Auguest 2020: JM de Guzman

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

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

Auguest 2020: JM de Guzman

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

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

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

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa

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

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

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

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

For the ‘green palapa’

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

Ingredient Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

METHOD

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

Pinais na Hipon at Niyog na may Palapa

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

BON APPÉTIT

– JM de Guzman

myTaste.com

King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk)

King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk)

Hello Everyone! I remember the first time I came across this dish; I was on the phone with my Dad asking him what he would like to eat for the upcoming week before his trip back here to the Philippines. He doesn’t get to eat much home-cooked Filipino food in Indonesia so every time he’s back home, I make sure to include in our weekly menu the things that he wants to eat, even if it is against his diet *facepalm*

One of the dishes he mentioned was Chicken Halang Halang. “What?” I said in confusion as I have never heard of this dish before. The way my dad explained it to me was “it’s like the Visayan version of Chicken Adobo.” But it is actually far from that. This dish more closely represents a cross between Tinolang Manok and Ginataang Manok.

King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk)

Halang Halang is a Visayan dish where your choice of meat is stewed in a spicy coconut milk sauce. The word halang when directly translated to English, means spicy because of the use of chillies as one of the main ingredients in this dish. So essentially, the dish is called, in English, “Spicy Spicy” *cheeky grin* The coconut milk maintains the creaminess and richness of the dish while it tempers the spiciness of the chillies. It also has a hint of lemongrass, making the dish amazingly aromatic and taste super fresh.

Like most dishes, there are endless possibilities in making Halang Halang. I decided to attempt this dish using fresh King Mackerel steaks that I bought at the markets before we went into Enhanced Community Quarantine. It is definitely an exceptional dish that you can serve at home on a regular basis.

Delicious, no fuss, and easy to make.

King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the king mackerel steaks

  • 6 large King Mackerel steaks
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp yellow curry powder

For the halang halang gravy

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, lightly pounded
  • 2 small red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 1 large green chilli, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
  • 1 thumb-sized turmeric, julienned
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • Handful of chilli leaves

METHOD

  1. Combine the seasonings and spices in a small bowl. Generously rub the spices into the fish steaks, making sure to cover all sides. Leave to sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium high. Make sure that the pan is scorching hot, but not smoking, before putting the fish in as this will prevent the steaks from sticking to the pan.
  3. Carefully place the steaks into the pan and fry for about 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned to seal in all the flavours. Depending on the size of your frying pan, or the size of your steaks, you may need to work in batches. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium. In the same frying pan, sauté the garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, and chillies until golden and fragrant, about a minute or two.
  5. Slowly pour in half of the coconut milk into the pan and add the lemongrass stalks. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes. Check and stir occasionally to avoid curdles from forming.
  6. Pour the remaining coconut milk into the pan and slowly return the king mackerel steaks to the pan. Cover and bring back up to a rapid simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat off and add the chilli leaves.
  7. Transfer to a serving plate and top with extra slices of red and green chillies for an extra kick of spice. Serve with hot steamed rice and enjoy!

King Mackerel Halang Halang (Visayan Spicy Mackerel Stewed in Coconut Milk)

This dish is guaranteed to tempt you to increase your rice intake. If you plan to stick with just a cup of rice – or just half like myself – make sure that you condition yourself beforehand because there’s a high chance that you’ll give in to the temptation. I know because I did. Oops.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

Hello Everyone! So somewhere around November time last year, I shared a recipe for a classic breakfast (or merienda) staple here in the Philippines – none other than the famous tahhoooooo that you hear from yodelling street vendors. I shared a recipe for homemade taho back then, and tonight I’m going to share a recipe for using store-bought silken tofu. Upon doing research, this approach was adapted by our kababayans living or residing overseas, who truly miss having street taho readily available at their doorstep.

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

The very basic and classic version would be warm bland silken tofu that is sweetened with a caramelised brown sugar syrup known as arnibal, and is topped with tiny sago (tapioca) pearls. Nowadays you can find other variants such as Strawberry Taho or even Ube Taho, commonly found in the province of Benguet, more specifically in and around Baguio. Instead of a brown sugar syrup, a strawberry or ube syrup is made to sweeten the bland silken tofu.

Taking that into mind, I had this light bulb moment: what if I made a dragon fruit version of the arnibal? That had been my original for many months, and it was only lately that I decided to pair it with lychees since the two together had a great flavour profile for when I tackled a recipe for Dragon & Lychee Pork just last week.

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS | SERVES 2-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack (500g) soft silken tofu, roughly cut

For the dragon fruit and lychee arnibal

  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1 medium-sized dragon fruit (about 600g), peeled and roughly chopped*
  • 1 can (255g) lychees in syrup, drained*
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lychee syrup

For the tapioca pearls

  • 4-8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup large tapioca pearls, uncooked

*Reserve some of the fruits to garnish before serving

METHOD

  1. Tapioca Pearls: In a medium-sized pot, bring about 2 cups of water to a rapid boil before adding the tapioca pearls in. Leave to cook for about 15-20 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the pearls that you use.
  2. Strain the tapioca pearls and add another 2 cups of clean water back into the pot. Bring to a rapid boil before adding the tapioca pearls back to the pot. Cook for a further hour until they become completely translucent ensuring that there are no white spots at the core. Add more water when needed to keep the pearls submerged in water as it evaporates.

I know I have said this before in a previous post, but I’ll say it again for those just tuning in:

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.

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

  1. Once the core is no longer opaque, strain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. Dragon Fruit & Lychee Arnibal: Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients (except for the lychee syrup) for the arnibal in a small pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally and simmer until it thickens into a syrup and until the fruits are soft enough to mash, about 15 minutes.
  3. Once done, strain the syrup into a bowl to rid of any chunks of fruits. Stir in the lychee syrup and then set aside to cool down.
  4. Assemble: Layer each element into a tall glass; taho, syrup, dragon fruit, lychee, and repeat. Of course you can do it in any order you wish. Serve chilled and enjoy! Makes 2 large servings or 4 smaller servings.

The result was absolutely amazing! The sweetness from the dragon fruit and lychee was subtle, but that’s only because I didn’t go overboard on sweetening the syrup, for health reasons. It was just enough to cater to my tolerance of sweet. Of course, feel free to add more sugar in the recipe to your level of liking. Just think, whenever I buy bubble milk tea, I always ask for 0% sugar, or if I’m feeling naughty, then slight sugar only!

Dragon Fruit & Lychee Taho

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pininyahang Manok (Pineapple Chicken)

Pininyahang Manok (Pineapple Chicken)

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.

Pininyahang Manok (Pineapple Chicken)

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.

Pininyahang Manok (Pineapple Chicken) Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 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.

METHOD

  1. 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.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and season with salt and ground black pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until the chicken pieces are lightly browned.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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!

Pininyahang Manok (Pineapple Chicken)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spicy Chipotle Adobo Ribs sa Gata

Spicy Chipotle Adobo Ribs sa Gata

Hello Everyone! Okay I lied… Well not exactly. You see, last week I said that that would be my last Coconut post for the month. Technically it is since it’s already February, but I do have one more Coconut post to share *cheeky grin* The recipe that I’m going to share with you guys tonight was actually not planned at all. I didn’t want this to end up in my already growing archive of recipes that I never get around to posting because it doesn’t fit with the current theme that I have going. Lucky for me tonight’s dish still fits! Let’s just say that this is a special Chinese New Year post to welcome in the Year of the Pig!

I saw a post on Instagram a while back, towards the beginning of the year I believe, of a new dish that Max’s Restaurant put out which is their Adobo Ribs. I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, but it made me want to try it out at home for myself, with my own twists of course – the twists being adding chipotle peppers for a spicy kick and stewing them in coconut milk as well – to fit with the theme of course *cheeky grin*

Spicy Chipotle Adobo sa Gata (Marination Process)

Adobo can mean marinade, sauce, or seasoning. It is a highly popular Filipino dish amongst locals and even foreigners. I remember when I was still studying in Australia, my taxi driver asked me where I was from. I told him that I was born in Brunei, but a Filipino by blood. To which he replied, “Oh I love the Philippines! And I love… What’s that dish called? Chicken Adobo!” Basically any non-Filipino that I’ve talked to throughout the years, Chicken Adobo and Sinigang are their favourite Filipino dishes.

Anyway, the cooking process of adobo is indigenous to the Philippines. Pre-colonial Filipinos often cooked or prepared their food with vinegar and salt to keep them fresh longer in the tropical climates of the country. To make adobo, you start off by marinating any variant of meat, seafood, or vegetables in vinegar, soy sauce, fresh garlic, black peppercorns, and dried bay leaves. It is then simmered in the marinade until the meat is tender. The dish is characteristically salty and sour in taste.

Now adding gata to the classic adobo makes the dish not only hearty, but also rich and creamy. Would you believe me if I said I’ve never had adobo sa gata before? I mean, I’ve had adobo countless of times growing up, but never with gata – until about a few weeks ago when we had lunch out after our Sunday morning mass. It felt like I had discovered a whole new world of adobo!

Spicy Chipotle Adobo sa Gata Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg pork ribs
  • 5-6 dried bay leaves
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sliced or minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • Red bird’s eye chilli, to garnish

METHOD

  1. In a large cooking pot, add the pork ribs together with the soy sauce, crushed garlic, whole black peppercorns, dried bay leaves, and chipotle peppers. Marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes. If you have time, marinate for an hour for the flavours to really infuse into the meat.
  2. Add the vinegar and water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for about half an hour. Once done, turn the heat off and leave it aside, covered, for a further half an hour. The residual heat* from the cooking process will further cook and tenderise the meat.

*Residual heat, or residual cooking, or carry-over cooking, is when food continues to cook after it has been removed from a heat source. The heat held within the food itself raises its overall temperature before it starts to cool down.

  1. Meanwhile, heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan. Fry the garlic slices until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Turn the heat back on again on low and bring it back to a slow simmer. Once simmering, add the coconut milk in. It is important to slowly bring it back up to a simmer to avoid curdling the coconut milk. This happens when it is heated too quickly. Cook for a further 15 minutes.
  3. Once done, turn the heat off and transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with the fried garlic slices and chopped bird’s eye chillies. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and enjoy!

Spicy Chipotle Adobo sa Gata

Spicy Chipotle Adobo sa Gata

And with that, I would like to wish all my Chinese Family, Friends, Followers, and all those who are celebrating, a Happy Chinese New Year! May the Year of the Earth Pig bring you happiness, prosperity, good health, peace and success! 恭喜发财 Gōngxǐ fācái!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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

Salmon Belly Paksiw sa Gata (Stewed in Vinegar & Coconut Milk)

Salmon Belly Paksiw sa Gata (Stewed in Vinegar & Coconut Milk)

Hello Everyone! I find it hard to believe that it’s already the middle of the month – oh how time flies by so quickly! I don’t have a long-winded tangent to go on about tonight so this post will most likely be shorter than the previous two.

Paksiw sa Gata is a Filipino cooking procedure that involves two cooking styles – Paksiw (stewed in vinegar), and Ginataan (stewed in coconut milk/cream). This cooking procedure is a quick and easy way of preparing a fish dish; a staple amongst Filipino families.

Salmon Belly Paksiw sa Gata (Stewed in Vinegar & Coconut Milk)

You can use other cuts of salmon such as the heads, tails, and the flesh itself. Likewise, you can also use other types of fish such as Threadfin Bream (Bisúgo) and this unnamed White/Silver Fish that my mom used to get from the markets in Brunei for her paksiw (without the gata) dishes that we grew up on. The only reason why it’s unnamed is because I don’t actually know the name of it *cheeky grin*

Besides the protein, it is also an easy dish to incorporate greens into. Bitter melon (ampalaya) leaves are most common, but not restricted to. I absolutely detest bitter melon and its leaves, and so I opted to use malunggay leaves for this dish. Other common/favourite alternatives include spinach, water spinach (kangkong), and chilli leaves.

Salmon Belly Paksiw sa Gata (Stewed in Vinegar & Coconut Milk) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg salmon belly, washed, scaled and, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup spicy vinegar*
  • 3 long green chillies
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies**
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 bunch malunggay leaves
  • Thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Salt, to taste

*Or you can always use normal white vinegar if you don’t sit well with spice

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

METHOD

  1. Add the ginger, garlic, onions, chillies, black peppercorns, vinegar, and water into a medium-sized cooking pot. Heat over medium-high and bring to a brisk boil. Continue boiling for about 10 minutes to allow the vinegar to cook and for the aromatics to infuse into the liquid.
  2. Turn the heat down to low, and slowly stir in the coconut milk in and season with a touch of salt. 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.
  3. Add in the salmon belly chunks and allow to cook for a further 5-7 minutes before adding the malunggay leaves in. Turn the heat off and cover for about 30-60 seconds to allow the malunngay leaves to wilt.
  4. Transfer to a serving plate and enjoy with steamed jasmine rice. Paksiw and Ginataan dishes are always best eaten with rice!

Salmon Belly Paksiw sa Gata (Stewed in Vinegar & Coconut Milk)

This only just came into mind as I was finishing this post off. I thought back to popular (highly viewed) dish that I made a while back that also uses Salmon Belly (Pan-fried Salmon Bellies).

The next time I make this dish, I’m going to pan-fry my salmon bellies to get it nice and crisp. Then, cook the vinegar and coconut milk sauce separately and just pour it over the pan-fried bellies. There’s nothing I love more than a mouthful of crispy yet melt-in-the-mouth belly fat!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Bibingkute (Mini Bibingka)

Bibingkute (Mini Bibingka)

Hello Everyone! Only less than a week left to Christmas! How will you and your family be spending the festivities? Though my family and I are back in the Philippines, we’re used to just spending a quiet night at home and that’s probably how we’ll be spending our Christmas this year again. I honestly am not all about spending money that I don’t have on gift giving. Please don’t judge me, as I am definitely not a cold-hearted Grinch – I just don’t see why we have to go such great lengths to please other people. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ – and not about what I have just mentioned above.

Tangent/mini rant aside, this festive kakanin known as Bibingka, or in English, Filipino Coconut Rice Cake, is usually eaten for breakfast especially during the Christmas season, typically sold alongside Puto Bumbong. Just like other kakanins, this treat can be enjoyed all year round and not just during the festive season. They can be found on the streets, in the markets and even in cafés and restaurants.

Bibingka

Bibingka is a round rice cake that is traditionally cooked in banana-lined clay pots and baked over pre-heated live coals, but more commericalised bibingkas can also be baked in the oven. Now, I’m not entirely sure that ‘Bibingkute’ is the actual term used for mini bibingkas – I just came across it during my research for a recipe. I think the name came from this statement on Kawaling Pinoy:

“And to increase the cute factor, I used muffin pans to bake the cakes.”

Quite a creative name I might add.

Bibingka is traditionally made with galapong, which is milled glutinous rice as the main ingredient. Nowadays you can easily buy glutinous rice flour and use that instead of milling your own rice. The cakes are also full of carbohydrates which makes it a breakfast favourite enjoyed with a strong serving of coffee to get one going through their morning commute to school or work. Other ingredients in bibingka include coconut milk, margarine, cheese, salted egg, and sugar.

Bibingkute (Mini Bibingka)

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-25 MINS | SERVES 12 MINI CAKES

INGREDIENTS

For the bibingka batter

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 5 free range eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the toppings

  • 2 salted duck eggs, cooked and sliced
  • Granulated white sugar
  • Grated and sliced cheese
  • Grated mature coconut (niyog)
  • Margarine, softened
  • Banana leaves

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  2. Banana Leaves: Prepare the banana leaves by rinsing them under warm water. Trim away the thick edges and cut the leaves into about 5 or 6-inch diameter rounds, large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a single muffin cup.
  3. Quickly pass and heat the banana leaves over stove flames for a few seconds, just until the leave if soften and pliable to work with. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with the prepared banana leaves. Make sure the leaves are intact with no rips. Set aside.
  4. Bibingkute: Combine the rice flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until well dispersed.
  5. In another large mixing bowl, combine the coconut milk and melted butter. Stir until well blended before adding in the rice flour mixture. Stir gently until the batter is smooth. Add the beaten eggs and combine until well blended.
  6. Pour and divide the batter equally into the prepared muffin pan, filling only about 3/4 of the way. Top each with a slice of salted egg and a slice of cheese.
  7. Bake: Place in the oven for about 15 to 25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes come out clean.
  8. Optional, if desired, place under the broiler for about 1 minute or until nicely charred.
  9. Remove from the oven and spread with margarine on top. Garnish with grated coconut or grated cheese and sprinkle with sugar to taste.
  10. Serve and enjoy hot for breakfast or merienda.

Bibingka

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