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

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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

Buko Salad Crumble

Buko Salad Crumble

Hello Everyone! I hope you all had a smooth-running first week of the New Year and resolutions haven’t been broken yet. I stopped making resolutions a very long time ago because I never follow them anyway. Instead, I always like to set an intention for the New Year. Read further after the recipe to find out more.

Last week we (as in my family and I) hosted a potluck lunch on New Years Day. Our relative brought over a TON of food. Even though I asked them in advance what they would be bringing so that we wouldn’t double up on the same dishes, it was the quantity of each dish that went beyond my expectations. Amongst the dishes that they brought over was Buko Salad.

Buko Salad

Buko Salad, or in English, Sweet Young Coconut Salad, is a mainstay dessert dish served in every, or any special occasions such as fiestas or birthday parties. The main ingredient of this dessert is definitely freshly shredded young coconut meat, accompanies by fruit cocktail from a can, sugar palm fruit, coconut gel (nata de coco), condensed milk, and fresh cream. Some (i.e. me) like to add little chunks of cheese into it as well.

With an abundance of it from our potluck party, I could do two things:

Continue eating it as it is, or

Make another dessert out of it.

Which did I choose? Well both obviously! I continued to eat it as it is, and also shook things up with it. I already had the intention of making a Buko Pie Crumble for my series of Coconut Recipes for this month, and when I was eating a bowl of this Buko Salad while watching a teleseyre the day after the potluck, a light bulb flashed. I could totally use this Buko Slad mixture for my crumble instead!

Buko Salad Crumble

So just to let you know, my measuring cups and spoons were nowhere to be found. I mean, they are probably in a box that I have yet to unpack since moving back to the Philippines – but I wasn’t about to go look for them when I had the oven already preheating and the Buko Salad already in their cocottes. I followed my Peach Crumble recipe to make the crumble, but I ended up just eyeballing all the measurements. Still turned out good though! If not, even better than the one I made for my Peach Crumble.

I ended up having about half of the crumble mixture left over *cheeky grin* so I placed the extra mixture into the freezer and then made another crumble the next day with the apples we had sitting on our table from our 12 Round Fruits for the New Year.

Buko Salad Crumble Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the crumble topping

  • 100g salted butter (cold), cut into little cubes
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Ube Ice cream, optional

*Or you can always make a fresh batch to make this crumble.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5).
  2. Divide the buko salad equally into 4 mini-cocottes, filling about half or three-quarters of the way. Set aside.
  3. Add the sugar together with the butter, flour, and walnuts in a medium sized mixing bowl that has been chilled in the freezer for about 10 minutes (this is to help keep the butter chilled when making the crumbled).
  4. With your fingertips, quickly mix the ingredients together until looks like rough breadcrumbs. If your mixture is too warm, put the bowl into the refrigerator for 15 minutes and start again when it has chilled.
  5. Top the buko salad with about 2-3 tablespoons of the crumble mixture.
  6. Place the mini cocottes on a baking tray and into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  7. If your crumble topping is still towards the blonde side, turn the grill on and bake for a further 5 minutes or until the crumble starts to brown.
  8. Serve hot out of the oven or at room temperature with ube ice cream (optional).

Buko Salad Crumble

Buko Salad Crumble


So, I initially wrote the following up at the beginning of the post, not knowing that I would be getting personal with two long paragraphs. I didn’t want to start my post of with this so I moved it for after the recipe for those who want to read on.

I mentioned in the beginning that I’m not one to make resolutions. Instead, I set an intention. Last year I tackled things with a “there is a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough” mindset and it definitely worked. The two things that bothered me when I entered the New Year last year were:

My Job, and

A Man/Men in general.

I hit a low point with my job. I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing anymore and to make things even worse, the environment and the toxicity of the people that surrounded me really affected my work and the way I worked. It also affected the way I interacted with my family and friends outside of the workplace – I was always grumpy and always avoided socialising with my friends. For 3 years I put up with this environment, and I let it consume me because I didn’t want to show others that I was weak for letting the people at work get to me. I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to fight. I reminded myself that: there is a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough. I didn’t give up. I knew that I definitely had enough. I put my foot down and filed for resignation early that year and I’ve never looked back.

Towards the second half of 2017, I met a man and we both fell in love with each other. It was a bit difficult seeing as he was all the way in the States and I was still working in Brunei at that time. We talked everyday. Made future plans together. Heck even made a bucket-list of things we’d do together. Shortly after, things started to die down. He started talking to me less and less each day even though I still tried just to keep things going. Eventually he stopped. He disappeared. He ghosted me as if I never existed at all. I stopped trying. I realised in time that we never really loved each other; we both just fell in love with the idea of falling in love. Did I give up on him? No. I just knew that I had enough trying to convince him and myself that it was love. After him, I had enough with men in general. I stopped looking for love and reminded myself that it’ll come when it comes.

So what is my intention for 2019? To be honest I haven’t thought much about it, but I looked at myself and where I am in life right now. What do I want to achieve by the end of the year? And this is it:

Go with the flow. Force Nothing. Let it happen.

Trusting that whichever way it goes, it’s for the best.

Happy New Year once again to all!

Buko Salad Crumble

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Puto Bumbong

Puto Bumbong

Hello Everyone! I’d like to start the last post for the year by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a splendid eve celebrating, feasting, and continuing tradition with family and loved ones. What are some of your Christmas traditions? I’d love to know in the comments below! We had a simple and quiet Noche Buena at home, and of course watched some Christmas classics such as the Home Alone series. We’re not a family who gives gifts during the season of Christmas because we treat each other throughout the year – be in paying for the entire meal when we eat out as a family, or paying for the tickets and snacks when we go to the cinema together; gifts that allow us to spend time together as a family rather than materialistic things.

That aside, I mentioned in my last post that Christmas or Simbang Gabi would not be complete without this famous breakfast kakanin that is sold alongside Bibingka just outside the church. But, as all the other kakanins out there, you don’t have to wait until the Christmas season to roll around as you can find Puto Bumbong every day of the year at your local market, various street stalls, and in many restaurants and cafés nationwide.

Team Bibingka or Team Puto Bumbong

Puto Bumbong is a type of Filipino steamed rice cake that is traditionally made from a special variety of heirloom sticky (glutinous) rice known as pirurutong which has a distinct purple colour to it. Food colouring is not necessary for this. It is soaked in salted water and then dried overnight. It is then ground in a grinder made of solid stone before it is stuffed into a bamboo tube known as bumbong ng kawayan. It is then steamed until steam rises out of the bamboo tubes, placed onto a pre-cut banana leaf, and topped with margarine (or butter), grated coconut, and muscovado sugar to enhance its flavours.

And so for my last breakfast recipe of the year, I will share two ways in how you can make Puto Bumbong at home, with and without the bamboo tubes – depending if you have bamboo tubes readily available or not to be able to tackle this recipe. Before we dive in, be sure to check out the original recipe that I followed over on Panlasang Pinoy.

Puto Bumbong

PREP TIME 2 DAYS* | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 6

*Be sure to allot yourself 2 days before you plan on tackling this recipe, as the rice needs to soak.

INGREDIENTS

For the puto bumbong

  • 6 cups water at room temperature, for soaking the rice
  • 1 & 1/3 cup sticky purple rice
  • 1 & 1/3 cup white glutinous rice
  • 2/3 cup long grain purple rice

For the toppings

  • Freshly grated coconut
  • Muscovado sugar
  • Softened butter or margarine
  • Banana leaves
  • Bamboo tubes

METHOD

  1. Combine all the different types of rice in a large mixing bowl together with the room temperature water. Set aside and leave to soak for at least 2 days.
  2. Drain and place the soaked rice in a large food processor. Pulse and grind until the rice becomes very fine (takes about 8 to 10 minutes to achieve this consistency). If you only have a small food processor handy, then work the rice in batches.

Cooking with Bamboo Tubes

  1. Fill each bumbong (bamboo tube) with the powdered rice mixture, making sure not to compress the rice to allow the steam to pass easily.
  2. Prepare the steamer with enough water for steaming. Once the water has been brought to a boil, arrange each bamboo tube on the steamer. Cook until steam starts coming out of the tubes, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the tubes from the steamer, and carefully remove the puto bumbong from the tube and place over a piece of banana leaf.
  4. Spread with butter or margarine (I chose to leave this out of my serving) and top with freshly grated coconut and muscovado sugar. Serve, share, and enjoy with a hot cuppa!

Cooking without Bamboo Tubes

  1. Add about 2 cups of water to the powered rice mixture and mix together to form a dough. You may need less or more water, depending, so it’s best to add the water in gradually. Knead until smooth.
  2. Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of the dough and, using your hands, make a ball and then roll into a log, about 4 to 5 inches in length. Alternatively you can place the dough into a piping bag and using piping tip #807, pipe the dough onto a heat-proof plate greased with a bit of butter or margarine.
  3. Place the plate into a prepared steamer with a muslin-covered lid to prevent any droplets of water dripping onto the puto bumbong mixture. Steam for about 8 – 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the steamer and place onto a banana leaf. Top with your preferred toppings and enjoy!

Puto Bumbong

A lot has happened this year, both in my personal and work life, which resulted in me having to put my attention to Amcarmen’s Kitchen on hold for a couple of months collectively. That being said, I’m going to try my best not to take as many breaks as possible for the upcoming year ahead, *fingers crossed*

I usually take the first month of the beginning of the year off to properly plan for the upcoming year ahead and to get a head start on experimenting in the kitchen for recipes to share with you guys. But since I haven’t been working since August of this year (still continuing to look for a job as I write this), I’ve had time to plan ahead and I’m excited to share with you what I have in store for the upcoming year! You’ll just have to wait until next week to find out the theme for the year ahead – which technically is in another week I just realised!

So for now, I would like to wish all my family, friends, and followers a Happy & Prosperous New Year! May the New Year bring you happiness, health, wealth, and peace!

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

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