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.

Fish Steak Sarciado

IMG_1071There are several ways to cook fish with sauce.  One way to cook it is the escabeche way, with sweet and sour sauce.  Another is the sarciado way.

‘Sarciado’ is a Tagalog term which means “cooked in thick sauce.”

The sauce for this recipe is a combination of tomatoes, onions and eggs, flavored with some spices. Bell pepper may be added to the mixture.

Tilapia is always a good fish to cook in sarciado, and here we use Tilapia fish steaks instead of whole fish.


2 pcs. Tilapia steaks, cleaned

2 medium tomatoes, diced

2 small onions, diced

1cup water

1/2cup green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 eggs, beaten

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 small green or red bell pepper, sliced (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil for frying


Season fish steaks with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a frying pan then fry the fish steaks.
Remove from heat and place in a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Set aside. (Option: you can also use breaded fish steaks, dipping the Tilapia in flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs before frying.)

In a clean frying pan,  heat about 2 teaspoons of Olive oil and sauté the garlic, onions, and tomatoes. Add fish sauce, along with green onions and bell pepper.  Add water. Bring to a quick boil.

Reduce heat and add in the fried fish. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Pour the beaten eggs over the fish and sauce and stir until the eggs start to set.

Add salt and pepper as needed.

Turn off heat and let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Coca Salad


I call it ‘Coca Salad’ for short.  I’m sure you’ve heard of it in a different name.  But yes, it’s simply a salad of coconut, cantaloupe and nata de coco (coconut gel) in a creamy dressing. Nicely chilled, it’s quite refreshing especially in the hot summer months.

Preparation can either be tedious or quick, depending on how and where you source your ingredients.  You can buy your young coconut already grated by the vendor or you can do it yourself, along with the cantaloupe which you will also need to grate.  The dressing involves a quick simmer of condensed milk and cream.

If you can’t find nata de coco, you can easily substitute it with any flavor of gelatin.

You can also decide to be more fancy by adding pinipig crunch (pounded rice flakes) and even a scoop of your favorite ice cream!


¾ cup condensed milk
¾ cup all-purpose cream
1 tsp cornstarch
1 large ripe cantaloupe, grated
1 fresh coconut, grated, with coconut water reserved
1 cup nata de coco, drained


Combine grated coconut, cantaloupe and nata de coco in a bowl and set aside.

In a small pan, combine condensed milk and all-purpose cream. Heat over low temperature and simmer for a few minutes, constantly stirring. Dissolve cornstarch in the juice of the coconut and add to the cream mixture. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Pour cooled dressing over the coconut, cantaloupe and nata de coco. Toss well and place in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours and until ready to serve.


Potato Omelet, No, Make That Sweet Potato Omelet

img_6683Nothing gives me satisfaction more than a potato omelet, except sweet potato omelet. Most people think of breakfast when mentioning omelets.  Not me.  I think omelets are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.

Sweet potato, as you may know, is the healthier carb compared to regular potato.  So why not make your omelet a healthier one. And tastier, too!


Two small sweet potatoes

Two eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Water for boiling

2 tbsps Olive oil


Wash the sweet potatoes. Boil the water in a pot and add the sweet potatoes.  Cook until tender.  Remove from heat, drain, let cool and peel the potatoes.  Slice them into tiny cubes.

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl.  Add the sliced potatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat Olive oil in a pan and pour the egg mixture in several batches.  Cook until the egg is set and omelet is slightly browned on either side.

Remove from heat and served warm.

Cheesy Broccoli And Cauliflower Florets

image.jpegThere’s so much one can do with broccoli and cauliflower.  When these vegetables are abundant where you live, like Baguio City, you sometimes take them for granted.  For sure, there are many traditional recipes that you can use them for, but once in a while, your imagination and penchant for adventure get the better of you. Which is  why I came up with this simple yet sumptuous cheesy recipe.

It’s all about the cheese, one might argue. But I disagree. It’s also about the broccoli and cauliflower.


6 broccoli florets

6 cauliflower florets

2 cups water

1 chicken bouillon

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2-inch slice of cheese melt, cut into cubes


Boil the water in a pan. Add chicken bouillion.  Add turmeric. Reduce heat and add cauliflower and broccoli florets.  Cook until tender. Note that the broccoli will cook faster than the cauliflower.  Remove florets from the pan and set them on a plate or saucer. You can save the liquid for soup or other recipes.  Add the cheese cubes and allow to melt on top of the warm florets.  If desired, place the florets with cheese in the microwave for faster melting. Serve warm over a bed of fresh cabbage leaves.

Eggplant And Carrot Omelet

image.jpegIf you love tortang talong (eggplant omelet) but don’t want to deal with the tedious process of roasting then peeling the eggplants, then you’ll appreciate this recipe. What’s more, we’ve added some carrots for that added crunch to this favorite Filipino fare.


2 medium Chinese eggplants, thoroughly washed with stems cut off and discarded

1 small carrot, peeled

3 eggs

1 tsp corn starch

1 tsp breadcrumbs

1 tsp raisins

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2-3 tbsps Olive oil

1/2 cup water


Slice the eggplants and carrot into very tiny cubes and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp Olive oil on a pan over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic until golden brown. Add in carrots and stir-fry until tender, but still crispy.  Add in eggplants and stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes.  Add water and bring to a quick boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue cooking until the eggplants become tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs before adding the eggplant and carrot mixture, corn starch, breadcrumbs and raisins.  Mix well.

Heat the rest of the Olive oil and about half a cup of the egg mixture. Continue to cook on either side until set.  Remove from heat and repeat the process for the remaining egg mixture.

Serve warm with tomato ketchup or your favorite sauce/dip.


What’s That Purple Color In My Eggroll?

imageI’ve concluded long time ago that one can make eggrolls out of anything — pork, chicken, beef, vegetables and fruit.

In the Philippines, one particular eggroll is popular as a snack or dessert.  It’s called turon which basically contains banana of the saba variety.  Some variations include other local fruits like jackfruit.

But I was intrigued one day to find a recipe that included purple yam in the egg roll, specifically the jam that’s quite popular in my hometown of Baguio City.  It’s called ube halaya in the local dialect.

So I did prepare this in my kitchen and I’m afraid I’m going to be hooked with this recipe.

Note: Brown sugar is usually added to the eggrolls and is carmelized to add sweetness.  But I skipped the sugar because the purple yam jam already provides the needed sweetness.


3 bananas of the saba variety, peeled and sliced lengthwise (if using smaller eggroll wrappers, you can slice each banana crosswise, then lengthwise to make 4 pieces)

A teaspoon of purple yam jam for every eggroll

6-12 eggroll wrappers (depending on ther size of the wrapper and the number of slices you’ve made of the bananas0

Olive oil for frying


Take one eggroll wrapper and place it on a plate or clean surface.  Place a teaspoon of the jam in the center of the wrapper.  Place a slice of banana in the lower third of the wrapper. Fold in the left and right sides of the wrapper before rolling it away from you.  Seal the end of the wrapper by moistening with water.  Repeat process for the rest of the eggrolls.

Heat Olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Fry the eggrolls, making sure they’re nicely browned on either side.  Remove from heat and set on a plate lined with paper tower to drain excess oil.

Serve warm and enjoy!