Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicken Curry with Condiments

I was exercising at the gym yesterday ... and while I was using the treadmill ... I think I was the only one tuned in to Asian Food Channel! They featured the different kinds of Biryani Rice and curry to go with it. So.... while I was "sweating" it out... my mind was already churning and churning... thinking of what kind of curry I am going to cook!

Hahahaha I think I am a little hopeless already .... there I was exercising but I was thinking of food!

My Grandmother used to serve Chicken Curry with lots of condiments.

Chopped boiled eggs

chopped kinchay

chopped raisins

chopped nuts

....and mango chutney. Since I ran out of chutney ... I used my homemade mango jelly.

For every spoonful ... it should have steamed rice, chicken, egg, kinchay, raisin, nuts and chutney... or in my case.. mango jelly... they all complement each other.

Chicken Curry

1/2 k. chicken leg and thigh, chopped



1-2 T. fish sauce

1-2 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. tumeric

1/2 C. water

1 cup thin coconut milk (2nd extraction)

1 Knorr chicken cube

carrot, cubed

potato, cubed

red pepper, cubed

thick coconut milk

Saute garlic and onions until light brown. Add the chicken pieces then the fish sauce and continue sauteing until half cooked. Add the curry powder... then after a minute ... deglaze with water. Add the thin coconut milk and chicken cube, when it boils .. drop the potatoes and carrots. Lower heat, cover and cook until the vegetables are done... then add the red pepper and thick coconut milk... stir continuously until you get the desired consistency. Serve with steamed rice and the condiments.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tapa Obsession

I get obsessions and cravings often. I would just think about it day in and day out until I get it out of my system.... well.. the only way to get it out of my system is to indulge myself in my obsession. My recent craving was BEEF TAPA.

The favorite tapa of my family and friends is the one from Poblacion Market, which we also call Bel-Air Market. The name of the stall is Fred and Cora's meatshop. We always get the special tapa because it has fat. The regular has no fat and doesn't taste as good as the special. I also discovered that if I miss their market hours (up to 11 am), I can call their house in Palma St. and pick it up! (Market 895-85-91; Residence 897-4292)

Hermie's tender, juicy tapa with FAT

Mona, bad girl, even taught me how to cook it. She said, I should separate the fat from the meat... then brown it in the remaining cooking oil. I'm going to be doubly bad... cook the garlic fried rice in the oil of the fried tapa!

I can cook a lot things but I don't know how to fry an egg. Some say the heat should be high all the time but others said I should use low heat. So the TAPSILOG I cooked was a little disastrous.

Lia's Nuclear TAPSILOG

Unlike the tapa that Hermie, my helper, cooked. She added a little water to the frying pan before adding cooking oil. According to her and Mona also, it tenderizes the meat. No wonder when I cooked mine it was a bit tough... NUCLEAR!

Some people said the tapa from San Andres market is good. A bit expensive but worth it. I hope to try it soon.

I liked the Beef Tapa from Mrs. Garcia's in Metro Supermarket in Market! Market! It tasted like the dried tapa Cow's label. I will buy again next time.

My tapa obsession is not over yet... there are still several kinds I haven't tried.

Typical Saturday

Every Saturday, my whole family eats lunch at my house. I just prepare a simple meal for them mainly because they like to eat different things. I always have to have soup for my niece Gilly... she only eats the broth and rice... sometimes when she likes the food... she will get a little. My brother in law is simple to please .. he likes plain grilled or fried meat or chicken. But the rest of my family ... Ate.. Kuya... and Tita Portia .. we like to eat the same things.

The simple menu for today's lunch was: Molo Soup, Ginataang Kalabasa and Sitaw with Shrimps and Fried Chicken Wings for the kids. Coffee Crumble ice cream for dessert.

Ginataang Kalabasa and Sitaw with Shrimps - Favorite of Tita Portia

120 grams pork belly, cubed into small pieces

2 C. coconut milk, 2nd extraction

1 onion, chopped

1 head garlic, chopped

2 T. alamang or according to taste. Some raw alamang are salty and some are not.

Boil for 1 hour over low heat until pork cubes are tender.

1 bundle sitaw, cut into 2 inch long pieces

1 slice kalabasa, cut into thin square pieces

2 pcs. jalapeno chili

250 grams shrimps

pure coconut milk, 1st extraction

Add the vegetables to the pork and coconut. When vegetables are crisp tender, add the shrimps and pure coconut milk. Cook until the shrimps are not gray anymore. Do not overcook the shrimps or else the skin will stick to the meat. Serve immediately.

Molo Soup

1/2 K. soup bones

2 liters of water

10 peppercorn

1 T. rock salt

1 big white onion

Boil the chicken for 1 hour. Flake the meat from the chicken and set aside.

1/4 K. ground pork

1 slice SPAM or chinese ham (optional)

1/2 C. singkamas, chopped finely

1 egg

1/4 k. shrimps, chopped

1 T. flour

Molo wrapper from Ling Nam T. Alonzo in Chinatown or Bambi from the supermarket. Other brands have an unpleasant smell.

Combine all the ingredients for the filling, scoop 1 tablespoon and place filling in the center of the wrapper and gather the edges like a pouch.

It is better to freeze the dumplings at this point. Always grease the plastic container before putting the dumplings so it will not stick.

1 head garlic, crushed

1 onion, chopped

flaked chicken

soup stock

Brown the garlic in oil, set aside for the topping. Saute the onions, when wilted, add the flaked chicken... and then the broth. Adjust the seasoning according to taste. When it is boiling, lower the heat and drop the frozen (no need to thaw) molo dumplings. continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the dumplings are well cooked. Top with browned garlic and chopped spring onion.

Fried Chicken Wings - posted in one of my previous entries (March 29, 2010)

I was able to make Mango Jelly out of the frozen fresh mangoes I stored in the freezer last weekend. I didn't know what to do with it and my relative, Tita Yolly, suggested I make Mango jelly. I looked in the Internet and my old recipe books and found a simple recipe. It turned out quite well for an experiment .. if you like the guava jelly type of preserves.. then you will like my Mango Jelly experiment. I am thinking it would taste good over vanilla ice cream or toasted bread with butter... or crackers with cream cheese.

Mango Jelly

1.7 K. Fresh mangoes( skin and pith removed- not included in the measurement)

1.3 K. brown sugar

juice from 6 pcs. kalamansi

2 T. butter

Boil the mango with kalamansi until soft. Add the sugar and butter. Stir until the sugar caramelizes and mixture turns into jelly. Store in sterilized jars or new disposable plastic containers in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Interesting Vegetarian Dinner with Friends

Last week I attended a get together for Dolly at Rainbow's house in Q.C. Dolly, our guest of honor, is a vegetarian and so is my classmate Lei ... so it was an interesting dinner! Rainbow, a professional chef, cooked our dinner! Thank you very much, Rainbow!

My other friends brought veggie meat barbeque which tasted like real pork barbeque! Also, pancit palabok with substitute meat, spinach dip with artichoke .... YUM!!!! ...... bottle of red wine and I brought cream puffs.

Our dinner prepared by Chef Rainbow Frankenburger Hackett:

Artisanal Bread Sticks with dip

Arugula leaves with sliced strawberries, kiwi, candied walnuts, smoked goat's cheese

with Blueberry based dressing

Paella with prawns, crabs, squid, sliced eggs, red and brown rice

Truffle Cream Pasta

My favorite dessert of the night - Coffee Ganache with strawberry confit

Even the cake was vegetarian! Carrot cake (super moist) with cream cheese frosting

Thank you Sarita for letting me grab the pictures from FB! Hahahaha even my camera suffered from over eating. It is sick and it has a "bandage" (scotch tape). I already ordered the part but will arrive 3 weeks from now.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BFF - Best Friend Forever

Best Friend. Sino ang best friend mo? hahahaha It is a long standing private joke between my friends, my Ate and me. When we attend a party, the question always asked when we get home would be: Was your best friend there? Was it Lydia? Mila? Ping Ping? Elar's?, Leonardo? Hahahahaha We call lechon our best friend.

I had lunch with my Ate and Tita Portia today at EDSA Shangrila. We love the buffet at Shang because they always have lechon. Tita Portia and I were at the Lechon station at exactly 12 noon. We got the parts we wanted. I am afraid of my cholesterol count so I only got the skin and a little meat.

Tita Portia was so fearless, for her, the skin has to have the pre-requisite visible layer of FAT! My Ate scraped the fat from the skin hahahaha perhaps she thought it won't make her cholesterol count higher. My Tita even told us to eat it quickly ...hahahaha ...in a hysterical manner. Then we asked, WHY?!?!?!?! Because the fat was already congealing fast. Like when we were little and had to eat the marrow of the bulalo, we had to eat it quickly because the marrow will turn into "sebo" in a few seconds.

Ahhhh.... after we each had a plateful of lechon skin ... we were able to relax. No more panic. We just looked like 3 women of leisure having lunch. So I just had a small portion of the food I liked in the buffet.

Tuna Sashimi, sushi and white fish sashimi.

A few pieces of shrimp tempura and fried wanton( I'm still not done with my lumpiang shanghai obssession.)

Shrimp cocktail, curracha, dimsum and soup.

Fiber - hahaha probably just half a lettuce leaf with ceasar salad dressing and fixings.

Roti and Papadum with dips. I liked the Black dahl Makhani with the Indian bread, I even went for seconds.

Fresh fruits - I almost screamed after tasting the yellow mango! It was so tart!!!!!!!! But when you look at it, one would think the mango was sweet and delicious. This is where the term, looks can be deceiving, should be applied.

My favorite desserts - nuts, cheese, grapes and dried figs. I'm not allowed pastries, I cheated and tasted the sans rival, pavlova and canonigo without the custard sauce.

It was nice to meet my old best friend after several weeks. Such a pity though ... I can't have too much of my BFF!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pastel de Lengua experiment

I was able to buy in Rustan's a small ox tongue a few weeks ago. It was just sitting in my freezer. I really wanted to experiment and cook Pastel de Lengua. I have eaten it in parties but never made my own. When I learned that Jon, Mayette's husband, likes lengua, I asked them over for dinner! I also invited the rest of her family.

I researched in the internet, read several cookbooks, consulted with friends and relatives and eventually, came up with my own version. Quite simple and easy to make. Hehehe Sorry if I always say that. I really find cooking so easy, sometimes my Tita would say, it seemed like when I'm cooking... I'm just playing!

The Pastel de Lengua experiment was a success! The meat was tender and the crust was buttery/flaky. MMMMMmmm!!! hahahaha I wish I can add an emoticon where it shows the character is licking his lips because the food was so good!

Pastel de Lengua

1 K. ox tongue (bought mine from Rustan's, very clean already)

3 C. water

1 1/2 t. fine salt

1/4 t. white pepper

1 white onion, sliced

1 bay leaf

Put all the ingredients in the pressure cooker and tenderize for 1 hour. Cool the tongue in the broth and remove the outer tough white covering by peeling away from the meat. Cut the ox tongue in 1 x1 square.

1/2 C. butter

1 white onion, sliced

1 small can whole button mushrooms

250 gr. potatoes, cubed 1 x1

250 gr. carrots, cubed 1x 1

1 can Purefoods Vienna Sausage, each sausage sliced into 3

1 Knorr beef cube

1 T. flour diluted in 1/4 C. water

Saute the onions in butter, add the cubed tongue then the mushrooms. After a few minutes pour the broth, add beef cube, carrots and potatoes. When the vegetables are tender, add the Vienna sausage. Thicken with the flour mixture. Transfer into an 8 x8 heatproof baking dish and let cool.

Pie Crust

1 1/4 C. flour

1/3 C. Butter

2 T. cold water

Cut the butter into the flour. When it resembles like cornmeal, add the cold water, mix with fork. NO need to knead the dough. The less you handle, the flakier it will be. Wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Put in between 2 pieces of wax paper and flatten using a rolling pin. Cover the heatproof dish with the crust. Using the tip of a small sharp knife, put slits all over the crust so the steam will escape. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350C or until light brown in color.
I also cooked Paella. (For the recipe, please go to the April 17 - Lia's Simple Paella post.) I have already perfected the proportion of the seasonings. I don't use saffron because it is quite expensive but just add paprika and tumeric.
While waiting for the other guests to arrive, Mayette and I were reading back issues of FOOD magazine when we saw a different kind of fruit salad. I told her I have all the ingredients in the fridge! Plus, Tita Baby is on a lacto-vegetarian diet, she couldn't eat my food. I can't remember the name of the salad but these are the ingredients:
2 C. lansones, peeled and each segment separated
1/2 C. coarsely chopped pecans (the recipe calls for walnuts but I don't have)
1/2 C. raisins
1 C. apple, cubed
80 ml. mayonaise
2 T. Mayo Magic

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I couldn't stop eating!

A few days ago, I had lunch with my HS classmates at Wild Ginger in Rockwell. We ordered green chicken curry and I liked it. Today, I decided to experiment. I surfed the net first and went to Rustan's to buy the ingredients. It was so easy to make and it tasted really good! I couldn't stop eating ... not a spoonful was left!

I did not finish the whole serving by myself! I shared half with Tita Portia who called me to say it was really delicious, she ate it with the baguette I bought her in Breadtalk. I ate mine with 1 cup steamed white rice and a few pieces of leftover grilled liempo with salt and pepper from yesterday's lunch.

Ahhhh promise, not a single drop left!!! Hehehe now my tummy is as big as a whole watermelon!!!!

Thai Green Chicken Curry

1/2 K. chicken, cut into small pieces

1 T. cooking oil

1 - 2 T. Nittaya Green Curry paste (Rustan's Rockwell)

1 T. dark brown sugar

2 C. thin coconut milk (2nd extraction)

2 T. Pantai Fish Sauce

pure coconut milk (1st extraction with no liquid added)

2 pcs. round eggplant, cut into 4 segments

Heat the oil in the wok until very hot. Saute the curry paste and brown sugar. Add the chicken pieces and saute until half cooked. Pour the thin coconut milk and add the fish sauce. When it starts to boil, cover and lower the heat. After 20 minutes add the eggplant, continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Increase the heat, add the pure coconut milk and stir until it boils. Turn off flame and serve.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Indefinite "stop over"

I am on an indefinite food journey "stop over". I can't go on too much "journeying" around because school has started already AND...... I have been going to the gym recently. I always think twice before I dine out .... because it is really very hard to exercise. I love to eat, no question about it ... I have cravings! Ohhh I always have cravings.... it makes me crazy when I can't eat what I want or can't duplicate what I have eaten in someone's house or restaurant. I'm not saying I'm on a diet but I choose my "battles" wisely, I hope. The only time I will forgo diet and exercise is when there is LECHON!

One of my recent food cravings is Philly Cheesesteak. I've tried the one in Army Navy but as I've said in my older posts, it was too bland for me. I've also tried the one in Rockwell, the cheeseteak of Elbert Cuenca, but I want mine more seasoned. So I did my research... looked at the websites and recipes and came out with my own version.

French Bread from Bread Talk - 6 inch long portion. I love their baguette there! It is so lightweight and I love the taste! I don't like the heavy kind of bread... or "doughy". I can eat a whole Bread Talk baguette.... hahaha... I'm just saying I CAN but I won't.

1-2 T. cooking oil

150 grams of thinly sliced beef sirloin, shredded and seasoned with salt and pepper.

1 Spanish onion (golden skinned), chopped.

1 slice gruyere cheese. Most recipes use Provolone but I couldn't find in Rustan's Rockwell.

1/2 bottle of small Cheez Whiz

Using a flat frying pan or griddle, heat the oil. When smoking hot, add the onions and caramelize... remove and set aside. In the same pan, brown the meat... then add the slice of cheese and cook until melted.
Split open the baguette and put the meat/cheese inside. Top with caramelized onions and spread the cheez whiz over the meat and onion.

Another craving I have is Lumpiang Shanghai. Eversince I tried the one from Wa Nam in Bataan, I've been trying the lumpia here in Manila. I've been to San Jacinto... it was ok but they added veggies inside. Then, I also tried from Savory.. it was a disaster. Not what I was looking for. I've decided to research again where can I eat the old fashioned kind of Chinese lumpia ... but I couldn't find one that I think would have that all meat pinkish filling.

I read several recipes and experimented today. I only made a small batch because I wasn't sure how it would taste. I guess it turned out pretty well. My family had lunch in my house and I saw them getting second servings. I probably just need to buy freshly ground pork so the color will be pinkish.

Lumpiang Shanghai
1/4 K. ground pork
150 g. shrimps, chopped
1 C. singkamas, minced
1 head garlic,chopped
1 white onion, chopped finely
1 egg
1/2 t. fine salt
1 t. MSG
1 t. fish sauce
1/8 t. pepper

lumpia wrapper

cooking oil for frying

Mix all the ingedrients well in a bowl except the cooking oil and wrapper. Put 1-2 T of meat at the edge of the wrapper and roll all the way and seal the edge with water or egg white.

Fry in hot oil. Drain in a colander standing up. Do not use paper towels or else the lumpia will absorb the oil.  Serve with Thai Spring rolls sauce or sweet and sour sauce.

Sweet and sour sauce
3/4 C. water
2 T. Rice vinegar
3 T. Tomato Ketchup
2 T. Jufran banana ketchup
2/3 C. white sugar
1 1/2 T. cornstarch diluted in 2 T. water

Mix all the ingredients except the cornstarch mixture in a sauce pan before switching on the flame. When it boils, add the cornstarch mixture. Stir and turn off heat.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bagoong Guisado with Homemade Chicharon Bits

The first time I learned that bagoong does not come in a bottle and you can make your own was when I had lunch in Maryanne's house when we were in college. I remember being excited everytime she tells me that her mom made a fresh batch! We would just squeeze calamansi on it. Back then she was trying to teach me how to do it but I wasn't able to grasp the recipe quite well.

The second time I've tasted good homemade bagoong was in Jing's house in Tagaytay. That was where I learned to add chunks of crispy pork and browned garlic as toppings.

Then recently, an attorney I've met at a party, taught me his secret of making bagoong. He even "exports" it to his relatives in Europe. He adds tomatoes to his version but I asked it, Won't it spoil easily if you add fresh tomatoes? He said, in cooking anything with tomatoes, you have to make sure you saute it really well, until almost brown and wilted.

So... I have incorporated everybody's advice and the result was.... really ......... WOW !!!!! to the nth degree! I couldn't stop eating! If I could let everybody taste it, I will. hahahaha I take that back! I will be greedy this time.

I think the most important ingredient is the alamang. I bought mine from the market of Balanga, Bataan last weekend. I just texted Mayette that I want to go back just to buy alamang!!!! It wasn't salty at all and I didn't even have to rinse it.

As I was cooking my bagoong guisado.... I accidentally learned how to make homemade chicharon bits!!!!

I have a strip of boiled (in salted water) pork skin with a little fat on it... about 8 x 3 ... stored in the freezer for a couple of months. I let it thaw and cut into small cubes... as small as a finger nail.... then put it in a heavy wok with cover. I used super low heat to render the fat from the pork. After a while, when I heard popping sounds already, I switched off the flame... let it rest then opened the cover, stirred and separated the pork pieces. Then I put back the cover and cooked over low flame for a few more minutes. I never, never open the lid when I'm rendering fat from the pork. DANGEROUS!!!

Then after several more minutes of waiting for the popping sounds to end ... I opened the cover. I saw the bits of pieces of pork was already crunchy BUT.... it looked hard/crunchy to me. I said to myself....

"I wonder what will happen if I add about 2 T. of water????" I know when cooking Lechon Kawali you have to sprinkle water while frying to make it crunchy. So... I added slowly 2 T. of water... the pan sizzled a little but at least the oil did not splatter. I covered it again and this time cooked over medium heat. Just for a few minutes until I heard the popping sounds.

Remember to always let it cool before opening the lid. Very Important!

I was so surprised to see that the chunks of pork fat expanded! Like a real chicharon! Ohhhh and when you bite into it, it melts in your mouth! I kid you not!!!!! I set it aside to be used as topping for my bagoong guisado.

Bagoong Guisado Recipe

1/4 K. alamang

2 heads garlic, crushed

1 onion, sliced

1 ripe tomato, sliced

2 red sili, whole

1/2 C. Datu Puti vinegar

4 T. brown sugar

Brown the garlic in the fat rendered from the pork. Set aside for topping. Saute the onion and tomato until brown and wilted. Add the alamang... cook for several minutes then add the vinegar, brown sugar and sili. Do not stir yet.... wait for 3 to 5 minutes. When the bagoong is almost dry but still with a little liquid, turn off flame, transfer to a serving dish, then top with chunks of homemade chicharon bits and browned garlic.

Army Navy Freedom Fries

My favorite french fries are from Army Navy Burger + Burrito restaurant. It is a fast food joint at the 2/F of Glorietta 5 plus with other branches too. I already tried their burger and steak sandwiches but it was a bit bland for me because I like my food on the salty side. I will just have to remind them to season the burger patty or steak next time.

Back to the Freedom Fries... I love it! They are like twister fries but spicier and they are thin, long sticks! I don't even need ketchup because they are well seasoned already.

Today was Sophie's outing with Tita Lia. I let her try the fries and she ordered cheese quesadillas at Army Navy.
We only shared because the two of us are on a "diet"! Hehehe but we still ate at Wendy's after... again we shared an order of the chicken and spaghetti meal.... at least... in my way of thinking... that was still better than eating a whole portion.

It is already an improvement on our dining lifestyle. I know... we still have to learn to eat healthy food. I don't indulge often in the burger/fries type of fastfood joint because I know it will put a big dent on my efforts to lose weight. It is a struggle .. there are days when I win ... and there are more days when I lose.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Table for Two at San Jacinto in Libis

Last night I was craving for Lumpiang Shanghai. I even made for dinner, I bought ground pork in Rustan's Rockwell but when I cooked it, the meat inside was beige... I wanted the meat to be on the pinkish side, just like what I ate at Wanam in Bataan.

Tita Portia has been asking me to take her to Panciteria San Jacinto in C5 Libis. Senior citizens like the old fashioned style of Chinese cooking... once in a while they want to go down memory lane. So ... this morning when I woke up I told her we will be having lunch at San Jacinto! hehehehe I didn't tell her I have a lumpiang shanghai obsession.

She told me to order anything I like and she said she will also order a lot because she will bring it home, store and eat for her dinner for the next few days. She is up to her neck of Makati food that she wanted something different for a change.
Good thing the restaurant has a serving size called "poquito", good for 1-2 persons.

We really do have a bad habit at looking at other people's table and what they ordered. Tita said... Look, Lia! They must have a celebration or something! They ordered a lot of food. Then I answered : Auntie!!! Don't you call this a celebration also?!?!?!? The waiters had a hard time trying to fit all the dishes on our table!

This is quite a long narration of what we ate .... so here it goes.......

Assorted coldcuts with century egg, Chinese sausage, seaweeds, lechon Macau , asado and pata jamon.

Tita Portia had the San Jacinto soup with seafood, century egg and vegetables.

I ordered the hototay, it was a bit "soupy" but that's what I like. Lots of meat and veggies.

Fried Rice with asado and Chinese sausage.

Crab foo yung.

Beef with Ampalaya

San Jacinto Noodles

Pinsec frito with Shrimps

My craving! Lumpiang Shanghai!!!! The ground pork was pink!

Tita Portia's craving, Camaron Rebosado con Jamon. Why is it thick? Because it has a big chunk of pork fat!

Stuffed Shrimp - their version of Shrimp relleno

Siopao - Bola Bola and Asado
I just brought home my share because I was so full already.

Tita Portia ordered a small serving of pata jamon.

She liked the Lechon Macau very much that she ordered for dine in and another order for take out.

That was a good lunch! Yes! I was able to satisfy my Lumpiang Shanghai craving! I just have a little problem now, I feel so full and stuffed! I couldn't get up from bed to get ready to go to the gym!!! I have to go! I just have to go today!!! XXXXXX (amount of calories I consumed for lunch) minus XX (amount of calories I know I'm only going to burn at the gym) = Yikes!!!! negative XXXX !!!!! Why can't it be the other way around?!?!?!? hahahahaha I know why and I'm sure the whole world knows why also.