Friday, March 28, 2014

Pineapple Pork with Green Beans

In the absence of my used-to-be-full-packed kitchen in terms of ingredients, I was forced to make something of what I can find and created this simple yet appetizing dish.  More so to those who love sweet and salty tasting pork meal.

Before I created this dish, I really intended to make adobo but I realized that I do not have vinegar.  Well, I do not like vinegar very well.  I really don't know why.  And I must admit, I am not very much of a good cook when I have to deal with vinegar.  That is my kryptonite in cooking.  But I strive if I really need to use one.


250lbs pork belly, cut in cubes
2 gloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 tsps black peppercorns
1/4 cup pineapple juice or 115gms pineapple tidbits (juice included)
3Tbsp dark soy sauce (regular soy sauce is fine)
1 Tbsp fish sauce or 1 tsp rock salt
1 cup water 
100 gms green beans.  In the Philippines, we call this Baguio Beans; cut in about 3 inches; blanched and set aside.

1.  Marinate pork with pineapple juice, soy sauce and salt for at least 30 minutes
2.  Remove pork from the marinade.  Set aside but keep the marinade.
3.  Heat oil in a saucepan and saute garlic until golden brown.
4.  Add marinated pork to the sauteing garlic.
4.  Sear pork for about 5 minutes.  
5.  Add marinade, water and pineapple tidbits.
6.  Bring to boil then simmer for 30 minutes or until pork is very tender. Add water 1/2 cup at a time.  Adjust saltyness by adding fish sauce or salt depending on your preference.
7.  Serve hot topped with blanched beans.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Project Rice Cooker Cake: A Come Back

In the midst of so many things happening in my personal and professional life, don't ever think that I never thought of going back here.  Here where my passion and my creativity is nurtured and cultivated.

So yeah, I'm going back.  May not be as often as I used to but I will definitely find time to connect with you and continue where we left of.  Sounds like I am rekindling a relationship, huh?

It's been 7 months since I left  my 'used be home' and decided to live alone.  Yeah, on my own. You may think that since I am now living alone, I have more the time to cook.  You may be right, but then again, I do not have anyone to cook for.  Let alone eat everything I cook.  Plus the fact I got a smaller kitchen and lesser kitchen gadgets. But don't get me wrong, I am more than happy where I am now.

Rice Cooker Chocolate Cake
So, the course has been changed.  I am now in pursuit of easy, quick and good for one or maybe good for two dishes (Well, I have been cooking for two, haven't I?) And my first attempt is this project. Bake a cake using the rice cooker.  I do not have an oven yet and I miss baking.  Hell, I miss spending time in the kitchen, period!

During one of those laid back weekends (which comes rare now), I came across this collection of recipes you can make using your good-o'l-only-cook-rice kitchen appliance called the rice cooker.  For a foodie that I am, the article amazed me and told myself that I will make some of those one of these days. The things you discover in the internet!  21 Surprising Things You Can Make in a Rice Cooker

I used to do cakes and muffins (goodies I used to bake) from scratch. But for this project, I bought a pre-mixed chocolate cake to try on.

There is no exact recipe.  Just follow the instructions on the box, put the mixture into your rice cooker and wait for the magic to happen.
Chocolate Cake Mixture

Here are some reminders though when making this cake using this method:
1.  The power of your rice cooker will determine the length to which the cake will be done.
2.  It takes a while. Your patience is needed
3.  Remember that the cake will expand.  Make sure you have enough room for this in your rice cooker - about another half of the uncooked mixture.
4.  Check your cake after 20 minutes. Then every 15 minutes thereafter.  You do not want a dry and burnt cake, do you?
5.  Cake will be done in 1 hour 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.  In 'Keep Warm' mode.
30 minutes after

This was what happened when I 'baked' the cake - I burnt the bottom of it.  You know why?  I forced the rice cooker on the cook mode instead of let it sit on 'keep warm'.  Sometimes the impatient me is getting me into trouble. I have to remind myself that patience is a virtue (wink).

Here is what you have to do so as not to commit the same mistake I did.  Once you pour on the mixture of the cake in the rice cooker, press the lever or push the button - whatever your rice cooker tells you to do when you are cooking rice.  When it shifted to keep warm mode, LEAVE it that way and wait. Wait until center is soft enough to be eaten but not raw. REMEMBER, the heat of the rice cooker is enough to cook your cake.

I may have a burnt bottom cake but the rest are good! Gooey and moist.  Good enough that I was not ashamed to share it with friends.  Not bad for an out-of-the-box, more so baked cake using a rice cooker!

Next thing I will do using this method of baking is an upside down cake.  You see, if you really want something, you will make it happen.  I just did!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pork and Mushroom Siomai

I have always loved my mom's cooking. Who doesn't, huh? I mean, who does not love their mom's cooking? I bet everyone does.  No one is a greater cook than our own mothers, right?

Living away from her for years now, there are times wherein I wish that I will wake up in the morning with the smell of whatever it is that she is preparing for breakfast.  Sometimes, I miss the days when I will just have to ask what's for dinner and don't bother cooking them.  Well, these are some of the prizes I have to pay for living away from her.

When those days are bugging me, I just replicate and cook things that she would normally serve me and my siblings.  One of which is this dish - Pork Siomai. Okay, I tweak it a bit and put some mushrooms for I just love them!

Siomai is a type of dimsum (food prepared in bit-sized portions) made from pork (usually) and other add-ons that you can find almost anywhere when you visit any Asian restaurant.  Siomai is traditionally steamed, though in the recent years, fried siomai has become popular as well in the local restaurants serving them. Pork, as the main ingredient of this dish is mixed with other ingredients like shrimps, mushrooms and the likes which results in different siomai "flavors".

Print this Recipe

1/2 kilo finely minced pork (not ground)
1 medium raw egg
2 medium sized dried shitake mushrooms
1 small or about 1/4 cup minced white onion
2 slices white bread
1/2 cup shredded turnip (singkamas), juice squeezed
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 pack wanton wrappers (size depends on how big or small you want your siomai to be, I used small size)

kalamansi (Philippine Lemon) or lemon
soy sauce
store bought chili oil

1.  Soak shitake mushroom in 1/4 cup water for 10 minutes or until soft.  Keep water. Mince mushroom.
2.  Using all the water from the mushroom, soak white bread and mash. Set aside.
3.  Combine all ingredients including mushroom and bread except wanton wrappers. Mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes for flavors to develop.
4.  Should you wish, you may boil a portion of your mixture and taste.  Adjust the amount of salt if necessary.

Making siomai is an art.  For first timers, this may look difficult but it's actually not.  Just make sure that you are using fresh wanton wrappers so you won't have any problem breaking them in the process.  REMEMBER: wanton wrappers should be kept frozen, buy one that is stored in freezer.

This is how I assemble siomai.  You may have your own way of doing it so go ahead, no fuss :)

1.  Place a wanton wrapper on top of your thumb and forefinger.
2.  Scoop a teaspoon of the mixture and place it on top of the wanton wrapper
3.  Hold the siomai as if you are squeezing it (but don't) and with the use of a teaspoon, insert the sides of the wrapper in between the mixture so it won't fall off when steaming.
4.  Shape the siomai using your fingers while bottom is flattened on a surface.  This way, you'll have even sized siomai.
5. Do this until all mixture are used.

Place siomai pieces on a steamer lined with a cloth.  Make sure you have spaces in between since your siomai will expand in while steaming.  You don't want to break your materpiece when you are just about to serve them *wink*  Cover the siomai with the ends of the cloth before placing the pot cover.

You may be wondering, "What is the cloth for?"  steaming cloth or cheese cloths are use so your siomai won't be watery since the cloth will absorb that.

Steam for 10 to 15 minutes.

You may put a drop of sesame oil on each siomai before serving for enhanced flavor.  Serve hot with condiments.

NOTE: You can make siomai ahead of time. Just make sure to store them in freezer. This can be stored frozen for a month but I won't recommend you store these goodies that long for they will lose the flavors.  A week inside the freezer is okay.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Babi Chin (Fragrant Pork) and Nonya Cuisine

What is Nonya Cuisine

I wonder too myself when  I saw this mini cookbook when I was browsing the rack of a bookstore nearby, which by the way was years ago, even before I started blogging.

As I skim the pages, I found some interesting recipes to which I know I can easily make and since the cookbook is cheap, Php120.00 ($2.8), I bought one.

According to the book, Nonya Cuisine is simply a fusion of Southeast Asian herbs and spices with Chinese ingredients in a dish that is the culinary legacy of the Straits (or Peranakan) Chinese communities is Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia (Nonya Favorites, Periplus Mini Cookbooks, 2001). Interesting huh?  It was also said that even before the word "fusion" became popular in the culinary world, Nonya cuisine has been in existence.

Some of the common ingredients in any Nonya kitchen would be the following: lemongrass, chillies, belacan (shrimp paste) galangal, turmeric (in Filipino, luyang dilaw) and coconut milk.

If there is one dish that I have been cooking from this book for several times already is called Babi Chin or Fragrant Pork.  Such a simple name for a tasty meal. I bet you, the preparation to make this dish is as simple as 1, 2, 3.

I came to love this dish not only because of how easy it is to make but because of the flavors it has.  The spices used in this creation are made in heaven. Whoever invented this recipe was a genius. The flavors are not too strong, just right for you to have another spoonful for you can't get enough.  You know that feeling when you eat something and the flavors linger but at the same time gone and you want more?  Get what I mean?  This dish does that!

This pork entree gives justice to its name for your kitchen and the whole house will definitely have the I-want-to-eat-now feeling because of its aroma.

This, by the way, can be made in advance and reheat when needed.  Better actually to eat it the next day for by this time, the flavors have developed and is tastier than when you eat it right after cooking.  Trust me on this *wink*

Before I forget, another thing I love about this dish is it's eaten with steamed rice.

Babi Chin or Fragrant Pork
Print this Recipe

I used pork ribs when I made this last week (for photo) and I will never do it again, pork fats gives this dish more flavor

500gms pork belly, cut into cubes (2"x2") or any pork parts with fats
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped shallots or red onion
6 gloves of garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp ground coriander
4 pcs star anise
8 large dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in water to soften, squeeze excess liquid then cut into strips
1 Tbps dark soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp rock salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper (black pepper will do if you do not have white)
1 liter water

1.  Over medium flame, heat oil in a sauce pan and fry shallots until fragrant, add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
2.  Add star anise and coriander.  Cook for another minute.
3.  Add your mushrooms and pork.  Fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until pork looses its outer pink color.
4.  Add soy sauce, sugar, pepper and water.
5.  Bring to boil then reduce to simmer.  Cook covered for 1.5 hours (or until pork is very tender) stirring occasionally to prevent from burning.

You can skip step 6 and 7 if you wish, though it's recommended you do.
6.  Set aside for at least an hour at room temperature for flavors to develop.
7.  Reheat and serve hot.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Suman sa Lihiya with Latik (Wrapped Rice Cake with Coco-Butter Syrup)

The last two months has been hectic and chaotic but I tell you was so much fun!

Even before the LEAP (the coaching program I am active in) ended, I told myself that I will share with you a delicacy that Filipinos love but are not making too often nowadays.  Their busy schedules may not permit them to. And maybe, just my theory, the old folks who used to do this, may not have the energy anymore to do them. 

Suman is a general term used to describe a rice cake or a sweetened root crop wrapped in leaves.  Commonly used to wrap these cakes are banana leaves though some varieties uses palm leaves. Some even got their names from the leaf they were wrapped in.  *wink*

The memory of this snack that I am about to share with you goes back to my childhood days when, during fiestas or big family celebrations, is always present.  Not nowadays though, for according to the one who used to do this for us, the process of making these is tedious. I did not argue, until recently.

Due to the length of time being consumed when making this suman traditionally, it's not everyday that someone will make it at home for personal consumption.  Why? Mainly because of the notion and belief that this is such a difficult thing to do. 

A friend of mine believed so as well.  In one of our road trips, she saw this type of suman in one of the stores and was eager to buy one. I told her not to and I will just make some for her.  You know what she told me?

" You are not a normal person.  Sumans are bought, not made at home!"

I told her I am serious and she swore, that indeed, I am weird.  She loves me, huh? I forbid her to buy and yes, I made one for her and for my friends when we returned home.  She still believes I am an alien while devouring in the freshly made Suman sa Lihiya right from my own kitchen.

So, here is the modern and easy recipe for a sweet and bring-me-back-to-childhood suman. I learned this by the way from one of the cooking classes I attended to...I put some twist of my own of course *wink*

Suman sa Lihiya with Latik (Wrapped Rice Cake with Coco-Butter Syrup)
Print this Recipe

For the Rice Cake
2 cups glutinous rice (malagkit)
2 cup whole grain rice
water for soaking rice
4 cups water
1 Tbsp Lihiya or Lye (food grade)
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup brown sugar (segunda in Filipino or the partially refined sugar)

For the Coco- Butter Syrup
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup muscovado sugar or raw sugar; you can also use grated panucha or hardened sugar
1/4 cup salted butter
1Tbsp glutinous rice flour

fresh banana leaves, cut into about 6"x10", about 16 pieces, have extra just in case one or two tears apart
16 pieces cotton strings cut about 14 inches in length.
grated coconut meat (optional)

Prepare the Rice
1.  Combine the two types of rice, rinse twice and drain. Put enough water just to cover rice and soak for at least an hour.

TRIVIA: Soaking rice before cooking is a traditional way of preparing this grain.  Rice grains absorbs water that makes cooking time shorter and gives a good texture to it as well.  

2.  After an hour, drain rice and add 4 cups of fresh water.  Add the Lihiya (lye) and mix well.  Water will turn pale yellow.

WHAT IS THE LYE FOR? : lye gives this suman a distinct flavor plus lye gives rice cakes it's gooey texture or in Tagalog "kunat"

3.  Cook rice about 30 to 35 minutes.  If using rice cooker, let the equipment time itself  *wink*

Prepare the leaves
In an open flame, run over your banana leaves one at a time to wilt and steam it a bit.  We do this so leaves will not break when we wrap the rice later. Set aside.

Prepare the Syrup
1.  In a sauce pan, combine all ingredients except for the butter.  Mix well until lumps from glutinous rice flour are gone.
2.  Under low flame, simmer mixture until thick, about 5 minutes. Careful not to boil.  Why? We do not want the coco milk to coagulate, do we?  we are looking for a syrupy texture just like that of a maple syrup *wink*
3.  Before your 5 minutes ends, add the butter and mix well.  Set aside.

Let's go back to the rice.

1.  Once rice is cooked, remove from heat and add coco cream and sugar.  Mix well until well blended.  Careful not to burn yourself.
2.   Measure 1/2 cup of prepared rice and place them on the lighter green side of the banana leaf.  Wrap it up like you would your sandwich.  Do this to the remaining rice.

 3.  When you are done wrapping everything, let's tie them up together.  Why? So they will not burst and keep their shape.  Get two pieces and place them together where the flaps of the leaves are in between the two suman.

4.  Using the cotton string, tie one end and then the other.  There is no exact science here, just tie it up however you want, although it's suggested you use a knot where it can be pulled off easily later on.

5.  Do this to the rest of the suman.

Do you see the one lone ranger there? I intentionally did that for later use (whispering) photo *wink*

Let's finish this up!

Using a steamer or a make shift one, it does not matter as long as you can steam these babies, steam the suman for 10 minutes.  Make sure to give room for the suman to expand, for it will. Just a few centimeters apart.

After 10 minutes, remove suman from heat and allow to cool a bit.

Unwrap a suman and pour over coco butter syrup on top.  You may also serve this with grated coconut meat as an option.

Makes about 8 pairs or 16 pieces of suman by the way *wink*

You may be wondering, "Why did she say modern way?".

It is because, traditionally, you soak rice with the lye for at least 2 hours. Wrap the uncooked rice (harder to handle than the cooked one) with the banana leaves and boil them in water for at least two hours or until rice is cooked. 

Traditional or modern?  Your choice :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

#PeachLove:Peach-Banana Maruya

Peach! Peach! Peach!

Not the color but the fruit.  Guess what? I like eating peaches from the can, not the fresh one, why? I really don't know and I don't want to figure it out anyway :')

Peach-Banana Maruya

You see, I have not been around so much :'( I won't rant about why, what is important is I am here and creating dishes the way I used too.

Twitting and browsing has not been part of my activities lately, that is why I felt I am an alien with all the good things that are happening in the food world. Few days ago, in one of my sneak peeks in the twitter world  I saw that this month's Love Blog Hop is all about peaches! And yes, I made time to create one dish and join the party!

You may be wondering, what does "maruya" means?  Maruya is a famous snack here in the Philippines.  It is made of plantain (Saging na Saba) with flour coating and deep fried.  Sometimes, this is served with a sprinkle of white granulated sugar to add sweetness.

Today, I put a twist to that.  Peach and Banana - intrigued? Here it goes...

Print this Recipe

4 to 5 pieces plantain, cut lengthwise in 2 or 3 depending on the thickness of the banana, about 1/2 inch thick
5 peach halves, sliced (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 medium egg
1 cup cake flour  (or all purpose flour and 1/4 tsp baking powder)
1 cup fresh milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
vegetable oil for deep frying
powdered sugar (optional)

1.  On a very hot griller, grill each peach until marks appear.  About 1 minute per side.  Set aside.

2.  In a bowl, beat egg and add milk. Put in cake flour and the rest of the ingredients  (except powdered sugar)

3.   Heat oil in a deep pan.

4.  Dip bananas and grilled peaches in the prepared batter.  Arrange then in a saucer the way you want it.  Make sure to combine banana and peaches in one serving.

5.  Slowly slide arranged peach and bananas unto the heated oil and fry until golden brown.  careful not to brown.  This cooks quick.  Better to have your heat/flame in low setting.

6.  Drain in paper towels.

7.  Sprinkle with powder sugar (if you wish) and serve hot.

The outcome is sweet and salty, very Filipino.  The addition of peach to this traditional snack made all the difference!

I am grateful I took the risk to create this snack...I'll do it again.  (My niece says it delicious!)

Thanks to the awesome foodies who hosted this month's LoveBlogHop.  Say hi to them and visit their sites, will you?

Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves| Becky Higgins
Elephant Eats | Amy | @elephanteats
Java Cupcake | Betsy Eves | @javacupcake
No One Likes Crumbley Cookies | TR | @TRCrumbley
Oh Cake | Jess | @jesshose
Pippi’s In the Kitchen Again | Sheila | @shlylais
Rico sin Azucar | Helena | @ricosinazucar
Savoring Every Bite | Linda| @spicegirlfla
Teaspoon of Spice | Serena| @tspcurry
That Skinny Chick Can Bake | Liz | @thatskinnychick
The Spicy RD | EA Stewart | @TheSpicyRD
The Wimpy Vegetarian | Susan Pridmore| @WimpyVegetarian

Please join in on the #peachlove fun by linking up any peach recipe from the month of August 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #peachlove event! The twitter hashtag is #peachlove.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Nutella Choco Chip Cookie

Going back to the corporate work after more than two years away from it is kinda exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.  You may say I'm over reacting but it's true.  I have been in my comfort zone doing the things I love for quite sometime and being back to the jungle was not an easy decision for me.  I'm glad I made that leap, I whole new world is waiting for me to conquer *wink*

As you have noticed, I have been away for so looooong...and yes, I miss blogging, I miss media socializing and most of all...I miss my kitchen!  And yeah, I miss you, my readers...

For almost two months now, I delight myself with, still, the comfort foods from my home (not that I am the one cooking it) and some cakes and cookies I buy of the rack.  But since I become accustomed to eating goodies I baked, cookies from the supermarket are not giving me much satisfaction.  I miss the freshly baked cookies from my oven.

Thank God I got some time and at last I was able to bake these lovely cookies, thanks to the wonderful recipe of Joey of 80Breakfast, she is a genius!

These cookies are so easy to make and delicious too!  I won't be surprised if you finish one batch in one sitting.

I followed the ingredients' proportion to the dot except for substituting the unsalted butter (I don't have one) and I did not include walnuts.  Although I guess I have to be more obedient in following instructions and take the tips and notes seriously.  I'll tell you why in a while.


1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 medium egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Nutella choco-hazelnut spread
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate droplets

Cream the butter and both sugars together until light and creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add the Nutella and beat until combined.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined.  Do not over stir.
Fold in choco droplets gently just until well distributed.
Drop the dough by rounded spoonfuls on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1.5-2 inches apart.
Bake in a 375F pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest for a couple of minutes on the baking pan before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

You may be wondering what these strange shaped cookies are doing here...this is the result of the baker (me) not following instructions.  I placed too much amount of cookie dough and they came out widely spread and each cookie are touching each other producing an almost 8'diameter cookie!  

To salvage the disastrous product, I used cookie cutters to make them presentable and easy to eat.  They looked cute, don't they? *wink*  So as a NOTE, these cookies spread a lot during baking so better follow instructions.  According to Joey, you may freeze them to minimize spreading; good thing I did not for these cookies came out just the way I liked it - crispy edges with a chewy center.

Oh! before I forget, these cookies are sweet so you may want to lessen the sugar accordingly (wink).

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