Friday, August 20, 2010

Ginataang Manok

Another one of my favorites. Ginataang Manok is one dish I can eat everyday (
except that baka bunihin naman ako...). It is so delicious and tasty I can eat a kaldero-ful of rice with just a saucer of it!

Actually, for those who shun rice, Ginatang Manok can be a complete meal already with it's carbo-rich potatoes, protein-rich chicken plus an assortment of other veggies.

It is one dish anybody can make his own by adding all sort of herbs & spices like curry, turmeric, celery, lemongrass and many others.

Here is my version:


500 grams Chicken Meat
The milk of 1 large coconut
1/4 cup Vinegar
1 Bay leaf
8 pcs. Peppercorns, cracked
1 stalk lemongrass
1 medium potato, diced
1 small carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Saute onion, garlic and lemon grass in oil.
Add chicken meat to brown a little.
Add vinegar, bay leaf, peppercorn, salt, potatoes, carrots, celery and the diluted coconut milk.
Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, checking once in a while for liquid.
Add the first press coconut milk and simmer for another 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Serve over steamed rice.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cheesy Tilapia Fillet

Here's a twist to the common fried tilapia. Instead of cooking it the usual way, fried whole or gilit, I filleted the fish and breaded it with Japanese breading with cheese.

Filleting Tilapia is not difficult. All you need is a long, sharp, knife that you'll run through from the tail up to the neck where the head and body connect.

You will then have to pull out the rib bones, about 7-8 of them using a tweezer. It is fairly easy. Then season the fillet with salt and pepper.

Prepare the breading system. 1/2 cup all purpose flour slightly seasoned, 1 egg beaten with 2 tsp evap milk, 1/2 cup Japanese breading with 1/2 cup grated cheese.

Dredge Tilapia fillet in flour. Shake off excess flour. Then coat the fish with the egg-milk mixture. Allow excess liquid to drip and finally dredge with Japanese breading with grated cheese.

Fry on a hot skillet with 2 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium low heat until both sides are golden brown.

Serve with rice and lemon slices.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cooking with Bits and Pieces in the Fridge

Today, August 14, 2010, our lunch is made from the bits and pieces I found in the fridge as I was defrosting it. The freezer is a mine for small quantities of various meats leftover from the past week's purchases. What I do
kasi is if I buy say, a kilo of pork or beef or chicken, I don't cook it all at once. I leave some 200g or so para pang gisa or for future use.

And today is the right time for that because I wasn't feeling excited about going to the market and so I had to make do with what I already have. And would you believe that I was able to pull off a decent, even grand, lunch out of it?!!

For the kids, I made some chicken nuggets or (fun shots, if you will). I cut up into cubes half a chicken breast that's been around in the freezer for a week now; breaded it with flour, egg and milk and voila! Chicken Nuggets. One down.

Next, I found around 250g of beef cutlets--leftover from the batch which I made into Nilaga last night; 2 pcs pork chops that was supposedly Jeiel's baon the other day but their class schedule was cut to half day due to a teachers' meeting; around 4 pcs chicken liver leftover when I made Sotanghon Guisado last Saturday for ate Cielo's Birthday. Easily, I could make Mechado out of that, I figured. And so I did! With some items from the pantry like tomato sauce, pickle relish and soy sauce, I was able to turn what would have been prito-bound items into a fabulous dish. Absolutely amazing (if I may borrow Kylie Kwong's expressioin)!


500grams Beef Cubes
1 pack 250g tomato sauce
1/4 cup pickle relish
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 big onion
3 cloves garlic
2 small bay leaf
1'4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 medium size red bell pepper
1 medium size potato, cubed into quarters and fried.
salt and pepper

Marinade beef cutlets in soy sauce, oyster sauce and pepper. Saute tomato paste, onion and garlic in hot oil. Add the beef and tomato sauce and saute a little longer for a bout 10 minutes. Add pickles, bay leaf, and beef stock or water. (At this point, I pressure cook it).

Once the meat is tender, add the bell pepper and fried potato cubes. Simmer for 5 minutes and it's done!

Note: Pressure cooking not only tenderizes the beef easier, it also gives a consistency to the sauce that you won't get from just simmering.

And for some soup, leftover from last night's dinner which was Nilagang Baka! Ayos!

Pritong Lumpia

Like a pregnant woman in the first trimester, I was craving for Lumpia the other day. I gotta eat lumpia. Right here, right now!

I was waiting for the merienda vendor to pass by our house but to no avail so I decided to take matters in my own hands.
I made my own lumpia.

Good thing I have ingredients in the fridge. They are leftovers from previous dishes I cooked. Like the lumpia wrapper which I used for Shanghai 4 days ago, Togue from yesterday's lunch of tofu and bean sprout, and small shrimps which I keep stock of for what would have been Okoy for tomorrow.

During my stint as merienda vendor a few years back, lumpia was one of my bestsellers. Retailing at just P7.00, it's so affordable and filling. And my version is not commercial at all!

I fill it up with lots of different veggies like toge, cabbage, singkamas, kamote, small shrimps, carrots, Baguio beans, sayote and tokwa! Now that's a lot of ingredients! Did I ever profit from it? Oh yes, I buy my ingredients from Pasay Public Market, the bagsakan market. I would wake up at 3:00 am in the morning and go to Pasay to catch the freshest ingredients being sold at the lowest price. If you come at a later time than 3:00 am, you'd end up buying the items from retailers at an at least 35% higher price.

I especially like kamote in lumpia because it gives it a sweetness that, when combined with the sour vinegar dip tastes so sensational! Lumpiang lumpia!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Andrew Zimmern

Another of my favorite food personalities is Andrew Zimmern. He hosts Bizarre Foods, a food/travel show showcasing the most, well, bizarre foods all over the world; country by country, locale by locale.

This man is so lovable and adorable with his bald head, chubby body and his engaging way of telling story. He's so hilarious. He explains the taste of every odd food he puts in his mouth detail by detail making you feel like you are tasting them as well.

Of course the Philippines, as bizarre a country as it is, did not escape this adventure seeking big, bald man. He went to Manila to find Balut (duck embryo) and did a comprehensive feature about it. It's origin, its relation to our culture as an amalgamated society, the way it's produced and of course, its taste. He literally ate a Balut and was actually surprised that he liked it!

But he found a lot more bizarre-ness than what he meant to look for. There was the fried day-old chick, fishballs and quikiam, crickets and frogs, blood stew, edible larvae, etc.

The most bizarre thing that ever caught his attention while staying in Manila was not in the original storyline but had made it to the cut: Ice Cream Sandwich!

It's as common as Jeepney in our country but here's a guy who was astonished as one can get about this street delicacy that is found only in the Philippines!

Check out Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on Discovery Travel and Living.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Steamed Mackerel in Tomato-Lemongrass Sauce

Actually, I don't know if it's really a Mackerel. I know it's not but looks like one so I just called it Mackerel. It's a long, about more than a foot, silvery and finely scaled fish with elongated head. The meat is white but not flaky like tuna. The meat is more like that of a catfish.

As usual, what I cook greatly depends on what I have in the fridge and pantry. I saw some fern, ginger, lemongrass and chilis so I decided to mortar-and-pestle them, added some tomato paste and used the mixture to be the flavoring for my steamed fish.

I laid the fish on a bed of fern and topped it with the mixture and add a little butter. Then I wrapped it in aluminum foil. I was able to make 4 wraps out of the 800grammer fish.

After steaming, I unwrapped it and put the fish in a platter. Dinner is served!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ginisang Mais

We used to have this dish on a regular basis when I was 8-ish and I really loved it! So tasty and hearty. I seldom see Ginisang Mais on the table these days so I decided to make it for lunch last week.

It is a very simple dish to prepare and a few corns yield a ton of soup. With the addition of chicken meat, it can become a meal on it's own.

The recipe:

5 pcs. White Corn, grilled and shredded
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
250 grams Chicken Thighs
1 bunch dahon ng sili
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp oil
1 liter water


Slightly grill the corn over stove fire. Shred and set aside.
Saute garlic, onions and chicken in hot oil and butter.
Once the chicken is a bit brown, add the shredded corn and saute a little longer.
Pour in 1 liter of water or chicken stock and allow to boil.
Simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender.
Season to taste. At the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the dahon ng sili.
Serves 4.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Another Drop Dead Gorgeous Affair

Yes, she's surprisingly 44!

It is ate Cielo's birthday and we organized a little party for family and close friends. Of course what's a party without food?! As usual, I take care of that department. And as always, my cuisine is the heart and soul of the event. Ehem.

For this party, as with any party in the past, I prepared the usual Pancit Sotanghon (that is after the fact that we just had Pancit Canton a week ago), Spaghetti, Crispy Pata (2 days ago, our dinner was Crispy Pata) and Roast Chicken. She never tires of eating them. Truth is, they're no party food for me anymore since we have them any day of the week! I wanted to prepare something I haven't prepared for them yet like Farfalle with spicy shrimp which is simpler to make but tastes way, way better than the usual tomato based pasta; Morcon, or Chicken Cacciatore para maiba naman. But Ate Cielo is not adventurous. So what happens is we eat the same stuff over and over again. Everytime. (Magreklamo ba?)

Despite the lack of adventurism in the menu choice, the party was another drop dead gorgeous affair. I compensated for the ordinariness of the food by slightly changing the flavor and the way the food is cooked. Like, what was supposed to be plain spaghetti, I poured cream cheese sauce and baked it. For the roast chicken, I made an Inasal version for a change.

Then i also made some baked potato to add a refreshing new item on the table. It turned out, everybody loved it!

All in all, we had five dishes on the table and the reviews were great. They raved over the baked spaghetti that one said tastes like baked macaroni (sweetie, only the shape of the pasta was different!). They couldn't stop munching on crispy pata made even more tender by pressure-cooking it with spiced water AND MILK. The baked potato was like pizza, my sotanghon this time is meatier with the addition of pork lomo to the usual chicken liver and breast.

But of course, party is not all food. The most important thing is that we had fun celebrating Ate Cielo's birthday with laughter and togetherness, wishing her more birthdays to come (that means more spaghetti, pancit and pata!). Hahaha!

Here's my version of Chicken Inasal:

2 pcs Spring Chicken

For the marinade:
2 stalks lemongrass
1 thumb-sized ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1/2 cup vinegar
1 small pack Sinigang Mix (or, fresh sampalok if you can find)
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup Atsuete oil

Mix all marinade ingredients together and turn into a paste using a food processor ( I used mortar and pestle) then marinade the chicken in the mixture for at least 2 hours. Overnight is best!
Insert the leaves of the lemongrass inside the chicken.
Roast the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour at 220C.
Take away the roasted chicken from the pan and a save the drippings and oil. Run through a sieve and put in a nice serving dish. The drippings are great drizzled over rice.

I cooked four big Crispy Pata.