Hello Everyone! If you’re looking for a fast and easy dinner meal that will have you out of the kitchen in no time, then I have some great news for you!
Tonight’s recipe is one very close to my heart. Besides the famous Chicken Adobo and Sinigang for days, Pininyahang Manok, or in English, Pineapple Chicken is one of those Filipino dishes that radiates the true meaning of Filipino comfort food. It is delicately flavoured with milk or cream, and pineapples, pulled together with simple pantry staples, finishing in less than 30 minutes cook time. Pair it with steamed rice and you have a chicken dish that the whole family is sure to love.
There are different variations on how the dish is prepared by individuals, mainly in using either fresh or canned pineapples. I like to use fresh pineapples for not only does it add a balanced flavour profile of sweetness and tartness, it also does not have that lasang lata* taste to the dish. Another variation would be the choice of milk used – fresh, evaporated, or coconut milk. Those who prefer a creamier texture use whipping or all-purpose cream. All produce the same results tweaked to their liking, so there is no right or wrong way in choosing your ingredient variations.
*For my non-Filipino followers, lasang lata means “canned” flavour. Some canned products for me have this weird taste that I can’t shake off, that it tastes like the can in which it was preserved.
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 20 MINS| SERVES 3
3 pcs chicken whole legs, cut into 3
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally
1 red bird’s eye chilli (optional)
1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small red onion, halved then sliced
2 cups fresh (or canned) pineapple, cut into chunks**
1 cup fresh (or evaporated) milk
1/2 cup water
Handful of chopped spring onions
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
**If using canned pineapples, drain and discard the syrup if you don’t want your dish to be on the sweeter side. The fresh pineapples that I used for this recipe were a bit tart which I personally loved.
Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to a medium-sized pan and heat over medium-high. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown in colour and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then add in the onions, cooking until soft, about a further minute.
Add the chicken pieces and season with salt and ground black pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until the chicken pieces are lightly browned.
Lower down the heat and add the pineapple chunks and bird’s eye chilli for an extra kick of heat to the dish (optional). Stir then cover until the chicken is tender and has released its own juices, about 10 minutes. Add about half a cup of water if it gets too dry.
Add the sliced carrots and bell pepper strips. Taste and adjust the flavour to your liking. If it is too sweet, add a bit more water or balance it by adding a bit of fish sauce (if it isn’t already too salty for your taste buds). Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Make sure that you turn the heat down as low as you can so that your pineapple chicken is down to a very slow simmer before you add the milk in. Adding the milk when it is rapidly boiling will heat the milk too quickly and cause it to curdle and we don’t want that to happen!
Leave to simmer slowly, but not bring to a boil, for a further 5 minutes before taking it off the heat. Sprinkle with spring onions and serve immediately with steamed rice. Enjoy!
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once the sauce is done, pour over the plated crispy pork belly chunks and garnish with the fresh chillies.
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!
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!
Hello Everyone! Today’s recipe is a dish that is quite well-known in the family, and across the Philippines I presume, as the go to dish when someone is feeling under the weather. In our house, you’d know when someone is sick with the flu when you see this dish on the table for everyone to eat; yes that’s right, you don’t have to be the sick one to have a bowl of arroz caldo! However, besides it well-known as the go to dish for the sick, arroz caldo is also a common breakfast dish as it can be quite filling, providing you with the energy that you’d need to last you until lunch time. It can also be a snack (merienda) dish with tokwa’t baboy (a dish composed of boiled pig’s ears and/or pork belly, and fried tofu with a vinegar, soy sauce, and chilli dip on the side).
Arroz Caldo is actually of Chinese origin as it draws resemblance to a type of risotto-like congee. The name of this dish however, was given by the Spaniards due to pronunciation issues. The dish is also similar to other Filipino porridges such as lugaw and goto, the only distinguishing ingredient would be that arroz caldo mainly uses chicken while goto requires the use of tripe, beef, and innards. Lugaw on the other hand, is as plain as it can get.
So I made this dish back when I was in Sydney, a few weeks before I left in early August. I was staying at Marissa’s place for the time I was there and we both fell ill at one point during my stay. I can’t quite remember who fell sick first and who gave who the sickness, but all I remembered was that I made this dish for the both of us. I even told her the story behind this dish and she even made mention that they have a similar Vietnamese dish known as Cháo Ga (also fed to those who were feeling under the weather).
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 45 MINS| SERVES 4-6
500g chicken mid-wings, washed and cleaned
2 cups rice, uncooked and washed
4 large free range eggs, hard-boiled and sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large brown onion, sliced
1 lemon (or calamansi if available)
1 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp chicken stock powder
Ground black pepper to taste
Crispy fried shallots
Spring onions, sliced
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the ginger and fry until fragrant, then add in the garlic, sautéing until fragrant and golden brown. Then add in the onions and cook until soft, altogether about 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken mid-wings to the pot and season with the chicken stock powder and ground black pepper. Give it a good mix and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the outer layer of the chicken starts to brown. Then add in the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for a further 5 minutes and then scoop out the chicken mid-wings and set aside*.
Add the washed, uncooked rice and mix well, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to low-medium and leave it to simmer until the rice is fully cooked (about 30 to 40 minutes). Stir occasionally just to make sure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. In the last 10 minutes of cooking time, you may return the chicken mid-wings to the pot to heat them up again before serving the dish.
Taste and if the porridge needs a bit more seasoning, add some fish sauce and adjust to your liking.
Divide the porridge into bowls equally and top with the chicken and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Garnish with a pinch of crispy fried shallots, spring onion, and a squeeze of lemon juice (you may add some saffron threads for aroma and colour).
Serve hot and enjoy!
*You don’t usually scoop the chicken out, but because I didn’t want the chicken to become too soft and start breaking apart, so I took them out. The reason is just because I don’t want them to look aesthetically displeasing on the dish for the photograph really. Otherwise, leaving them in until they fall of the bone is what you would like to achieve with this dish.