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.

Garbanzo Beans For A Healthy Diet

image.jpegWhat if I told you that a diet which regularly includes legumes like garbanzo beans could help with health issues like diabetes, high cholesterol and colon problems? And what if I told you garbanzos can also help with needed weight loss?

Well, don’t take my word for it. Do a quick Internet research or talk to your nutritionist.

The best part of it all is that you can use garbanzo beans in a variety of recipes, mixed with meats and fish, vegetables, and even desserts!

With that healthy thought in mind, here’s a simple, tomato-based
pork stew recipe that I concocted by just scanning what’s in my refrigerator to add as ingredients, including cabbage, potatoes, and quail eggs; and of course, a can of garbanzo beans from the cupboard.


1/2 lb., pork belly
1/4 cabbage, sliced
1 cup, small potatoes, peeled and halved, boiled to the desired tenderness
1 can, garbanzo beans
6 pcs., boiled quail eggs, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small onion, sliced
1 small tomato, chopped
1 can, tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
5 cups water
2 tbsp. Olive oil


In a pot, boil three cups water then add the pork belly. Continue to cook until tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool before slicing into small bite-sized pieces.

In large pan or wok, heat Olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden brown. Add onions and cook until tender and fragrant. Add tomatoes and stir for one minute. Add pork slices and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the remaining water and bring to a quick boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add garbanzo beans and cook until tender. Add tomato sauce and reduce heat to low. Add quail eggs and cook for another minute. Turn off heat and serve warm.

A Flavorful (And Rogue?) Presidential Meal


(Photo: Eugene Caccam)

(Editor’s note: Apo Digong referenced in this post is none other than incoming Philippine President Rod Duterte.  It appears that the Davao City Mayor is not only fond of colorful language but also flavorful meals, like this smoked pork hock recipe by our regular guest contributor, EUGENE CACCAM)


I didn’t go to market today because my driver’s license has expired. To atone for my sin of omission, I stayed in bed and read up on Apo Digong’s favorite food as described by my favorite chef-columnist Reggie Aspiras, a fellow Ilocano. This is so that if I don’t agree with him in ideology or process in the next six years, at least we will find a common ground in food.

He likes carabao tapa flakes, chicken gizzard, pakbet, pansit, rib soup with taro (I imagine this to be sinigang na baboy with gabi), balbacua, and monggo with pata. The last one created a craving deep within.

Reggie says the cooks emphasize he wants his food flavorful.

Flavorful pata for me means smoked pork hock or trotter. Not in the Western style of cured, but in the raw Ilokano way of insarabasab or pinulpugan, which calls for searing the skin to wickedly delicious blackness, the fat dripping into the coal to build more fire to blacken it even more — all the while sealing in the ambrosia of freshly slaughtered meat, of course. I think this is how he would want it, the street- and tough-talking persona that he is.

The man is a complex character, too, so “flavorful” must be aptly nuanced according to this nature of his. The adjective should project his being unconventional, irreverent, unpredictable, full of “shock and awe.” Maybe flaked tinapa (smoked fish) would be the perfect troll?

So to the sautéed monggo I (vacillated but nonetheless combined and) added these generators of flavor, afraid and uncertain of the result. I prayed they would complement, not quash, each other. I cooked the dish over slow fire, long enough for the pata to be pull-tender and the contrasting shades of “smoked” to be genially pleasant to each other, as an ideologically divergent Cabinet would be.

I made it! With ample ampalaya leaves and salacious siling labuyo as go betweens, this candidate to my repertoire of recipes turned out to be a rare prescription to pleasantly swear by. Those given to uttering cuss words to express delight in between rowdy slurps of fragrance, flavor and anghang are free to do so.

Now I think I will be able to understand him.

(And so will we, Eugene, so will we! Congratulations, Apo Digong, on your inauguration on June 30, 2016)

Black-Eye Peas For Good Fortune

imageBeing from the Philippines, I am no stranger to myth and superstition, as well as unique and sometimes weird practices come the New Year. For example, Filipinos and others fill a basket of different round fruits to put on the dinner table on New Year’s eve, or to open all windows at the strike of midnight as a way to banish the bad luck and to welcome good luck in the coming year.

In the American South, a plate of black-eye peas is believed to bring good fortune for the New Year. With the additon of greens (the color of money), the dish is considered auspicious and will bring about wealth and prosperity. It is traditionally eaten on the first day of the year.

So to you all, Happy New Year. May this recipe bring you joy, goodness  and an abundance of good luck!


1/2  lb black-eye peas, soaked overnight

1/4 lb smoked slab bacon cut into small pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp allspice

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsps Olive oil

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

2 tbsps fish sauce

4 cups collard greens, cut into 1-inch ribbons (can be substituted with baby spinach)

1/3 cup green onions, chopped, for garnish


Place drained peas in a large pot. Add meat and cover with 5 cups water. Place pot on stove top and turn heat to high. Add in salt and pepper to taste, onion, bay leaf and allspice.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Add fish sauce. Simmer for 2 hours.  If necessary, add more water to keep liquid level at least an inch above the surface. Stir constantly. Turn off heat. In a medium wok, heat Olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper. Let sizzle before adding greens.  Stir. Add 1/2 cup water. Add salt to taste. Reduce heat and cover wok and continue to cook until greens are wilted.  To serve,  place greens in soup bowls, then ladle over hot black-eyed peas, meat and liquid.  Sprinkle with green onions.