Auguest 2021: Mhyre Virtudazo

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways

“If I can make it from scratch, I will make it from scratch. I also try to cook with whole foods as much as possible and eat more vegetables/plant-based meals at least once a week.” — Mhyre Virtudazo

Auguest 2021: Mhyre Virtudazo

Whenever I see or think of Vietnamese rice paper, Gỏi cuốn (fresh spring roll) and Chả giò (fried spring roll) immediately come to mind. I love these appetizers so much that I eat them as snacks or as my main dish for dinner.

My problem with spring rolls (including the Filipino version Lumpia), however, is the step that involves wrapping. I find it tedious and prone to errors (uneven shapes or rolls with holes). Haha! To prevent that from happening, I have two options: order from a restaurant or “solve the problem”. On extra lazy days, I would choose the former. However, if you know me really well, you’d know that I’d usually go for the latter. And so, I had to do different takes on rice paper and spring roll preparation.

I’ve categorised these into three levels (easy, medium, hard) and I’m hoping you’re up for the game to reach Level 3. Are you ready?

Level 1 – Easy

Rice Paper Puffs. Or Fried Rice Paper. This has become quite popular on TikTok. All you need to do is cut 3-4 pieces of rice paper into quarters and deep fry them in hot oil – that’s it! I think rice papers already have a mild sweet and salty taste to it so I prefer to eat them as it is. At the same time, I’ve seen videos where a little bit of salt and pepper, or instant ramen seasoning packets are added at the end. Try it plain first. If it’s too plain for you, then add seasoning.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Puffs

Level 2 – Medium

Rice Paper Nacho Salad. We’re following the same procedure with the Rice Paper Puff, except that you cut up the rice papers into smaller pieces. Serve with fresh herbs and julienned carrot and cucumber. How you eat it is like how you eat with nachos. Even if you cut up the rice paper into small triangles, it still puffs up large when fried so you don’t have to worry about falling pieces of vegetables when you eat it (but wouldn’t there always be falling pieces of filling or sauce whenever we eat nachos?). Again, I enjoy them without any seasoning so feel free to add salt and spices to your liking.

Bonus Round – Of course there’s a bonus round!
The salad makes the dish colourful enough but NOT ENOUGH for me. Lol. Why not add some colour to the rice paper? For yellow, mix turmeric powder in hot water. For pink, mix red beet slices and a teaspoon of vinegar in hot water. For violet, boil half a head of cabbage (shredded) in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Remove the shredded cabbage then add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Your liquid may turn blue which is great, but mine came out violet and I’m still happy with it. Allow for the three liquid colourings to cool before use.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Nachos

How to colour rice paper is just like how you paint with watercolor! Dip your silicone brush into your liquid colouring, then paint one side of rice paper. As soon as you’ve coated the entire surface, slap another rice paper onto it and hold them firmly until they stick together. Wait for it to dry. Once dry, follow the steps for Level 2.

Level 3 – Hard

Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups. This is a simple Vietnamese salad minus vermicelli noodles. The rice paper cups would replace them. The inspiration for this recipe came from YouTube videos I chanced upon last year. Surprisingly, these are Korean recipes that use Vietnamese rice paper. They are called 라이스페이퍼 꽃부각 (Rice Paper Flower) or 라이스페이퍼 튀김 (Fried Rice Paper).

To make rice paper cups, press on a teaspoon or 2 of cooked rice in the middle of the rice paper. Cut the rice paper into 4 up until you reach the center. Deep fry it in hot oil for 10 seconds and drain immediately. Adding cooked rice in the middle prevents the rice paper from curling too much and it will allow it to form a flower shape.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

You’ll use the same salad as in Level 2. For the dressing, I recommend the one from Allison’s Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad [https://amcarmenskitchen.com/2020/10/21/magic-vietnamese-style-glass-noodle-salad/] recipe (it’s sooo good!). What I did differently when I took photos for this recipe is that I used calamansi instead of lemon, garlic powder instead of minced garlic, and chili oil instead of minced chili (at that time, I didn’t feel like mincing garlic and chili and I ran out of lemon).

When ready to serve, scoop up some salad and place it in the middle of the rice paper cup. It’s very important that you consider this step. If you put the salad too early, your rice paper cup will be soggy from the moisture of the vegetables and herbs.

Bonus round – Fight!
The rice paper cups will be plain looking without any colour. Boooring! Prettify them by painting the edges with the same liquid coloring you used. Let it dry first before frying. You may also add colour to the rice using the same liquid coloring. I made the rice green by boiling the remaining cabbage liquid for another 15 minutes.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

They really look like flowers once deep fried! Let your family or friends marvel at the fried rice paper flowers first then impress them some more with the salad!

Step up your salad game by adding shredded rotisserie chicken and pickled jalapeño slices. You may replace the chicken with steamed or poached shrimp and the pickled jalapeño with a fresh one.

And that’s the end of your kitchen journey. For now! I’m sure you’ll have more adventures as you try all of Allison’s Auguest recipes. I hope you enjoy making and eating rice paper 3 ways!

Here are the main ingredients that you’ll need for the recipes below:

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways Main Ingredients


Rice Paper Puffs

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME <5 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 pcs rice paper
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • Salt and black pepper, or seasoning (optional)

METHOD

  1. Cut each rice paper into 4 equal pieces and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  2. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease.
  3. Serve and enjoy immediately. Season with salt and pepper or instant ramen seasoning, if you wish.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Puffs


Rice Paper Nacho Salad

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

6 pcs rice paper
Oil, for deep frying
3 cups carrot, julienned
3 cups cucumber, julienned
2 cups fresh herbs (sliced mint, basil, cilantro)

METHOD

  1. Cut each rice paper into 8 pieces and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  2. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the carrots, cucumber, and fresh herbs together until well combined.
  4. Transfer the salad to a large serving dish and prop the fried rice paper slices around it.
  5. Serve and enjoy immediately. Season the fried rice paper slices with salt and pepper or instant ramen seasoning, if you wish.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Nacho Salad


Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pcs rice paper
  • 3 tsp cooked rice
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • 3 cups carrot, julienned
  • 3 cups cucumber, julienned
  • 2 cups fresh herbs (sliced mint, basil, cilantro)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chilies, finely minced

METHOD

  1. Press a teaspoon of cooked rice in the middle of the rice paper.
  2. Cut the rice paper into 4 parts up until where the cooked rice is, and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  3. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss the carrots, cucumber, and fresh herbs together until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Add the water, lemon juice, sugar, sesame oil, fish sauce, garlic cloves, and chilies in a jar. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined.
  6. Scoop some salad and place it in the middle of the fried rice paper cups and serve with the dressing in a dipping sauce cup or small ramekin. Enjoy!

Optional: You can add your choice of protein and pickled jalapeño slices to the salad to bulk it up and make it a really filling meal.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

As a third time Au-guester, my goal is to not only keep up with the theme, but also share recipes that require less effort than the first 2 recipes I’ve submitted in the previous years. This is why I’ve decided to not include steps on creating the liquid colouring in the recipe method. I’m really into colourful dishes and I’m usually bound to outdo myself every time I create something new. If you did try to add color to your rice paper, please let me and Allison know how it was like for you. We’d be very interested to learn about your kitchen experience!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Ferreli “Mhyre” Virtudazo (@acupofjasminerice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ferreli “Mhyre” Virtudazo

myTaste.com

Auguest 2021: Chamaine

Spicy Purple Sweet Potato Soup

“Happiness is Homemade. Real cooking is more about following your heart than following recipes. Fresh is always better.” — Chamaine

Auguest 2021: Chamaine

Hello Everyone! Chamaine here taking over Amcarmen’s Kitchen tonight to bring you a Thai-inspired dish for the Flavours of Southeast Asia journey on this blog for this year’s Auguest theme. I am so grateful to be part of this series as, through this, I have learnt to explore other cuisines and dishes from countries outside of my home country and knowledge.

I believe that Happiness is Homemade. My favourite thing to do at home is COOK, and I season everything with LOVE. For me, cooking is an ART. I plate like an ARTIST and invent recipes like a SCIENTIST.

Spicy Purple Sweet Potato Soup

Thai cuisine has proven to be quite a challenge for me since I am not so familiar with it. Some ingredients are unusual to me, but since I am eager to learn something new, I accepted this challenge. Upon my research, I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Soup rather intriguing. All my life, I have known sweet potatoes to be used as a snack and finger food; I never thought that it could potentially be used to make a starter or appetizer in the form of a soup.

For this dish, I substituted some of the ingredients as I could not source some of them, but don’t worry, I have the best options in our pantry. If you do have these original ingredients readily available for you, then by all means stick to using them:

  • Kaffir lime leaves to bay leaves
  • Lime juice to calamansi juice
  • Coriander seeds to oregano
  • Red curry paste to red chillies

As a result, I can say this dish is absolutely appetizing. With its tangy, savoury, and creamy flavour, plus the slightly sour and sweet taste, everything complimented each other so well!

Spicy Purple Sweet Potato Soup

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium-sized purple sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce*
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp calamansi juice
  • 1 stalk spring onion
    A pinch of oregano

*Replace with salt for a fully vegetarian/vegan alternative

METHOD

  1. In a large frying pan over medium-high, heat the olive and sauté the ginger and onions until lightly golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes, bay leaf, red chillies, fish sauce and toss, cooking for a few minutes.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk and water, and add a vegetable stock cube. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to bring it down to a simmer. Continue to cook until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  4. Once done, remove the bay leaf, and then transfer everything into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add the calamansi juice and gently mix into the soup.
  6. Transfer to individual serving dishes and garnish with more chopped chillies, spring onions, calamansi juice, and a sprinkle of oregano. Serve and enjoy!

1957

Spicy Purple Sweet Potato Soup

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Chamaine (@chamaine_homemade)

BON APPÉTIT

– Chamaine

myTaste.com

Auguest 2021: Karina Pineda

Ginataang Kalabasa (Squash with Coconut Milk)

“Take off on a food journey that is both healthy and happy.” — Karina Pineda

Auguest 2021: Karina Pineda

Hello Everyone! Karina here again returning for the second time on Amcarmen’s Kitchen! When Allison had invited me to join this year’s Auguest series, she told me that the theme would be Flavours of Southeast Asia. She also gave me the liberty to choose from a list of available countries, and fortunately, the Philippines still had an available slot and I grabbed it immediately. Aside from being Filipino, I’ve always appreciated Philippine cuisine — from the variety of flavours it has to offer, to the culture and history it’s rich in. I want to celebrate my country through my entry.

My chosen dish is Ginataang Kalabasa (Squash with Coconut Milk). I also put a twist to the traditional recipe by adding ground tofu. Following the guidelines, I decided to make something vegetarian to show that Filipino food goes beyond adobong manok, lechon kawali, balut, and other meat dishes. We, Filipinos, actually have a number of equally delicious vegetable meals!

Ginataang Kalabasa (Squash with Coconut Milk) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g kalabasa (squash), cubed
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups of fresh gata (coconut milk)
  • 1/4 block of firm tofu, ground
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Cooking oil

METHOD

  1. Mince the garlic cloves and mash the tofu until it resembles ground meat/tofu scramble.
  2. Sauté the minced garlic cloves in a deep pan until slightly roasted.
  3. Add the kalabasa (squash) cubes and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour the gata (coconut milk) into the pan, and sprinkle with some ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Let it boil until the kalabasa is soft and cooked through, no more than 15 minutes. Stir occasionally and allow the coconut milk to thicken.
  6. While waiting for the mixture to boil, cook the ground tofu in a separate pan until slightly roasted.
  7. Once done, add the cooked ground tofu to the kalabasa and gata.
  8. Transfer the ginataang kalabasa to a serving bowl and enjoy on its own or paired with your favorite ulam (viand)!

Ginataang Kalabasa (Squash with Coconut Milk)

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Karina Pineda (@wanderlittlegirl)

BON APPÉTIT

– Karina Pineda

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Jialing Mew

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad

“Waste not, want not.” — Jialing Mew

Short of blackened and burnt, I’ve learned from my many Auguest disasters that you can almost always save a dish on the brink of catastrophe! Just get creative, do a quick Google search, or go with your gut. I’m also a big believer of using up what you have, even if it means not quite following the recipe to a T (shoutout to anyone with random vegetable halves rotting away in their fridge!). In the same vein, ingredients can always go further than you think. Simmer bones for a flavoursome broth, that, when combined with your salvaged refrigerator produce, equals soup for supper! It’s kinder on your wallet and better for the environment.

Auguest 2020: Jialing Mew


So before we get started, I would like to explain that were it not for a HIGHLY misleading label at my local supermarket, this dish would have been much more on-theme (surely I can’t be the only one who didn’t know that ‘Purple Sweet Potato’ is in fact WHITE once peeled??). Also. Having never actually cooked with beetroot before, I was woefully unaware of how shockingly long it takes to roast in the oven, thereby obliterating whatever small amount of purple pigmentation my poor adjacent sweet potato had to begin with.

Anyway. Just your standard Auguest post featuring Food Fiascos by Jialing.

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad

Actually, though, apart from the frustrating lack of purple, I consider this to be one of my standout Auguest recipes, as it makes for a pretty fab morning meal. Feel free to skip the pomegranate if unavailable (if we’re being completely honest, that was mainly brought onboard in an effort to edge our way closer to the violet spectrum, though it did turn out to be a nice addition). I do highly recommend the candied walnuts and feta, though!

This dish comes together with fairly minimal effort, despite the lengthy roast-time. Plus, it’s warm and carb-y – the good kind of carbs, I’m told! – making it the perfect cure for your winter morning blues. P.S. keep reading until the end of the recipe for a sneaky vegan plot-twist #Auguest2016

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 2 HRS 30 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the roasted vegetables

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 beetroots, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 3 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 1 purple sweet potato, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt (or 1/2 tsp regular salt)
  • Pepper

For the candied walnuts

  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

For the balsamic glaze

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

To assemble

  • 50g baby rocket leaves
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 pomegranate (arils only)

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad Ingredients

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan-forced), and line a baking tray with parchment (this is for the walnuts) plus a large roasting tray with parchment paper or aluminium foil (this is for the vegetables).
  2. First prepare the candied walnuts. Toss the walnuts with the 2 tbsp maple syrup until evenly coated. Spread out over your lined baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes (in the meantime you can begin to prepare your vegetables), then take out and turn pieces over to ensure even cooking. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, then transfer from parchment onto a plate for cooling.
  3. To prepare the roasted vegetables, first combine the 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp thyme in a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork until emulsified.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the beetroot, red onion, and sweet potato with the balsamic mixture until evenly coated. Transfer to a roasting tray and season generously with pepper and 1 tsp flaky sea salt. Roast in the oven for 1 hour, then turn the vegetables to make sure they cook evenly, and return to the oven for another 1 hour.
  5. In the last 15 minutes or so of roasting, you can start to arrange your rocket leaves on a serving dish, and prepare the balsamic glaze by heating the 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup over low heat until it begins to bubble (about 2-5 minutes). Remove from heat after 10 seconds and let cool slightly (it will thicken as it cools).
  6. Arrange roasted vegetables on top of the rocket leaves, and top with crumbled feta and pomegranate arils. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, serve, and enjoy!

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad

Tips:

  • To make it vegan, simply omit the feta (or use a plant-based substitute).
  • To make this dish even better (but less vegan) serve on toasted sourdough bread topped with poached eggs for the ultimate Instagram-worthy brunch!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Jialing Mew (@jialingmew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jialing Mew

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Olive

Ube-glazed Doughnuts

“I’m a homecook and food photography enthusiast.
For me, it’s not just food, it’s my love language for family. I also believe that even if life isn’t perfect, having great food brings magic and creates good memories that makes life colorful.” — Olive

Auguest 2020: Olive

As I crave having sweet and indulgent doughnuts with my favorite flavor Ube, I thought, why not make them at home instead? Making homemade glazed doughnuts is easier than you think – with practice that is. I’m taking a deep dive into homemade doughnuts that taste like the ones you get from your favorite bakery – incredibly delicious and comforting.

Ube-glazed Doughnuts

Being able to make them from scratch without leaving the comforts of home is so much more fun. For my first attempt ever at making homemade doughnuts, they definitely aren’t the prettiest, but definitely delicious! Fried, sugary, old-fashioned, and comforting!

Ube-glazed Doughnuts Ingredients

PREP TIME 45-50 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | MAKES approx. 15 DOUGHNUTS

INGREDIENTS

For the doughnut batter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup full-fat greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ube-glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ube flavouring
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

METHOD

  1. Doughnuts: Combine all the ingredients for the doughnut batter in a large mixing bowl. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand for about 2 minutes.
  2. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a relatively warm environment to let the dough rise/rest for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  3. When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air.Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out and using a doughnut cutter, cut out about 15 doughnuts. If you can’t quite fit 15, re-roll the scraps and cut more out.
  4. Place the doughnuts and doughnut holes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Loosely cover and allow to rest as you heat the oil. They will rise a bit as they rest.
  5. Prepare and heat the vegetable oil for frying in a large heavy-duty pot set over medium heat.
  6. Fry the doughnuts for 1 minute each side. Once done, carefully place the fried doughnuts over a cooling rack.
  7. Ube-glaze: Combine all the ingredients needed for the glaze in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk together thoroughly.
  8. Dip each warm doughnut into the glaze. After 15 minutes the glaze will set and you can add any topping of your choice. A few examples to get you started are lemon zest, cocoa powder, choice of nuts, sprinkles, and so much more!
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Ube-glazed Doughnuts

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Olive (@whatoliveloves)

BON APPÉTIT

– Olive

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Mhyre Virtudazo

Celestial Ice Buko

“If I can make it from scratch, I will make it from scratch. I also try to cook with whole foods as much as possible and eat more vegetables/plant-based meals at least once a week.” — Mhyre Virtudazo

Auguest 2020: Mhyre Virtudazo

When Allison told me her plans for Auguest 2020 and asked if I wanted to be one of her guest contributors, I was immediately onboard! I didn’t hesitate and said yes in a heartbeat! I was very thrilled to hear about this month’s theme which is RAINBOW COLORS!! 🌈 How could I say no to that? I was just so excited that I volunteered to share a recipe for a blue-colored dish.

Fast forward to a couple of months before August, I realized that there’s a challenge to the color I chose. I wanted my dish to represent me. I wanted it to be completely plant-based. I’m trying to incorporate more vegetables and other plant-based products to my meals. I love meat and will not go vegan but this is my way of lessening my carbon footprint. I’ve also been trying to make more Filipino dishes so that’s another thing. The trickiest part is I don’t typically find blue-colored food attractive. I mean I won’t eat blue soup but I can eat a blue dessert.

Celestial Ice Buko

So… I had to come up with a Filipino dish that’s plant-based and visually appealing for my taste. Most importantly, I wanted to consider Allison’s readers and IG followers. I wasn’t only creating this for myself but also I’d like for you guys to try and enjoy what I’ll be sharing.

One afternoon, I was brainstorming by myself (LOL) when I heard an ice cream vendor pass by my house. So I thought, why not dessert? What about ice cream? I can make it blue by using butterfly pea flowers! But then I couldn’t imagine eating blue ice cream cone. I kept on making a list of possible ingredients then I wrote coconut milk on my notebook. That’s when the idea hit me—ice buko! Why not? I mean it brings me happy childhood memories and it meets my complicated requirements! Oh, and I just found out that there’s a Wikipedia entry for it! Haha! Most of all, I could eat it even if it’s colored blue!

I hope you try the recipe. I like how smooth and creamy the texture is even without condensed milk! You’ll also be amazed with how it turns out visually from making it to the final result! It freezes into a soft blue just like the color of the sky while the swirls of white are coconut milk and macapuno strings that look like clouds.

Celestial Ice Buko Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | MAKES 4 ICE LOLLIES

Freezing time: 4 hours

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2/3 cup white sugar (two 1/3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup macapuno strings (syrup must be drained)
  • 1/4 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (two 1/2 tbsp)

METHOD

  1. In a pot, heat coconut milk and sugar in low heat.
  2. Make slurry using the coconut milk from the pot and some cornstarch. Combine it with the rest of the liquid in the pot.
  3. Stir the liquid gently until sugar has been fully dissolved. Be careful not to bring it to a boil.
  4. Add the dried blue pea flowers. Mix until all the flowers are soaked in coconut milk.
  5. Turn off heat and cover the pot. Steep for 8-10 minutes. Remove the flowers.
  6. Wait for the liquid to cool.
  7. Put a few spoons of macapuno strings in each mold. Pour the liquid, put the lolly holder on top and freeze for about 4 hours.
  8. Admire your beautiful Celestial Ice Buko before devouring them! Enjoy!

Celestial Ice Buko

Here are some conclusions/tips/notes for making this Celestial Ice Buko:

  • Traditional ice buko has red beans. I didn’t include them because it might not go well with the butterfly pea tea. But feel free to experiment!
  • Instead of red beans, I tried rice crispies and loved it! Wanna try it, too? It pretty much follows step 6 but you freeze a teaspoon of rice crispies and a tablespoon of blue liquid first for 30 minutes. The rice crispies will float if you put a large amount of liquid. They will also stick to the lolly holder if you quickly fill the mold up.
  • I wanted to dip my ice buko in melted white chocolate first and then sprinkle it with rice crispies. However, I read on the package that it had dairy in it so I scrapped my plan. If you’re okay with a not so 100% vegan dessert then go ahead and enjoy your ice buko with white chocolate casing. I bet it’s going to be yummy!
  • Another thing you can try is freezing 3/4 coconut milk-blue pea flower mixture in the mold for 2 hours. Fill up the rest of the mold with butterfly pea tea and freeze for another 2 hours. When it freezes, it will have different layers of sky blue and indigo. Just like the galaxy!
  • For another galaxy-looking option, sprinkle blue, pink and purple colored sugar on your ice buko.
  • No ice lolly molds? No worries! You may use paper cups and popsicle sticks. I also made a batch with them. I doubled the quantity and was able to make 11 pieces!
  • Freezing time may vary depending on your freezer. It took overnight for my ice buko to fully solidify in one of the refrigerators I used. (Back story: I made this recipe 8 times in 4 different houses. Therefore, I’ve tried 4 different refrigerators. 😅)

Celestial Ice Buko

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Mhyre Virtudazo (@acupofjasminerice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Mhyre Virtudazo

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Jiemei Sisters

Nasi Kerabu

“The kitchen is the heart of the home” — Jiemei Sisters

Auguest 2020: Jiemei Sisters

Looking back on my childhood, I am flooded with memories of the kitchen: our pantry in which we would sneak into to get little chewy sweets called sugus, sitting at the kitchen counter and having a cup of Milo and some biscuits after school, opening the fridge and exclaiming in disgust after sniffing an opened can of beer. As we grew older, we would stand in the kitchen and help our mom with menial tasks such as mincing garlic, chopping onions, cooking rice (ok, this one is not so menial) and other things.

Without fail, every night our family would have dinner together. Sitting around the dinner table, chatting about our day, what we did at school, and what we might want to do during the weekend – food was something that kept our family bond tight.

After I left home, it would take about 8 years before I would be reunited with my sisters in the same city. This time, while chatting about anything and everything in the kitchen, we started cooking dishes that are nostalgic to us.

We grew up partly in Brunei and partly in Malaysia. Our parents were well travelled and adventurous with food (a trait that they passed down to us). We like to try and cook everything from scratch (as much as we can), to try and replicate that taste of our childhood. That taste that brings back memories of our warm kitchen, with the black countertops and white cabinets, the pantry with the treasure trove of goodies, and the feeling of warm familial love.

Nasi Kerabu is a dish that we used to get only during Ramadan and Hari Raya. I don’t know if it was sold frequently at other times, but this was the time during the year where our mom would, after an exhausting day at work, pick us up from school and stop at a “gerai” (malay stall) on the way home. Nasi Kerabu was always a favourite. It reminds me of a salad. But, a good salad. None of that wilting leaves drenched in balsamic vinegar and oil. A good hearty salad with substance. The blue rice, fragrant herbs, refreshing vegetables, topped with the Kerisik Ikan (fish floss), accompanied by a good sambal sauce, along with keropok (fish crackers) – oh man. This dish is To. Die. For.

Last year, I moved away from the city I called home for the last 10 years. So, when my sisters came to visit, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to cook together. Because I live in the interior, we were not able to hunt down some of the Southeast Asian herbs that are essential to the dish, but we made do. And it was still so very good.

Nasi Kerabu Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

For the nasi kerabu

  • 10 pieces butterfly blue pea flower (this is to give the rice its beautiful blue hue)
  • 3 pandan leaves
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice

For the kerisik ikan

  • 1 mackerel fillet (we used the salted fillets that are popular in Korean grocery stores)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup dried shrimp

For the kuah sambal

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp oil
  • 8 dried chilies (boiled in water for about 10 minutes)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 large red chilies
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass
  • 2 tbsp tamarind juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt, to taste

For the grilled fish

  • Mackerel (we love mackerel in this household, but feel free to use whatever fish you like)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Salt, to taste

To garnish

  • Bean sprouts, cut in half
  • Cabbage, diced
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Keropok
  • Mint, finely sliced
  • Salted Egg
  • Snake beans, finely diced

Other garnishes, if available, kaffir lime leaves, torch ginger flower, banana flower, and daun kesum. These are more herbs that you can add. We had to omit them due to the lack of variety in the small town I live in.

METHOD

  1. Kerisik Ikan: Broil the mackerel fillet in the oven on high heat for 8 minutes. Let it cool down before removing the skin and bones.
  2. Toast coconut flakes in a pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden brown.
  3. Toast dried shrimp separate from the coconut flakes, in a pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant.
  4. Pound ingredients separately with a mortar and pestle until finely shredded. Mix everything in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Nasi Kerabu: Steep blue pea flowers in hot water for about 10 minutes.
  6. While waiting for the pea flower water to cool down, wash your rice. Clean the pandan leaves and tie it up in a bundle.
  7. When the pea flower water has cooled down, combine rice, pea flower water, and pandan leaves together and put it in the rice cooker and let it do its magic.
  8. Kuah Sambal: Blend shallots, garlic, chilies, lemongrass, 3 tbsp water and 1 tbsp of oil in a blender until it turns into a nice paste.
  9. Heat the 1/4 cup of oil in a pan and pour in the chili paste. Simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly for the first 3 minutes, and then every 2-3 minutes. Do this for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. The paste will start to pecah, which means “to break” in Malay. You’ll know it’s ready when the oil starts to separate from the paste. Sometimes it takes longer than 15 minutes. Your best indication to know when it’s ready is the separation of oil and paste.
  11. Add in the tamarind juice, sugar, and salt to taste. Then add in the coconut milk and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and set aside, in the pan, once done.
  12. Grilled Fish: Marinate the fish with oil, turmeric, and salt.
  13. Broil on high for about 8 minutes. Note: this timing is for a fillet of mackerel. You will need to adjust accordingly if you use a different type of fish.
  14. Plating: Scoop the rice onto the middle of the plate. Surround the rice mound with your garnishes and grilled fish and top rice with kuah sambah and kerisik ikan. Serve and enjoy!

Nasi Kerabu

Like I mentioned above, this dish reminds me of a salad. Mix your garnishes and rice together. Top your spoonful of “salad” with a piece of fish and a little bit of the salted egg, and take a bite of the fragrant, harmonious, refreshing dish that is Nasi Kerabu.

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Jiemei Sisters (@jiemei.sisters)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jiemei Sisters

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Azrina Hidup

Thai Green Curry Mussels

“Cooking feeds the soul, both the cook and the people who are eating. For me, cooking is an act of love, a gift, and a way of sharing. It puts a smile in my heart when I put a lot of thought and care into preparing a dish. At home, cooking symbolizes love and family.” — Azrina Hidup

Auguest 2020: Azrina Hidup

Hello everyone! My name is Azrina Hidup and I am half Filipina and half Bruneian. I would like to thank my beautiful friend, Allison, for the opportunity to be featured on her blog along with other amazing foodies and chefs.

I am always the happiest girl when I get to put my apron on. It was my dream to enter ‘Le Cordon Bleu’ Culinary School, but somehow I ended up doing Political Science. My passion for cooking though, doesn’t stop. Every weekend I will be on my #apronmodeon doing recipe testing and feeding my family with my cooking.

I love creating different dishes. I love travelling for food and what I usually love doing when I travel is to explore and try the local cuisine. I will always try to remember the taste and look of the food so I can recreate them back home for my loved ones to try.

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Most of all, I strongly believe that cooking is more than just an act to fill the empty stomach. Cooking for me is an act of love, a gift, and a way of sharing. It puts a smile in my heart when I put a lot of thought and care into preparing a dish. I grew up with home cooked food, and growing up with my mom’s cooking inspires me a lot to develop my passion for cooking. For me, cooking and home cooked meals symbolize family and love.

For Allison’s Auguest series, I will be sharing my favourite Thai dish which is green curry. Tonight I have made Thai Green Curry Mussels with Homemade Green Curry Paste. Thai green curry is absolutely delicious when served with steamed rice. Nyums!

Thai Green Curry Mussels Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

For the green curry paste

  • 15-20 Thai basil leaves
  • 6 Thai green chillies (remove the seeds if you prefer it to be less spicy)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 long green chillies
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bottom part only, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 shallots
  • 1 & 1/2 inch size piece of galangal
  • 1 & 1/2 inch size piece of ginger
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp of coconut milk
  • 1-2 tsp of kaffir lime zest
  • 1-2 tsp of shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
  • Cilantro leaves and roots
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin powder
  • Salt, to taste

Homemade Thai Green Curry Paste

For the Green Curry Mussels

  • Mussels
  • 1 cup fresh coconut water
  • 1 cup seafood stock*
  • 1 can (approx. 440g) coconut milk
  • 3 pieces kaffir lime leaves (torn to smaller pieces)
  • Basil leaves (5-6)
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Palm sugar, to taste
  • Squeeze 1-2 fresh limes
  • Thai eggplants
  • Cilantro and basil leaves for garnish (cut/torn to smaller pieces)

* For this recipe, I used homemade prawn stock. You may use any kind of stock as a substitute.

Thai Green Curry Mussels Ingredients

METHOD

  1. Thai Green Curry Paste: Toast coriander seeds simply by heating them in a skillet over medium-high heat. Then, finely grind using a mortar and pestle.
  2. In the same skillet, toast the shrimp paste/belacan and set aside.
  3. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients for the green curry paste to the mortar and pound until fine, adding liquid so that the mixture will become paste-like in texture. For this recipe, I used coconut milk as the liquid.
  4. Taste the curry paste and add season with salt to your preference and add a squeeze of lime juice.

Tip: You may also use an electric blender to speed up the process (and really make your life a little easier), if you prefer. For the coriander seeds, grind them first into a powder with the mortar and pestle. Then use the electric blender to grind all the remaining ingredients together. Similarly, add liquid to get the blender going. Since this will be used for a green curry dish, I highly suggest to use coconut milk as your liquid base.

  1. Thai Green Curry Mussels: Over medium heat, reduce half the can of the coconut milk in a heavy-bottomed pot until it becomes thick.
  2. Add the homemade green curry paste and sauté. Make sure to stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until fragrant/aromatic.
  3. Add the seafood stock, remaining half can of the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and basil leaves. Leave to simmer gently for about 5-10 minutes, keeping the heat on medium.

Tip: You may also blend the basil leaves and some coconut milk into an electric blender to get nice green color soup.

  1. Add palm sugar and fish sauce to taste.
  2. Add coconut water and eggplants. Cover the pot until the eggplants are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add in the mussels and cover until mussels are cooked, about 5 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chopped basil and cilantro. Add lime juice just before serving. Best to enjoy with steamed rice!

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Azrina Hidup (@azrinoh501)

BON APPÉTIT

– Azrina Hidup

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: JM de Guzman

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa (Shrimp wrapped in Banana Leaves with Coconut and Green Palapa)

“Food isn’t just something to eat to satisfy an empty stomach or a craving palate. One must know the story about every dish, and celebrate it as a work of art, culture, tradition, custom and beliefs of its creator, and by doing that, we don’t just let them know how we appreciate their food but also honour the people and the nation behind it.” — JM de Guzman

Auguest 2020: JM de Guzman

I’d like to thank Miss Allison, for inviting me once again to do an Auguest post on her blog. I’m also thrilled to share this recipe, which I personally developed for this year’s theme – Colours of Rainbow. The dish I’m about to share was inspired by a traditional Filipino dish ‘Pinais’ and pinais-like dishes (such as Bicol’s pinangat and kinagang). Therefore should I say that this is my take on pinais.

Pinais is a traditional dish from the Southern Tagalog region. While the name refers to the dish itself – it’s actually a cooking process wherein the ingredients (most commonly coconut meat and seafood) are wrapped in banana leaves before steaming. The method of pagpapais effectively seals in the juices and imparts a fresh aroma to the food.

What inspired me to make this take on pinais is my forever obsession about everything coconut and my interest to explore more regional Filipino foods, particularly the foods of the South (Mindanao or Moro Foods). So this dish is inspired by a multitude of cultures, from the flavours of Luzon and Mindanao.

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa

The usual components of pinais are seafood (fish or shellfish), coconut, and aromatics. For my recipe’s seafood component, I used prawns/shrimps. For the coconut, try to look for a matured one (we call it ‘ngalutin’ or chewey here in Bataan). It’s the stage between buko and niyog. However, since I cannot find the specific type of coconut, I just used matured niyog. For the aromatics or flavouring, I used my adaptation of Maranao Palapa, a spice paste mixture of pounded sakurab, ginger/turmeric, and chilies that stands as Maranao all-purpose seasoning. It can be used as a dip, condiment, marinade, or even an appetizer. However for my version, I used siling panigang to produce a greener palapa which is commonly reddish or yellowish from the red chilies and turmeric. I also used the whole sakurab including its green part, dahon ng kabuyaw (kaffir lime leaves), and langkawas (galangal) for a more herbal and aromatic flavour profile. It’s not traditional per se, but this is just my take which I’d like to call “Green Palapa”.

Langkawas and Kabuyaw rather are alien to many Filipinos, and most would have encountered these only with Thai or other Southeast Asian foods, but these are actually native to the Philippines, and in fact Filipino ingredients as well.

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-60 MINS | SERVES 5

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g grated coconut meat
  • 500g prawns or large shrimp, peeled and deveined*
  • Banana leaves for wrapping

For the ‘green palapa’

  • 2 & 1/2 cups sakurab, chopped**
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup cooking oil, divided
  • 8 sprigs of kabuyaw (kaffir lime) leaves, torn***
  • 4 pcs long green chilies, chopped****
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, chopped
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp galangal powder or 2 tbsp fresh galangal, chopped*****
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Ingredient Notes:

* Don’t throw the prawn heads and shells. The flavour is there. Pound it to extract the juice.

** Substitute green onion or scallion if sakurab isn’t available. Sakurab is an allium native to Mindanao and while this is almost synonymous to scallion or green onions it actually isn’t. You can substitute it though but it won’t taste the same. Sakurab is more pungent and for me it has a taste of something in between shallots and garlic.

*** It might be hard to find the kaffir lime leaves, but it is essential for this recipe. I suggest using grated dayap rinds if you can’t find it.

**** Add more chilies if you want a spicier palapa, likewise, deseed the green chilies if you want the palapa less spicy, but I personally don’t mind it getting overly hot.

***** Omit galangal if not available and double the amount of ginger instead.

Not only can you use the “Green Palapa” for this pinais, but also as base for “Ginataans”

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa - Step-by-Step

METHOD

  1. Green Palapa: Add a quarter cup of the oil and all the chopped ingredients for the green palapa into a food processor or blender. Blend until you get a smooth consistency, kind of like pesto.
  2. Over very low heat, add the remaining oil to a pan together with the blended paste and stir continuously. Season with fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper to taste. You’ll know it’s cooked when the colour turns deep green, and the oil seeps out of the mixture. Set aside to cool down. You can remove some of the oil as it cools down.
  3. Pinais: In a large mixing bowl, combine the grated coconut meat, the green palapa, and the extracted prawn juice. You now have a green-coloured coconut meat mixture.
  4. Place a cup of coconut and palapa mixture in the center of a prepared sheet of banana leaf. Place as much prawns as you want on the top. Fold all sides to form a tight wrap.
  5. Line the bottom of a large wok or pan with banana leaf. Place all the wrapped pinais and add two cups of water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45-60 minutes.
  6. Transfer to individual serving plates, unfold the banana leaf and serve immediately while hot. Enjoy!

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | JM de Guzman (@thecoconutdude)

BON APPÉTIT

– JM de Guzman

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Simon Swadling

Salted Coconut & Rum Pineapple Upside-down Cake

“I love making food that makes people smile, or brings them joy, whether it’s a fancy beautiful patisserie creation, or a simple but delicious cake.” — Simon Swadling

Auguest 2020: Simon Swadling

This easy Salted Coconut & Rum Pineapple Upside-down Cake is loaded down with the flavours of the Caribbean islands and the tropics. Sweet caramelised pineapple slices lay perfectly on top of this light and fluffy coconut-infused yellow cake for a summer treat like no other. It is a play on a piña colada, which is a sweet cocktail made with rum, cream of coconut or coconut milk, and pineapple juice, usually served either blended or shaken with ice.

Salted Coconut & Rum Pineapple Upside-down Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 20 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the caramelised pineapple

  • 1/2 a pineapple
  • 20g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream

For the cake batter

  • 150g butter
  • 100g almond meal
  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C (325F or gas mark 3). Grease and line an 8” (20.5 cm) round cake tin with parchment paper.
  2. Caramelised Pineapple: Peel and core the pineapple. Cut into 1cm thick slices and then thirds.
  3. In a heavy-based frying pan (do not use a non-stick pan!), add the sugar and cook on medium heat until it melts and begins to caramelise. Stir to avoid burning ‘hot spots’.
  4. When the caramel is golden brown, mix in the butter and then cream, being careful not to burn the caramel.
  5. Add in the pineapple sliced and cook until soft and semi transparent, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Cake Batter: Add all the dry ingredients into a food processor and blitz to combine. Next, add in the butter and pulse until it is blended into the flour mixture.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients together and whisk. Slowly pour into the processor and pulse until combined and smooth.
  8. Layer the petals of pineapple at the bottom of your cake tin in an aesthetic pattern, adding a little bit of the caramel. Top with the cake batter.
  9. Bake for 55 minutes, or until done. You can tell when it’s done by piercing the middle of the cake with a skewer and it comes out clean. If not, bake further.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.
  11. Serve: Invert the slightly cooled cake onto a cake stand or serving plate. Some of the juices from the topping will seep over the sides – that’s okay.
  12. You can slice and serve the cake warm, or cool the cake down completely at room temperature before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Salted Coconut & Rum Pineapple Upside-down Cake

Salted Coconut & Rum Pineapple Upside-down Cake

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Simon Swadling (@thebeardedpatissier)

BON APPÉTIT

– Simon Swadling

myTaste.com