A Soupy, Spicy Spinach Laing

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When one thinks of laing, what immediately comes to mind is that spicy, coconutty delicacy from the Philippines’ Bicol region. It’s basically a stew of gabi (taro) leaves cooked in coconut milk, shrimp paste and other spices.  It usually includes pork slices.

But when taro is not available, one can always use similar leaves like kangkong (water spinach) or alugbati (Malabar spinach) which is what I did for this recipe.

Because I love coconut milk, I made my spinach laing soupy which is a departure from the usually drier recipe.

INGREDIENTS

3 cups kangkong leaves, washed

3 cups alugbati, washed

1 can, coconut milk

1/2 cup, cubed pork belly

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 small red onion, peeled and sliced

1 thumb, ginger, peeled and chopped

3 pcs. Thai chillies, thinly sliced

1 tbsp shrimp paste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

In a large pan, heat Olive oil. Add garlic, ginger and onion and cook for two minutes. Add pork belly and stir-fry until nicely browned. Add coconut milk and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat and add shrimp paste and Thai chillies. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add kangkong and alugbati leaves and cook until wilted.  Remove from heat and serve warm with steamed rice.

 

 

 

Beef Chayote Soup

IMG_6549.JPGYou don’t encounter a lot of recipes using chayote (sayote) fruit.  In the Philippines, it is most commonly used to prepare chicken tinola.  But chayote fruit can be quite versatile.  Sliced into tiny pieces, you can mix it with ground beef and other greens to make a hearty and filling soup dish.  In fact, if you’ve tried upo or bottle gourd, you will find that chayote fruit can have the same taste and texture.

For this recipe, I added some bok choy to the ground beef and chayote fruit mixture. With the right seasoning, it can make a delicious soup or even a main course.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb lean ground beef

1 large chayote fruit, peeled, seeded and sliced into tiny cubes

1 bunch of bok choy

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 small white onion, sliced

1 small tomato, sliced

3 cups water

1 beef bouillon

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Heat Olive oil in a soup pot. Add garlic and sauté till golden brown. Add onions and tomatoes and cook till fragrant. Add in ground beef and stir-fry till nicely browned. Add water and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat and add beef bouillon to melt. Add chayote fruit slices and cook until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and immediately add the bok choy leaves to let sit for a minute or two.  Serve warm.

Beef Macaroni Soup

img_6455While I am not really a pasta person, I occasionally enjoy some macaroni in a salad or soup.     Having lived in Hawaii, I am used to, and enjoy, combination meals that always come with macaroni salad.  But I like pasta in a soup dish as well, especially this  tomato-based beef macaroni soup.

This is my version of this hearty dish.

INGREDIENTS

200 grams, elbow macaroni

1/2 lb lean ground beef

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 small tomato, sliced

1 small white onion, sliced

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 cube, beef bouillon

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Cook the macaroni according to package instructions, and set aside.

In a medium pot, heat Olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté until golden brown.  Add onions and cook till tender and fragrant.  Add tomatoes.  Add ground beef and stir-fry until cooked and browned.  Add water and bring to a quick boil. Add beef bouillon.  Add the macaroni and tomato sauce.  Reduce to a simmer.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for another two minutes.  Remove from heat and serve warm.

 

 

 

 

 

Goat Meat Soup With Plantains And Bok Choy

image.jpegGoat meat is known to be the healthier of most other meats like beef, pork or chicken. And that’s why I feel lucky to live in a place where it is relatively easy to procure fresh goat meat.

But it’s not just the meat that makes for a great meal. It’s also the soup.

This recipe capitalizes on the appetizing qualities of goat meat, boiled and seasoned to perfection, and complemented by the sweetness of plantains and the nutritiousness of my favorite vegetable, bok choy.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb goat meat (skin and bones included), cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces

4 cups water

4 pcs dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup, bok choy, chopped

4 pcs plaintain, peeled and cut in half

 

DIRECTIONS

Place goat meat, water and dried basil in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and continue to cook until goat meat is tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add in plantains and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Add bok choy and turn off heat.

Serve warm.

Simply, Laswa: A Vegetable Soup Dish

image.jpegDon’t mistake it for the Ilocano dinengdeng.  It looks like it, but it is of Ilonggo origin, and it does not use bagoong. It’s called laswa.

You can use a variety of vegetables for this recipe, but I chose to keep it sweet and simple with just kalabasa (squash), okra and alugbati (blue spinach).  To enhance the flavor, I added some dried dulong (silver fish).

It’s a quick and easy recipe if you’re looking for a soupy, vegetable dish that can go with your fried or barbecued meat or fish.

It’s perfect for a cold and rainy day.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup, sliced okra

1 cup, sliced kalabasa (squash)

1 bunch, alugbati (blue spinach), stems removed

1/2 medium white onion, sliced

3 cups water

1/2 cup, dried dulong (silver fish)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsps fish sauce

DIRECTIONS

Boil water in a medium pot.  Add okra, kalabasa and onions.  Add dulong fish.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Add fish sauce. When the kalabasa is cooked tender, reduce heat and add alugbati. Simmer for a few minutes before serving.

 

 

Misua Noodles With Meatballs

image.jpegOf the many types of noodles, misua or salted Chinese wheatflour noodles are among the tastiest and easiest to cook. They make a perfect soupy dish when combined with just vegetables or with meat, especially meatballs.

Misua with meatballs and patola (rigged gourd) is popular in the Philippines, yet another of those dishes that likely had a Chinese origin.

When the weather outside is cold or rainy, try this recipe to warm you up and satisfy your palate.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground pork
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium patola (rigged gourd) peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 cups water (or vegetable stock)
50 grams misua
1/2 tbsp fish sauce (more if needed to suit your taste)
Flour for dredging
Olive oil for frying
Sliced green onions for garnish

DIRECTIONS

In a mixing bowl, combine ground pork, onions, egg an salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Make 1 1/2″ balls. Dredge each ball with flour and set aside.

Healt Olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs until golden brown. Remove from heat and drain by placing them on a plate lined with paper towel.

In the same pan, sauté garlic and onions in Olive oil for about one minute. Add water and bring to a boil. Add patola slices and cook until they turn bright green. Add fried meatballs, fish sauce and misua and continue to cook for several minutes, adding water to make sure the noodles do not dry up. Adjust taste by adding fish sauce as needed. Remove from heat and place on a serving bowl or platter and garnish with green onions.

Home-made Broccoli Soup

image.jpegWhile creamy broccoli is a top soup favorite of mine, I’ve never actually attempted to make it at home.  I always felt it was easier to drop by a sandwich shop or deli and purchase it to go, rather than go through the entire process of pureeing  and everything else that is required in the preparation of this hearty soup.  I am also not a milk or cream person (not even for my coffee), so I seldom have it in my refrigerator.

Well, as they say, there is always a first time for everything and so it goes — my first home-made creamy broccoli soup!

INGREDIENTS

2 cups, broccoli florets

1 cup celery, sliced

1 small onion, chopped

2 cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup evaporated milk (or half and half)

1 tbsp., Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Heat Olive oil in a medium pot.  Add the onions and celery and cook until tender and fragrant.  Add the broccoli  and stir-fry until the florets turn bright green. Add chicken stock and bring to a quick boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Using a blender, puree the mixture in a couple or so batches. Transfer back the puree in the pot over medium heat.  Stir well and slowly pour in the milk.  Let simmer before serving warm.