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).

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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.

 

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!

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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.

 

Callos a la Madrileña

IMG_1748.JPGCallos is a stew common across Spain, and is considered traditional to Madrid where it is referred to as Callos a la Madrileña. It contains ox tripe and chickpeas, blood sausage and bell peppers. Chorizo sausage may also be used.

It is one of the Spanish dishes that have been adopted widely in the Philippines.

For my version of this recipe, I skipped the chickpeas because it is on the list of prohibited food for someone in our household.  Instead, I used unsalted peanuts.  Works as well for me!  I also added raisins to add a little sweetness to the dish.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ox tripe, cleaned

1 cup unsalted peanuts

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1 pc chorizo de Bilbao, sliced

1 large bell pepper, sliced into bite-sized squares

1 medium onion, sliced

1 small carrot, cubed

1/2 tsp whole peppercorn

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

3 pcs dried basil leaves

1/2 cup raisins

2 tbsps Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

In a casserole, bring water to a boil.  Add onion, whole peppercorn, basil leaves and tripe.  Simmer until the tripe is tender.

Remove tripe from casserole and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing it into bite-sized strips.  Reserve stock.

In a large wok, heat Olive oil.  Add chorizos and cook for about 6-8 minutes.  Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil.  Add the tripe and 1 1/2 cups of the reserved stock.  Add salt and pepper to taste.Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add carrots and bell pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes. Add raisins and peanuts.

Remove from heat and serve warm.

 

Fern Friday Salad

IMG_1683.JPGDon’t be misled. The only reason I named this recipe as such is because where I currently am in Baguio City, Philippines, Fiddlehead ferns are only available in the public market on Fridays.

But this is simply a fresh fiddlehead fern salad, known locally as pako.

This is not the same as just fiddlehead, the curly top of the fern plant which is a delicacy in countries like Canada.

This salad uses more of the leaves rather than the fiddleheads.

I’ve been craving for this salad since I first tasted it at a gourmet restaurant in Manila.  Since then, I promised myself to make it in my kitchen, if I could find a source for the fresh ingredient.

Well, I did find a source.  You can bet I’ll be having this every Friday!

INGREDIENTS

One bunch, Fiddlehead fern leaves

1 medium onion, sliced

2 tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 tsp Olive oil

1 tbsp brown sugar

A dash of ground black pepper

1 red, salted egg, sliced in half

DIRECTIONS

Separate the fern leaves and fiddleheads from the stem.  Discard the stems. Thoroughly wash the fern leaves.  Blanch and drain.

In a small bowl, mix vinegar, sugar and black pepper and set aside.

In a serving bowl, combine fern leaves, onion, tomatoes and Olive oil. Toss.

Pour the vinegar dressing over the salad mixture.  Toss one more time.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, top with the salted egg slices.

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.

 

 

 

Dinengdeng With Fried Bangus

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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.

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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.

 

 

Adobo Pineapple Fried Rice

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Here’s a way to enjoy your pork adobo and pineapple fried rice all in one.  Add in some Chinese sausage and season with turmeric powder to give it that awesome flavor and nice yellow color.

You can mostly use leftover rice and pork adobo to create this entire new dish.  And did I already say complete meal?

INGREDIENTS

4 cups, cooked (or leftover) rice

2 cups, cooked pork adobo, chopped

2 pcs Chinese sausage, thinly sliced

1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup pineapple chunks

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 small onion, chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbps Olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS

Heat Olive oil in a large pan.  Add garlic and cook until browned.  Add onions and cook until tender.  Add tomatoes. Add pork adobo, Chinese sausage, celery and raisins.  Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly.  Add in cooked rice. Add turmeric and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Cook until rice begins to turn crisp and yellow. Turn off heat and add pineapple slices.  Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with green onions