Friday, January 31, 2014

Inihaw na Pinya

or, Grilled Pineapples, over charcoal.

Barbecuing over charcoal is a cooking method that  I've often felt to be tedious and too time consuming, such that we've always bought barbecued food and just brought them home to eat.

Don't get me wrong, I love barbecued food.  I think that barbecuing food gives it such an interesting depth of flavor.  It's just that I'd rather someone else do the grilling than me!

Recently, however, after recovering our charcoal grill, I got inspired to use it... the first thing I made?  Inihaw na Liempo (Grilled Pork Belly) followed by Inihaw na Puting Mais (Grilled Native Corn)

Then this -

Inihaw na Pinya (Grilled Pineapples)!

A long time ago, we had the pleasure of being served this dish.  And I've longed to make it at home.  Now that the grill is out, half the battle is won.  The other half?  What to glaze the pineapples with...  (off I went to find one in my library of cookbooks)

I found a recipe for the glaze in this book... at the very last page!  A similar (if not the same) recipe can be found here.

But, as always, I made a couple of adjustments.  Like, using coconut sugar instead of honey... and using my homemade apple pie spice instead of cinnamon... and reducing the rum in half (hubby is not a fan of alcohol)... and adding vanilla... anyway, here's what I did for my glaze -

Melted 1/4 cup butter then added 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, juice from 1 small lemon, 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice and a pinch of nutmeg.  When the coconut sugar was almost melted, I took the pan off the stove and added 1 tablespoon of gold rum and 1/2 teaspoon of my homemade vanilla-rum extract.

The pineapples were absolutely delicious! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Or, Tinolang Manok sa Buko...

Hubby and I had a pocket lunch date a couple of weeks ago and we had this soup dish.  I didn't know what it was so I asked our server and his reply?  Tinolang Manok sa Buko.  Instead of water as the soup base, buko (coconut) water was used, with the coconut meat shredded and likewise used in the soup.  So basically it is chicken stewed in lots of coconut water with aromatics and green papaya or sayote (chayote)

I found it so interesting that I decided I wanted to try recreating it at home.

I asked around how to make it... apparently there's many ways to do it.  As for which is the authentic one, who knows?

In my case, I decided to make it "simply" in the same way we make tinola, except substitute the water with buko water.  Then, as I was preparing the ingredients, B's lola said that her sister in law sauteed the aromatics and the chicken to make a tastier dish.   So I did that too...

about 5 to 6 slices of ginger
1 large white onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
4 to 5 stalks lemongrass(tanglad), cut into strips and smashed
2 small tomatoes, sliced
1 kilo chicken, cleaned and cut into serving pieces
2 tablespoon patis (fish sauce)*
6 cups coconut water
2 cups rice washing water (or just use 8 cups total coconut water)
1 to 2 pieces siling pangsigang (finger chili)
2 pieces green papaya or sayote, cut into serving pieces
1 cup dahon ng sili (chili leaves)
1 cup coconut meat from 1 to 2 coconuts, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the ginger; when browned remove from the pan.  Add the sliced onions and saute over low fire to caramelize.  When the onions are soft (and very fragrant), add the garlic the the smashed lemongrass.  Add the tomatoes last.

Throw in chicken pieces (I like using ribs and wings for a tastier soup) and season with patis.  (A short note here - I don't use patis or fish sauce and I really wouldn't go out and buy a bottle, BUT, someone gifted me with a small bottle of [supposedly] good quality patis from Thailand, so I thought I might as well use it.)

Anyway, when the chicken is browned, add the buko water and rice washing water and the siling pangsigang too.  Cook until simmering, over medium heat.  When the dish has simmered a few minutes, add the papaya or sayote (IF the buko meat is tough, add at this point also).  Bring to a simmer again and cook until the papaya/sayote is cooked through.  Throw in the dahon ng sili and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve in buko shells!

It was utterly delicious!  I love, love, love it!  And it was perfect for a chilly night... the thermometer says it's about 20C... brrrr...  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Halabos na Tahong

To be honest, I am not fully certain what halabos is as a cooking technique.  But what I've been taught by our kusinera (home cook) a good 25 to 30 years ago is that it is a "cross" between steaming and boiling.  How is this so?  Well, a very small amount of water or stock is used to cook the dish (usually seafood, especially shrimps).  The dish would be cooked largely by the steam generated by the water or stock.  (I hope that made sense because I don't really know how to explain it...)

But to demonstrate it, here is halabos na tahong (mussels).

The recipe -

1 kilo tahong (mussels)
4 to 5 thin slices of ginger
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 small onion, sliced
1 medium tomato, sliced thinly
1 to 2 cups water
salt to taste
1 to 2 pieces finger chili
handful of dahon ng sili (pepper leaves)

Wash the tahong well and remove any dirt and "hair".  Drain.

Saute the ginger, garlic and onions.  Add the tomatoes.  Stir fry a couple of minutes then add in the mussels.  Pour in the water and cover the pan.  When the water starts to boil, throw in the finger chili and sili leaves.  Season with salt, to taste.  Stir occasionally.  When the mussels open, turn off the flame.  Do not over-cook.  If the water fully evaporates, add hot water in half cup increments.

The broth (what little of it is left, that is) is very tasty and I always exercise (what I call) cook's privilege which means no one else gets the broth but me!  (hwa-hwa-hwa.)

*I like using a wok for this dish.  I find it easier to stir the mussels around so that they cook evenly.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Native Corn Fritters

I love corn.  And while the sweet Japanese variety is delicious, I love the local (or native) white corn better.  Especially when it is fresh and perfectly cooked.

Sometimes though, there's way too much corn on the cob for us to consume.  And when that happens, corn fritters are my favorite "recycled" food...

The recipe came from this book -

on this page, but the recipe can also be found online here.

As usual I fiddled around and did not faithfully follow the recipe...

I used fresh native corn, which is the white variety and quite sticky when cooked.

Then I omitted the lime juice because hubby is not a fan of the sour taste.

And since I didn't have cornmeal (and our local supermarket didn't have them either) I just used regular flour. 

Also, instead of cayenne pepper, I used ground black pepper (at least about 1/2 teaspoon!)

My fritters came out pretty good despite my fiddling with the recipe.

This recipe is a definite keeper!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Turon na Langka

Everyone is familiar with the turon made of saging (banana) deep fried with caramelized sugar.  There's even a variant that has a sliver of langka (jackfruit) with the banana.  But this... this turon na langka is pure bliss!

No caramelized sugar necessary as each bite bursts with such sweetness that only fresh ripe langka can bring!

And it is so easy to make!  Just wrap a couple of langka pieces (not slivers) in lumpia wrapper and deep fry!

If only I could indulge more...