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

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Suman Malagkit, Suman sa Lihiya / Sumang Magkayakap, and Suman sa Ibos

Suman 3 Ways

Hello Everyone! Just 20 more days until Christmas, which means that Simbang Gabi is just around the corner! Simbang Gabi is a well-loved holiday tradition amongst Filipino Catholic devotees who attend mass at 4am. It is a series of 9 Novena Masses that commences on the morning of December 16 and culminates with the Misa de Gallo on Christmas Eve.

Apart from the Mass itself, another much loved part of the Simbang Gabi tradition that many look forward to are the local delicacies served just outside of the churches. You’ll find many vendors selling local Christmas favourites such as Suman, Puto Bumbong, Bibingka, Sapin-Sapin, and plenty more! Nowadays, these yummy treats, also known as kakanins, can be found in many establishments nationwide all year around so you don’t have to wait for Christmas to have your fill of them.

For the last month of the year, I will be sharing recipes for these traditional Filipino Christmas breakfast delights with you. And I’m going to kick it off with a popular favourite – Suman 3 ways!

Glutinous Rice (Malagkit) is a type of rice that is famous throughout Asia for its culinary use, especially in many variations of sweets. Here in the Philippines, one of the MANY most loved ways to cook glutinous rice is to wrap it in a banana leaf and then steamed. It is very easy to make, however time consuming. Filipinos take pride in doing it and many households have their own secret way to making this sweet and sticky rice delicacy.

Suman Malagkit

Suman Malagkit

In its simplest and most basic form is the Suman Malagkit, or translated, Sticky Rice Roll in a Banana Leaf.

PREP TIME 4 HOURS | COOKING TIME 2 HOURS | SERVES 20 PCS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups glutinous rice, uncooked
  • 2-3 cups coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Banana leaves for wrapping

METHOD

  1. Malagkit Mixture: In a large bowl, soak the glutinous rice for 2 to 3 hours to soften, and strain when ready to cook.
  2. Place the strained glutinous rice in a large pot together with the coconut milk and salt. Bring to a brisking boil.
  3. Once boiling, immediately turn the heat down to low until the rice and coconut milk mixture comes down to a slow simmer. Give it a good stir and then simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Turn the heat off, and leave the mixture for a further 15 to 30 minutes, covered, to allow the rice to finish cooking and cool down.
  5. Wrapping: While waiting for the rice to finishing cooking, prepare the banana leaves by quickly passing them over an open flame to make the leaves soft and pliable so that they are easier to work with when wrapping. This method also releases the natural aroma of the leaves.
  6. Cut the leaves into equal sizes, depending on the size of the suman roll that you want to make.
    Scoop about 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of the rice onto the prepared banana leaf and shape into a log, leaving about 1 inch on the sides. Roll the banana leaf tightly around the rice to form a log and fold both edges in to seal.
  7. Repeat until all of the rice has been wrapped, yields about 20 pieces.
  8. Cook: Stack the suman rolls in a steamer and steam over boiling water for about 30 to 60 minutes. Make sure that they are tender before removing them from the steamer.
  9. Serve: Allow to cool slightly before unwrapping. Serve with fresh grated coconut, brown sugar, or my absolute favourite – with sweet ripe mangoes! They can also be enjoyed on its own without any accompaniments.

Suman sa Lihiya / Sumang Magkayakap

Suman sa Lihiya / Sumang Magkayakap

This is basically the same as Suman Malagkit, but is treated with lihiya (lye water) which gives the suman its yellowish colour, a delicacy from the southern part of Luzon, especially in the Batangas Region.

It is also known as Sumang Magkayakap because of how it is served – two rice cakes tied together appearing as if they are embracing/hugging (magkayakap) each other.

PREP TIME 4 HOURS | COOKING TIME 2 HOURS | SERVES 24 PCS

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups glutinous rice, uncooked
  • 1 tbsp lye water
  • Banana leaves for wrapping
  • Food-safe cotton string

METHOD

  1. Rice Mixture: In a large bowl, soak the glutinous rice for 2 to 3 hours to soften. Strain the water and then mix in the lye water together with the drained rice until it turns yellow in colour.
  2. Wrapping: Prepare the banana leaves by quickly passing them over an open flame to make the leaves soft and pliable so that they are easier to work with when wrapping. Cut the leaves into equal sizes, depending on the size of the suman roll that you want to make.
  3. Scoop about 3 heaping tablespoons of the rice onto the prepared banana leaf and shape into a log, leaving about 1 inch on the sides. Roll the banana leaf tightly around the rice to form a log and fold both edges in to seal.
  4. Take two of the wrapped rice rolls, with the folded sides facing each other, and tie them together using the cotton string.
  5. Repeat until all of the rice has been wrapped, yields about 24 pieces or 12 pairs of Sumang Magkayakap.
  6. Cook: Arrange the suman rolls in a large cooking pot. Pour enough water (room temperature) to cover them. Bring to a boil over low heat for about 2 hours or until done.
  7. Serve: Allow to cool slightly before unwrapping. Serve with fresh grated coconut or a sweet latik sauce.

Suman sa Ibos

Suman sa Ibos

A native delicacy known simply as Ibos (or also spelt as Ibus) by Ilonggos that is wrapped in palm or buri leaves. This is the counterpart of banana leaves, which is commonly used in many other suman recipes. They are mostly grouped and sold in bundles be it on the streets, in markets, mall stalls, and even restaurants.

The challenge with Suman sa Ibos is not the in cooking processing, but in preparing the ‘container’. You will need to swirl the palm leaves over a mold and locked properly to make individual containers to hold the glutinous rice mixture.

PREP TIME 3 HOURS | COOKING TIME 2 HOURS | SERVES 20 PCS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups glutinous rice, uncooked
  • 2-3 cups coconut milk (fresh, canned, or frozen)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Palm or buri leaves for wrapping

METHOD

  1. Preparation: In a large bowl, soak the glutinous rice for 2 to 3 hours to soften.
  2. While waiting for the rice, prepare the ibos (palm leaf) container/wrapper. The leaves should be about 1.5 inches in width. Fold the bottom edge of the palm leaf into a triangle. Swirl the leaf in an overlapping manner to create a cylindrical mold. To secure the tube, you can lock the leaf using a small piece of wooden pick. Prepare about 20 containers.
  3. Once the rice is done, drain the excess water and mix the coconut milk and salt in thoroughly. Set aside to stand for about 10 minutes.
  4. Fill the ibos container 3/4 of the way with the glutinous rice mixture. Seal the container by using the strips of the palm leaves.
  5. Cook: Arrange the suman containers in a large cooking pot. Pour enough water (room temperature) to cover them. Bring to a boil over low heat for about 2 hours or until done.
  6. Serve: Allow to cool slightly before unwrapping.Best paired with muscovado sugar or regular white sugar. Also best eaten with ripe mangoes or native tsokolate/tablea.

And there you have it! 3 ways in which you can make Suman! Of course there are many others way in which you can make suman that is native to the province of which they originate from. Two favourites of mine, which I have not included in this post, are Tupig native to Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte, and Suman Pinipig from Bulacan. These two are a little more complicated than the basic ones that I’ve shared in this post. You can find Suman Pinipig in many mall stalls across Metro Manila, however I still have yet to find Tupig around here.

With these rice cakes, you don’t necessarily have to eat it the moment you finish cooking it. It does however; definitely taste better when it’s not chilled. If you need to keep it in the fridge and indulge in them the day after, you can easily steam them again for 10 minutes before serving.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Full Pinoy Breakfast

Full Pinoy Breakfast

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that we’re nearing the end of November! The month went by so quickly and before we know it, the year will be over too. I’m not going to say that tonight will be the last of my Filipino breakfast series because expect more for the month of December. The only twist is that I will be sharing Filipino Christmas Breakfast treats, so stay tuned for that! I will also be sharing with you a Noche Buena Special next month be sure to so look out for that too!

Tonight’s recipe is a dish that draws inspiration from a Full English Breakfast – but with a Filipino twist to it. I’m not sure if this has been done before (I’m sure it has), but nevertheless, I’ve swapped out traditional English Breakfast ingredients with its Filipino counterpart i.e. sausages for longganisa, toast for pandesal, and so on. I came across this idea while researching the top favourite Filipino Breakfast dishes and it clicked into mind: “what if I substitute the ingredients from a Full English Breakfast and make a Filipino version of it?”

The end result definitely put a smile on my face, and I’m sure it will do the same for you.

Full Pinoy Breakfast Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g fresh corned beef
  • 250g oyster mushrooms*
  • 12 Vigan longganisa**
  • 8 freshly baked malunggay pandesal***
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 4 slices of pineapple-marinated holiday ham****
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and sliced
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To garnish

  • Lettuce leaves
  • Tomatoes, sliced

*Or any other type such as button, cup, or Portobello, whichever is readily available and fresh at your local market or grocers. In my case, the oyster mushrooms were the freshest from the rest.

**Quantity depends on the size and type, more if you get the smaller ones.

***You can bake your own pandesal or you can pop over to your nearest pandesal stall (ours is just a 2 minute walk from our house) and buy at 3 pesos a piece of freshly baked malunggay pandesal.

Malunggay Pandesal

****Since Christmas is nearing, Hamon de Bola (Ham Ball or Holiday Ham) can now be found in every grocery store nationwide! Since this is our first time being back in the Philippines for good, we’ve been scouting around for the best tasting Holiday Ham by just buying slices of the various brands out there before buying the whole ball to serve for our upcoming Noche Buena Feast next month.

METHOD

Get ready for some one-pan action!

  1. Preheat oven to 90C (190F) just hot enough to keep each element of the dish warm as we work through each one of them individually. Place your store-bought pandesal into the oven.
  2. Fried Egg: Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with about a tablespoon of oil. Crack the eggs gently into the pan to keep the yolks intact. Don’t overcrowd the pan, so if needed, fry the eggs in batches.
  3. Cook until the tops of the whites are set, but the yolk is still runny. Browned and crispy on the edges with a golden liquidy yolk is how I like my fried eggs! Transfer to a heat-proof plate and set aside in the oven.
  4. Garlic Sautéed Mushies: In the same pan, add half of the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add in the mushrooms and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add a knob of unsalted butter, and season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Give it one good stir to combine and transfer to a small heat-proof bowl. Set aside in the oven.
  6. Corned Beef: Add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the remaining minced garlic until fragrant and golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add in the onions and cook until soft for about 1 minute before adding in the corned beef.
  7. Continue to cook for 5 to 6 minutes, seasoning with a touch of fragrant and golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add in the diced potatoes and cook further until the potatoes are soft, about 2-3 minutes. Once done, set aside in a small heat-proof bowl and set aside in the oven.
  8. Longganisa: Wipe down the pan with a kitchen towel tissue and add about a quarter cup of water to the pan together with the longganisa. Bring the water to a boil. Roll the longganisa occasionally and continue to boil until the water in the pan evaporates.
  9. When the water has fully evaporated, let the longganisa fry in its own oil. Continue to fry the longganisa for about 5 minutes while constantly rolling them around to cook evenly on all sides. When the longganisa is slightly crisp on the outside, it’s done! Set aside on a heat-proof plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Set aside in the oven to keep warm.
  10. Holiday Ham: Again, wipe down the pan with a kitchen towel tissue and add about a tablespoon of oil. Add the ham slices to the pan and fry until golden brown both sides. Set aside on a single plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
  11. Plate Up: Remove all the cooked elements from the oven and plate up accordingly into four individual serving plates. Garnish with fresh lettuce leaves and fresh sliced tomatoes. Serve with coffee or any hot beverage of your choice and here you have it! Enjoy a Full Filipino Breakfast for the upcoming weekend!

Full Pinoy Breakfast

Full Pinoy Breakfast

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Classic Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge)

Classic Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge)

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone has had a fantabulous week so far and will have a great week ahead with the weekend to look forward to. Tonight I will be sharing a Filipino breakfast staple that is sure to spark some doubts, especially amongst those who aren’t very familiar with this foreign food pairing. Let me explain further.

Champorado, or in English, Chocolate Rice Pudding, is a classic dish found in many homes across the Philippines commonly served for breakfast. Chocolate for breakfast sounds like a heavenly dream doesn’t it? But wait, there’s a catch! Champorado is usually served with a piece of Tuyo, which in English is known as dried salted fish! Chocolate and dried salted fish?! That sounds like a bizarre combination!

Classic Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge)

Is it really though? While the sound of pairing chocolate together with fish seems like whoever came up with this combination was stoned, drunk, or suffered a milk mild concussion, let’s look at the flavour profiles instead. Okay before I continue, I would like to take a small shortcut – I had a major laugh fit when proof reading what I wrote above… What even is a milk concussion?!

Anyway, continuing on, there are a lot of impeccable desserts and sweet dishes out there that embrace the salty-sweet combination, and that’s exactly what you get from Champorado and Tuyo. It’s exactly like eating salted chocolate! The dried salted fish, which is shredded and mixed into the Champorado adds pops of salty surprises to each spoonful of the sweet chocolate rice porridge that you take.

Still not convinced? As the say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover if you haven’t tried it yet. Otherwise, you could get away with adding a pinch of rock salt into your Champorado – but it won’t be the same.

Classic Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge) Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 pieces tsokolate tablea*
  • 1 cup glutinous rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar

Topping choices

  • Cacao nibs
  • Fried tuyo
  • Full cream milk
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Other dairy alternatives such as almond milk and/or coconut milk

*Tsokolate tablea, or literally translated to chocolate tablets is dried local cocoa beans roasted for a few hours before being ground to a rich, chocolate-y paste. Sugar, most often muscovado, is then added to the paste before it is shaped into balls or tablets, hence its name. Tsokolate tablea is traditionally used to make Champorado, but other alternatives such as unsweetened cocoa powder or a dark chocolate bar can be used in its place.

METHOD

  1. Pour the water into a large heavy bottom saucepot over medium-high heat and bring to a brisking boil. Add in the tablea chocolate and dissolve. Once dissolved, add in the rice and bring back to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, turn the heat down to reduce to a simmer and stir the rice every 3 minutes or so to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Leave uncovered to cook further for another 15 to 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. The consistency should be thick but soft, just like porridge.
  3. Add in the brown sugar and stir to combine until dissolved. Remove from the heat and transfer into individual serving bowls. Top with dairy of choice and fried tuyo (optional for those feeling adventurous).
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Classic Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge)

Note: Even after cooking with the heat turned off, the glutinous rice will continue to expand and absorb the liquid, therefore it is important to serve it immediately to avoid dry Champorado.

You may also like to add a bit of chilli to your Champorado. It is not traditionally a spicy dish, but if you want that extra kick to the guts to get you going in the mornings, then go for it! Chocolate and chilli afterall is another classic flavour combination!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Taho (Silken Tofu with Syrup & Tapioca Pearls)

Taho (Silken Tofu with Syrup & Tapioca Pearls)

Hello Everyone! So usually a new month on the blog means a new theme as well, but this time around I’ve decided to continue sharing Filipino breakfast favourites as there are so much more to cover than just the –silog dishes!

Tonight I will be sharing with you a popular breakfast protein in a cup known as Taho, pronounced tah-ho. It is basically warm bland silken tofu that is sweetened with a caramelised sugar syrup known as arnibal, and is topped with tiny sago (tapioca) pearls. The tofu base is as fine as custard that practically disintegrates into your mouth at every slurp. The arnibal imparts a warm, molasses-like aroma, and addition to the sweetness it brings to lift the tofu, it also gives it an earthy dimension. The sago? Ties the whole cup together by giving it some bite. It is a perfect breakfast to-go that warms your insides, is filling, and has enough sugar to get you through the morning.

Traditionally, taho vendors hawk their product using a yoke-and-bucket system that is hundreds of years old. Two aluminium buckets are suspended from each end of a bamboo pole – one containing the silken tofu, and the other carrying the arnibal, sago, and other necessities like plastic cups, spoons, and the day’s takings. Taho vendors balance their signature contraption on one shoulder and walk the streets in the mornings calling out “tahhoooooo” drawing out the second syllable for as long as their breath can handle.

As easy as it is to get taho from vendors, it is also just as easy to make it at home yourself with either store-bought silken tofu, or by making your own at home with instant or Homemade Soy Milk with a coagulant agent to help aid in the curdling of the soy milk to form taho – in this case, the recipe uses Epsom salt. Original recipe can be found over on Foxy Folksy.

Taho (Silken Tofu with Syrup & Tapioca Pearls)

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the silken tofu

  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk, instant or homemade
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp (leveled) Epsom salt

For the arnibal

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup small-sized tapioca pearls, uncooked

METHOD

If using store-bought silken tofu, skip ahead to step

  1. Taho: In a large cooking pot over the stove, place a heat-proof bowl that is big enough to hold at least 500ml of liquid in it.
  2. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/8 cup of water in a small bowl. Add the Epsom salt to the mixture and then stir until dissolved.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared bowl in the cooking pot. Then slowly pour in the instant/homemade soy milk to the cornstarch and Epsom salt mixture. DO NOT STIR! Once both mixtures are combined, try not to agitate it otherwise it will not curdle smoothly.
  4. Pour boiling water into the pot just enough to be on the same level of the soy milk mixture in the bowl. Cover the pot with the lid wrapped with a clean cloth to absorb the steam and prevent the droplets formed from dripping into the taho mixture.
  5. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the taho cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it is firm to the touch but still wiggly. While waiting for the taho to cook, you can prepare the arnibal and tapioca pearls.
  6. Arnibal: Combine equal parts of brown sugar and water .n a small pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally and let it simmer until it thickens into a syrup, about 7 to 10 minutes
  7. Tapioca Pearls: In a small pot, bring to a boil about a half litre of water before adding the tapioca pearls in. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of your pearls.
  8. Place a colander or strainer in a bowl or pot and pour the pearls through to separate them from the water. Pour the same water used back into the cooking pot and bring the water to a boil again.
  9. Wash the strained tapioca pearls thoroughly with tap water and then place it back into the pot of boiling water again. Cook further until they become completely translucent ensuring that there are no white spots at the core.
  10. Serve: Using a wide spoon or ladle, make thin scoops of taho and transfer to a glass or mug. Top with the arnibal syrup and tapioca pearls. Enjoy while it’s warm!

Taho (Silken Tofu with Syrup & Tapioca Pearls)

You can find taho vendors almost in every corner – everywhere! There’s usually a vendor just outside the entrance to the weekend market where my Mom and I do our weekly groceries. I also remember coming across a taho vendor on the beach as well. In fact, we have our own taho vendor who comes on his bicycle every morning around 9am yodeling “tahhoooooo” on our street. Occasionally we’d call out to him for a cup (or two) of delicious taho, and since he comes right to our doorstep, we opt to use our own ceramic cups/mugs instead of the plastic cups he usually serves them in – we need to do what we can to reduce plastic waste!

In Baguio City, Strawberry Taho is a big hit where locally grown strawberries from the region are preserved as chunky jam and then added to the bland tofu instead of arnibal. Make you own chucky strawberry jam at home with my Homemade Strawberry Jam to bring the City of Baguio into your kitchen!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tinapang Bangusilog with Ensaladang Lato

Tinapang Bangusilog with Ensaladang Lato

Or in English, Smoked Milkfish, Rice, and Egg with Seaweed Salad.

Hello Everyone! Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween! Sorry I don’t have any spooky recipes to share this year – with so much that’s been going on for the past few months, we’re still slowly settling in.

Anyway, though this may be the last of my –silog series for the month of October on the blog there are still endless possibilities out there! For example, there’s adosilog, bacsilog, dangsilog, chiksilog, cornsilog, hotsilog, litsilog, sisilog, and the list goes on! The ones that I have shared with you are the most popular ones that can be found in almost any café, restaurant, or calenderias across the Philippines. They are also most definitely my favourite –silogs to whip up at home whenever I feel like fueling up with rice in the mornings, or whenever I’m in the mood for breakfast for dinner.

Tinapang Bangus or Smoked Milkfish

Tonight, I will be sharing with you a long time favourite – tinapang bagus, or in English, smoked milkfish. Milkfish is another popular staple in a Filipino household, one that we’ve grown up with despite growing up in Brunei where milkfish is also readily available all year round. What Brunei didn’t have though was smoked milkfish readily available in the markets or supermarkets. So whenever we’re back in the Philippines for the holidays, we’d make sure that we’d get our fair share of smoked milkfish in our bellies *cheeky grin* Now that we’re permanently back in the Philippines, you’ll always find tinapang bangus in our fridge!

I’ve added a little twist to the regular bangusilog of just garlic rice, fried egg, and bangus – I’ve also added a fresh element to cut through the dryness of the overall dish. If you’ve noticed from the previous –silogs I’ve shared with you, they’re pretty much dry and have no veggies to them at all which to be honest, makes me feel guilty for not consuming any greens!

Green Caviar, Sea Grapes, Seaweed, or Lato

Known as Green Caviar or Sea Grapes, it is set to lead the health food market with their bountiful benefits. Now this is probably a type of seaweed that isn’t commonly seen everywhere. In fact, they can only be found on the shores of Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and now Singapore. Here in the Philippines we call these Lato. I first came across these when I was dining at Blackbeard’s Seafood Island during one of my trips to the Philippines way back when. I was reluctant to try them only because they looked so foreign. I was convinced that they were just there on the dish for decoration until our friends that we were dining with told me that they were edible. They have a good fresh crunch to them and also pop in your mouth like caviar – minus the hint of saltiness that you get from actual caviar.

Here in the Philippines, Lato is commonly used to make Ensaladang Lato, which in English translates to Seaweed Salad. There are a few variations to this, but generally it consists of tomatoes, salted egg, fish sauce, and a squeeze of fresh calamansi juice. The simpler, the better.

Ensaladang Lato Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tinapang bangus (boneless)*

For the ensaladang lato

  • 1/2 kg green caviar seaweed (or known as Lato in the Philippines)
  • 2 salted eggs, quartered
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Fresh calamansi juice, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To serve with

  • Garlicky fried rice or steamed rice
  • Fried sunny-side up egg or scrambled egg

*We usually only eat half of a bangus per serving but feel free to eat a whole fish for yourself!

METHOD

  1. Ensaladang Lato: In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, salted egg, and lato.
  2. Toss through the fish sauce, calamansi juice, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Adjust to your liking. Set aside for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  3. Tinapang Bangusilog: Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. Fry both sides of the bangus over medium heat, until the colour turns medium brown.
  4. Serve hot with garlicky fried rice (or steamed rice), fried or scrambled egg, together with the ensaladang lato. Enjoy!

Tinapang Bangusilog with Ensaladang Lato

Tinapang Bangusilog with Ensaladang Lato

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kapampangan Tosilog

Kapampangan Tosilog

Hello Everyone! How was your day today? Or if you are just about to start your day, I hope you have a great ahead! I thought I’d start tonight’s post a little different, as I seem to either always apologising for something or delving right into the recipe. Anyway, I had a productive day(?) I’m not sure if going into the city and doing some window-shopping count as being productive *cheeky grin*

Tocino, just like Beef Tapa and Longganisa, are staples that are native to the Philippines. Tocino is basically sweet cured pork, with similar ways of preparation to that of ham and bacon, although beef and chicken can often be used as alternatives. It is sweet and savoury in taste and artificially reddish in colour to make it look more appetising. Of course, the addition of red food colouring is optional, as it does not affect the overall taste of the meat.

Though tocino is usually eaten for breakfast such as tosilog, it has been a famous Filipino ‘anytime’ food because it is readily available in almost every grocery store and can be consumed at any time of the day. We usually have tosilog for dinner – I mean who can say no to breakfast for dinner?

The process of making tocino varies from different regions of the Philippines – my favourite would definitely have to be the Kapampangan way in which boast “The Original Tocino” makers. The more popular kind of tocino, which we’ve already established is sweet, Kapampangans have a special kind called Pindang which has an added tanginess to it. In addition, to achieve that soft and tender meat, Kapampangans mix all the ingredients together by hand for a whopping 3 to 5 hours! It is then left covered overnight at room temperature to ferment before putting it in the fridge to cure.

The original recipe for making your own homemade pork tocino, Kapampangan style, can be found over on Foxy Folksy.

Kapampangan Tosilog

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4-5

*If making your own homemade tocino, allow for up to 2 days preparation before proceeding to dish up a Tosilog dish for breakfast

INGREDIENTS

For the tocino marinade

  • 1kg pork butt, shoulder, ham or belly, cut into 1/4 inch thin slices
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Natural red food colour (optional)

To serve with

  • Garlicky fried rice or steamed rice
  • Fried sunny-side up egg
  • Spicy vinegar

METHOD

If using store-bought tocino, skip ahead to step 5

  1. In a large mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients for the tocino marinade except for the pork slices. Mix the ingredients together until will combined.
  2. Add the pork slices into the marinade and mix by hand for up to an hour, or more if you have the patience to do so. Don’t forget to use gloves to avoid stained hands!
  3. Once done with the mixing, transfer the pork to a container with a cover and let it sit overnight on the countertop.
  4. Mix pork around for a couple of times more before placing it in the fridge to cure for 24 hours or up to 3 days. It can be frozen afterwards and stored for longer (up to 3 months).
  5. Now that you’ve acquired the knack of making your own tocino (or no shame in just getting store-bought ones), it’s time to cook it!
  6. Add about 2 cups of water (or just enough to cover the meat) and 1/4 cup of cooking oil into a large frying pan together with the pork tocino slices. Boil over high heat. The process of boiling further tenderises the meat while cooking.
  7. When the water evaporates, the cooking oil will be left, instantly frying the meat. Turn the meat over after a few minutes of frying to cook evenly on all sides.
  8. Serve hot with garlicky fried rice or steamed rice and fried egg – browned and crispy on the edges with a golden liquidy yolk is how I like my fried eggs. In addition, it tastes best when dipped in spicy vinegar!

Kapampangan Tosilog

Kapampangan Tosilog

Just a word of advice before I leave it here for tonight – it is indefinitely hard to resist the taste of good cured meat but moderate consumption is recommendable. We want to avoid too much intake as it can still affect our health in the long run. Try to limit your servings of pork tocino to at least once or twice a month.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tocino Spamsilog Fries

Tocino Spamsilog Fries

Hello Everyone! Firstly, I do apologise on getting what was supposed to be last week’s post up super duper late (yesterday) – if you have read my last post just prior to this, then you’d know the reason why, but moving on…

Tocino and Spam, alongside Beef Tapa and Longganisa, are all staples that you can find in a Filipino household. Our fridge should at least have one of them in it, on standby, when there’s nothing else to whip out for lunch or dinner (yes we also eat them at any time of day, not just for breakfast). Right now I can tell you that we have Tocino in our fridge, and cans of Spam in our pantry – heck we even had fried regular Spam for dinner tonight!

But what happens when you can’t decide on whether you want Tocino or Spam to complete your –silog meal? Behold, SPAM TOCINO!

Spam Tocino

So I may be late on the discovery of Spam Tocino bandwagon (early last month), but needless to say that there are a few (thousands probably) products that don’t get imported into Brunei, especially if they’re non-halal. So yes, while we did have Spam in Brunei (only at certain supermarkets), we only got their regular flavours such as the original Spam, and lite Spam really. So seeing Spam Tocino on the shelves at our local supermarket while I had already set out to just get Bacon flavoured Spam, got me super excited to try it out!

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can (340g) Tocino flavoured Spam, sliced and then cut into thick matchsticks

To serve with

  • Garlicky fried rice
  • Fried sunny-side up egg
  • Sweet chilli sauce

METHOD

  1. Place the Spam in a frying pan, adding enough water to cover the slices.
  2. On medium heat, cook the Spam until the water has reduced to form a syrup which can be used as a glaze.
  3. Once the slices start to caramelise, lightly dress with olive oil and continue to cook, turning the heat up to high until seared and caramelised on both sides.
  4. Serve hot with garlicky fried rice and fried egg – browned and crispy on the edges with a golden liquidy yolk is how I like my fried eggs.

Tocino Spamsilog Fries

*Note: You can’t just plop these Spam slices and fry them in oil like how you would fry regular flavoured Spam. Because of the caramalisation that happens when cooking Spam Tocino, frying them directly in oil will result with a burnt outer layer, and undercooked Spam on the inside – this was totally the mistake I made because I did not read the back of the can where it says how to cook this special kind of Spam.

While doing my research, I came across a little interesting fact – whether the fact is true or false, I do not know, but it’s nonetheless intriguing. Basically, or more so apparently, Spam heard the Filipinos love Spam so much that they were inspired to create a variant of their product that will cater to the Filipino palate. From there, Tocino flavoured Spam was born. I also read on someone’s blog that these were limited edition – the post was made in 2014 and 4 years later it’s still selling on the shelves of my local supermarket. This can only mean one thing – it was probably a huge hit here in the Philippines and has thus continued to produce Spam Tocino as part of their collection of flavours!

Seeing the words syrup and glaze in this recipe gives you a clue that this is a sweeter version of Spam – which may not sit well with some people. Hardcore Spam-lovers may not be too enticed just because they prefer the salty, savoury version of it, which is what Spam is known for originally! The feeling is mutual for me, though Spam Tocino did excite and tickle my taste buds, I can’t overcome my love for the original flavour profile.

Tocino Spamsilog Fries

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lucban Longsilog

Lucban Longsilog

Hello Everyone! I’ll start of with a question for all of you this morning:

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

When I was still working in Brunei for the past few years, I would kicking off my day with breakfast by 6:30am which is usually either a bowl of oatmeal with fruits, bread with whatever spread was available (most likely peanut butter), pancakes, or instant noodles. Whichever it was for that day, none of these would last me until my noon lunch break. At most, I could only last until about 10:00am (and that’s already pushing it). The rest of the two hours, I usually sit at my desk dreaming of lunch and unfortunately continue to have an unproductive latter part of the morning.

Filipinos and most Asians in general love to eat rice in almost every meal, including breakfast. Rice provides more energy and keeps us full and focused longer – but as a kid, my siblings and I were never brought up on having rice for breakfast. Even having been back in the Philippines for just over two months now, not once did we have rice for breakfast. The –silogs you’ll be seeing for this month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen is actually breakfast for dinner *cheeky grin*

Here’s another question for you, especially to all my kabayans out there:

What’s your favourite type of longganisa?

Lucban Longsilog

The great thing about longganisa is that they come in many variations depending on the province they originate from, but nonetheless are all mouth-watering breakfast delights. Provinces such as Vigan, Lucban, Tuguegarao, Cabanatuan, Alaminos, Cebu, Camlumpit, Bacolod, Pampanga, Guinobatan, and many more boast of their own unique blend of ingredients that is specific to their region that goes into the making of their longganisa. For example, what makes Vigan Longganisa so popular is its garlicky and sour notes that come from the combination of Ilocos sugar cane vinegar (sukang Iloko) and local garlic from Sinait which are both major products of the Vigan province.

I have yet to try all the types of longganisa around the Philippines, but to date, my long-time favourite is most definitely the Lucban Longganisa! They are very popular for their aromatic and garlicky smell! If you happen to visit the province of Lucban, Quezon, you will definitely not miss this longganisa because it is displayed in the markets, and even along the roads in the many parts of the town. The best part? I don’t have to travel all the way to Lucban, or wait for a relative to bring some back as pasalubong – I can now find freshly made ones at our local weekend produce market, and I even spotted some at our local grocers too! Additionally, they’re not that hard to make at home yourself!

Longganisa is definitely a very popular Filipino breakfast staple that is best paired with sinangag (garlicky fried rice), fried egg, and a spicy (optional) vinegar dipping sauce for added taste on the side.

Homemade Lucban Longganisa

(Original recipe from Panlasang Pinoy)

PREP TIME 1 HOUR* | COOKING TIME | MAKES 2 DOZEN SAUSAGES

*Plus 8 to 12 hours of refrigeration time before cooking

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg ground lean pork belly or shoulder**
  • 1/2 cup cane vinegar
  • 4 tbsp pork fat, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 7 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 4 tsp rock salt
  • 2 tsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Dried hog casing or sausage casing (about 1-inch in diameter)

**Or you can just buy lean ground pork if you don’t like to grind the meat yourself.

METHOD

  1. Add the ground pork, pork fat, salt, smoked paprika, garlic, oregano, sugar, and vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients together thoroughly until well combine. Set it aside for about 30 minutes for the flavours to fully develop and infuse into the meat.
  2. Soak the dried hog casing in warm water for about 3 minutes. Tie the first end of the casing and stuff using a funnel or a sausage stuffer with the meat mixture. Make links of longganisa about 2 to 3 inches apart or depending on how long you want your longganisa to be.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 8 to 12 hours before cooking or you can store it in the freezer.

Lucban Longsilog

Lucban Longsilog

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 dozen homemade or store-bought lonnganisa

To serve with

  • Garlicky fried rice
  • Fried sunny-side up egg
  • Spicy vinegar

METHOD

  1. Heat a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high. Add about a quarter cup of water to the pan together with the longganisa. Bring the water to a boil. Roll the longganisa occasionally and continue to boil until the water in the pan evaporates.
  2. When the water has fully evaporated, let the longganisa fry in its own oil. Continue to fry the longganisa for about 5 minutes while constantly rolling them around to cook evenly on all sides. When the longganisa is slightly crisp on the outside, it’s done!
  3. Serve hot with garlicky fried rice and fried egg – browned and crispy on the edges with a golden liquidy yolk is how I like my fried eggs.

Lucban Longsilog

Before I end today’s post, yes I am fully aware that it’s not a Wednesday night yet, but this recipe was supposed to go up last Wednesday. At the time I was actually back in Brunei for a couple of days to tie up some loose ends. I got home late that night (well okay, at 9pm) but was super exhausted from the events of that day that I just passed out when I hit the sheets. So anyway, I’m getting this up now so that I can get tomorrow’s scheduled post up on time (hopefully).

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Beef Tapsilog

Beef Tapsilog

Hello Everyone! First and foremost, I would like apologise for my absence last month. I had a theme all planned out, and even had the dishes ready to post – but life got in the way and disrupted my writing and posting schedule for two weeks. At the beginning of September, I was on a family trip to Singapore and Malaysia for my youngest sister’s graduation – it was a jam-packed week filled with much activities and therefore gifted me with a fever, cough, and flu from over fatigue after the trip.

Alyssa’s Graduation Ceremony – Diploma in Contemporary Music from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
Alyssa’s Graduation Ceremony – Diploma in Contemporary Music from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore

Day Trip to Legoland, Nusajaya, Malaysia
Day Trip to Legoland, Nusajaya, Malaysia

And because of that, I decide to take a small break for September and just start fresh with the theme I had planned out for the month of October! (Details in a bit).

Secondly, before I dive into the theme for this month, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my friends and fellow foodies who have contributed a recipe or two for my Auguest series on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. I hope that you guys enjoyed both the sweet and savoury breakfast fixes that they have shared with you! If you’d like to participate in next year’s Auguest series, drop me an email and let’s see what we can do!

Thirdly, I just want to put it out there that have some news to share with everyone so stick around until the end of this post (or you can skip ahead and scroll down to read it now).

Moving on, a new month means a new theme and for the month of October, where I will be sharing with you some of my favourite Filipino Breakfast staples! I’m kicking off the theme with few ways you can enjoy a traditional Filipino “silog” breakfast. Silog is a suffix in which the si is short for sinangag (garlic fried rice) while the log is short for itlog (fried egg). For example, Tapsilog is an abbreviation for Beef Tapa, Sinangag, and Itlog. The popular Filipino breakfast dish is a harmonious combination of sweet, sour, salty and umami flavours that sing in every mouthful you take.

Beef Tapsilog

Traditionally, tapa was a means of extending the shelf life of meats and other proteins such as chicken and fish. Beef Tapa is similar to that of Beef Jerky where it is prepared by curing the meat with sea salt and then left to dry directly under the sun for the purpose of preserving the meat.

Nowadays, Beef Tapa is simply marinated and cooked (either grilled, sautéed, or fried). The marinade mixture consists of, but is not limited to: soy sauce for saltiness, calamansi juice for a punch of tang, sugar for sweetness, and garlic for warmth. You can even buy Beef Tapa from grocery stores across the Philippines that have already been marinated for you, either fresh or frozen. Of course, the best way is to do it yourself so that you can adjust the levels of salt, sweet, and tang to your liking, and also know what actually goes into the marinade.

Beef Tapsilog

PREP TIME 15 MINS* | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4

*For ready marinated, store-bought Beef Tapa. If marinating yourself, allow for a minimum of 4-6 hours of marinade time, or 12 hours overnight in the fridge for the flavours to really soak into the meat (maximum 24 hours).

INGREDIENTS

For the Beef Tapa marinade

  • 500g beef sirloin (New York Strip or boneless rib eye), sliced thin against the grain**
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed calamansi juice
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To serve with

  • Garlicky fried rice
  • Fried sunny-side up egg
  • Fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped (optional)
  • Spicy vinegar

**When using beef, it is best to slice against the grain (grain referring to the muscle fibres), as this will result in easier to chew, more tender pieces of beef.

METHOD

  1. Add all the marinade ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and mix until the brown sugar has dissolved.
  2. Toss in the sliced beef and make sure that it is well coated in the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours (up to 24 hours).
  3. Strain the beef from the marinade and arrange on a grill pan (you may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your grill pan). Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook the beef until well browned on each side, about 2-4 minutes per side once they start to sizzle aggressively.
  4. Serve hot with garlicky fried rice, fresh tomatoes, a spicy vinegar dip, and fried egg – browned and crispy on the edges with a golden liquidy yolk is how I like my fried eggs.

This dish is all about balance. The contrasting flavours and textures all work together to keep your palate salivating for more. While Tapsilog is most popular for breakfast, it can also be enjoyed at any time of the day, even as an occasional midnight snack after a night of drinking!

Beef Tapsilog

Okay, now down to business – the news. If you have been a frequent follower of my blog for the past few months or so, I’ve vaguely mentioned multiple times of what has been going on in my life that I couldn’t exactly say back then. The time has finally come…

I quit my job back in Brunei.

Or more like, I had finished my two-year contract with them and I decided not to be tied down for another two years (which I had been looking forward to since the beginning of the year). The working environment just became toxic to my mental health. I also felt that I had lost myself – I didn’t know who I was anymore, as a designer. I was either designing for a client who knows nothing about design, or for my supervisor who thinks she’s better than the designer. She would push for her ideas to be realised, but when everyone criticises it, she puts the blame on the designer. When I push for what I want and then praised for a job well done, she would steal the spotlight. There were just so many things wrong with the system, and I decided to put my foot down and just leave altogether.

I grew tired of fighting and standing up for myself amongst vipers with childish and petty attitudes, and to be honest, my mental wellness is so much more important than dealing with these kind of people 6 full days a week for the past 3 years – and I am not going to allow myself to endure another 2 years if I had decided to renew my contract with them.

With that being said – no job in Brunei for me means no valid visa to work there. No valid visa means I can’t stay in Brunei anymore, and so after more or less 26 years, I finally left my home away from home, my birthplace, and have settled for just over two months now back to the motherland – the Philippines.

This is also why for the month of October on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I have decided to share popular Filipino breakfast staples – something that I have been enjoying and indulging in for the past two months so I hope you enjoy my Filipino Breakfast series for the upcoming month!

To end, apologies for the super long post!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com