting the chicken with butter keeps it moist and makes it brown better. Also, put some butter under the skin.

I roast chicken at an initial temp of 450 degrees F or 220 degrees C then halfway, I lower the temp to just 350 degrees temp. I roast it for 1 hour 15 minutes max for extra juiciness. I place it on a higher level in the oven for a really golden brown effect. I let the juices drip onto the veggies below for a super tasty side dish.

In the oven.