Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Hello Everyone! Oh how it has been one heck of a super hectic and stressful week! So hectic that even until today I haven’t had the time to sit down and watch the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones! *gasp* With that being said, I do have an important announcement to make which you can read about at the end of this post.

Moving on, we’re on our last Pineapple recipe for the month! How crazy is that?! It’ll be May already next week, and in another blink of an eye, we’ll be at the halfway mark of the year! Tonight I’ll be sharing a recipe that I first tried during my travels to Thailand – now I’ve been there a couple of times already so I can’t remember when exactly was the first time I had it there, whether 6, 10, or 15 years ago.

Cooking fried rice is fun as it is super quick to make and it allows you to get creative with the choice of proteins and vegetables that go into the mix. It can easily be a sort of clean-out-the-fridge. The end result, a tasty and satisfying weeknight meal to eat!

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice is a refreshing twist to a classic/normal fried rice. It is one of Thailand’s signature dishes, It is often platted in a carved-out pineapple bowl to make it, not only delectable, but even more gorgeous to look at! The slightly tangy and sweet taste of the fresh pineapple is so enticing and the combination of spices just takes it up a notch. Not only that, it is so much cheaper and healthier than take-out fried rice.

Feel free to get creative and use your favourite kind of protein in this dish, i.e. ham, chicken, pork, or prawns. You may even keep it vegetarian with just the pineapple or bulk it up with tofu! Of course, don’t forget to switch out the fish sauce with salt if you’re going vegetarian with the dish. The version that I will be sharing with you guys tonight is pescatarian-friendly. It’s a true crowd-pleaser and is sure to be a hit at the table.

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 to 4 cups cooked rice (preferably several days old)
  • 1 fresh, almost ripe pineapple (see method below on how to prepare)
  • 250g prawns, shelled with the tails left on and deveined
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables (green peas, carrots, and corn kernels, thawed)
  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews or peanuts
  • 1 sprig afro parsley

For the sauce

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp Thai curry powder (or regular yellow curry powder)
  • 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Pineapple: Cut the pineapple lengthwise, crown included.
  2. Take one half of the pineapple and run a sharp knife around the border of the pineapple. Make sure to leave a couple of centimeteres from the edge for a firm border.
  3. Slice the pineapple into large cubes and then carve out the flesh. Repeat for the other half of the pineapple.
  4. Cut the carved out pineapple cubed into smaller bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  5. Dry out the carved out pineapple bowls in the oven at 160C (320F or gas mark 2) for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Fried Rice: If using old rice, oil your fingers with about a tablespoon of cooking oil and work your way through the rice with you hands. Separate any chunks back into grains and then set aside.
  7. Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the curry powder and sugar, and then set aside.
  8. Heat a wok or a large frying pan over medium high. Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and swirl around. Add the minced garlic and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the sliced chillies and diced onions. Cook for a further minute.
  9. Add in the prawns and stir-fry until they turn pink and plump, about 2 to 3 minutes. Push the ingredients to the side of the wok/pan and then pour in the lightly beaten egg. Quickly stir the egg to cook (like scrambled eggs).
  10. Now add in the rice, pineapple chunks, and thawed mixed vegetables. Drizzle the sauce mixture over the rice and gently stir-fry to combine all the ingredients together. You want to be able to hear the rice “dance” (make popping sounds) as it fries for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  11. As it cooks, taste and adjust the flavours to you liking, i.e. if it needs more salt, add more fish sauce. Towards the end of the cooking time, add in the roasted cashews or peanuts.
  12. Remove from the heat and serve into your prepared pineapple bowls. Top with the prawns, fresh chillies, and afro parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

So yes, here’s the important update/notice I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I’m going to be taking a month off from Amcarmen’s Kitchen to plan better content for the upcoming months ahead. It has been quite a hectic month for me, as we’ll be moving houses this week. Thus, I haven’t had the time to really sit down and plan out dishes in advance for the month of May. Having said that, once we’ve settled into the new house by the end of the week, I can assure you that I will head straight back into planning and will be back again in June!

For now, TTFN – ta ta for now!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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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

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