Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Hello Everyone and a very Happy New Year to all! I’m pleased to let everyone know that Amcarmen’s Kitchen is officially back from its hiatus to bring you some exciting recipes and dishes for 2020! As you know, or I guess, as my loyal/long-time followers know, every year I set a new theme for the blog.

Last year was all about cooking with fruits, be it a savoury or sweet dish; and then every month I’d feature a different fruit. What I absolutely enjoyed about last year’s theme was discovering unique ways of cooking with fruit in savoury dishes. My favourite dish from last year would have to be the very latest post I shared: Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas. I just love the tang and sweetness the mangosteen fruit brought to the dish!

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

For now, I won’t reveal the overall theme for this year to you guys just yet, only because I want to see how many of you out there can guess it. I’m honestly not too sure if it will be that obvious, so I’ll give it a few months or so before I actually let you guys in, on the theme.

Tonight’s recipe is something that you can whip up in 30 minutes (or less really), which means that it’s great for a hearty and warm weeknight dinner at home if time isn’t on your side. It can be served over steamed rice or pasta – the choice is yours! But before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I adapted my take on this recipe by Rachael Ray over on Rachael Ray Mag.

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tilapia fillets (about 150g per fillet)
  • 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 1 large brown onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper (capsicum), thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp baby capers in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp sliced black olives in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth)
  • Parsley or spring onion, to garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Season the fish with salt, pepper, turmeric powder, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful to not burn the garlic. Then add in the sliced onions, chillies, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and its juices, together with the capers, olives, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Reduce the heat down to medium-low. Cover and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. Check and stir occasionally.
  4. After about 15 minutes, nestle the seasoned fish fillets into the red pepper sauce. Cover and cook until the fish flakes easily, about 5 minutes. Once done, turn the heat off and serve immediately with rice or pasta.
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley or sliced spring onions. Enjoy!

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

Hello Everyone! Before I begin with tonight’s post I would like to apologise for not getting this post up last week, I actually had it prepared and ready to go – I just needed to edit the pictures for the post. But this time last week I was rushing to get ready and out of the house in an hour after arriving home from work to pick up a few friends and then off to another friend’s house for Raya celebrations. So that night, I didn’t get to go home until about past 11pm and when I was finally ready for bed, it was just past midnight and I had work the next day. I was going to post the next day or at least before the new month but I never got around to doing it until it ended up being Wednesday again. Whoops! Anyway, before we push through, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my Muslim family and friends in Brunei and around the world a belated Selmat Hari Raya! Maaf Zahir dan Batin. For those of you who don’t know on Monday (here in Brunei that is) marked the end of the fasting month, also known as Ramadhan.

Tonight’s recipe I will be sharing with you is simple yet flavourful. “En papillote” is French for in parchment, or if in Italian is known as al cartoccio where it is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel of parchment paper and then baked. You can literally put anything into this parcel so feel free to get creative in mixing up flavour combinations that are to your liking. I decided to make a spring onion and ginger oil to serve with the fish just to enhance the flavours a little more, but feel free to omit this as well if you wish.

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the en papillote

  • 2 large tilapia fish, scaled and filleted
  • 4 x 10g unsalted butter
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch sized ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Pinch of ground sea salt, to taste

For the spring onion and ginger oil

  • 4 stalks spring onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Asparagus stalks, blanched in salted water
  • Touch of paprika, for garnish

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 230C (450F or gas mark 8). Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, about 25cm in length (or bigger if needed depending on the size of your fillets).
  2. Line a few of the ginger slices on the parchment paper and place 1 fillet on top, adding all the other ingredients. Fold parchment over fish, making small overlapping folds along edges and sealing with a paper clip. Place on rimmed baking sheets. Roast until parchment puffs, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. While the fish is cooking away you can work on the spring onion and ginger oil. add the spring onions, ginger and salt to a heatproof mortar and pound lightly with the pestle. Heat the oil in a small frying pan until smoking and pour onto the mixture. Once the sizzling stops, combine lightly with the pestle and leave to infuse for a few minutes.
  4. One the fish are done, remove from the oven and transfer the parcels to Carefully cut packets, avoiding escaping steam, and serve.

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

Lemon, Butter & Ginger Tilapia en Papillote

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Sarciadong Tilapia (Tilapia Braised in Sautéed Tomatoes)

Sarciadong Tilapia (Tilapia Braised in Sautéed Tomatoes)

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone had a much better than weekend than I did! I say this because I got called to work on Sunday for an event; it was towards the end of a Saturday work day and I was excitedly looking forward to a do-nothing Sunday when I got a text from my supervisor asking if I was free to work and help out with an event. I sighed when I saw the message, and was tempted to say “no I’m not free because it’s Sunday”. I probably would’ve gotten an earful on the Monday though, so being the ever so star employee (no not really) that I am, I said “yes I’m free”. So there went my only day off. I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend though for the long weekend; 3 days off (including Sunday) and a short start to next week! I’ll definitely be using this time to experiment in the kitchen.

Anyway, that aside, the recipe that I will be sharing with everyone tonight is a classic favourite in the Geronimo household. Ever since I was a little kid, this dish will always somehow make it’s way to the table either for a delicious lunch, or a warm hearty dinner. Sarciado (sar-shee-ah-doh) is a fish dish from the Philippines that predominantly features tomatoes and eggs. The name sarciado in the Tagalog language means cooked with a thick sauce where the word “sarsa” is derived from the Spanish word “salsa” meaning sauce.

It is essentially a combination of two separate dishes: “piniritong isda”(fried fish), and a tomato-scrambled eggs “sarsa” sautéd in a flavour combination of garlic, onions, ginger, and fresh tomatoes. Traditionally, the dish was developed as a way to make leftover fried fish into a whole new dish that is both appetising and hearty. It may seem strange to put fish and eggs together, but trust me, they do go very well together. Having said this though, the dish does not solely rest its fate on leftover fried fish – there’s not stopping you to whip up this dish using a freshly fried fish of any kind really – mackerel, snapper, grouper, or even tilapia works well. For the recipe that I will be sharing tonight, I have chosen to fry up some beautiful fresh saltwater tilapia.

Sarciadong Tilapia (Tilapia Braised in Sautéed Tomatoes) Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 whole tilapia (about 500g each), gutted, scaled, and cleaned
  • 1 cup fish stock*
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
  • Thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 small brown onion, halved and then sliced thinly
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Turmeric powder
  • Spring onions, chopped
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

*I have a lot of fish heads and bones left over from the previous two recipes which can be found here and here, so I decided to drop them into a pot of water together with salt, garlic cloves, whole black peppercorns, ginger slices, and some dried bay leaves. Left to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour and you’ve got yourself a lovely fish broth. Alternatively you can just use water instead of fish stock.

METHOD

  1. Heat about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Season the tilapia fish with ground sea salt, pepper, and rub the turmeric powder into the fish. Fry the fish until golden and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes and then flip the fish over and cook the other side for a further 3-4 minutes. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. (If you are using leftover fish, skip this part and move on to step 2).
  2. Remove some of the oil from the large frying pan, leaving about a tablespoon behind. Bring the heat down to medium and sauté the ginger and minced garlic together until fragrant and golden brown, about a minute. Add the onions in and cook until soft, a further 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, toss and leave to cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 2-3 minutes. Once soft, add the fish stock (or water) and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the sauce is brought to a simmer. Season with a bit of fish sauce, adjust to your liking, and ground black pepper.
  4. Place the fish in the pan and cover it with the sauce while leaving it to braise (quickly), about 5 minutes. Pour the egg into the sauce and quickly mix until well combined. Turn the heat off before the egg completely solidifies.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and top with some chopped spring onions (unlike me where I completely forgot, though optional). Serve immediately with hot steamed rice and enjoy!

Sarciadong Tilapia (Tilapia Braised in Sautéed Tomatoes)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

Hello Everyone! I hope that this time around I say that I will keep a post short, that I will actually keep it short *fingers crossed (yet no promises will be made)*. Continuing on with the theme of hero-ing tilapia in all recipes for the month of June, tonight I will be sharing a recipe that I came across last year during a corporate dinner with Ambassadors from a few Southeast Asian countries as we celebrated the Ambassador of Cambodia’s farewell from Brunei. How did a score an invite to a dinner with high-ranking officials? Well, it’s not hard to when your Boss has the connections.

Tangent aside, it was during this dinner that I came across this particular dish that I will be sharing with you guys tonight. I honestly have no clue what the dish is called, as in if there is a special name for it so I do apologise for the blunt name – just calling it as I see it! Anyway, as I recall, the dish didn’t have slices of tilapia in it, I just added it on for extra flavour and protein to the overall dish. I know that the dish doesn’t sound like it packs a lot of flavour to it, well I think it isn’t supposed to anyway. From what I remember, the broth was subtle in taste, and what really shined through was the sweetness of the sponge gourd and a little pop of sour from the goji berries. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what the egg white does to help the dish as I know it’s rather bland in flavour – maybe to give the broth some texture?

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

Anyway, I remember really enjoying the dish that night and last weekend I decided to give the dish a go based from the ingredients that I recognised, playing around with flavoring the broth, and of course incorporating tilapia into the overall dish. I’ll be honest and say that I was a bit nervous going blindly into this recipe with having only tried the dish once just shy of a year ago, but it turned out to be a delicious hit!

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 750g tilapia, filleted and sliced, heads and bones reserved
  • 1 large sweet gourd, peeled and cut into long thin strips (like noodles)
  • 2 large free range egg whites
  • Handful of dried goji berries

For the fish broth

  • 1L water
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Reserved tilapia heads and bones
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients for the fish broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring the heat down to low and allow the broth to slowly simmer for about 30-45 minutes. Once done, strain out the tilapia heads, bones, garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and discard.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the goji berries in hot water for about 5 minutes. Drain and then set aside.
  3. Bring the heat back up to high and the broth to a rapid boil. Add the sweet gourd noodles to the broth and cook until tender but still has a slight crunch to it, about 2-3 minutes altogether, or longer if you prefer it soft. Once done, strain and then divide evenly into each single serving deep dish.
  4. Add the fish slices into the broth and quickly blanch until cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Strain and then divide evenly.
  5. Drizzle the egg whites into the broth a little at a time using a fork to continuously stir into the broth as the egg whites are dropped in. Eggs whites would cook immediately.
  6. Once the eggs whites have been dropped, gradually stir in the cornstarch and water mixture into the broth until the soup is thickened to your desired consistency. Turn the heat off and divide the soup evenly between the individual serving dishes.
  7. Top the dish with the goji berries and a touch of ground black pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew)

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew)

Hello Everyone! Can you believe it?! It’s already the middle of the year! How did time fly by so quickly when I felt like it was only just yesterday that 2017 kicked in?! The next thing you know, it’ll be December and I hope that the next half of the month will be exciting for me in terms of personal and career growth.

So let’s just get right into it shall we? I promise that this won’t be a long-winded post as have the previous ones been so far. I’ve got nothing much to share anyway as things at work have been progressively slow, but I’m not complaining though!

The theme for the month of June on Amcarmen’s Kitchen is hero-ing Tilapia! For those of you who are just tuning into the blog, I made a post at the beginning of the year about Hypertension, or known commonly as High Blood Pressure. Last year, I did a medical check up and found out that I had High Blood Pressure – now I don’t know if this was due to the amount of stress I had been experiencing from work prior to my medical check up, or that it is already a part of my health. Nonetheless, after knowing about my high blood pressure, I’ve been rather careful with my diet and making sure that I eat foods that help lower and maintain a stable blood pressure. In the post, I listed out 20 foods and drinks that help to prevent, lower, or control your high blood pressure naturally without the need for medication. Tilapia is one of the foods that I listed out in that post, and just to recap: just 133 grams (4 oz) of tilapia provides 8% of the magnesium and 8% of the potassium you need every day. I promised that this wouldn’t be a long-winded post but it seems like it is turning out to be one, and I do apologise for misleading everyone!

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew)

So, maybe you’ve read this in a previous post, or you know me personally to know where I’d like to travel to next; it’s an absolute dream of mine to travel Iceland. I talked to an Icelandic acquaintance not too long and asked him what Icelandic dish he would recommend I try if I were to visit Iceland in the near future. A dish that he pointed out was Plokkfiskur. Plokkfiskur, or roughly translating to ‘mashed fish’ is an Icelandic Fish Stew that isn’t quite like the stews that you’re traditionally used too. It’s not soup based, but instead it is a combination of fish, potatoes, onions and béchamel sauce is a firm favourite in Icelandic kitchens. It’s a traditional dish and a true comfort food. For my dish, I completely left the béchamel sauce out for no particular reason – okay I lied, there is a reason and that reason is because the recipe that I looked up did not have béchamel sauce in it. It was only after when I was trying to describe what Plokkfiskur was for this post that I saw “béchamel sauce” in the description and had a little oh shit reaction. So any Icelanders out there reading this post, please do not butcher me for this – I’ve simply adapted the recipe to what is available here in Brunei and also paired it with other side dishes… Without the rye bread *gasps*.

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-40 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

For the plokkfiskur

  • 1kg fresh or frozen tilapia fillets, skins removed and cubed
  • 200g gouda cheese, grated
  • 2 medium brown onions, diced
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Spring onion, chopped
  • Butter, for greasing

For the garlic rosemary potatoes

  • 500g small to medium-sized potatoes, skin on
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Asparagus stalks

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5).
  2. Add the diced onions and cubed tilapia into a greased baking dish, and season with salt and pepper. Top with the grated gouda cheese and pop into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly on top.
  3. Once done remove from the oven and sprinkle some chopped spring onions on top.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Once done, drain and set aside to cool down a bit. Then take a flat surfaced object (I used a small plate), to press down on the potatoes so that they are slightly smashed but not completely broke into pieces.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized non-stick frying pan and sauté the minced garlic and rosemary spring until slightly fragrant. Add the potatoes in, working in batches if needed, and panfry each side until golden in colour, about 2-3 minutes per side. Once done transfer to individual dishes.
  6. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the asparagus stalks for about a minute or two until tender but still crunchy. Drain and submerge in an ice bath immediately to stop the cooking process. Divide evenly between the individual dishes.
  7. Divide the Plokkfiskur into the individual dishes and enjoy with your family and/or friends!

Plokkfiskur (Icelandic Fish Stew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Health Tip: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Hello Everyone! I am back on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the year and I would just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year and a Happy Chinese New Year to all my Chinese Family, Friends, and Followers! May the Year of the Golden Rooster bring you and your family your family Happiness that comes from within, the best of Luck to keep you pushing, and Peace in all days of this New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭喜發財!

Now, before I move on to this evening’s post, I just want to clarify to those who haven’t read or been following my blog last month – I did mention that I would be taking a break from Amcarmen’s Kitchen due to the fact that I had a hectic schedule for the past few weeks, preventing me from having the energy to be in the kitchen on my only day off for the month of January. When the New Year kicked in, I had been staying a little later in the office every night to expedite the completion of the many design collaterals needed for the 19th Consumer Fair that happened just last week from the 18th to the 22nd of January 2017. Right after the Consumer Fair, we had family friends visiting us for 5 days, and then I had a Car Launching Event to manager alongside another colleague just 2 days ago. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since the start of the year and I still haven’t been able to have a good rest as the inevitable post-Consumer Fair virus decided to kick in. I am currently, and slowly recovering from a blocked nose, an itchy throat, and a migraine as I am writing this post. Thank goodness for the long weekend ahead, otherwise I wouldn’t be seeing myself recovering for the next week or so.

Now, all that aside, let’s get onto tonight’s post! Tonight will be something different, but it will serve as the ultimate guideline for the year to come. As you can see from the title, the main focus of this post is to target High Blood Pressure, or also known as, Hypertension. In my recent trip to the Philippines, back in the middle of 2016, I underwent a health check as part of my requirement to process my employment permit to work in Brunei. It was then that I found that I suffer from high blood pressure. I admit that when I found out about this, I was feeling a little bit depressed; and whilst I was still in the Philippines back then awaiting for the approval of my employment visa, I sat down and started researching on hypertension and what foods to eat/avoid to help regulate blood pressure levels. Ever since I found out about my blood pressure levels being exceedingly high, I have also made changes to the food I eat, and have tried to become more active in my lifestyle habits.

High Blood Pressure, or Hypertension, is a serious health problem, where over time it causes blood vessel damage that can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other health problems. Hypertension is sometimes known as the silent killer because there are no real symptoms to detect whether or not you are prone High Blood Pressure. If you don’t get your blood pressure checked regularly, hypertension could go unnoticed, and untreated, for years.

Your diet plays a big role in whether you have high or normal blood pressure. Dietary recommendations for lowering blood pressure include reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol. It is also suggested that you eat more foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In general, you should eat more high-fibre, low-sodium, low-fat protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Here are 20 foods & drinks that you should include in your daily diet to help prevent, lower, or control your high blood pressure naturally without the need for medication:

1. Avocado – All you need is about half a medium-sized avocado everyday as it provides 1% of the calcium, 5% of the magnesium, and 10% of the potassium that you need daily. The dark green flesh just under an avocado’s brittle skin contains large amounts of disease-fighting compounds.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Avocados


2. Bananas – Slice a banana into your breakfast cereal or oatmeal, or take one to work everyday for a quick, easy, and inexpensive snack. One medium-sized banana provides 1% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium, and 12% of the potassium you need daily.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Bananas


3. Beets – People with High Blood Pressure saw significant improvements from drinking beetroot juice. The nitrates found in the juice brought down one’s high blood pressure within just 24 hours. If you’re not too keen on drinking beetroot juice, you can easily roast or steam the whole root and add it to a green-packed salad, stir-fry, or stews.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Beets


4. Berries – Blueberries especially, are rich in natural compounds where when consumed, is known to prevent hypertension and reduce high blood pressure. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet; put them in your cereal every morning or keep some in the freezer for a quick and healthy dessert.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Berries


5. Broccoli – This cruciferous vegetable is a famous source of cancer-fighting nutrients. One cup of cooked broccoli provides 6% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium, and 14% of the potassium you need everyday.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Broccoli


6. Celery – To lower mild cases of high blood pressure, one would eat about a cup of chopped celery daily. You should begin to see results after only a week or two. Celery contains a chemical that smoothes the muscles lining blood vessels, which increases vessel diameter and allows for easier blood flow at lower pressures.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Celery


7. Fat-free Plain Yogurt – Cool and creamy, yogurt is a star ingredient in mineral-rich breakfasts, sauces and salad dressings, and even in entrée dishes. You can control the fat and nutrient content by making your own yogurt at home for your high blood pressure diet. Here’s a recipe to making your own yogurt at home.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Fat-free Plain Yoghurt


8. Hibiscus Tea – Hibiscus tea has been a traditional remedy for high blood pressure and one that must be used continuously to maintain its positive results. Look specifically for tea made from Hibiscus sabdariffa. It is generally made from the flowers and fruit of the plant.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Hibiscus Tea


9. Kiwi – Kiwis contain more vitamin C than a same-size serving of orange slices. One kiwifruit provides 2% of the calcium, 7% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Kiwis


10. Leafy Greens – Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula (rocket), kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and spinach are high in potassium. This allows your kidneys to get rid of more sodium through your urine, which lowers your blood pressure. Stray away from canned vegetables though as they contain high amounts of sodium; instead, opt for frozen vegetables as they contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables and are easy to store.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Leafy Greens


11. Oatmeal – Oatmeal for your breakfast is a great way to charge up for the day. It is high-fibre, low-fat, and low-sodium, which is essentially just what you need to help lower your blood pressure. On its own, oatmeal can be bland; however, you should refrain from adding too much sugar. Instead, add fresh or frozen berries (see point 4) to sweeten it up, and maybe just a touch of honey.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Oatmeal


12. Peaches & Nectarines – Frozen unsweetened peach slices are a great alternative to fresh peaches and nectarines on a high blood pressure diet. Just defrost ahead of time or, for smoothies, simply toss in the blender. One medium peach or nectarine provides 1% of the calcium, 3% of the magnesium, and 8% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Peaches & Nectarines


13. Pomegranate Juice – The pomegranate has been revered as the “fruit of life.” One of its remarkable powers is to improve cardiovascular health. If you drink pomegranate juice to naturally lower your blood pressure, be sure your juice has no added sugars.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Pomegranate Juice


14. Pork Tenderloin – Meat lover’s can now rejoice! You’re probably wondering how pork even made it onto this list, well just 85 grams (3 oz) of pork tenderloin provide 6% of the magnesium and 15% of the potassium you need every day. This lean cut provides plenty of meaty flavour and satisfaction without the overload of saturated fat found in fattier types of beef and pork.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Pork Tenderloin


15. Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes – Potatoes and sweet potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help to lower your blood pressure. One medium sweet potato with the skin provides 4% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium (7% without the skin), and 15% of the potassium (10% without the skin) you need every day. Bake several sweet potatoes at one time so you’ll have a ready supply for quick smoothies and other recipes.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes


16. Quinoa – This high-protein whole grain has a mild yet nutty flavour, contains a variety of health-protecting nutrients along with an impressive amount of magnesium, and cooks in less than half the time it takes to make brown rice. A half-cup of cooked quinoa provides 1.5% of the calcium, 15% of the magnesium, and 4.5% of the potassium you need every day. Quinoa is gluten free, making it a great option if you’re gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. The most widely available quinoa is a golden beige color, but red and black varieties are also available and worth a try for your high blood pressure diet.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Quinoa


17. Red Capsicum – One cup of raw red capsicum provides 1% of the calcium, 4% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Red Capsicum


18. Skim Milk – Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure. Swap out your higher-fat milk for skim milk. If you’re not a fan of milk altogether, then eat more low-fat or nonfat yoghurt. Just make sure to avoid yoghurt that is high in sugar.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Skim Milk


19. Tilapia – This mild white fish is available year-round in supermarkets and fish stores, fresh or as frozen fillets. You can roast it, bake it, and sauté it, flavor it with a variety of seasonings, and even top it with mineral-rich kiwi-avocado salsa (see points 1 and 9). Just 133 grams (4 oz) of tilapia provides 8% of the magnesium and 8% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Tilapia


20. White Beans – And last but not least, you can use this comfort food in side dishes, soups, and entrées. As a meatless source of protein, it’s a great choice for vegetarians. One cup of white beans provides 13% of the calcium, 30% of the magnesium, and 24% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): White Beans

Of course there are other factors that help control, lower, or prevent high blood pressure such as exercising regularly and keeping an eye on your waistline, but I won’t be going into too much detail on those aspects. Just always remember that eating foods that are rich in minerals is better than taking supplements.

So yes, earlier above I made mention that this list will serve as the ultimate guideline to the monthly themes on Amcarmen’s Kitchen – each month I will pick a certain food to cook with from the list above and dish up meals highlighting the chosen ingredient. For example, I have chosen to focus on Bananas for the month of February. Stay tuned as Amcarmen’s Kitchen will be back with some exciting recipes starting this Wednesday!

Cheers!

*Note: All imagery used in this blog post do not belong to me, they have been sourced from Google Images and Freepik. Likewise, information gathered for this post has been sourced from Dr. David Williams, Eating Well, Health Line & Prevention.

– Ally xx

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

Hello Everyone! I’m feeling sad, are you? Well, the only reason I’m sad is because Seafood Month has come to an end! I can’t believe the month has flown by so quickly. On the bright side, we get to explore a whole new range of dishes for the month of October! I won’t say yet what I have in store for the blog, so you’ll just have to stay tuned as all will be revealed on Thursday!

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

So here we go, on to our last recipe for Seafood Month: Pesang Tilapia! Apparently, frying the fish first is not the traditional method in making Pesang Isda (isda means fish in Tagalog just for those who don’t know), it is actually boiled in the ginger stew until tender, and is actually a much healthier option as opposed to frying the fish. However there are a few pros to frying the fish first, mainly for taste and also technique. Firstly, frying makes the fish and stew taste better, and secondly, frying prevents the fish from flaking, because of its stable texture ,when cooked in the stew for a long time.

I’ve read a couple of recipes online prior to writing this post up, and a few suggestions have come up on what to serve on the side with this dish. One of the most popular is having some miso sauce as a condiment. I usually just have some fish sauce and calamansi mixed together as a condiment. I’ve also tried searching around for recipes that make any mention of serving this dish with some filo-style scrambled eggs but I haven’t seen any. Nonetheless, it actually tastes really good having the scrambled eggs together with the fish!

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew) Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-22 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the ginger stew

  • 800g whole tilapia fish, scaled, gutted and cleaned*
  • 1L water
  • 2-3 bunches of baby bok choy or pechay, cleaned and ends removed
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for shallow frying
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste

*Alternatively you can use any other types of fish such as catfish, grouper, mudfish, and/or seabass. I know some people who can’t eat fish if it’s still whole; you can still cook this dish with fish cutlets or fillets.

For the Filipino-style scrambled eggs

  • 3 large free range eggs, beaten
  • 3 small ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • Ground salt to taste

METHOD

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Season the fish by rubbing some salt and black pepper. Once the oil is hot, fry the fish until golden brown. Once browned, flip and fry the other side of the fish, about 6-7 minutes per side. Once done, transfer the fish to a serving dish.
  2. Discard the oil, leaving behind about a tablespoon or two, and in the same pan, fry the ginger slices until fragrant. Add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown. Finally, add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether. Then add the water, whole pepper corns and salt, and bring the stew to a boil.
  3. While the stew is simmering away, move on to making your scrambled eggs. Heat the vegetable oil in a small frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Then add in the tomatoes, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.
  4. Once the tomatoes are soft, pour in the beaten eggs and stir with a spoon, lifting and folding it over from the bottom of the pan, until the eggs are softly set and slightly runny in places. Turn the heat off and leave the eggs for a few seconds to finish cooking. Give a final stir before serving.
  5. Turn the heat off from the ginger stew and add the baby bok choy, leaving to cook for about a minute. Pour the stew over the fried fish and serve immediately with some steamed rice and the scrambled eggs. Enjoy!

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

Sautéed Egg for Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Mesa Filipino Moderne - FRESH CATCH: Tilapia

Mesa Filipino Moderne

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! I’ve got three more places from the Philippines that I want to touch on before I start reviewing a couple of places here in Brunei. I’ve actually visited quite a number of places in the Philippines, but I feel like I haven’t had the full dining experience yet in terms of what their menu has to offer. Then there are some other places that I was thinking of writing about, but when I look back at their food, it was all too similar and nothing special really.

Anyway, what I realised when dining out in the Philippines, food is always the same no matter where I go. For example, dishes like sisig, crispy pata, kare-kare, sinigang, laing, buko pandan, leche flan, and many other classic and famous Filipino dishes, though I imagine cooked slightly different to separate themselves from others, all taste quite similar no matter where we have it. In tagalog, I would normally say “nakakasawa”, if you eat the same food over and over you will say or have that feeling nakakasawa, but maybe its because I’ve been eating in the wrong places.

Mesa caught my eye as I was roaming around SM North Edsa with my sisters while my Mom was somewhere along Quezon Avenue doing medical checkups. We were looking for new places to eat, and when a saw ‘new’ I just mean nothing like Barrio Fiesta or Gerry’s Grill – not places that we have been to over and over again every time we visit the Philippines. I had never heard or encountered Mesa in my pervious trips, and what intrigued me was the modernity and interpretation of classic traditional Filipino dishes. I was definitely intrigued when I saw Ostrich on their menu even though I didn’t have any.

Mesa Filipino Moderne - SISIG: Sisig in a pouch
SISIG: Sisig in a pouch
Savoury pork sisig wrapped in a pouch (₱190.00)

As mentioned probably in a previous review, sisig is a dish that I never fail to have whenever I visit the Philippines. I was attracted to this dish because I’ve never had sisig this way before. It was a perfect way to start out our lunch at Mesa; the pouches had a very nice golden brown finish to them, and it gave each bite a nice crunch to the sisig filling inside. It was paired nicely with a side of spicy vinegar as well.

Mesa Filipino Moderne - SOUP: Sinigang na baboy in guava and pineapple
SOUP: Sinigang na baboy in guava and pineapple
Pork simmered in broth with guava and fresh pineapple; serves 4-5 (₱290.00)

What caught my eye with this dish as I was browsing the menu was the guava and pineapple part. I’ve never had sinigang with these two fruits before so I was indeed very intrigued to know how the strong flavours would blend together. It actually worked quite well to an extent. I say ‘extent’ because there was one time I had a whole heap of guava flavour in my spoon of soup and the taste overkilled. Nevertheless, an enjoyable dish.

Mesa Filipino Moderne - FRESH CATCH: Hito
FRESH CATCH: Hito
Crispy boneless with mangga salad (₱340.00)

The only thing that concerned me about this dish was where’s the mango salad? If you’re going to make mention “with” mango salad, I expect it to be of reasonable portioning as a side dish and not just “topped” over the fried fish. Slightly disappointing.

Mesa Filipino Moderne - FRESH CATCH: Tilapia
FRESH CATCH: Tilapia
Crispy boneless served with four sauces (₱340.00)

Well, just like the crispy boneless hito, nothing quite special about the four sauces that went with fried fish that in my opinion had not much flavour in the flesh itself. Verging on being overcooked? Quite possibly.

Mesa Filipino Moderne - VEGETABLES: Laing 2 ways
VEGETABLES: Laing 2 ways
Taro leaves, pork, shrimp paste, and coconut cream topped with adobo flakes, served original and crispy (₱170.00)

The taro, or also known as gabi in the Philippines, is low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol, and in contrast, high in dietary fibre, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese. The leaves, stems, and corms are all consumed and form part of the local cuisine, a dish known as Laing. Laing originated from the Bicol region, and no matter where you have it at, and no matter the way it is cooked, it always ends up looking like a pile of… 🙂 I’ve had my fair share from many eateries, and even home-cooked laing, and it always looks like this. But I assure you that it tastes so much better than it looks. I like how Mesa served this dish two ways – basically one with sauce and the other without. Both tasted pretty good and the adobo flakes on top added that extra flavour and crunch to the dish.

Mesa Filipino Moderne - MEAT: Pinatayong Manok
MEAT: Pinatayong Manok
“Standing” whole chicken carved right at your table (₱415.00)

Quite possibly one of the reasons why I stopped in front of the restaurant and had a look at their menu; I saw a picture of this dish and I immediately knew I wanted to eat that. It was basically a whole roasted chicken that didn’t particularly have any special taste to it in my opinion, but what I enjoyed was the way it was served to us. It was brought to our table “standing” and carved for us at our table. The chicken was cooked well and was very tender.

Mesa Filipino Moderne - MEAT: Pork Binagoongan
MEAT: Pork Binagoongan
Pan fried pork belly sautéed in shrimp paste (₱190.00)

This dish I enjoyed because I love the pairing of a well-cooked pork belly, shrimp paste, and grilled eggplant. This dish did not disappoint at all unlike the others.

Mesa Filipino Moderne - DESSERT: Pandan Macapuno Rumble
DESSERT: Pandan Macapuno Rumble (₱75.00)

I was intrigued to know what modern twist they would put on a classic buko pandan dessert. Nothing special to be honest except the fact that the coconut meat was set with the jelly? That’s all that I could point out that seemed different to the classic ones I’ve had multiple times. Other than that, flavour was good.

Mesa Filipino Moderne - DESSERT: Crispy Leche Flan
DESSERT: Crispy Leche Flan (₱70.00)

This was the dessert that I was most looking forward to only to be disappointed in the end – small, not so crispy rolls of flan that didn’t quite taste like flan in my opinion and more like steamed egg. I was disappointed only because I had a much better first experience with crispy leche flan when I was travelling the city of Lucena just a couple of days before I visited Mesa again.

Mesa Filipino Moderne is definitely a place to visit if you want to experience modern Filipino cooking at an affordable price. I say that it is affordable because the pricing of their dishes are quite reasonable for the portions you get, so definitely a good value for money indeed. But as I have mentioned in another review before, these prices are not very affordable for the average Filipino, so I guess the value for money on a more general scale wouldn’t be so good. The food I would rate no more than a 6 to be honest – at first glance I was very excited to experience modern Filipino cuisine, but after having dined and looked back at the dishes that I’ve had, I can’t say I was left excited to go back for more. The only dish that I really enjoyed was the pork sisig in a pouch. Everything else was mediocre. Service 8 out of 10; it was exceptional nor was it bad, and the ambience is a sure 10 for me.

Now that I look back at all the dishes that I’ve had and my small disappointments with each of the dishes I ordered, I wonder how they were able to achieve the Best Food Retailer award. I may be jumping into conclusions a bit early as I’ve only tried probably an eighth of the dishes they have on offer, but if I am off to a non-promising start with their menu, I can’t be sure on how the rest will unfold if I visited a few more times and trying other dishes. Anyway, my opinion is my opinion; it may be biased, it may be not. You may agree with me, you may not, that is, if you’ve dined at Mesa.

I’m not sure if there are other restaurants that are much better at modern Filipino cuisine, but this is the first step of my journey to finding out how far we can modernise classic dishes. There is one place I have yet to visit, but have been closely following their Instagram page, and it’s called Sarsá Kitchen+Bar. I must say that their Sinigang Fried Chicken looks very enticing. Maybe on my next adventure to the Philippines I’ll be able to drag some family members over to have some eats.

Mesa Filipino Moderne
3/F SM City North EDSA, Main Building
EDSA corner North Avenue
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Philippines

– Ally xx