Spicy Mushroom Adobo

Hello Everyone! The month is going by swiftly and we’re almost halfway through the fourth month of 2021! Before we dive right into the recipe, I just want to say that I have a special announcement which I have saved for the end of this post. Feel free to skip ahead if you want to know more about what’s happening on Amcarmen’s Kitchen this week!

Adobo is a very popular dish in the Philippines which involves marinating meat, seafood, or vegetables in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns, and then cooked in its own marinade. The most common choice of protein is chicken or pork, squid for seafood, and kang kong (water spinach) or yardlong beans for vegetables. I’m sure there are other choices of seafood and vegetables, but these are the ones that I am most familiar with.

Spicy Mushroom Adobo

To be very honest, before I even found out about the ‘marinating’ process involved in making adobo, I used to always just throw everything into a pot and let it simmer away for 20 minutes – well at least that’s how my Mom taught me how to make adobo; no marinating and no sautéing needed. Even without the marinating process, the way my Mom taught me how to cook adobo tastes just as good! I’ve tried a recipe where I marinated the protein before, and to be honest, I can’t spot the difference.

This is one of the main reasons why, when I used to live alone while I was studying for my degree in Australia, this would be my go-to weeknight dinner meal – quick and hassle free. The other best part of it is that the longer you keep it in the fridge, the more the flavours start to develop, and it doesn’t go off that easily! In fact, cooking with vinegar and salt helps keep food fresh for longer especially in the tropical climates of the Philippines.

Spicy Mushroom Adobo Ingredients

Since water spinach and yardlong beans are very common vegetables used when making a vegetarian/vegan adobo dish, I chose to work with my favourite ‘vegetable’ – mushrooms! I used vegetables in quotation marks because, although mushrooms are classified as vegetables, they are technically not plants, but are part of the kingdom called fungi. Stick around because I’m not just going to show you how to make Spicy Mushroom Adobo, I’m going to make it into a full meal for you guys!

If you want to check out my other adobo recipes on my blog, feel free to check them out! Disclaimer: these are all meat dishes from when I used to eat meat.

Spicy Mushroom Adobo Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g assorted mushrooms*
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2-3 pcs dried bay leaves
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • Crispy garlic, to garnish
  • Fresh red chillies, to garnish

*I used an array of swiss brown, shimeji, enoki, and oyster mushrooms. Feel free to use whatever is readily available and most importantly, fresh.

METHOD

  1. Add oil to a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the minced garlic and red chillies to the pan and sauté until the garlic is lightly golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Follow with the whole black peppercorns and dried bay leaves and continue to sauté to release their flavours.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and add the mushrooms to the pan. Mix well and cook until the mushrooms have started to wilt and brown.
  3. Add the light and dark soy sauce, together with the white vinegar to the mushrooms. Do not mix. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Allow the mushrooms to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Give the mushrooms a good mix and adjust the taste to your liking, i.e. add more soy sauce if you want it a little saltier or more chillies for heat. Continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Once done, remove from the pan and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with crispy garlic and extra red chillies. Serve and enjoy with freshly steamed rice!

Spicy Mushroom Adobo

Now you can stop here, or you can take this dish further by making Mushroom Adobo Fried Rice and serve it with a simple mango salsa and top it off with a sunny side up egg, which is definitely what I did! To make the mushroom fried rice, make sure you have cold, day old rice on hand.

  1. In the same pot that you used to cook your mushroom adobo, add about another 2 tbsp of oil over medium high heat. Sauté about 3 cloves of finely minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant. Add your cold, day old rice to the pan, mix, and cook.
  2. Once the rice is heated through, season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the mushroom adobo sauce to the rice and mix well.
  3. Transfer the rice to individual serving plates and top with a sunny side up egg, and to freshen the dish up a bit, with some fresh mango salsa (or salsa of choice). Serve and enjoy!

Spicy Mushroom Adobo

Before I end tonight’s post, I just want to say that I will be posting another recipe this week on Friday evening and on Saturday morning or evening (depending when I can get the post done). Stay tuned for a very special occasion for Amcarmen’s Kitchen!

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

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

Hello Everyone! Wow! I can’t believe that we’ve reached the end of Cooking with Quinoa month, and with that, I can’t believe that September will be ending in a couple of days! Now that we’re approaching October soon, I can’t believe that we’re already into the 10th month of the year — which also means that I will have been working in my current company as a Creative Design Executive for a year already. *sigh* Time is flying by in the blink of an eye. I don’t know why, but the introduction to this blog post is feeling very overemotional *cheeky grin* and I guess I will stop here.

I’ve saved the best recipe for last! Well actually, now that I think of it, I think the best recipe for this month was the very first that I posted in the beginning of the month with my take on a Californian-inspired Quinoa Salad. I still consider tonight’s a recipe one of the best as it is a creative and healthy take on a classic kimchi fried rice recipe — and you guessed it! Quinoa will be replacing the rice in this recipe. I was going to try an attempt to make my own Kimchi at home, but I forgot why I didn’t try to DIY it since it’s actually super easy to do — I guess the reason was because I saw a shelf of ready-made kimchi at the supermarket and just could not resist to pick up a jar to speed up my time in the kitchen for that day  *cheeky grin* The original idea for this recipe can be found over on Simply Quinoa.

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

For those of you who do not know, kimchi is a traditional Korean dish that uses the process of fermentation to pickle and preserve fresh vegetables. The spicy, crunchy, cabbage-based vegetable mixture has a texture similar to sauerkraut but boasts much bolder flavours thanks to garlic and spicy seasonings. This process of pickling and preserving fresh vegetables was originally developed in 7th Century Korea as a means of storing vegetables during cold winters. Though of Korean origin, the dish has been steadily — if not, slowly — gaining recognition beyond the boundaries of its native country. Fermentation in general has been shown to increase the nutritional properties of food. Kimchi specifically has been linked to anti-obesity effects, and might help treat atopic dermatitis and even lower cholesterol. Other than that, the dish’s health benefits are in large part attributable to its high probiotic content (i.e. good-for-you bacteria), and it is also loaded with fibre and vitamins A, B, and C. Spicier varieties also get a boost from capsaicin, a component of hot peppers that’s been shown to improve metabolism.

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cooked tri-colour quinoa, cooled
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 cup kimchi, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 tsp gluten-free tamari
  • 2 tsp kimchi “juice” (the liquid from the jar)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

Optional

  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions, for garnish
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • Fresh ground black pepper, for garnish

METHOD

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Add the grated ginger and garlic and sauté for until golden and fragrant, about a minute.
  2. Add the quinoa and kimchi and cook until just lightly heated through, about 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in kimchi juice, tamari, and hot sauce if using, then turn the heat down to low and stir occasionally while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. In a separate frying pan, cook the eggs on low until the whites have cooked through but the yolks are still runny, about 3 – 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Steam the kale in a separate pot for 30 – 60 seconds until soft. Set aside.
  5. Transfer the kimchi-quinoa mixture and kale to two separate serving bowls evenly and top it off with a sunny side up egg each. Garnish with some green onions and fresh ground black pepper if using. If you fancy, top with more kimchi.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

Hello Everyone! First off, I just want to say that this is the last noodle dish for the month of November! There’ll be one more post going up on Sunday on one of my designs, and after that I’ll be taking a 2-week break from blogging. There’s no particular reason for it – well okay, I guess you can say it’s for me to take a short break since I have been complaining for the past however so many posts about being mentally tired. It’s also mainly to go with the theme I have planned for next month; more will be revealed after my 2-week break 🙂

Okay, so before I dive into the recipe for tonight, I’d like to say sorry for a later than usual upload – I just came home from an evening with friends. We met up and did an escape room challenge together; well we split into two teams and did a different room from each other, CSI and Prison Break. Sadly I was in the losing team but they did say that CSI was definitely harder than the other one. Anyway, it was a fun night altogether but we didn’t get to talk much about our experiences over dinner because we didn’t want to ruin it for each other. Instead we vaguely talked about what we encountered and then all unanimously decided to go back again next week and do the rooms that we didn’t get to do tonight. All I can say that our brains were frazzled and scrambled after we got out of the CSI room – but in the end, we all had a great time. (I actually still can’t believe that I’m still mentally capable to write this post after a long day, and then a difficult escape room challenge).

Anyway! Back to tonight’s recipe – I don’t actually eat this dish that often, be it ordering it at a restaurant or making it at home. It’s not that I don’t like this dish, I actually enjoy it but not as much as the other noodle dishes. Char Kway Teow literally means stir-fried rice cake strips and is a national favourite in Malaysia and Singapore.

Here’s a fact that some of you may not know (I didn’t know myself too until I did my research), Char Kway Teow has a reputation of being unhealthy due to its high saturated fat content. It is this way because it made it attractive, in terms of it being a cheap source of energy and nutrients, to labourers since it was mainly served to them. When the dish was first served, it was sold by fishermen farmers and cockle-gathers who doubled as char kway teow hawkers in the evening to supplement their income.

Over time, the dish became increasingly popular and many cooks have developed their own interpretations while still using the same basic ingredients of ricecake strips/flat rice noodles fried with anything from eggs (chicken or duck), onions, garlic, prawns, cockles, Chinese sausage, chives, etc. Pork fat was predominately used to stir-fry char kway teow, but over the years, ordinary cooking oil is now used for health or religious reasons.

I based this recipe from Rasa Malaysia, so go check out the original recipe if you get the chance to!

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g kway teow noodles (rice cake strips)
  • 250g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 100g baby clam meat
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 4-6 large free range eggs, sunny side-up
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Chinese sausages, sliced diagonally
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • Chilli paste
    • 30g dried red chillies, seeded and soaked in water until soft
    • 3 small shallots, diced
    • 2 fresh red chilies, seeded
    •  1 tsp oil
    • Pinch of salt
  • Spring onions

Sauce Mix

  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 dashes white pepper powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Grind all the ingredients of the chilli paste together using a mini food processor until fine. Heat about a teaspoon of oil in a small frying pan, over medium-high. Stir-fry the chili paste until aromatic, about 3-5 minutes and then transfer to a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Next, heat up about a tablespoon or two of oil in a large frying pan, or wok, over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown, then add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether.
  4. Add in the Chinese sausage slices and cook until you can smell the aroma coming from the sausages. Then, add in your prawns and cook until they start to change colour, about 5 minutes altogether.
  5. Add in the baby clam meat, followed by a half portion of the beansprouts and give it a quick mix. The add in the rice cake strips, making sure that you untangle the clumps when you’re adding them to the pan, followed by the sauce mix and chilli paste. Give it a good stir and make sure that all the noodles are covered with the sauce.
  6. Turn the heat off, and then mix in the rest of the beansprouts and the spring onions. Serve immediately with or without a sunny side-up egg on top. Enjoy!

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com