Crispy Pork Bicol Express

Crispy Pork Bicol Express

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that this is the last recipe for my Coconut series on the blog – time sure does fly by in the wink of an eye. I’ve enjoyed cooking up a coconut storm in the kitchen for the past month, though I’ve realised that all my recipes (expect for one) focused on using Coconut Milk instead of the actual fruit itself *whoops* Nevertheless, I still covered the brief for the month… Hopefully. I did say in my very first post of the year that I will be “cooking with fruits or their… Derivatives“.

For my last Coconut recipe of the month, I will be sharing with you the ultimate Filipino Comfort Food (well let’s face it, almost every Filipino dish is worthy of the ‘ultimate’ title), known as Bicol Express.

Now, I can get into the whole in-depth history of its origins and disputes, but I honestly have no mental power right now to paraphrase the information I’ve read up on. For those who are interested, here’s an article on Market Manila I stumbled upon while trying to figure out why this dish is named ‘Bicol Express’ – which by the way until now remains a mystery to me. Other than it being a catchy name, it’s name is also derived from an overnight passenger train service from Manila to the Bicol region; a region in the Philippines that is famous for their spicy cuisine.

Crispy Pork Bicol Express

Bicol Express is a dish made from pork, bagoong (salted shrimp fry), coconut milk, and lots and lots of chillies that is of course adjustable to your tolerance of spice. Bicol Express is traditionally cooked by stewing the ingredients altogether while crisping up the pork first is just another creative way of enjoying the dish. I prefer it this way just because I love a nice crisp skin when it comes to pork. Roasting it rather than deep-frying it also makes me feel a little less guilty *cheeky grin* but unfortunately, truth be told that this dish is not exactly waist-friendly. Succulent pork belly cubes and a creamy coconut sauce does come with a price to pay!

Crispy Pork Bicol Express Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 50 MINS | SERVES 4

*Allow of 24 hours of resting time in the fridge for the pork belly after boiled.

INGREDIENTS

For the lechon kawali

  • 1 kg pork belly
  • 6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground salt
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Extra salt, for roasting

For the Bicol Express sauce

  • 2 cups coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup pork stock (from boiling the pork)
  • 5 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 3 long green chillies, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp bagoong alamang (salted shrimp fry)
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Lechon Kawali: Score the pork belly skin with a very sharp knife. Place the meat in a large pot with water, 1 tsp of the whole peppercorns and half of the bay leaves. Boil for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain, placing in a large bowl and let to cool to room temperature.

Tip: Do not throw out the remaining pork stock. Reserve the pork stock to make other dishes or to use as a soup base. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

  1. Once the meat has cooled down, refrigerate uncovered for at least 24 hours for a better result. Refrigerating the meat will help to draw out any remaining moisture. Remove from the refrigerator and bring back to room temperature prior to roasting in the oven.
  2. Preheat oven between 220-240C (425-475F or gas mark 7-9). Rub oil and plenty of salt into the scored skin, really getting it into the slits of the score marks. The fat under the skin will react to the salt and that is what makes the skin puff up and crisp up.
  3. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes and then bring the temperature down to 160C (325F or gas mark 3) and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 20 minutes. Then cut the pork into chunks and plate.
  4. Bicol Express Sauce: While the pork is roasting in the oven, prepare the Bicol Express sauce by heating about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high in a medium-sized cooking pot. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then add in the onions. Cook until soft, a further minute or so.
  5. Add the salted shrimp fry and cook for about 3-4 minutes before adding the coconut milk and pork stock. Lower the heat down and bring to a slow boil. It is important to bring it back to a boil slowly to avoid curdling the coconut milk. This happens when it is heated too quickly.
  6. Season the sauce with ground black pepper and add in the sliced red and green chillies (reserve some for garnishing later). Continue to cook the sauce until it starts to thicken and reduce by half, about 10-15 minutes further on low heat.
  7. Once the sauce is done, pour over the plated crispy pork belly chunks and garnish with the fresh chillies.
  8. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and pair with some sautéed long beans in garlic (or any other favourite vegetable dish of yours) to balance out the richness of the Bicol Express. Enjoy!

Crispy Pork Bicol Express

Before I end tonight’s post, I just want to say that next week I will be back with a new fruit to hero with my upcoming recipes to share so stay tuned for that!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ginataang Halo-Halo (Binignit)

Ginataang Halo-Halo (Binignit)

Hello Everyone! For some reason I felt that the week went by so slowly, yet so fast at the same time. Has anyone ever had this feeling before? Maybe it’s because I’m growing bored of being home all week for the past several months. For those of you just tuning in, I quit my job back in Brunei last August 2018 and until present day have yet to find a new job to keep me busy. I’ve applied to many places and attended a handful of interviews, but none have been successful so far. I’m hoping to find a job soon – my savings are slowly deteriorating away…

Ginataang Halo-Halo (Binignit)

Anyway, small tangent aside, Ginataang Halo-Halo, or also known as Binignit in some parts of the Philippines, is a popular Filipino dessert dish. Aside from it being a dessert, it is also widely served as a mid-afternoon snack.

As mentioned in previous posts, Ginataan is a cooking process that involves stewing in coconut milk/cream. Halo-Halo, when directly translated into English means mix mix, is referred to the combination of different ingredients that are used to complete the dish – a mix mix of various root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, yams, and taro, plantains, tapioca pearls, and glutinous rice balls (bilo-bilo) are simmered in coconut milk. Bilo-bilo are glutinous rice balls simply made from a mixture of glutinous rice flour and water. You don’t have to add any colouring to them, I just made mine purple to add colour to the dish.

Ginataang Halo-Halo (Binignit) Bilo-Bilo

Most, or all recipes I guess of Ginataang Halo-Halo have shredded langka (jackfruit) in them. I personally don’t like langka, which is why I’ve omitted them from my recipe. Instead, I wanted to replace them with shredded young coconut flesh which I didn’t end up adding to the dish because they went off in the fridge having kept them in there for a few days before using it *whoops*

Ginataang Halo-Halo (Binignit) Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 2 HOURS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup young coconut flesh, shredded
  • 3/4 cup white granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or essence
  • 3-4 pcs ripe plantains (saba), sliced
  • Medley of sweet potatoes (I used 1 medium-sized each of orange, yellow, and white), diced

For the bilo-bilo (makes about 20-24 balls)

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp purple food colouring (optional)

For the tapioca pearls

  • 1 cup big tapioca pearls (sago)
  • 6 cups water

METHOD

  1. Tapioca Pearls: Add the water to a large cooking pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add in the tapioca pearls. Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and leave to boil for about 50 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes. Add more water if needed to prevent the pearls from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Once done, turn the heat off and set aside.

Tip: For better results, leave the pearls in the cooking pot until it reaches back to room temperature. One hour of boiling will completely cook the pearls, but the core will still be slightly opaque. Leaving the pearls in the cooking pot for several hours (with the heat turned off) gives them a chance to absorb more water. Which makes the core translucent overtime.

  1. Bilo-bilo: Combine the purple food colouring and water together and add to the glutinous rice flour. Mix thoroughly – a soft yet sticky mixture should take form.
  2. Scoop about 1 & 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of the mixture and roll into a ball shaped figure using the palm of your hands. Wet your palms with a bit of water to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.
  3. Place the balls on a plate or container that has been dusted with a bit of glutinous rice flour to prevent them from sticking to the plate. Set aside.
  4. Ginataang Halo-Halo: Add the 2 cups of water to a large cooking pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 cup of the coconut milk and bring to a slow boil. It is important to bring it back to a boil slowly to avoid curdling the coconut milk. This happens when it is heated too quickly.
  5. Once boiling again, add in the sweet potatoes and simmer for about 8 minutes.
  6. Pour in the remaining coconut milk together with the sugar, and glutinous rice balls. Stir and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes. Then add in the sliced plantains and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
  7. Add in the young coconut flesh together with the cooked tapioca pearls. Stir for about a minute and then turn the heat off.
  8. Transfer to a large serving dish, or individual bowls. Serve either hot or cold and enjoy!

Ginataang Halo-Halo (Binignit)

I definitely prefer to have this dish warm for an afternoon snack. To have this right after a main meal might be too heavy for a dessert – just my opinion! And no! You don’t need basil leaves for this dish. It just so happens that I had some lying around from a dish I made for lunch that day and used a sprig of it to add some green for photography purposes only *cheeky grin*

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Buko Salad Crumble

Buko Salad Crumble

Hello Everyone! I hope you all had a smooth-running first week of the New Year and resolutions haven’t been broken yet. I stopped making resolutions a very long time ago because I never follow them anyway. Instead, I always like to set an intention for the New Year. Read further after the recipe to find out more.

Last week we (as in my family and I) hosted a potluck lunch on New Years Day. Our relative brought over a TON of food. Even though I asked them in advance what they would be bringing so that we wouldn’t double up on the same dishes, it was the quantity of each dish that went beyond my expectations. Amongst the dishes that they brought over was Buko Salad.

Buko Salad

Buko Salad, or in English, Sweet Young Coconut Salad, is a mainstay dessert dish served in every, or any special occasions such as fiestas or birthday parties. The main ingredient of this dessert is definitely freshly shredded young coconut meat, accompanies by fruit cocktail from a can, sugar palm fruit, coconut gel (nata de coco), condensed milk, and fresh cream. Some (i.e. me) like to add little chunks of cheese into it as well.

With an abundance of it from our potluck party, I could do two things:

Continue eating it as it is, or

Make another dessert out of it.

Which did I choose? Well both obviously! I continued to eat it as it is, and also shook things up with it. I already had the intention of making a Buko Pie Crumble for my series of Coconut Recipes for this month, and when I was eating a bowl of this Buko Salad while watching a teleseyre the day after the potluck, a light bulb flashed. I could totally use this Buko Slad mixture for my crumble instead!

Buko Salad Crumble

So just to let you know, my measuring cups and spoons were nowhere to be found. I mean, they are probably in a box that I have yet to unpack since moving back to the Philippines – but I wasn’t about to go look for them when I had the oven already preheating and the Buko Salad already in their cocottes. I followed my Peach Crumble recipe to make the crumble, but I ended up just eyeballing all the measurements. Still turned out good though! If not, even better than the one I made for my Peach Crumble.

I ended up having about half of the crumble mixture left over *cheeky grin* so I placed the extra mixture into the freezer and then made another crumble the next day with the apples we had sitting on our table from our 12 Round Fruits for the New Year.

Buko Salad Crumble Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the crumble topping

  • 100g salted butter (cold), cut into little cubes
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Ube Ice cream, optional

*Or you can always make a fresh batch to make this crumble.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5).
  2. Divide the buko salad equally into 4 mini-cocottes, filling about half or three-quarters of the way. Set aside.
  3. Add the sugar together with the butter, flour, and walnuts in a medium sized mixing bowl that has been chilled in the freezer for about 10 minutes (this is to help keep the butter chilled when making the crumbled).
  4. With your fingertips, quickly mix the ingredients together until looks like rough breadcrumbs. If your mixture is too warm, put the bowl into the refrigerator for 15 minutes and start again when it has chilled.
  5. Top the buko salad with about 2-3 tablespoons of the crumble mixture.
  6. Place the mini cocottes on a baking tray and into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  7. If your crumble topping is still towards the blonde side, turn the grill on and bake for a further 5 minutes or until the crumble starts to brown.
  8. Serve hot out of the oven or at room temperature with ube ice cream (optional).

Buko Salad Crumble

Buko Salad Crumble


So, I initially wrote the following up at the beginning of the post, not knowing that I would be getting personal with two long paragraphs. I didn’t want to start my post of with this so I moved it for after the recipe for those who want to read on.

I mentioned in the beginning that I’m not one to make resolutions. Instead, I set an intention. Last year I tackled things with a “there is a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough” mindset and it definitely worked. The two things that bothered me when I entered the New Year last year were:

My Job, and

A Man/Men in general.

I hit a low point with my job. I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing anymore and to make things even worse, the environment and the toxicity of the people that surrounded me really affected my work and the way I worked. It also affected the way I interacted with my family and friends outside of the workplace – I was always grumpy and always avoided socialising with my friends. For 3 years I put up with this environment, and I let it consume me because I didn’t want to show others that I was weak for letting the people at work get to me. I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to fight. I reminded myself that: there is a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough. I didn’t give up. I knew that I definitely had enough. I put my foot down and filed for resignation early that year and I’ve never looked back.

Towards the second half of 2017, I met a man and we both fell in love with each other. It was a bit difficult seeing as he was all the way in the States and I was still working in Brunei at that time. We talked everyday. Made future plans together. Heck even made a bucket-list of things we’d do together. Shortly after, things started to die down. He started talking to me less and less each day even though I still tried just to keep things going. Eventually he stopped. He disappeared. He ghosted me as if I never existed at all. I stopped trying. I realised in time that we never really loved each other; we both just fell in love with the idea of falling in love. Did I give up on him? No. I just knew that I had enough trying to convince him and myself that it was love. After him, I had enough with men in general. I stopped looking for love and reminded myself that it’ll come when it comes.

So what is my intention for 2019? To be honest I haven’t thought much about it, but I looked at myself and where I am in life right now. What do I want to achieve by the end of the year? And this is it:

Go with the flow. Force Nothing. Let it happen.

Trusting that whichever way it goes, it’s for the best.

Happy New Year once again to all!

Buko Salad Crumble

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ginataang Manok (Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk)

Ginataang Manok (Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk)

Hello Everyone and a very Happy New Year to all! It just came to my attention as I was about to write this post that I should probably prepared a much more distinctive dish to welcome for the first post of the Year – but oh well.

Before I dive into the recipe, let me take up this paragraph to reveal the theme for Amcarmen’s Kitchen for this 2019 – it’s gonna be a FRUITFUL Year! That’s right! This year will be all about cooking with fruits or their… Derivatives? I’m not sure if that is the correct word I am looking for, but what I’m trying to say is for example milk from a coconut or juice from an orange and not the actual fruit itself. Let me know in the comments below what the word for this is!

So to kick start the year, I’ll be featuring Coconut and their… derivatives *insert crying laughing emoji* in all the dishes that I will be sharing for the month of January – both the sweet and the savoury!

Ginataan is one of the most basic cooking processes in the Philippines where ingredients are cooked/stewed in coconut milk. Dishes can vary from savoury dishes such as tonight’s recipe of Ginataang Manok to dessert and snacks such as Ginataang Halo-Halo.

Ginataang Manok (Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk)

Ginataang Manok, or in English, Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk, is basically the process of cooking Tinolang Manok (Chicken & Green Papaya Soup) with the addition of coconut milk.

Short tangent, I went back an had a quick read of my Tinolang Manok post that I shared back in 2015 and I would just like to address a few things that may confuse some of you – heck it confused me a little bit so I’m sure it’s bound to raise questions, especially if you aren’t a regular follower of Amcarmen’s Kitchen.

First things first, I had cooked up the dish when I was in Australia. I had already completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Design, and had graduated just a month before I posted it. Anyway, so on my post I mentioned that I tried to look for malunggay leaves and/or chilli leaves, and to be told by the farmers that no one at the market sells them in Australia. On the other hand here in the Philippines, malunggay and chilli leaves are abundantly sold in markets and supermarkets nationwide. You can even pluck some malunggay leaves from your neighbour’s tree! Just thought I had to clear this up as I am currently back in the Philippines and may confuse some of my new followers from the Philippines in regards to this statement.

Secondly, and lastly I guess – I wrote about my apparent hate for green papaya in Tinolang Manok and my preference for using chayote instead. I did state that maybe there was something off in the particular green papaya that I had picked out – and 3 years later, after having Tinolang Manok with green papaya on a weekly basis ever since being back here in the Philippines, I can finally confirm that there was definitely something off with the one I had picked out from the markets back in Australia. For me, now, green papaya definitely overthrows chayote!

Okay apologies, 3 paragraphs isn’t exactly a short tangent, but now that that’s cleared up and out of the way, on with the recipe!

Ginataang Manok (Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg chicken whole legs, chop each into 3
  • 200ml coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 1 small green papaya, peeled, seeds removed and cut into wedges
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies*
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 bunch chilli leaves
  • Thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Salt, to taste

*Optional – only if you want your ginataang to have a spicy kick to it or not

METHOD

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the sliced ginger and sauté until fragrant. Add in the garlic and continue sautéing until golden brown, followed by the onions, cooking until they are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the chopped chicken in the chicken and season with a touch of salt. Give it a good mix, then cover the pot and let it cook for about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add in about 1.5 litres of water together with the whole black peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the coconut milk, papaya wedges, and red chillies (optional). Cover and leave to cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or until the papayas are tender. Taste and if needed, season with a bit more salt; adjust to your liking.
  4. Add in the chilli leaves and give it a good mix. Turn the heat off and serve immediately with steamed rice. Enjoy!

Ginataang Manok (Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk)

Now that I think about it, I wonder if this should’ve been a Papaya dish rather than a Coconut dish? Thoughts?

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Puto Bumbong

Puto Bumbong

Hello Everyone! I’d like to start the last post for the year by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a splendid eve celebrating, feasting, and continuing tradition with family and loved ones. What are some of your Christmas traditions? I’d love to know in the comments below! We had a simple and quiet Noche Buena at home, and of course watched some Christmas classics such as the Home Alone series. We’re not a family who gives gifts during the season of Christmas because we treat each other throughout the year – be in paying for the entire meal when we eat out as a family, or paying for the tickets and snacks when we go to the cinema together; gifts that allow us to spend time together as a family rather than materialistic things.

That aside, I mentioned in my last post that Christmas or Simbang Gabi would not be complete without this famous breakfast kakanin that is sold alongside Bibingka just outside the church. But, as all the other kakanins out there, you don’t have to wait until the Christmas season to roll around as you can find Puto Bumbong every day of the year at your local market, various street stalls, and in many restaurants and cafés nationwide.

Team Bibingka or Team Puto Bumbong

Puto Bumbong is a type of Filipino steamed rice cake that is traditionally made from a special variety of heirloom sticky (glutinous) rice known as pirurutong which has a distinct purple colour to it. Food colouring is not necessary for this. It is soaked in salted water and then dried overnight. It is then ground in a grinder made of solid stone before it is stuffed into a bamboo tube known as bumbong ng kawayan. It is then steamed until steam rises out of the bamboo tubes, placed onto a pre-cut banana leaf, and topped with margarine (or butter), grated coconut, and muscovado sugar to enhance its flavours.

And so for my last breakfast recipe of the year, I will share two ways in how you can make Puto Bumbong at home, with and without the bamboo tubes – depending if you have bamboo tubes readily available or not to be able to tackle this recipe. Before we dive in, be sure to check out the original recipe that I followed over on Panlasang Pinoy.

Puto Bumbong

PREP TIME 2 DAYS* | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 6

*Be sure to allot yourself 2 days before you plan on tackling this recipe, as the rice needs to soak.

INGREDIENTS

For the puto bumbong

  • 6 cups water at room temperature, for soaking the rice
  • 1 & 1/3 cup sticky purple rice
  • 1 & 1/3 cup white glutinous rice
  • 2/3 cup long grain purple rice

For the toppings

  • Freshly grated coconut
  • Muscovado sugar
  • Softened butter or margarine
  • Banana leaves
  • Bamboo tubes

METHOD

  1. Combine all the different types of rice in a large mixing bowl together with the room temperature water. Set aside and leave to soak for at least 2 days.
  2. Drain and place the soaked rice in a large food processor. Pulse and grind until the rice becomes very fine (takes about 8 to 10 minutes to achieve this consistency). If you only have a small food processor handy, then work the rice in batches.

Cooking with Bamboo Tubes

  1. Fill each bumbong (bamboo tube) with the powdered rice mixture, making sure not to compress the rice to allow the steam to pass easily.
  2. Prepare the steamer with enough water for steaming. Once the water has been brought to a boil, arrange each bamboo tube on the steamer. Cook until steam starts coming out of the tubes, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the tubes from the steamer, and carefully remove the puto bumbong from the tube and place over a piece of banana leaf.
  4. Spread with butter or margarine (I chose to leave this out of my serving) and top with freshly grated coconut and muscovado sugar. Serve, share, and enjoy with a hot cuppa!

Cooking without Bamboo Tubes

  1. Add about 2 cups of water to the powered rice mixture and mix together to form a dough. You may need less or more water, depending, so it’s best to add the water in gradually. Knead until smooth.
  2. Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of the dough and, using your hands, make a ball and then roll into a log, about 4 to 5 inches in length. Alternatively you can place the dough into a piping bag and using piping tip #807, pipe the dough onto a heat-proof plate greased with a bit of butter or margarine.
  3. Place the plate into a prepared steamer with a muslin-covered lid to prevent any droplets of water dripping onto the puto bumbong mixture. Steam for about 8 – 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the steamer and place onto a banana leaf. Top with your preferred toppings and enjoy!

Puto Bumbong

A lot has happened this year, both in my personal and work life, which resulted in me having to put my attention to Amcarmen’s Kitchen on hold for a couple of months collectively. That being said, I’m going to try my best not to take as many breaks as possible for the upcoming year ahead, *fingers crossed*

I usually take the first month of the beginning of the year off to properly plan for the upcoming year ahead and to get a head start on experimenting in the kitchen for recipes to share with you guys. But since I haven’t been working since August of this year (still continuing to look for a job as I write this), I’ve had time to plan ahead and I’m excited to share with you what I have in store for the upcoming year! You’ll just have to wait until next week to find out the theme for the year ahead – which technically is in another week I just realised!

So for now, I would like to wish all my family, friends, and followers a Happy & Prosperous New Year! May the New Year bring you happiness, health, wealth, and peace!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Sapin-Sapin

Sapin-Sapin

Hello Everyone! Only 13 more days to Christmas!

Before I start, I’m going to make this post short a sweet. I’ve had a busy day of designing to meet a 9-hour deadline so I’m pretty much mentally drained at this point – apologies in advance.

Anyway, in my previous post that I shared last week, I talked about how a much-loved part of the Simbang Gabi tradition during the Christmas season amongst Filipinos is the various local delicacies served just outside of the churches. Last week I shared all about Suman, and tonight I will be sharing a favourite with you, Sapin-Sapin.

Sapin-Sapin is a Filipino sticky rice cake that is made from glutinous rice and coconut milk that is traditionally composed of layers with different colours and flavour profiles that compliment each other. Sapin-Sapin can be made of 4, 3 or 2 layers, or even enjoyed just on its own single slab. The most common flavours are coconut, ube, and jackfruit. It is then topped with a toasted residue of coconut milk known as latik.

Sapin-Sapin

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 10

INGREDIENTS

For the sapin-sapin

  • 4 cups coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 2 cups glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup ube (purple yam), cooked and mashed
  • 1/2 cup ripe jackfruit
  • 1/4 cup latik*
  • 30ml condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ube extract
  • Violet food colouring
  • Yellow food colouring

*For the latik

  • 1 cup coconut milk

METHOD

  1. Latik: Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continuously stir until most of the liquid evaporates. This will take about 12 to 15 minutes per cup of coconut milk.
  2. When the texture of the milk turns gelatinous, lower the heat and continue to stir. By this time the oils should start separating from the milk. Keep stirring until brownish residues are formed.
  3. Turn the heat off and place the latik on a small plate lined with a paper towl to soak up the excess oil. Set aside. At this point you can store the latik in a container and in the fridge for up to a week or use it immediately to top various rice cakes.
  4. Sapin-Sapin: Combine the glutinous rice flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Then, pour in the condensed milk, coconut milk, and vanilla extract, mixing well until the texture of the mixture is smooth.
  5. Divide the mixture into 3 equal parts into smaller mixing bowls.
  6. Add the mashed purple yam, ube extract, and violet food colouring into one of the mixtures. Stir thoroughly and then set aside.
  7. Shred the jackfruit (without the seeds) in a food processor. Add the shredded jackfruit into another mixture along with the yellow food colouring. Set aside.
  8. Leave the last mixture as it is.
  9. Grease a 9in round baking pan by brushing a bit of coconut oil and pour in the plain coconut mixture into the pan. Make sure that the mixture settles. Cover the baking pan with cheesecloth and then steam for about 12 to 16 minutes.
  10. Once done, remove the baking pan and then pour over the ube mixture. Use a spatula to spread it evenly on top of the coconut mixture. Remove excess water from the cheesecloth by squeezing it. Place it back on top of the baking pan, and into the steamer to steam for another 12 to 16 minutes.
  11. Repeat step 10 again for the jackfruit mixture and then steam for a further 15 to 20 minutes. If you think your mixture is still a tad bit runny, steam for a further 5 minutes. Remove of the steamer and set aside.
  12. Serve: Place a clean banana leaf over a wide serving plate and brush a bit of coconut oil over the leaf.
  13. Gently run the side of the baking pan using a spatula brushed with coconut oil. Turn the baking pan over onto the banana leaf and let the cooked sapin-sapin fall out of the pan on its own. Therefore make sure that the colour that you want on top is the bottom layer in the pan when being cooked.
  14. Brush some coconut oil on top of the sapin-sapin and sprinkle generously with latik.
  15. Serve for breakfast, merienda, or dessert with a hot cup of coffee. Share and enjoy!

Sapin-Sapin

Unfortunately, most commercial sapin-sapin delights that you find in large supermarket chains omit the use of natural flavours such as the ube and jackfruit to reduce costs. In fact, if you see, red is also often used in the making of sapin-sapin. When I was researching the flavours, I found out that the red layer actually has no flavouring to it, just the plain coconut from the initial mixture.

Before I end tonight’s post, what are some of your favourite traditional Christmas treats? I’d love to hear about the different food traditions from around the world! Comment down below!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2018: Jialing Mew

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

Happy Auguest everyone! I’m back for my fourth year running, and I’ll be taking over Amcarmen’s Kitchen with two South-East Asian inspired breakfast recipes this week. For once, Allison has chosen a theme that I could easily get on board with (those of you who suffered through 2016’s vegan Auguest with me know my pain). But thanks to my mom I have been a professional breakfast-eater since 1991, so trust me when I say that THIS is my area of expertise! If you don’t believe me, ask the former breakfast-skippers at my office who were inspired by my morning meals 😉

The great thing about breakfast is that it can be whatever you want it to be: simple or complex, savoury or sweet, hot or cold, vegan food or normal people food… I could go on. So for today’s recipe I’ll be sharing one of my favourite breakfasts to eat during summer weekdays, though it can be enjoyed at any time of the year. I like to prepare this on Sunday so that I (and my boyfriend/colleagues/innocent bystanders) stay safe from my hangriness for the rest of the week.

Throwing it back to 2016 with a vegan (you heard me!) recipe where we start out with…

Boiling coconut milk.

Classic.

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup fresh mango, finely diced
  • 1 can lychees drained, reserve syrup

For the Mango Pudding

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups frozen mango
  • 1/4 cup reserved lychee syrup
  • 2 tsp agar agar powder (check your local Asian supermarket)

For the Coconut Sago

  • 2 & 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup reserved lychee syrup
  • 1/2 cup tapioca pearls (sago)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Optional

  • Coconut flakes
  • Fresh Mango chunks

METHOD

  1. Set aside 6 lychees to garnish. Chop remaining lychees into smaller pieces. Divide chopped mango and lychee between 6 glasses or containers. Set aside.
  2. Mango Pudding: Purée 2 cups frozen mango with 1/4 cup reserved lychee syrup until smooth.
  3. On medium heat in a sauce pan, combine agar agar powder and 2 cups coconut milk, stirring until the mixture boils.
  4. Remove pan from stovetop and stir in the mango purée, making sure the mixture is well combined.
  5. Divide mixture between the 6 glasses, carefully pouring to cover the fruit chunks. Place in refrigerator to set while making the coconut sago.
  6. Coconut Sago: Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly until tapioca pearls have absorbed most of the liquid and doubled in size – approximately half an hour, depending on your stove.
  7. Take the mango pudding out from the fridge and spoon the tapioca into each glass, then top with the remaining whole lychees, and optional coconut flakes and mango chunks.
  8. Serve immediately if you’d like it warm, or return to the fridge to chill for at least an hour for a more summer-appropriate dish!

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2018 | jialingmew

Enjoy x

– Jialing

Raspberry & Passionfruit Smoothie Bowl

Raspberry & Passionfruit Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! It’s the last of my Smoothie Bowl series for the past two months! I hope that everyone that has been following have enjoyed a burst of colourful and healthy breakfast smoothies in a different limelight. As I have always said in, if not all, then most of my posts from the past two months is that you can cater to your favourite flavour combinations for these smoothie bowls. You can also get creative in the toppings and enjoy decorating them for a vivid start to your mornings. They’re easy to whip up for those busy weekdays as well as for those chill weekends.

From all the smoothies bowls I’ve whipped up and experimented with, I would say that my most favourite one would have to be the Avocado & Spinach Smoothie Bowl in terms of taste. In terms of colour, hands down to the ever so vibrant Pitaya & Pineapple Smoothie Bowl, and I would have to say that tonight’s recipe beats the rest in terms of presentation. Let me know in the comments below what your favourites are based on the three categories that I mentioned: Taste, Colour, and Presentation.

Also, a special shoutout to my Mama who turned 58 yesterday! May God continue to shower you with love, happiness, and health for the many more years to come. I didn’t have time to bake her a cake – so we got a deconstructed Pineapple Tart for her yesterday at the restaurant we celebrated at last night. I literally came back from the Philippines on Sunday night, which, those of you who know me or have read somewhere on this blog, that Sunday is my only day off from my work week and the only time I can cook or bake. But don’t worry guys! I’ll make it up to her for Mother’s Day next weekend, plus that deconstructed Pineapple Tart was TO. DIE. FOR. If my Mom hadn’t stopped me, I would’ve gladly ordered another plate just for myself.

Mama's 58th Birthday

Just to note, I know that whenever it’s a new month on the blog, I always start a new theme – but because my scheduling got a bit messed up last month, I still have one more Smoothie Bowl recipe to share with everyone instead of leaving it in my archive of ‘recipes I haven’t posted yet because it doesn’t fit the theme’. Next week I’ll be back with a new Breakfast theme for Amcarmen’s Kitchen so stay tuned!

Moving on, you may find something off in the ingredients shot below. If you haven’t/didn’t read my post last week Tuesday, I mentioned that my jar of peanut butter went missing for that recipe when I was photographing the ingredients for it and ended up in this recipe instead *cheeky grin* but I had only noticed it when I went through the photos a couple of day later after shooting and making the two smoothie bowls on that same day. I was too lazy to set it all up again just for the right photo, so bear with me on this – my mind tends to float from time to time. I know it’s not that big of a deal, but sometimes things like these tickle my mild acquaintance to OCD.

Raspberry & Passionfruit Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 large banana
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Toppings

  • Granola – contains vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, including, but not limited to, dietary fibres, sodium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C & E, niacin, iron, and thiamin
  • Kiwis – loaded with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium
  • Passionfruitrich in antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A & C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fiber, and protein
  • Raspberrygood source of vitamin C, E, K, manganese, dietary fibre, copper pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Blend the raspberries, banana, milk, yoghurt, and chia seeds until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with passionfruit pulp, sliced kiwis, granola, roughly chopped dark chocolate, desiccated coconut, and crushed raspberries and granola. Enjoy!

Raspberry & Passionfruit Smoothie Bowl

And that wraps up Breakfast Smoothie Bowls on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Here’s an image that a edited together for a recap on what I’ve covered. Head on over to the recipes tab above under ‘Western’ to find the links to all of the yummilicious bowls. Stay tuned for a whole new theme on the blog in a couple of days (hopefully)!

8 Brekkie Smoothie Bowls

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Dark Chocolate, PB & Banana Smoothie Bowl

Dark Chocolate, PB & Banana Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! First off, apologies as I did say in my last post that I’d get this up within the week where I posted about Amcarmen’s Kitchen turning 4 last week! (Unnecessary) things got in the way which was why I wasn’t able to get this up. So to make up for that, since after this post I still have one more Smoothie Bowl recipe to share with all of you, I’ll ATTEMPT to get that up for you before May rolls in. Bare in mind that I will be flying off once again tomorrow, hence also why this post is going up on a Tuesday instead of my usual Wednesday post schedule, so my attempt may already be void at this point *cheeky grin* but for you guys, I will try my best to.

Moving on, here is tonight’s recipe for a devilishly delicious Dark Chocolate, PB, and Banana Smoothie Bowl! So incase you guys haven’t been following my Instagram pages, I got back from a 5-day business trip to Hong Kong two Sundays ago. I’ve italicised ‘business’ because well, though yes it was for business, it was also sort of a mini-vacation. It was my first time to travel to Hong Kong as well so I made sure that I made the most out of the trip, outside of business hours that is. Though it was a fun trip, both on the business and vacation side to it, I was super exhausted and sleep deprived from the trip when I got back. It’s not that I was out partying every single night until the wee hours of dawn, but rather my roommate/colleague basically kept me up all night. She snores like a helicopter continuously hovering over me and talks in her sleep. I’m a very sensitive sleeper and this for me was just… Pure torture. I probably collectively only slept 8-10 hours during that 5 day trip, and the hard part was, I couldn’t even take naps in between because she snores in her naps too. I’m definitely requesting for separate rooms if I ever have to travel with her again. At least I’ll be travelling by myself to the Philippines tomorrow so I won’t have to worry about a snore fest for the upcoming 5 days (thank God).

Rant over. So Dark Chocolate, PB, and Banana? In a smoothie bowl? For breakfast? Don’t mind if I do! Classic flavour combinations for those who prefer to start their mornings off on a sweet note. Now you may notice that in the ingredients shot below that the jar of peanut butter is missing… So here’s what happened, that day I was making two different smoothie bowls for a Sunday afternoon snack, therefore I took two ingredient shots that day. The jar of peanut butter found it’s way into the other shot (which by the way doesn’t need peanut butter) and I only realised it after I was going through the photographs I took a few days later – silly me! Oh well, so ignore the jar of peanut butter in the next recipe post!

Dark Chocolate, PB & Banana Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 60g dark chocolate*
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

*I used Whittaker’s Marlborough Sea Salt and Caramel Brittle Chocolate for this recipe – super yum with that hint of salt and sweet caramel.

Toppings

  • Bananas – loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6
  • Granola – contains vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, including, but not limited to, dietary fibres, sodium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C & E, niacin, iron, and thiamin
  • Coco Pops
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Add the milk, peanut butter, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, yoghurt, and banana to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with sliced bananas, coco pops, desiccated coconut, roughly chopped dark chocolate, and granola. Enjoy as quick and easy breakfast or a filling afternoon snack to get rid of that midday schlump!

Dark Chocolate, PB & Banana Smoothie Bowl

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! It’s been a quiet and boring week to be honest, and I having a serious holiday withdrawal syndrome. I miss the lush greenery of Temburong, crystal clear waters, physical activities, and the sun piercing through your skin – giving you a tan that you’re proud to wear for the next couple of months because it reminds you of the fun times you had. But in all honesty, I just miss going on weekly adventures; a new hike trail every weekend to rejuvenate from the work week. It doesn’t even need to be a holiday, just a 2-day weekend where one of them can be spent going out and exploring, and the other to do chores, cook up a storm for Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and basically recover from the working week. Back in Australia, this was easy to do because there were plenty of trails to explore. Here in Brunei, not so much – and not much of great views too, and the fact that I only have a 1-day weekend.

All that aside, I have a bit of a unique smoothie bowl to share with you guys tonight; and I say unique because I’ve never thought of using these flavours (and spices) in a smoothie before. I mean, besides using spicy chai tea leaves and cinnamon in my Spicy Chai & Banana Cinnamon Smoothie from a while back, that’s pretty much the extent of me using spices in my smoothies.

The link to the original recipe can be found over on My Life Cookbook by Denise. She drew inspiration from ‘Golden Milk’ which, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a combination of turmeric, coconut milk (or oil), and black pepper. This Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl is an aromatic, flavour-popping combination of golden milk and chai tea – perfect for an immune system boost if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, but also a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast to go!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated

Toppings

  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries – excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Raspberriesgood source of vitamin C, E, K, manganese, dietary fibre, copper pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Blend the bananas, coconut milk, honey, ginger, and spices altogether until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with the raspberries, chia seeds, goji berries, and desiccated coconut. Enjoy for breakfast or an immune-boosting afternoon snack!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com