Posts by My Bay Kitchen

The (Eggplant) Salad In My Mind

IMG_4961.JPGWhen one sees eggplants in the market, usually the first thing that comes to mind is pinakbet, that Filipino vegetable dish that’s a trademark of the Philippines’ northern region. Or if you’re French, ratatouille.

Not me.

I immediately see a delicious salad in my mind: roasted with onions, tomatoes, vinegar and other spices.

There’s always a supply of eggplant in my fridge because at any given time, when I run out of ideas on what vegetable dish to partner with my fried or grilled meat, this eggplant salad comes in handy. Very handy.


2 large Chinese eggplants

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 large red onion, peeled and chopped

Salt, pepper and vinegar to taste

1 tbsp roasted garlic chips


Roast the whole eggplants on an outdoor grill. (Here’s a little secret.  If you don’t have access to an outdoor grill, you can use your electric bread toaster.  Roast the eggplants until their skin breaks).

Let the roasted eggplants cool before peeling the skin.

Slice the eggplants into bite-sized chunks.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggplant, tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper and vinegar.  Toss well.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, garnish with garlic chips.


Oven-steamed Tilapia Fish

IMG_4676.PNGWhen one thinks Tilapia, it’s most likely about fillets or fried whole fish. It’s not only a favorite fish choice in the Philippines and elsewhere;  it’s also fairly inexpensive.  Fresh, whole tilapia from the public market can be purchased for just P25 apiece ($0.50).

Since, I purchased an electric oven for my kitchen, I’ve been experimenting on a lot  of recipes for meat, seafood, vegetables, pasta and many more.

So for this recipe, I’m moving away from my favorite fried whole Tilapia and going for oven-steamed.


2 pcs., whole Tilapia, cleaned with head and tails cut off

1 medium red onion, peeled and chopped

1 thumb ginger, peeled and julienned

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onions

5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

Salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat oven to to 375 degrees F. Fill an oven-safe pan with water and place at the bottom rack of the oven. Score Tilapia fish and season with salt and pepper. Fill the inside of the fish with garlic, onions, ginger and green onions. Wrap the fish with aluminum foil. Place the wrapped fish on an oven grill atop the water-filled pan.  Cook for 45  minutes.  Remove from heat and serve, warm, garnishing the fish with the remaining garlic, onions and tomatoes.


Simply, Bokchoy With Bacon

IMG_4368Sometimes, we order food from the menu of restaurants and when it comes to our table we wonder what kind of complicated preparation or recipe brought it to its current state.

Like bokchoy.  While it is frequently added as an ingredient to some meat and noodle dishes, bokchoy is best consumed just quickly sautéed in fresh garlic.  The greener the leaves, the better!

But you can also enhance the simplicity of this dish by topping it with leftover crispy, crumbled bacon.  Or you could use your creativity using other enhancements.

Next time I’ll top my bokchoy with roasted garlic chips!

Lechon Belly (Roasted Pork Belly)

IMG_3826What’s the next best thing to a whole, roasted suckling pig (lechon)?  Roasted pork belly, of course! Pork belly has both the elements of juicy meat and skin that can be roasted to a crisp.  What’s more, you can make it from the comfort of your own kitchen.

You either bake the pork belly or if available, cook it in a rotisserie.  Either way, the roll must be wrapped in aluminum foil to prevent burning the skin and undercooking the meat.

You can purchase pork belly from your favorite supermarket, already rolled and ready for roasting or you can do it from scratch.


2 lbs., pork belly slab

2-3 stems of green onions

1 tsp., garlic powder

1 tsp., salt

1 tsp., ground pepper

1 tsp., Olive oil

1/4 cup fresh milk for basting


Pre-heat oven to 360 degrees. Lay the washed pork belly slab on a clean flat surface. Rub both sides of the slab with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place the green onions in the far end (closest to you) of the slab. Roll the slab into a cylinder, securing the roll with kitchen twine or string on several sections of the rolled slab.  Brush the roll with Olive oil.  Wrap the roll with aluminum foil.

Place the wrapped belly in the center wire rack of the oven. Alternatively, use the rotisserie if available. Cook for 2 hours.  Remove the aluminum wrap. Baste the roll with fresh milk and continue to cook for another 30-45 minutes.

IMG_3813Remove from the oven and lay on a cutting board.  Slice the pork belly.  Serve with a garnish of green onions and steamed broccoli, along with lechon sauce or a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, ground pepper and Thai chillies.



Tinolang Tahong (Ginger-based Mussel Soup)

IMG_2288For the rare times that I’d prepare mussel soup while I was in California, my limited options would include buying pre-packaged mussels from the frozen section of Costco and the supermarkets.  Even those I bought directly from the “fresh food section” could have been — in all likelihood — previously frozen.

So it always delights me to be able to prepare this popular Filipino dish using fresh mussels from Baguio City’s (Phlippines) public market.  Sure, they may have been brought up from the coastal waters of nearby La Union, but still I know that they’re fresher than the ones I buy in California.

Tinola is basically an onion and ginger-based soup and is often prepared with chicken (Tinolang manok).


1 lb. mussels (tahong), thoroughly cleaned

2cups spinach (or kangkong)

2 thumbs ginger, peeled and julienned

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsps, Olive oil


Heat Olive oil in a large pot.  Add garlic and saute until golden brown.  Add onions and cook for one minute. Add ginger and mussels and saute for another minute.  Pour in water and let boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and add the spinach or kangkong. (The remaining heat will cook the spinach).  Serve warm.


Ready For The Hot Summer? Deep-Fried Halo-Halo


(This post first appeared in Positively Filipino)

Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 25 years, I have been exposed to the rich international cuisine that is one of the marks of its cultural diversity. Food from Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific are plenty.

It was in the Bay Area that I tasted my first mochi ice cream, fried ice cream and garlic ice cream.

So when I first heard of deep-fried halo-halo being served as a specialty in a restaurant in La Union, I immediately became a doubting Thomas.

How can this shaved ice-based snack be fried and still give me the cool and refreshing pleasure of this popular Filipino delicacy filled with all the sweet ingredients? And so began my kitchen adventure for my deep-fried halo-halo.

It’s just perfect for the warm summer weather!


12 pcs. lumpia (egg roll) wrapper
1 boiled saging na saba, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup garbanzo beans
1/4 cup kaong (sugar palm fruit)
1/4 cup nata de coco (coconut gel)
1/4 cup ube jam
2 tbsps brown sugar
Oil for deep-frying
You favorite flavor ice cream


Place a slice of the saba and 3 to 4 pcs each of the garbanzo beans, kaong and nata de coco on top of two lumpia wrappers. Add a half-teaspoon of the ube jam on top of the other ingredients.

Fold and roll the wrapper like you would normally do for your regular lumpia. Moisten and seal the edge of the wrapper.

Heat oil. Sprinkle brown sugar over the oil. Deep-fry the egg rolls in batches until nicely browned and crispy. Remove from heat, let cool before slicing each egg roll diagonally.

Arrange the sliced egg rolls on a saucer or ice cream bowl and top with a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream. If desired, garnish the plate with additional banana slices, kaong, nata de coco and ube jam.

Curry Chicken

IMG_1856.PNGNothing beats the aroma and after taste of curry, but it’s also the flavor penetrating the meat and other ingredients that makes this dish so delightful and mouth-watering. Combined with potatoes, carrots and coconut milk, curried chicken is to die for.  What a difference this spice makes!


1 lb chicken drumsticks and breasts

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces

8-10 baby potatoes, peeled

1 large white onion, sliced

2 medium tomatoes, quartered

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsps curry powder

1/2 cup chopped green onions (optional)

2 tbsps Olive oil


In a large pan, heat Olive oil.  Add onions and tomatoes and Coke for about two minutes. Add curry powder and mix well.  Add chicken pieces, making sure they’re well coated in the curry mix. Add carrots and potatoes.  Stir for about two minutes.  Add in coconut milk and let boil.  Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until the chicken pieces are cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with green onions.