A Soupy, Spicy Spinach Laing


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.


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


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.




Pinangat Na Pompano (Boiled Pompano)

IMG_1204.JPGPompano is a marine fish with a compressed body and short snout,typically silver and toothless with a forked tail and narrow base. It is found around the Philippines often close to shore near reefs, lagoons, and along sandy beaches. In the U.S., the most popular variety is the Florida pompano. A city near the Florida coast is named after this premium fish.

“Pinangat” is a Filipino term that means “boiled in water and salt.” And that describes the process in preparing this dish.


2 pompano fish (whole)
3 medium tomatoes sliced into thin rounds
1 small onion cut into rings
1/4 cup calamansi or lime juice
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 green onions, sliced


Clean the fish and cut two diagonal slices on either side. Place half of the onions and tomatoes on the bottom of a deep pan. Add fish, the remaining onion and tomatoes, calamansi or lime juice, water, olive oil, green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let boil on medium-high heat, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the fish is done.

Dinengdeng With Fried Bangus


You can’t claim to be an Ilocano (someone from the Ilocos Region in Northern Philippines) if you haven’t had dinengdeng.  It’s basically a vegetable stew akin to pinakbet or the French ratatouille.

But dinengdeng is unique in many ways because the dish can be as simple or as “elaborate” as you want it to be.  But you have to have some basic vegetables which many Ilocanos grow in their backyard.  Of course, it can’t be called dinengdeng without the fermented fish sauce (bagoong) for flavoring.

The dish can totally be cooked with vegetables or mixed with grilled or fried fish, usually, bangus (milk fish).

For this recipe, I used bitter melon, eggplant, long beans, alukon (birch flower), malunggay leaves, moringa fruit, sigarilyas (winged beans) and monamon (salt fermented anchovies). I couldn’t find squash flower at that time so I skipped it.


1 bangus (milkfish), cleaned and sliced into four pieces

1 eggplant, sliced into bite-sized pieces

1 bitter melon, seeded and sliced into rounds or crescents

1/2 cup, cut long beans (2-inches)

1/2 cup, sliced moringa fruit

1/2 cup, malunggay (moringa leaves)

1/2 cup, alukon ( birch flower)

3 pcs, sigarilyas (winged beans), cut into thirds (diagonally)

1 small onion, sliced

1 small tomato, sliced

1 thumb ginger, peeled and cut into ribbons

4 tbsps, monamon or bagoong (fish sauce)

4 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste


Season fish with salt and pepper to taste and either grill or pan-fry them.  Let aside.

Boil water in  a large pan before adding onion, tomatoe and ginger. Add the fish sauce and continue cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the vegetables, starting with the long beans, bitter melon, alukon, moringa fruit and winged beans. Cook for about two minutes before adding the malunggay.  Add salt and pepper as needed. During the last 2 minutes of cooking add the fried or grilled fish to add flavor to the stew.  Remove from heat and serve warm with steamed rice.



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.

Beef Kinigtot

img_7662Booo! I’m sure you have been taken by surprise many times before, perhaps even scared.  There’s a Filipino (Ilocano) word for that.  It’s “Kinigtot.”

It’s also the name of a dish, but I have no idea how the surprise element fits it.  Perhaps it is when you get surprised by the bitterness of this dish.

Kinigtot usually refers to a Pangasinan (province in Northern Philippines) version of the Ilocano dish called ‘Pinapaitan’ which is a stew of goat meat and innards simmered in spices and bile juice.  ‘Pait’ means bitter.

But a different version of ‘Pinapaitan’ is quite popular in Benguet province. Instead of goat meat, it uses thin slices of  beef simmered in spices and the same bitter bile.


1 lb  thinly-sliced beef

2 small onions, peeled and sliced

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 thumb ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp bile juice (from goat or cow)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp fish sauce

3 pcs green chili pepper

Juice from 2 pcs calamansi (or 1/2 lime)

2 cups water

1 tbsp Olive oil


Heat Olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and cook until golden brown.  Add onions and ginger and saute until fragrant.  Add water and bile juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add vinegar and fish sauce. Bring to a quick boil.  Reduce heat to low. Add beef and green peppers. Add in calamansi juice.  Continue to cook until beef slices are tender (do not overcook). Remove from heat and serve warm.


Paksiw Na Pata (Pork Leg Stew)

img_6594Go ahead. Indulge.

Pork leg is a prized ingredient in Filipino cooking. In fact, crispy pata (deep-fried pork leg) is an honored tradition in the menu of both fine dining restaurants as well as the corner carinderia (food stall).

One other popular way of cooking pata is by simmering it in vinegar and other spices.  The process is called paksiw. It is akin to the Chinese pata tim.

Paksiw na pata can be as vinegary, salty or sweet as you want it to be.  But as always, a good balance is best!


1 lb pork leg, sliced

2 cups water

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 small white onion, sliced

3 leaves, dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup banana blossoms

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup 7-Up


Remove the pistil and calyx from the banana blossoms.  Soak them in the 7-Up and store in refrigerator overnight.img_6596

In a large pot, place sliced pork legs, water, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, onions, basil, brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil. After three minutes, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.  In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add in banana blossoms, including the 7-Up.

Remove from heat and serve warm with steamed rice.

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.