Cassava Cake

Cassava Cake

Hello Everyone! Once again, apologies for another later than usual post. I just got home after doing some gift shopping for a friend’s wedding this Sunday, and a Secret Santa exchange gift on Monday. After my shopping spree, I had a nice and filling dinner with my Mom and sisters at Rack & Brew, a café cum boutique. I’ve always wanted to try out the food from this place since it opened late this year somewhere in September, and I finally got around to tonight.

For those of you who have been following my blog on a daily basis for the past week, you would’ve known that I made something called Pichi-Pichi on Sunday using grated cassava. Tonight, I’m going to share with you another cassava recipe in case you have any leftovers that you didn’t get around to using for your pichi-pichi. Some of the ingredients are similar (just that this requires less!), but what differentiates one from the other is the method of cooking. Pichi-Pichi is steamed, while tonight’s recipe for cassava cake is oven-baked. I do recommend that when you go out to buy cassava, buy a few kilos (up to 3 or 4 is sufficient), so that you can just peel and grate everything all in one go and cook it up in many different ways. Also, grated cassava freezes well for up to 3 months, just defrost before using.

Cassava cake is a classic Filipino dessert, or a hefty afternoon snack made from grated cassava and coconut milk. My Mom always makes hers with pure cassava (no added flour like the pre-made ones we find in the shops/restaurants where the ratio feels like 98% flour and 2% cassava), and fresh coconut milk squeezed from the flesh of a mature coconut. You may add more coconut milk on top of the cassava once it is baked about halfway through, or you can top with off with other favourites such as macapuno or a non-traditional topping such as custard. My Mom likes hers plain, and it tastes just as good.

Cassava Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS* | COOKING TIME 40-45 MINS | SERVES 8-10

*This assumes that you have grated cassava readily available (fresh or frozen).

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups grated cassava
  • 2 cups fresh coconut milk (from a can is fine as well)
  • 1 can (380g) condensed milk
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Grease 2 x 10″ square pans with a bit of butter. Set aside.
  2. Add all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and mix using a spatula until well combined.
  3. Pour the batter equally into the prepared pans and place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until the tops have browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool down a bit on a wire rack. Once they have cooled down slightly, cut them into medium-sized squares.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!

Cassava Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)

Hello Everyone! Hope everyone managed to get through their Monday blues and look forward to a short week followed by a long weekend of Christmas celebrations ahead! What are your plans for this Christmas? I’ve already told you guys mine if last night’s post – spending it quietly at home with family and food, and then looking forward to next week with the new year creeping up!

Tonight, I will be sharing a dish with you that is one of the most popular dish in the Philippines. On top of the delicious taste and unique process of preparation compared to other fish recipes, the amount of work involved is tedious. I guess it’s no wonder we don’t often eat this at home, and to be honest, I cannot remember the last time I had this dish, and if it was even made by my Mom or we had it at a restaurant. It is tedious because separating the skin from the meat and deboning and flaking of the milkfish meat requires a lot of patience. But after all the hard work of deboning, marinating the skin, cooking the meat with all the ingredients, stuffing the skin with the fish meat mixture and frying is the reward of eating a unique and delicious Filipino dish that will leave you craving for more. This is why I recommend that you work with 2-3 fishes in one go to save you all the trouble of having to repeat the whole process again in a few days/weeks time! You can stuff the fishes and freeze them for up to 3 months – just defrost before frying.

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish) Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large size bangus (about 650g each), scaled, gutted, and cleaned
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 1 large free range egg, beaten
  • 1 yellow capsicum, diced
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Handful of raisins

METHOD

  1. Preparing the fish: Gently pound fish to loosen meat from the skin. Break the big bone at the nape (back of the neck) and on the tail, and gently pull the bone out. Insert a spoon through the neck of the fish neck and gently scrape out the meat. Scrape down to the tail, going around and on the other side of the fish, separating the the meat entirely from the skin. Be careful as to not cut the skin open while doing this. Marinate skin and head of fish with soy sauce and calamansi (lime) juice. Set aside.
  2. Boil the fish meat in a little water for about 5 minutes. Drain, pick out the remaining bones, and flake the meat.
  3. Preparing the stuffing: Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high and sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Then add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes altogether. Follow with the tomatoes and cook until soft, a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes and carrots, and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add in the boiled fish meat together with the ground black pepper and salt. Give it a good mix and then cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Finally, add in the peas, capsicum, and raisins. Give it another good mix and turn the heat off. Add the beaten egg and mix. Leave it in the pan, covered for about 5 minutes before setting it aside to cool down completely.
  5. Stuffing the fish: Stuff the fish through its neck, packing in as much of the filling as you can, without breaking the skin that is.
  6. Frying: Coat the skin of the fish with a bit of flour. Heat oil (enough to cover at leat half of the fish) in a large frying pan over high heat. Make sure that the oil is scorching hot before adding the fish in. Carefully lower the fish into the oil and fry until browned, about 4-5 minutes (or less depending on the size of your fish) per side. Once done, remove from the pan and transfer to a serving dish. Wait for it to cool down before slicing into it.
  7. Serve immediately with steamed rice and spicy hot banana catsup on top of your Rellenong Bangus. Enjoy!

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pichi-Pichi (Steamed Cassava Cakes)

Pichi-Pichi (Steamed Cassava Cakes)

Hello Everyone! Christmas is in five days! I hope that those who are on holidays right now are enjoying every bit of it and making the most of the festive season. Well, we’ve reached the end of the first week of our 12 days before Christmas! Another 5 more recipes to go until I wrap things up for Amcarmen’s Kitchen – yes, after Christmas, you won’t be hearing from me until the weekend of the first week of January. I’ll be spending the festive season here in Brunei with my family with endless feastings and, of course, getting fat as usual.

Anyway, tonight, I will be sharing with you another recipe that I picked up from my travels with my Mom to Canada back in the Summer of 2007. Pichi-Pichi (pronounced pee-chee pee-chee) is one of the delicious cakes enjoyed by many Filipinos during special occasions such as Noche Buena, but is not limited to just festive celebrations. It is a gelatinous dessert, or even a heavy mid-afternoon snack, made from grated cassava (or locally known to Filipinos as Kamoteng Kahoy) and freshly grated coconut. The mixture is poured into a mould, then steamed until it forms a sticky-gelatinous texture, and finally coated in grated coconut for an extra added flavour.

Cassava Root (Kamoteng Kahoy)
Cassava (kamoteng kahoy) before and after it is peeled

To prepare the cassava, first wash the root to get rid all the dirt; then, peel off the brown and white silky outer skin. Using a fine grater grate cassava, removing the hard stems in the middle and discard. Keep on grating until you’re done with all your cassava. My Mom and I went to the wet market in the morning to get it grated – much quicker as they have a machine to do it for us, and just for a dollar per kilo grated. Just as an extra precaution, cassava is considered a dangerous food if consumed raw, or it is not prepared properly. The consequences are fatal. If prepared incorrectly, the cassava plant can produce cyanide, a deadly compound when consumed, and if you are allergic to latex rubber, you may want to consider a different dessert (source: Time Magazine). Just make sure that when you are working with cassava, make sure that you prepare it properly!

Pichi-Pichi (Steamed Cassava Cakes) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-30 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups cassava, grated
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lye water
  • 1/2 tsp pandan extract*
  • Freshly grated coconut
  • Red, yellow, and green food colouring

*You can use bottled pandan extract, or you can extract your own from pandan leaves. Here’s how you can do it: Place the pandan leaves and water into a blender (1 bunch (12 leaves) to about a half cup of water). Blend until the leaves are chopped very finely. Pour contents through a fine sieve and press against it using a spoon to draw out any extra juice. Discard the leaves. Tip: if you keep the extract in a sealed bottle, you can keep it for up to one week in the fridge. Do not freeze though.

METHOD

  1. Add the sugar, pandan extract, and warm water in a large mixing bowl. Mix until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once dissolved, add the grated cassava, together with the lye water, to the sugar mixture and give it a good mix.
  2. Divide the mixture equally into three moulds. Add a few drops of red food colouring into one of the moulds, then yellow, and green in the remaining two. Mix well until the colour is fully blended into the cassava mixture.
  3. Cover each mould with foil and place it in your steamer. Steam for about 15 to 20 minutes or until translucent. Once done, remove from the steamer and set aside to cool down.
  4. Once cooled, cut the pichi-pichi into bite-sized chunks. Coat each chunk with the freshly grated coconut and serve immediately. Share and enjoy!

Pichi-Pichi (Steamed Cassava Cakes)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

Hello Everyone! First of all, apologies for a later than usual post. I just got back home about an hour ago and yes, I am still writing this post – I didn’t manage to get around to writing this in advance knowing that I wouldn’t get home until later than I usually do. Oh well! Anyway, we’re halfway through our 12 days before Christmas Special on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and I want to know, which of the ones that have been posted are your favourites? Let me know in the comments section below 🙂 Anyway, tonight’s recipe is just as simple in terms of the ingredients used to make such lavish looking dish, and delicious of course, for Noche Buena. However, the dish is not limited to the Christmas season as it can also be found on tables on an everyday basis.

In a nutshell, Hamonado is simply, thinly sliced pork (like tapa style) sweetened in pineapple juice. It resembles sliced ham but is often thick, juicy, and exceptionally sweet. What makes this dish quite interesting is due to it’s simplicity – here are the three very basic steps: marinating, pan-frying, and simmering. What makes this dish right on the money is because of the balance of flavours – you’ve got the sweetness from the pineapple juice and sugar mixture that penetrated through a lovely pork shoulder from the marinating process, while you get a hit of salt from the salted egg that is stuff in between the meat when it is rolled up.

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

From doing some research on this dish, I’ve found multiple recipes that skip the process of having to roll up the meat into a log, which is also okay to do so as the flavours still remain the same. If you wish to go down this path, then I suggest you cut your pork shoulder into chunks instead of slicing it thinly and flattening it out. This is actually the easiest way of cooking pork hamonado for the novice cooks to take a stab at. I think what my Mom ended up doing was that she rolled up about 1/2 of the pork, and the other half she just stewed it in the marinade.

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice) Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS | SERVES 10-12

*Does not include marinating  process which is a minimum of 3 hours, or preferably overnight. Plan your time according by taking this into account.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3kg pork shoulder, sliced thinly
  • 4 salted eggs, hard boiled, and cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 bulbs garlic, minced
  • 1 can (1360ml) Del Monte pineapple juice
  • 1 can (340g) pineapple slices
  • 1 tbsp achuete powder
  • Ground salt and pepper, to taste,

METHOD

  1. Combine the thin slices of pork in a large mixing bowl together with the pineapple juice, sugar, and achuete powder. Give it a good mix until the sugar has dissolved. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 3 hours, overnight preferred to soak up more of the flavours (my Mom marinated it for three days).
  2. Remove the pork from the marinade (do not discard), and place the slice on a flat surface and arrange the salted egg in the centre of the slice. Roll and form into a log. Secure the roll by tying cooking string around the log, making sure that it is tight enough to hold the roll.
  3. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Follow with the rolls of pork, searing it until all sides are golden brown, approximately 5-8 minutes. Pour in about half of the marinade juices and leave to simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. You will need to flip the pork rolls from side to side every 15 minutes.
  4. Once done and the sauce has thickened, remove the pork rolls  and place it on a platter. Carefully remove the cooking string and slice into serving pieces.
  5. Pour the sauce over the pork hamonado rolls and serve, and enjoy with pineapple slices and any extra  wedges of salted egg. Usually eaten with steamed rice.

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

Hamonado (Pork Rolls Stewed in Pineapple Juice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Bikò (Sweet Sticky Rice Cake with Coconut Curd Toppings)

Bikò (Sweet Sticky Rice Cake with Coconut Curd Toppings)

Hello Everyone! Day 05 of 12 is here and I have another dessert to share with all the sweet tooth’s out there. If you are following my Instagram page (@amcarmenskitchen), I posted a picture of the ingredients and made mention that you essentially only need 4 ingredients (actually 3 because you can omit one of the ingredients) to make this yummy and definitely filling dessert! All you really need it glutinous rice, white sugar, coconut milk, and a bit of violet food colouring. You can omit the food colouring and substitute the white sugar for brown to colour your bikò, which is actually how it’s traditionally done. I only picked up the idea of using violet colouring from my Mom’s relative when we visited their whole family in Canada back in the Summer of 2007. Adding the violet colouring doesn’t do anything for the taste (duh), but it definitely makes the dish a whole lot more attractive and inviting.

For those of you who don’t know, bikò, or otherwise known simply as a Filipino Sticky Rice Cake, served during special occasions such as birthday parties, family reunions, town fiestas, and of course, for Noche Buena. It’s not a tedious process, it’s just hard on the arm because of all the mixing that needs to be done.  It is then garnished with latík, which is basically just cooked coconut milk residue, set at the centre of each slice, and is traditionally served over a banana leaf in a bilao, which is basically just a round woven bamboo tray.

Bikò (Sweet Sticky Rice Cake with Coconut Curd Toppings) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups glutinous rice, washed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 packs (200ml each) coconut milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp violet food colouring
  • Banana leaves
  • Bilao

METHOD

  1. Add the glutinous rice, water, and violet for colouring in a large pot. Mix and then place over high heat, leaving the rice to cook for about 15 minutes or when the rice is about half-done.
  2. When the rice is half-done, add in one of the packs of coconut milk and mix well. Leave it to cook for another 15 minutes or until the oil starts to separate from the coconut milk. At this point, you want to reduce your heat down to about medium-low to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of your pot.
  3. Meanwhile add the other pack of coconut milk in a separate pan and cook until the oil separates from the milk and turns golden brown. Drain from the oil and then set aside.
  4. Prepare the banana leaves by lightly heating it over the stovetop burner to make it pliable and easy to handle. Then, place the the banana leaves over the bilao and set aside.
  5. Crank up the heat to about medium-high and add the sugar into the glutinous rice mixture. Mix and allow the sugar to caramelised, about 10 minutes. Once done, turn the heat off.
  6. Assemble by spreading the sweet sticky rice cake mixture onto the prepare bilaos lined with banana leaves. Flatten evenly. Cut the rice cakes into diagonals and top the centres of each diagonal with some latík.
  7. Serve, share, and enjoy warm! This recipes makes for about 4 palm-sized bilaos.

Bikò (Sweet Sticky Rice Cake with Coconut Curd Toppings)

ps: apologies for only posting one picture of this dish (as you know it’s unlikely of me to only post one picture of the final dish), but I made this a while back, 2 years ago to be exact, and this was the only picture that I could find *sad face* at least it is a good picture!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce)

Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce)

Hello Everyone! We’re a third of the way into our 12 days of Festive Filipino Foods, and tonight I will be sharing something a little bit unusual, and when I say unusual, I mean it’s not something that I would think to buy in the stores and cook it myself. It is rather foreign and exotic for some, where adjectives such as gross or yucky is used to describe a dish where tongue is used. I don’t recall ever having lengua before – actually, now that I’ve said that, I have had it before, but only the ones that have been sliced very thinly and  grilled at a Korean BBQ Restaurant in Sydney. If you don’t think about the fact that you are eating tongue, it actually feels like you’re having beef brisket.

Upon doing further research, I have found that many different cuisine and cultures are accustomed to ox tongue. For example, it is a major ingredient in the making of what is called tongue toast in North America, where it is used in an open-faced sandwich served for either breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as an hors d’œuvre. In Mexico, it is widely used in their burritos and tacos. Tongue is also widely prepared, and considered a delicacy in many parts of South America, Asia, and European countries including Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, and Poland to name a few.

Ox (beef) tongue is often prepared by boiling the meat first in various spices, and only after that is the skin removed. It is then cooked further by either braising it in a sauce, grilling, or roasting it in the oven. Tonight, I will be sharing with you a recipe for ox tongue braised in tomato sauce, and served with some mushrooms, olives, and potatoes on the side. Estofado is a Filipino method of cooking based on Spanish influences where it involves the braising or stewing of meat like beef or pork knuckles. Sugar, garlic, soy sauce and a bay leaf are among the other ingredients added into the pot during this process. Lengua Estofado is of a Hispanic origin and has been adapted to suit the palates of Filipinos due to centuries of Spanish colonisation. Despite initial impressions of the dish being gross and yucky, it is quite a popular dish during family gatherings, especially for Noche Buena.

Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10-15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 35 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg ox tongue
  • 1 punnet (250g) cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 125g green olives stuffed with feta
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large potato, washed and sliced thinly
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Knob of butter
  • Whole black peppercorns

METHOD

  1. Add the ox tongue, bay leaves, whole peppercorns, and salt to a large pot filled with water. Boil the ox tongue for about an hour until tender. Once done, remove from the pot and set aside to cool down a bit after which you can then peel the skin off the tongue and then slice the meat into about 1-cm thick slices. Don’t forget to reserve some of the stock for when we braise it later.
  2. Heat oil a large frying pan over medium-high and sauté the minced garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Then add in the tomatoes and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether. Follow with the tomatoes and cook until soft, a further 3-4 minutes.
  3. Next, add the slices of lengua and season it with a bit of ground salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix before adding about a cup and a half of the reserved stock. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the tomato paste and chillies. Stir, and leave to braise for a further 30 minutes.
  4. While the tongue is braising away, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized pan and fry the potato slices until golden and crispy. Transfer to a dish lined with a paper towel to absorb and excess oils. Work in batches if necessary.
  5. Remove the oil from the pan and melt the knob of butter. Add the mushroom slices in and sauté until the mushrooms are soft.
  6. Once the long is done, plate up accordingly and serve immediately. Share with the family and enjoy!

Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce)

Lengua Estofado (Ox Tongue Braised in Tomato Sauce)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)

Hello Everyone! So this is kind of unrelated, but related at the same time – I typed puto into Google because I wanted to know the English name for it (well I knew what they were in English, I just needed confirmation). To my surprise, Urban Dictionary was the first result. Puto is a Spanish word used to describe a male prostitute and is sometime’s offensive for homosexuals. In Mexico, the word is used for cowards and traitors. Anyway! Sorry but this post will not be about male prostitutes, but instead, it’ll be of a recipe for a steamed rice cakes. Before I begin, if from this point onwards you see me write put instead of puto, it’s because my laptop automatically autocorrects it to put. I have tendency to just keep typing without going back and reviewing what I’ve written.

Anyway, here’s an interesting fact about puto that I myself did not know until I did some research for this post. Puto is believed to have been derived from from Indian puttu of Tamil origin. These steamed rice cakes are usually eaten as a dessert, but most Filipinos much prefer to have them for breakfast with coffee or hot chocolate, or for a mid-afternoon snack with dinuguan (blood stew). The recipe that I will be sharing today is not, in a sense, the traditional puto you’d find in the Philippines. It is non-traditional because, self-raising flour is used instead of rice flour. Texture wise, it has more bite and is less airy than what I’ve had before. To be very honest, these are the best-tasting putos I’ve ever had and I am glad that I came across this recipe.

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)
the photo above was taken when I made these cakes for a family dinner in Brisbane. The silicone moulds I used here were a bit smaller so I think I was able to make a good 4 dozen mini cakes that time

I actually learnt this recipe from my Mom’s high school friend when we visited her and her family in Melbourne a few months back in early June. She runs her own catering business, together with her mother and sister, and while spending time at hers, I learnt how to make these delicious non-traditional putos. I think I made quite a hefty batch over the two days that they needed to be made, and I missed out on making a hundred of them for a special order because that was the day my family and I left and flew over to Brisbane.

I’ve made these rice cakes numerous times after having learnt from my Mom’s friend. I’ve made them for a family gathering in Brisbane and they were a big hit! I’ve also made them for a few family friends here in Brunei and they too loved it. The last time I made these, which was for this blog post as well, was a big hit when I shared them amongst my friends too. I’m pretty sure that you’ll love these cakes too when you get around to making them. If you for some reason don’t like them, then I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends *cheeky grin*.

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes) Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR* | SERVES 2 DOZEN**

*Cooking time depends on how big a steamer you have. Mine is quite small and therefore I had to work in 3 batches to steam all cakes for this recipe.

**Serving size depends on the size of the moulds that you use – as stated above, when I used smaller moulds, I could easily get about twice the serving size from the bigger moulds that I used for this recipe post

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup fresh milk
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3-4 pcs sliced cheese, cut into thin strips
  • 3 large free range eggs, well beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter (I used olive butter)
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Prepare your steamer by wrapping the lid with cloth and tie it in place around the handles. This will catch the water vapours from dripping onto you cakes and prevent them from getting wet and soggy.
  2. Add water to a pot and bring it to a boil.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk it together until combined. Next and in the butter and mayonnaise, and using the whisk, mash it into the flour mixture until moist crumbs form. Next, add in the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
  4. Line your moulds in the steamer and carefully pour the batter into the moulds and top, making an X, with the sliced cheese strips (see photo above).
  5. Carefully place the steamer over the top of that pot and cover with the cloth-wrapped lid. Steam for about 20 minutes.
  6. Once done, remove the steamer from the pot and place on a heat-proof surface. Remove the cooked rice cakes and repeat steps 4-6 for a fresh batch (because my steamer is quite small, I had to do three batches altogether).
  7. Leave the cakes in their moulds aside until they have cooled down slightly. Once they are quite cool, they will easily pop out from their moulds.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm – either for breakfast, dessert, or an afternoon snack. Share and enjoy!

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)

Puto (Steamed Rice Cakes)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Arroz a la Valenciana (Valencian Rice)

Arroz a la Valenciana (Valencian Rice)

Hello Everyone! Festive Filipino Foods Day 02 of 12 is here with a Latin American dish known as Arroz a la Valenciana, also considered as a part of Filipino cuisine, to share. Arroz a la Valenciana is quite commonly known as a poor man’s paella as the ingredients used to make this is is far less lavish than that of paella, where wine is used for a flavourful Spanish rice dish and a lot of seafood ingredients. The main ingredients in Arroz a la Valenciana consists of glutinous (sticky rice), regular rice, tomatoes, tomato paste, potatoes, carrots, capsicum, chicken, and chorizo – a complete meal, a one-dish meal of meat, rice, and vegetables. It is a great dish for Noche Buena, Christmas, Fiestas, weddings, birthdays, and family get-togethers.

Well, that’s pretty much all I can talk about for this dish, so let’s move on to the recipe shall we?

Arroz a la Valenciana (Valencian Rice) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups plain rice, half-cooked*
  • 1 cup glutinous rice, half-cooked**
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 12 pcs chicken wings, cut into 3 (drumette, mid-wing, and tip)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced diagonally
  • 1 potato, cut into chunks
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 red, yellow, and green capsicum, sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp achuete powder
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

*/**Cook the rice together in a rice cooker; what I usually do for every one cup of rice, I add one cup of water. But in this instance, you want your rice to still be a bit tough and half-done because it will absorb the sauce from when you sauté your chicken.

METHOD

  1. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high. Fry the chorizo slices, about a minute per side until slightly browned. Remove from the pot and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  2. In the same pot, sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Next add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether. Add in the tomatoes and then cook until soft, about a further 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and season with chicken stock powder and ground black pepper. Give it a good mix and then leave your chicken to cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Dissolve the achuete powder in a cup of hot water, then add this into the chicken together with the other two cups of water. Stir in the tomato paste and let the chicken cook for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Add in the potatoes and carrots and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes. Once done, remove the chicken, potatoes, and carrots, leaving the sauce in the pot, and set aside.
  6. Add the half-cooked rice into the pot and give it a good mix until it is well coated in the sauce. Leave to cook further, until all the sauce has been absorbed.
  7. Lastly, add the raisins and capsicum and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and then return the chicken, potatoes, and carrots, together with the chorizo sausage sliced you fried earlier, to the pot and give it a good mix.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish; serve, share, and enjoy!

Arroz a la Valenciana (Valencian Rice)

Arroz a la Valenciana (Valencian Rice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad

Hello Everyone! It’s been a while since my last post – but if you are a regular reader, you would’ve picked up from my last post that I’d be taking a short break. It’s not because I needed some time to recover from my mental exhaustion (because let’s face it, I’m still always mentally drained by the end of a long day), but more for the theme for this month’s recipes. From today onwards, you will be expecting a recipe every single day leading up to Christmas – you read that right! I will be sharing with you Festive Filipino Dishes that can be found on the tables of a Filipino family during Noche Buena, some of the recipes that I will be sharing have been influenced by Spanish cuisine. So let’s kick off Day 01 of 12 days to Christmas with a sweet (or savoury?) one: Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad.

First off, for those of you who don’t know, Noche Buena is the Spanish word for the night of Christmas Eve. In Latin American cultures, including Spain and the Philippines, Noche Buena is an annual traditional family feast. The traditional dinner is celebrated at midnight after attending the late evening Mass known as Misa de Gallo. In the Philippines, a whole roasted pig known as lechón, is the centre of all dishes during the feast. It is believed that the tradition dates back to the 15th century when Caribbean colonists hunted down pigs and roasted them whole as the family gathered for Christmas Eve. However, a whole roasted pig isn’t always served in other cultures. For example, in Peru, a large juicy turkey is the star for Noche Buena while in Venezuela, hallacas are quite popular. Actually, I think I may have explained what Noche Buena is in a post last Christmas? I’m not sure. Oh well!

Tonight’s dish is one of the many that can be found on the table during Noche Buena, but it doesn’t stop there. This dish is also typically served during Filipino fiestas and also during family outings and picnics. It is actually a very simple dish that doesn’t require a lot of cooking and complicated steps. The main “cooking” is basically cooking the macaroni until tender, and the chicken to be boiled and shredded. When those core ingredients are ready, all you have to do next is toss all the ingredients together and voilà! Chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours and you’ve got a tasty chicken macaroni salad.

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g macaroni*
  • 1 jar (400g) Nata de Coco, drained
  • 300ml dollop cream
  • 250g chicken breast
  • 100ml condensed milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  • 3/4 cup carrots, minced
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

*Aside from macaroni, you can use other types of short cut pasta. Here are some examples: Mostaccioli, Penne, Rigatoni, Cellentani, Rotini, Cavatappi, Fideuà, and Maccheroncelli.

METHOD

  1. Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the chicken breasts and cook for about 15 minutes, or until cooked all the way through depending on the size of your breasts (yes I meant to say it that way *cheeky grin*). Once done, drain and set aside to completely cool down.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the condensed milk, cream, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Taste and adjust accordingly to your liking. Set aside.
  3. Then, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the macaroni and cook according to packet instructions (mine was about 10-11 minutes). Once done, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl together with the dressing.
  4. When the chicken breasts have completely cooled down, shred the chicken meat and add it into the mixing bowl together with the macaroni.
  5. Add all the other remaining ingredients and toss thoroughly until well combined. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for about and hour or two before serving.
  6. Serve chilled and enjoy!

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad

Filipino-style Chicken Macaroni Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pancit Lucban (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Thick Flour Noodles)

Pancit Lucban (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Thick Flour Noodles)

Hello Everyone! So tonight, I’m sharing with you a dish that I think I over indulged in during my recent trip back to the Philippines earlier on the year in March/April 2015. We spent a ridiculous amount of lunches and meriendas in Buddy’s while we visited our relatives in the provincial City of Lucena. Anyway, the dish, known as Pancit Lucban or Habhab, is a version of pancit that originated in the Quezon province. This noodle dish may draw many resemblances to the traditional Pancit Canton, but there are some apparent differences. The main difference is all in the type of noodles used; Pancit Lucban/Habhab uses dried flour noodles known as miki Lucban which are not the same noodles used to make pancit canton. In addition, miki Lucban noodles that are made fresh also have a much softer texture than that of pancit canton.

Here’s a fun fact for you – well okay, it’s not really a fun fact but it is quite interesting and may be one of the reasons you’d probably go out and have a handful of Pancit Lucban. That’s right, a handful. This version of pancit is traditionally served over a piece of banana leaf and is eaten without any utensils. I know what you’re thinking, how exactly do you eat noodles without any utensils?! Well, imagine eating a sandwich. You will need to grab the banana leaf with the noodles in it and put it directly to you mouth. Don’t eat the banana leaf though! Below is a picture of my cousin and my Mom back in 2008 (I think) having some Pancit Lucban from a street food vendor during a dog show/walk in Lucena:

My Mom & Cousin eating Pancit Lucban the traditional way

It’s probably not the most glamorous way to eat your noodles, but it may be an exciting experience especially to those who find this way of eating very foreign to them. Miki Lucban is unfortunately not commonly found in stores around Brunei, not even in the Filipino section. So instead, we used Pancit Canton which actually makes calling this dish Pancit Lucban a sin! *cheeky grin*

Pancit Lucban (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Thick Flour Noodles) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-50 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 450g pancit canton (or miki Lucban if available)
  • 250g tiger prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 100g snow peas, topped and tailed
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pcs thin sliced pork belly, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 chicken crown, breasts removed and sliced, bone reserved
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 chayote, peeled and sliced
  • 5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • Whole black peppercorns

METHOD

  1. Add the reserved chicken bone, dried bay leaves, about a teaspoon or two of whole black peppercorns, and salt to a medium-sized pot filled with about 1.5L of hot/boiling water. Turn the heat up to high and leave to boil for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over medium-high and add in the chunks of pork belly. Cook until browned. The oils released from the pork belly should be enough to sauté the garlic and cook the onions, but if needed, add a little bit more oil if there isn’t enough. Then add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown, about a minute, then followed by the diced onions. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes in total.
  3. Add in the sliced chicken breasts, and season with a bit of salt and ground black pepper and give it a good mix. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then add in the prawns, followed by the chayote, carrots, and snow peas. Mix well and leave to cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Lastly, add in the gai lan and cook until just slightly wilted. Once done, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In the same frying pan, add about half of the chicken stock to the pan together with the soy sauce, ground salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the canton noodles in and cook until all the liquid has evaporated (if the noodles are looking a bit dry, you may add more stock, a ladle at a time). Make sure that while cooking, you mix and untangle them periodically. Altogether this should take about 10-15 minutes. Halfway through, add in half of the cooked meat and vegetables to the noodles and mix well.
  5. Serve immediately topped with the extra meat and vegetables, and with calamansi, or alternatively a lemon wedge. Enjoy! Note: best served with a splash of vinegar!

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BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com