Mango Chayote Salad

img_9406I love sweet mangoes.  They’re quite abundant year-round in the Philippines, except that I still haven’t mastered the art of knowing whether what I am about to purchase are sweet or more on the sour side.  I am sure it’s a combination of smelling, touching, and luck!

I was given a bunch of ripe mangoes that I thought would pass my standard of sweetness.  Alas, in a scale of one to ten — with ten as the sweetest — they registered at about 4.5.  So what was I to do?

Well, I was planning to prepare my favorite chayote (sayote) leaves salad which I would just blanche then toss with salt and vinegar then garnish with sliced tomatoes and onions.

Then I thought about adding the semi-sour mangoes to the mix, thinking that the dressing for my salad would temper the sour taste of the mangoes.

And so the rest is history.  I now have a slightly different recipe for my chayote salad that would come very handy every time I’d peel a not-so-sweet ripe mango!

INGREDIENTS

One bunch of chayote leaves and tips, separated from the stems, and thoroughly washed

One tbsp, white vinegar (or more if desired)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 medium onion, sliced

Two medium tomatoes, sliced or quartered

One large ripe mango, peeled and sliced

DIRECTIONS

In a large salad bowl, add the chayote leaves and pour boiling water over them.  Toss with a tong and make sure the leaves are evenly blanched.  Blanche for 2-3 minutes and drain.  Add the tomatoes and onions.  Mix well.  Add the vinegar, salt and pepper, then toss. Add the mango slices on top of the salad.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or until ready to serve.

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Quinoa Hijiki Salad

IMG_7166.JPGIn my most recent visit to Hawaii, I became addicted to Quinoa Hijiki salad which I encountered in the refrigerated section of the local ABC Stores in Waikiki.  I promised myself that I would make them at home when I get back to the Philippines.

I was afraid I would not be able to find Hijiki which is a Japanese dried sea vegetable.  But to my delight, there was a Japanese food store which had the rare item, just a few blocks from where I am staying in Metro Manila.

Quinoa is also not that readily available in most supermarkets.  Luckily, I brought home a few packages from Hawaii.

Then, I had problems finding edamame. But again, they had them at the Japanese store.

So, with all the needed ingredients complete, I ventured with my home-made version of Quinoa Hijiki Salad!

INGREDIENTS

2 cups quinoa, cooked according to the package instructions

3/4 cup cooked edamame beans

1/2 cup red bell pepper, sliced into very tiny cubes, blanched

1/2 cup green bell pepper, sliced into very tiny cubes, blanched

1/2 cup sweet corn

1/2 cup pineapple tidbits, with juice

1/2 small onion, minced

2 tbsps white vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup dried Hijiki (or more if you like)

1 tbsp sugar

DIRECTIONS

Soak dried Hijiki in water for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a salad bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, edamame, red and green bell peppers, sweet corn, pineapple tidbits with juice, Hijiki, onion. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Add sugar and mix well.

Refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving.

(Note:  if you prefer, the salad can also be served warm)

 

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.

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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.

 

Breaded Tofu With Thai Peanut Sauce

imageTofu is the ‘go-to’ ingredient for many vegetarian dishes.  This bland bean curd is often under-appreciated, that is, if one doesn’t take the effort to  find ways to make this food surprisingly appetizing.

Perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy tofu is to fry them, breaded.  The resulting product is crunchy on the outside and soft inside. But as always, the secret to tofu is in the sauce.  This tasteless curd quickly absorbs the taste of the ingredients in which it is cooked, or the sauce it is dipped in.

This fried and breaded tofu uses Thai peanut sauce, but many other dips could work just as well — whether it be soy sauce, sweet sour sauce or sriracha mayo.

INGREDIENTS

1 block (14 oz), medium to firm tofu

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 cup  corn starch

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsps Olive oil

Thai peanut sauce, bottled or made from scratch

DIRECTIONS

Slice tofu into 3-inch logs (about 1-inch thick)

Roll each log over corn starch to coat

Dip coated logs in beaten egg, then coat them with bread crumbs

In a frying pan, heat Olive oil

Fry the breaded tofu until crispy and browned on all sides.

Remove from heat and place on a platter lined with paper towel to drain excess oil

TO MAKE PEANUT SAUCE FROM SCRATCH:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup ground unsalted peanuts

1/4 cup shredded carrots

2 tbsps soy sauce

2 tsps white sugar

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 pinch of red chili flakes

1/2 cup water

In a small bowl, mix together peanut butter, peanuts, garlic, sugar, flakes, soy sauce and water.  Stir until smooth and creamy. Add in carrots and some whole peanuts if desired

 

Vegetarian Barbecued Pulled ‘Pork’

imageIs it pork? Is it chicken?  Is it beef?  How about none of the above?  That’s right, it’s a vegetarian dish: barbecued pulled “pork.”  I first saw this Australian recipe video  a few days ago and  was skeptical about it.  But I tried it and lo and behold, it really tastes like barbecued pulled pork, except that it’s made of a fruit, Jackfruit!

It’s a recipe that vegetarians and meat eaters should try. Here’s to your health!

INGREDIENTS image

One can (9.8 fl. oz, drained), green jackfruit.

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tbsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

A pinch of salt

A pinch of pepper

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/2 up barbecue sauce

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

2 tbps Olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, mix jackfruit, sugar, paprika, garlic power, chili powder and salt and pepper.  Heat Olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add the jackfruit mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add barbecue sauce and liquid smoke. Turn over the jackfruit and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and using a fork, shred the jackfruit. Remove from heat and serve with toasted or grilled Ciabatta bread slices.

AVOCADO FRIES

IMG_8529I’ve always enjoyed avocado as an ingredient in my salads, or as a creamy dip in the form of guacamole.  It was not until recently that a Facebook friend posted a picture of avocado fries she had ordered from a restaurant bar.  Naturally, I was very intrigued.  At the first opportunity, I ventured into making home-made avocado fries.  It turned out to be a very easy process.  And did I mention, super-delicious?  So the next time you crave for avocados, consider frying them!

INGREDIENTS Capture

2 fresh avocados, pitted, peeled, and halved with each half sliced into 1/2-inch crescents

Whites from two eggs, beaten

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Olive oil for frying

1-2 tbsps sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat.  Coat each avocado slice with flour then dip into the egg batter before coating with bread crumbs.  Fry breaded avocado slices until slightly browned, about 2 minutes each side.  Remove from heat and place fried avocados on a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm with crackers, bread or toasted tortillas.  (I used toasted Indian naan bread).

Japchae Lumpia (Korean Noodle Eggroll)

imageIs it Korean?  Is it Filipino?  How about both?  I’m calling this the Japchae Lumpia because it combines the delicious stir-fried sweet potato noodles and the traditional Filipino egg roll, called lumpia.

Actually, you can use just about any combination of filling for your lumpia, including pork, chicken, seafood and vegetables.

For this recipe I used Japchae noodles as the filling for the lumpia and the results are deliciously appetizing! I even went multi-cultural by using Thai chile sauce as my dip!

It’s not really a strange concept to use noodles as lumpia filling since in Filipino gatherings, lumpia is often served with other food items, including pancit, or noodles.

INGREDIENTS

Stir-fried Japchae Korean noodles

Lumpia wrappers

Olive oil for frying

Thai sweet chili sauce for dip

DIRECTIONS

This is a two-step process.  You would first need to cook your Japchae noodles.  Here’s how. Take lumpia wrappers one at a time, add about two tablespoons of cooked Japchae and roll the wrapper as you would for your usual regular egg roll.  Use some water to seat the edges of the egg roll.  Heat about 1 cup of Olive oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat.  Fry the egg rolls in batches, making sure they are nicely browned but not burnt. Remove from heat and place egg rolls on a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil.  Serve warm with a side of sweet and sour sauce.