Posts by Marianne

Sigadillas sa Gata (Winged Beans in Coconut Milk)

Sigadillas Sa Gata is one of my favourite comfort foods. Sad to say that I only discovered it the last ten years. There’s this restaurant in Robinson’s Manila, called Mangan (translated from Pampango – to eat) that serves it and where I found out that it existed. I suppose that long ago when I first tasted sigadillas, the cook didn’t blanch it therefore it was acrid (mapakla!) and I didn’t bother to like it. Sigadillas is seasonal because you can’t find it all the time. When you slice it, into pieces crosswise, each slice looks like a butterfly; maybe that is why it was called the winged bean. Ingredients: 250 grams sigadillas (winged beans) – trim off about 1⁄4-inch from both ends, then slice horizontally, about 1⁄2-inches, the beans to look like little stars; set aside, ready to be blanched 2 tablespoons cooking oil 1 teaspoon crushed garlic 1⁄4 cup sliced onion 1 tablespoon bagoong alamang – fermented shrimp paste 1⁄2 to 3/4 cup coconut milk 1 siling mahaba (lady finger chilli) – sliced into very small pieces Procedure: Sigadillas have to be blanched before they are used. If one does not blanch the sigadillas, it will have an acrid (mapakla) taste. To blanch the sigadillas, bring to a boil about 4 cups of water; when boiling, placed the sliced sigadillas in the water for 2 minutes. Remove from fire, drain in colander, and rinse with cold water. Let drip and set aside. In a medium saucepan, place oil and heat over medium low fire. When the pan feels hot, place garlic and onions in pot and sauté till the onions are translucent. Add the bagoong alamang and sauté for 1 minutes then pour in the coconut milk. Turn down the fire to low and bring the mixture to a low simmer for 5 minutes. Then put in the chilli and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste the mixture and adjust to your liking; you can add fish sauce (patis), and/or freshly ground black pepper. Now put in the blanched sigadillas and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the mixture; sigadillas must still be crunchy; do not overcook. Serve while hot with steamed...

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Banana Bread

Banana Bread

  The Philippines grows so many kinds of bananas and they are turned into all sorts of delicacies (turon, maruya, chips etc.) but the banana bread is not so popular and I guess its because no one has come up with a recipe that tickles the palate of the Pinoy. In Australia where the banana bread is a cafe staple, everyone knows the banana bread and is a favourite. I came up with this recipe to please daughter, Elaine. My mother in law, Inez, says that it’s the best banana bread she has ever tasted. Hopefully the Pinoy with come to appreciate this version of the banana bread.   Ingredients: 1 ¼ cups (250 grams) sugar ½ cup butter – softened 2 large eggs – lightly beat to mix 1 ½ cups mashed bananas – Lakatan or Latundan or Cavendish (you cannot use Saba) ½ cup sour cream or buttermilk (you can use ½ cup evaporated milk soured with 1 teaspoon vinegar) 1 teaspoon vanilla or banana essence 2 ½ cups (350 grams) all purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts Procedure Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC) Grease and flour 1 loaf pan or line loaf pan with baking paper. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Put one tablespoon of flour with the nuts and toss to coat the nuts with flour. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment, place butter inside bowl and at slow speed beat butter till light and fluffy; occasionally scrapping sides. Gradually add the sugar and continue mixing till well blended and fluffy; scrape sides to mix well. Slowly add the eggs and continue mixing till well blended. Add the mashed bananas with the banana essence; mix well. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, divide the flour mixture into four, and add ¼ of the flour mixture into the banana mixture; beat till you don’t see any flour and then place â…“ of the sour cream. Mix till you don’t see the cream. Continue alternating the flour and sour cream procedure. When all the flour has been blended in, add the nuts and mix well. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or till the toothpick tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place over wire rack to cool. Slice into desired cuts. Serve with...

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Corn Crab Soup

Corn Crab Soup

  If you think about it, so much of our fond memories revolve around food. When I was in my teens, my family loved to celebrate in Chinese restaurants. My mother’s favourite soup was this; but she would complain that it lacked heartiness; it was more like thickened dish water soup. I was already experimenting at that time and decided to please my mother and come up with something more hearty; therefore this recipe. Another instance is my BFF in graduate school, Victoria Faicol, who was a non-cook, wanted to impress one of her visitors and asked me to give her a recipe that was super easy. We still often laugh together when we remember this moment. Serves 6 persons. Ingredients: 1 kilo blue swimmer crabs (alimasag; cook and peel) – set aside or 100 grams Kani sticks shredded 2 tablespoons cooking oil 1 can cream of corn (1 ¼ cups) 1 teaspoon crushed garlic ½ cup thinly sliced onion 4 cups of chicken broth or boiled water with 2 chicken cubes dissolved â…› teaspoon freshly ground pepper dash of salt handful of baby spinach leaves or chilli leaves (dahon ng sili) 1 whole egg – well beaten Procedure Using a non-reactive pot, I like using either a glazed clay pot or a pyrex pot for this, so that I can cook in it and then straight to the dining table, pour the oil over medium heat. Place the garlic and onion and saute till onion is opaque. Add in the crab meat and saute for another 2 minutes. Pour in the broth and simmer till the soup comes to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning; adding the pepper and salt. Bring the soup to a boil and drizzle the well beaten egg into the soup while stirring. Add the spinach leaves, stir and...

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Arroz Caldo Manok (Rice and Chicken Soup)

Arroz Caldo Manok (Rice and Chicken Soup)

It’s funny what we associate with some foods; just like Arroz Caldong Manok. To me it’s comfort food when one is sick much like Chicken Soup is to the Americans. Nowadays, it’s part of the afternoon snack (merienda). To make the broth very tasty, the use of native or organic chicken is advisable. When we used to live on the farm, we had native chickens that were raised just for that purpose. I don’t see myself slitting the jugular vein of the chicken nowadays, but back then I surely did if I wanted to serve Arroz Caldong Manok. Ingredients: 4 pieces chicken thigh fillets – cut into 1-inch cubes (you can also use one whole chicken cut into serving pieces) 1 cup onion, sliced thinly 3 tablespoons garlic – well crushed reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish 2 teaspoons sliced ginger – julienne 2 tablespoons patis – fish sauce 2 tablespoons spring onion – chopped fine for garnish 1 tablespoon toasted garlic for garnish ¼ cup glutinous rice (malagkit) ¼ cup long grain or short grain rice ¼ cup cooking oil ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 6 cups chicken broth or water   Procedure: In a small frying pan, pour in cooking oil and place over low fire. Sauté the 3 tablespoons crushed garlic until a very light golden brown. Remove from fire and set aside the 1 tablespoon garlic for garnish; and remove the other garlic together with the oil. In same frying pan with just the residue of the oil where the garlic was cooked, pan fry the two rice (sticky and normal) until the rice become fragrant. Remove from fire and set aside. In a 8 cup saucepan, over medium fire, place the garlic with oil and the onions and sauté till the onions are wilted. Add the ginger and patis and continue to sauté for 1 minute. The add the chicken pieces and continue to sauté for 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth or water and bring to a boil then turn down fire to low. Simmer for 20 minutes then add the roasted rice. Continue to simmer till the rice is cooked and has thickened the soup; around 15 to 20 minutes. Add ground pepper, salt or patis to taste. Garnish with fried garlic and fresh spring onion and...

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Crispy Slow Roasted Pork Belly

This recipe requires seasoning and refrigerating the pork belly for at least 12 hours before cooking. Be sure to ask for a flat, rectangular center-cut section of skin-on pork belly that’s 1 1⁄2 inches thick with roughly equal amounts of meat and fat. Ingredients: 1 1⁄2 kilos skin-on center cut fresh pork belly, about 1 1⁄2-inches thick Kosher salt 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar vegetable oil Procedure: Using sharp chef’s knife, slice pork belly lengthwise into 3 strips about 2 inches wide, then make 1⁄4-inch deep crosswise cuts through skin and into fat spaced 1⁄2 inch apart. Combine 2 tablespoons salt and brown sugar in small bowl. Rub salt mixture into bottom and sides of pork belly (do not rub into skin). Season skin of each strip evenly with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Place pork belly, skin side up, in 13 by 9-inch baking dish and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 12 or up to 24 hours. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250°F (120°C). Transfer pork belly, skin side up, to lightly greased wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Roast pork belly until meat registers 195°F (90°C) and paring knife inserted in meat meets little resistance, 3 to 3 1⁄2 hours, rotating sheet halfway through roasting. Transfer pork belly, skin side up, to large plate. (Pork belly can be held at room temperature for up to 1 hour.) Pour fat from sheet into 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Add vegetable oil as needed to to equal 1 cup and transfer to 12-inch skillet. Arrange pork belly, skin side down, in skillet (strips can be sliced in half crosswise if skillet won’t fit strips whole) and place over medium heat until bubble form around pork belly. Continue to fry, tilting skillet occasionally to even out hot spots, until skin puffs, crisps, and turns golden, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer pork belly, skin side up, to carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Flip pork belly skin side down and slice 1⁄2-inch thick (being sure to slice through original score marks). Re-invert slices and...

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Malacañang Roll (Chocolate Fudge and Meringue Roll)

Malacañang Roll (Chocolate Fudge and Meringue Roll)

I first became acquainted with this delicious roll from my grandparents majordoma, Florencia (Esia) Guiao. She was commissioned to bake this roll every family sunday gathering. All the while, I thought it was my great grandmother, Luisa Fernandez Lichauco, who invented this cake. But when we had our first grand Lichauco reunion, I then found out, that it was her sister, Cornelia Lichauco, who invented it. It was called Malacañang Roll, because their family used to live near the Presidential Palace – Malacañang. I have tweaked the recipe to make the roll more moist. If making a roll seems daunting, you can divide the batter into two round cake tins and it will still taste the same. You can fill and top the cake with fudge and meringue. Cream Sponge Cake Ingredients: 4 eggs – separated 1 tablespoons lemon juice 1 ½ tablespoons cold water 1 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup (200 grams) sugar – divide into ¾ cup and ¼ cup 1/4 teaspoon fine salt 1 cup (140 grams) cake flour – sifted 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder Cream Sponge Cake Procedure: Preheat oven to 325ºF (165ºC) Line with baking paper jelly roll pan 10-inches by 15-inches by 1-inch high (26cm by 38cm by 2.5cm high) or 2 baking pans 9-inch diameter round by 2-inches high (23cm by 5cm high) In a medium sized mixing bowl, place egg yolks, lemon juice, cold water, and vanilla extract; beat until thick and pale; about 8 minutes. Gradually add ¾ cup of the sugar and blend well. Set aside. Beat the egg whites separately until foamy, add the salt, and continue beating until the whites form soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Gently stir a fourth of the whites into the yolk mixture. Spoon the remaining whites onto the yolk mixture. Sift flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Carefully fold in flour/baking powder mixture into egg mixture. Spoon into prepared pan and level off. For roll – bake 10 to 12 minutes. For round tins – bake 15 to 20 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean To un-mold jelly roll sponge: Over cooling rack, place tea towel (katcha cloth) and open up to spread as large as jelly roll tin. Generously dust flour all over tea towel. When you take jelly roll sponge out of oven, place on another rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then when cooled down, turn out into prepared tea towel. Remove the baking paper. Let cool for another 5 minutes. Gently roll, lengthwise and let cool for 20 minutes and then unroll. When fudge is ready, spread all over the inside of roll. Then...

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Adobo (Sour Stew)

Adobo (Sour Stew)

There are many versions of Adobo as there are provinces in the Philippines. Practically each household has it’s own rendition of this traditional dish; along with Sinigang, considered the national dish. Adobo, Philippine style, has now made it to international recognition (a recipe published in Cook’s Illustrated magazine March-April 2012 issue) and Pinoys all over the glove mark their food territory with this dish. To the Pilipino, Adobo can mean a lot of things since so many other items can be made into Adobo. The basic ingredients being garlic and vinegar or a souring agent and soy sauce, or coconut milk as addendum. Aside from the basic pork or chicken, one can make Adobo with prawns, squid, crabs, beef, frog’s legs, vegetables (bamboo shoots, kangkong, etc.) balut (aborted duck egg) and many more. One of the good things about Adobo is that the older it get, the better it tastes. Over steaming hot rice, it’s to live for! You can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can turn the left over into another dish – Ropa Vieja (shred the pork or chicken – threadlike, and deep fry or pan fry with oil or bake, until it’s crispy.) Adobo is another comfort food, either when you just feel like something home made or when you miss the Philippines.   Ingredients: 1 whole chicken – cut into serving pieces ½ kilo pork belly (liempo) – cut into 1-inch by 2-inch pieces 2 tablespoons crushed garlic ¾ cup white vinegar (sukang puti) – the vinegar that you use makes a difference in the outcome of the dish; each one has their own preference; I prefer the sukang sasa (palm tree vinegar) ¼ cup soy sauce (toyo) – I personally prefer light soy sauce 2 pieces bay leaf (laurel) 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves 1 – 2 teaspoons coarsely crushed black pepper 1 teaspoon salt ¼ cup cooking oil ½ cup water Procedure: Marinate the chicken and pork pieces in vinegar, and soy sauce for 1 hour. Remove the chicken and pork pieces from the marinade and separate the pork from the chicken. Save the marinade and set aside. In a non-stick cooking pot or enamel pot or glass cooking pot, or the best – a clay pot, (do not use aluminium or cast iron pot), place pot over medium heat and pout in oil. When the oil has heated through, add the pork pieces and sear till all the sides of the pork are light brown. Remove pork from the pot and set aside. Do the same with the chicken pieces; remove and set aside. Add the garlic to the pot and saute for about 2 minutes. Turn down the...

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Rellenong Alimasag ( Fried Stuffed Blue Swimmer Crab)

Rellenong Alimasag ( Fried Stuffed Blue Swimmer Crab)

When I was a child (noong bata pa si ‘Sabel), Rellenong Alimasag was only served during special occasions. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to prepare it. Nowadays, you can buy canned, peeled, crabmeat; but it doesn’t come up to par to the laborious, old-fashioned method. Alimasag is also known as Blue Swimmer Crab. Alimasag is much sweeter than Mud Crab or Alimango. Try and choose crabs that are similar in size so that there is no fight at the table. All the effort in preparing this dish is worth it. Ingredients: 1 kilo alimasag (blue swimmer crabs) – rinse with cold water and drain. Place crabs in large saucepan and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt all over the crabs. DO NOT ADD WATER; THE WATER INSIDE THE CRABS WILL SUFFICE TO COOK CRABS. Place sauce pan over low heat and cover. Cook crabs for 20 minutes or til the crabs turn orange. Remove from heat and uncover and cool. Now comes the tedious part; remove and pick the crab meat from the crab, including the meat from the legs. Save the top shell of crab (carapace); that is where you will put the mixture. Set aside the crab meat. 2 tablespoons cooking oil 1/4 cup finely chopped onions 2 tablespoons chopped spring onions 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato – remove seeds before chopping 1 tablespoon Mirin 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 2 whole eggs – well beaten till frothy flour for dusting tops of stuffed crab 1 cup cooking oil for frying Procedure: In a medium sized frying pan, set over low fire, pour in the cooking oil. Let the oil warm up. Saute the onion till wilted or translucent. About 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and continue to saute for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spring onions and mix; continue sautéing. About 1 minute. Add the crab meat and toss and turn. Season with mirin, black pepper and salt. Taste the mixture and adjust by adding salt and pepper to your liking. After about 2 minutes, remove from fire and set aside. Stuffing the crab shells: Depending on the size of your crab shells, divide equally the crab meat mixture. Place mixture inside the crabshells, but do not over stuff. Sprinkle flour lightly on top of the meat. Set aside. In a medium sized frying pan, pour cooking oil and bring to 350ºF or 180ºC. Beat the whole eggs til very frothy. Place the beaten eggs, one at a time, on top of crab meat. Very carefully, slide the crab shell, meat facing oil, and fry the Rellenong Alimasag for about 20 to 30 seconds each or...

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Kinilaw na Isda (Filipino Ceviche)

As Sofia, from the Golden Girls T.V. series says, “picture this!”: the sun is setting over the horizon,  in one of the many beautiful beaches in the Philippines; the beer is chilling nearby, ready to slake your thirst; you just caught a beautiful tuna fish early this morning; the fish coruscating on the chopping board as it is prepared for Kinilaw na Isda; the mouth-watering scent of the pork and chicken as they are grilled over an open charcoal fire; and the cooling winds playing tag with the hair and clothes of your family and friends  frolicking on the sand — PICTURE PERFECT!  The best way to make this is to have very fresh fish; freshly caught is the most excellent. I like using calamansi juice because of its fragrance and lime can also be used. You can add more vinegar or calamansi juice if you prefer. Procedure: 1 kilo sashimi grade tuna or tanigue (Spanish mackerel) – sliced into 1/4-inch thick by 1 1/2-inch lengths 1 tablespoon sea salt 1 tablespoon finely julienned sliced ginger 1 cup chopped sibuyas Tagalog or red onion 10 – 15 pieces bird eye chilies – finely sliced in circles 1/2 cup calamansi or lemon juice 1/4 cup coconut vinegar or palm vinegar Procedure: Make sure you place the fish in a glass serving dish or enamel dish. This prevents the vinegar from reacting with either stainless or aluminum and keeps the flavor clean. Arrange the fish pieces on the glass dish. Mix all the other ingredients in a glass bowl and taste before pouring in. Adjust the salt or chilies to your liking. When the flavor is right, pour over the fish and stir around. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 to 2 hours. The fish and marinade will turn milky. This means it’s ready to serve. Serve with cold beer or chilled white...

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Tinolang Manok (Chicken Soup with Ginger and Green Papaya)

Tinolang Manok is another Filipino comfort food that can be eaten any time of the day or when one is not feeling well or is down in the dumps. The ginger and the chili leaves gives the dish a pick me up flavor. Because the dish is suppose to be slow cooked, the best chicken to use is ‘native’ or organic or free range. The green papaya helps in tenderizing the chicken; specially the ‘native’ chicken. Ingredients: 1 whole chicken – cut the chicken into serving pieces 1/4 cup cooking oil 1 tablespoon crushed garlic 1 cup sliced onions 1 – 2 tablespoons julienne sliced ginger 3 – 4 tablespoons fish sauce (patis) 8 cups rice washing liquid 500 grams green papaya or soyote (chokoes) – peeled, seeded and sliced into 1-inch 1 cup malunggay (mooring) leaves or sili leaves or baby spinach leaves salt or fish sauce to taste Procedure: Using a large pot, over medium fire, pour cooking oil into pot and warm. Saute garlic, onion, and ginger, till the garlic is light gold. Add the chicken pieces and continue sautéing for five minutes. Add the fish sauce and mix with the chicken pieces; for 1 minute. Pour in the rice washing liquid and bring to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, turn down the fire to low and cover the pot. Depending on which kind of chicken you used, simmer the pot for 30 to 50 minutes. Add the papaya or chokoes and cover the pot; simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes till the chicken and papaya are tender. Taste the broth and add salt or fish sauce to your liking. Then add the malunggay or sili leaves and stir through for 1 minute. Serve while hot with rice and extra fish sauce with calamansi or lemon for...

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