Archive | Filipino dishes

Pan-Fried Eggplant with Lemon-Soy Sauce Dip

Hmm…so much for Fuss-Free Fridays! How about Too Lazy Tuesdays? Hahaha.

I used to be a picky eater as a young child. It’s not that I won’t eat vegetables or that I will only eat burgers (McDonald’s burgers were actually a rare treat because it wasn’t a place we .). The thing is, when I likes something in particular, could you just please cook it for me everyday until I tire of it? I had a lot of phases: fried chicken, corned beef, Mah-Ling, Spam, tomatoes, green beans, peas, broad bean, mung beans, etc. My blood was also half soy sauce and calamansi juice because I will dip almost anything in that sauce. Take for example, one of my favorite Filipino dish,  Pritong Talong (PREE-tong Ta-LONG; talong = eggplant; prito = fried). It’s as simple as what the name suggests: Fried. Eggplant. No salt. No pepper. Just wash, cut, and fry in oil.

Our Philippine eggplants are long and slender, similar to the Chinese and Japanese ones, and they’re cut in half lengthwise and crosswise, leaving you four pieces per eggplant. You can also use the much plumper variety, American globe, for frying, just cut them across, about a third of an inch in thickness.

Now depending on who’s cooking, it can be very oily, and that’s one thing I avoid. The older I get, the more naturally averse I am to oily food. What I do instead is to fry them in little oil and then steam by adding a small amount of water, just like when you cook potstickers.

The Method: Put enough vegetable oil on a frying pan, just enough to coat it. Heat on medium. Place eggplant slices (about 1/3 of an inch thick) sliced side down and cook until it it begins to turn brown on the edges. Flip to the other side, and wait until the edge starts to brown. And then quickly add about a tablespoon of water per slice of eggplant in the pan and quickly cover the pan until all the water evaporated. Transfer eggplants onto a plate. Coat pan with oil with every batch of eggplants cooked.

The sauce is just soy sauce with calamansi juice, lemon or lime juice. The salty and tangy sauce with the slightly sweet eggplant is a match made in heaven. Filipinos are huge rice eaters, and the fried eggplant is one of rice’s concubines. Give me plain steamed rice with fried eggplants for breakfast and I’ll be happy. Unless you make me some Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette), which I also love. I’ll be posting about that soon!

What about you — How do you cook your eggplants?

Posted in Asian dish, Filipino dishes, fried, healthier choices, vegetables, vegetarian6 Comments

Mocha Cake ala Goldilocks

Goldilocks is a well-known institution of baked goods and pastries in the Philippines. Even though I can easily go to their Vancouver location to get my mocha cake fix, I’ve always dreamed of baking a copycat so I can enjoy it anytime at home and knowing the ingredients in the cake I’m eating.

Finally, this summer, I set out to do just that. I got insanely lucky on my first try of the series and the flavor and texture was right on. My family declared it identical to (and even better than) Goldilocks. It was too good to be true and I can tell you that I got teary eyed on the final tasting of the buttercream after tweaking the flavors. Just to be sure, I’ve baked it numerous times since that first time. It helps that another batch of cake is requested before the current one gets eaten, so I don’t have to bury my face in mocha cake. Hah! One cake is just not enough. In fact, I’ve been asked not to post it on the blog because it really does taste like the real thing.  However, what kind of food blogger am I if, after all the testing and perfecting, I don’t share it? That pretty much defeats my purpose for this site.

So here it is, one item off my To-Cook-and-Bake-From-Scratch list:

This was my sister-in-law’s birthday cake.

The mocha cake from Goldilocks defined my love for cakes at an early age. What cake do I want for my birthday? Goldilocks mocha cake please!

Back in university, whenever I felt down, all I needed was a quick jeepney ride to Philcoa to order a half roll of mocha cake and — gasp — finish most of it myself. [Either that, or Betty's Sans Rival.] I was shameless and guiltless in my 5 foot frame and in the 90-pound mark then. These days, I don’t want to think about that, but I still want to a slice of mocha cake or two with my cup of coffee.

The cake is light, fluffy, and soft, and the icing is a luscious combination of extra smooth coffee and cocoa, buttery but not greasy. To get the authentic taste, you will need to use Nescafe coffee granules. You can also use espresso granules (= coffee taste is bolder and more pronounced) or Starbucks VIA Italian roast (=icing has bitter and sour notes), but it’s up to you if you want to use what you have available. You will also need amaretto, an Italian almond liqueur to finish off the flavor and must not be skipped. I’ve never tried to substitute it with anything, so I cannot advise you on that for now. I’ll try making this with almond extract next time and see if that can be used!

Please enjoy!

The recipe can be made into a two-layer 9-inch round cake or a roll. I’ve included instructions for the roll in the recipe Notes if you want to take a stab at it.

   Get the recipe for the Mocha Cake ala Goldilocks

Posted in baking, coffee buddy, dessert, experiments, Filipino dishes, original Gourmeted recipe305 Comments

Fuss-Free Fridays: You Say Guacamole, I say Dessert!

Some of you might find the concept of eating avocado outside the constricts of a vegetable salad or a Mexican dip bizarre. On the contrary, when I moved to North America in the late ’90s, I had a mental gag when I discovered that my beloved avocado was made into anything other than a dessert — fresh spooned out of the skin, as an ice cream or a filling shake. Worse, it was sometimes being touted as something really fattening. Yikes.

This is my all-time favorite way of eating avocados: sprinkled with sugar and powdered milk (preferably Nido) and straight into my mouth. Creamy, dreamy dessert!

I'll eat you without dieter's remorse.

Have you tried this before? What other food do you eat differently than others do?

On a sweet avocado related note, I was more than thrilled to learn that avocado can be used as the chocolate fudge cake icing in a raw diet. It does taste so rich and good as a ganache!

Sorry Fuss-Free Friday was late. I have to admit that the day just crept up on me this afternoon. If you have other fuss-free recipes to share, please leave the link in the comments section. Thanks and enjoy your weekend!

Posted in dairy, Filipino dishes, fruits, Fuss Free Fridays, quick & easy7 Comments

Igado (Filipino Pork Meat and Liver Stew)

Is it really February? Last Monday I thought it was Friday. Time is warped; I could be talking to you from 2010 and I’ll be conscious of the correct year in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… But you do understand what I mean, right? Time zoomed forward.

A couple of weeks ago my ol’ friend visited Vancouver. We go back as far as our Geology freshmen days in 1995. It’s been a good 8 or 9 years since we last saw each other when we were fresh graduates and newly-licensed professionals. Now, we are old(er), relocated in North America, and cook and share recipes. I gave him the recipe for Food For The Gods, and he taught me how to make this Filipino dish called “Igado” (pronounced as ee-ga-DOH, as if you’re saying fa-la-LAH).

Igado is a regional Filipino delicacy with fatty pork loin meat and pork liver cooked with red bell pepper and peas, in a salty-sour sauce. I love this dish but never had the gumption to make it until my friend indulged me with their family’s Ilocano recipe. The Ilocanos are people from the northern part of the Philippines. In my home country, different regions have different traditional dishes with distinct tastes, but there’s one common characteristic about Filipino dishes — they try to make as much use of what’s available from the ingredients. Call it the Third-World Factor, not Fodder For Fear Factor. Take igado, for example, instead of throwing out the skin with fat, it is cubed and fried until crispy; and except for the excess oil, the whole pork loin is used.

Check out the crispy browned fat with skin:

I know it sounds absolutely horrible and will send nutritionists and dietitians screaming out the door, but these are SO good to eat even on their own [disclaimer: Enjoy at your own risk. Don't even think about eating the fried fat if you have heart, high blood, cholesterol or other health-related problems]. It’s used to flavor a lot of dishes, including boiled green mung beans. Eat in moderation, I always say.

Igado is an excellent make-head viand, just like Adobo. It tastes even better the day after, just make sure to keep it cold in the fridge and re-heat before serving. If you’re not into offal, you can skip the liver, but it wouldn’t taste the same. Perhaps you’ve been on the fence about finally trying liver and you’re just waiting for the recipe, consider making this.

Download print-ready PDF recipe for Igado (Filipino Pork Meat and Liver Stew)

The following recipe is not according to my friend’s specifications because he just estimated the amounts in his head when he made it. I took it upon myself, in the spirit of accuracy (whatever excuse I can make to cook this!), to re-create the dish while measuring everything for you and for our future reference. Enjoy! Continue Reading

Posted in Asian dish, Filipino dishes, make-ahead, offal, original Gourmeted recipe21 Comments

Bistek (Filipino Beef Steak)

I’m up so late because I have too much excess energy today, plus I can’t wait for Obama’s inauguration. I’m not American [Dan is, so we have a healthy dose of jokes between us about our countries], but I still share the excitement, hope, and pride in this moment — as I’m sure a lot of my fellow Canadians do. Today marks a day that inspires the rest of the world, as we all witness and celebrate a momentous occasion.

Back to the food…”Bistek” is a Filipino bastardized word of a concoction for “Beef Steak”. I’m not kidding, even though it sounds so silly. It’s made from thin and flat beef strips that’s cooked in soy sauce, calamansi (or lemon) and onions. It is another favorite of mine. It conjures up such good memories.

I still remember the first time I cooked this after watching and bugging our household help on how to cook it. I’m serious, it was memorable. It was a magical moment because I know this oh so well, I can taste it right now.

As with all simple dishes from childhood, it holds a special place in my heart. *sniff, sniff*

As an option, you can also add fried potato slices or chunks, or other veggies. I cooked mung bean sprouts in the same pan so you get the flavor without needing more salt or pepper.

Every little addition of healthy counts, right?
If you want to give this dish a try, here’s the recipe with step-by-step photos. Let us know how it goes. Enjoy!

Continue Reading

Posted in Asian dish, beef, Filipino dishes42 Comments

Filipino Champorado and a Happy New Year!

All the dishes and accouterments from Christmas have been cleaned and the kitchen is ready to face another round of cooking for the New Year (not by much as I would like to greet the new year in peace, literally)…we’re slowly getting back to posting.

Ah, New Year! It’s all about beginnings. Good beginnings, I hope.

And to end the year 2008 and start anew for 2009, I’ll introduce you to a beloved Filipino breakfast, called Champorado. I figured that a day that begins with champorado is good, and a year that starts with champorado would be even better. Haha! This comfort food tugs at heartstrings of Filipinos everywhere. Back in the Philippines, being a tropical country, we especially like eating this on rainy mornings. Here in Canada, winter is a darn good time to have it. Warm, filling and very comforting.

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge/Pudding)

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge/Pudding)

I’ve seen it being called Chocolate Rice Pudding and Chocolate Rice Porridge in English, but it’s always going to be Champorado for me. It’s basically glutinous/sticky/sweet rice cooked with a lot of water to make it soupy-gooey (think oatmeal and congee), with chocolate and sugar added, and enjoyed with evaporated milk, powdered milk, milk or cream. As a child I’ve always wanted it with evaporated milk or powdered milk. The chocolate used was a traditional locally-produced chocolate (and us being very regional, the way this is made is different depending on where you go and who makes it). We’re a mishmash of cultures like that.

The day after Christmas I had the yearning to make this for whatever reason. Perhaps because we woke up to 3 feet of snow and that the possibility of our next Christmas celebration with friends for that day was getting slim. I have to admit that we were snowed in for good that day. After a few phone calls between friends, we all decided that it’s better to stay home. And then, I made this for dinner. I needed some comfort food.  This is also Dan’s introduction to this very Filipino (“Pinoy“, as we refer to it) breakfast.

Champorado -- yummy!

Champorado -- yummy!

So how do you make this super simple concoction?


1 cup of white glutinous/sticky/sweet rice [What is this?]

3 to 4 cups water, depending on your thickness preference

1/2  cup cocoa powder [this will be very chocolate-y, you can decrease it up to 1/4 cup if you prefer]

1/2 cup sugar (I like to use brown)


Combine rice and water in a pot and wait for it to boil under medium-high heat. Stir regularly. Boil in medium for about 10 to 15 minutes minutes. When the mixture thickens and the rice starts to become translucent (meaning, it’s cooked), mix in the cocoa powder and sugar. Cook to your desired consistency. Serve hot with milk or cream mixed in the porridge.

Yeah, that’s it!

It’s super easy, relatively effortless and definitely delicious!!! And with that we wish you all an easy, relaxing and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! We wish you the very best for 2009!

Posted in breakfast, Filipino dishes13 Comments

Chicken Tinola (Filipino Chicken Stew)

Aloha! We’re back from our vacation and we’re slowly easing into reality. The luggage bags are half-unpacked. That in itself, is a great feat. It’s hard to wake up again in hot Arizona, staring at the ceiling and doing rock-paper-scissors to see who needs to get up first (just kidding!!!). We were so spoiled with homemade meals from morning till evening by our friends in Hawaii. In fact, not only have we expanded our food selection (steamed artichokes with mayo, papaya with lemon juice, strawberries with agave nectar, etc.) but also our waistlines! Hahaha.

When I found my cooking mojo again, I made this chicken stew-ish dish that I grew up with in the Philippines. I would ask for “tinola” and stake my claim on the chicken legs with the skin. I was not concerned about extra weight then, obviously. These days we’re trying to be healthy. So instead of chicken with all the delicious skin, I cooked chicken tenders. I used soy sauce in place of fish sauce, but I would always recommend using the latter when you have it in your kitchen. All in all, it was close to the real thing and Dan liked our evening viand:

It’s a nice combination of the texture of chicken and that of chayote, and this is perfect with rice. Dan has never eaten chayote before this and I’m glad he liked it. :-)

Here’s the step-by-step cooking photos:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

It’s really a super simple dish to make so please, help yourself to the recipe!

Continue Reading

Posted in Asian dish, Filipino dishes, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, poultry, vegetables9 Comments

Boiled Corn and Chicken Soup

I could use a bowl of this right now:

It shifts from cold to hot here in Vancouver. “Would you like the cold for breakfast? Sweltering heat for lunch? No problem!” That kind of thing.

I made this a couple of months ago when Dan and I found some super sweet corn from Whole Foods. I think I even cooked this on a hot day in Arizona. Whether it’s a hot day, or cold day…this is good. I love corn soup! It’s basically just chopped onions sauteed with chicken, fresh crushed pepper and salt. Then fresh sweet corn and spinach leaves added right after you turn off the heat. Easy-peasy!

In Manila, our helpers used to cook this at my request. Instead of chicken chicken bits, they actually shred the chicken. They didn’t use spinach leaves, but some slightly bitter leaves (I think they were chili plant leaves). And it was a nice contrast to the sweet corn. It was delicious. I could eat it for days!

I have a bag of leeks and potatoes here waiting to be made into potato leek soup tonight. That’s another easy and tasty soup to make.

Now that it’s starting to cool up, I’m ready to make more soup! Do you have any (easy) soup recipes? Let me know!

Posted in dailies, experiments, Filipino dishes, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, poultry, quick & easy, soups9 Comments

Teddy’s Weekly Roundup: March 2 to March 8

Things are busy here as it’s tax season, and with mommy and daddy filing their taxes for personal and their respective businesses, posting is a wee bit slower than usual. They’ve also been going out to see friends, which is always a good thing. The cocoa brownies weren’t posted as anticipated– our sincere apologies for those who are waiting.

Last week’s fares here at Gourmeted are:

Things we loved from neighboring food sites:

What’s up this week? Take a peek:

  • Review of Sauce restaurant
  • Part II of How We Take Food Photos: The Grey Card
  • Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

That’s it for now. Have a great week everyone. And happy eating!

Posted in appetizer, Asian dish, baking, beef, breakfast, chocolate, cookies, dailies, dessert, Filipino dishes, kitchen tools and gadgets, offal, original Gourmeted recipe, photography2 Comments

Lengua Estofada (Braised Beef Tongue)

I’ve loved Lengua Estofada since I was a child. My grandmother and mother make really good ones. In fact, I called my mom last week to ask her how she makes them. I just smiled and nodded while listening, asking myself — What have I gotten into?

Let me explain. When I bought half a tongue, if I hadn’t known how good Lengua Estofada was, I would’ve backed out. I’ve neither cooked it before nor watched how it’s prepared, and coming face to face with this offal made my stomach turn.

It looks harmless and yummy!

I’ve witnessed pig, chicken, and cows killed for food. I eat fish eyes, fish eggs in the fish, and balut (it was one of the food challenges on Fear Factor). I’ve seen my fair share of ‘gross’, for lack of a better word, that’s why I didn’t foresee a squeamish self at the sight of beef tongue…but there you go. Cleaning and cooking it was another story. I won’t get there for the sake of some of you. I did not take step-by-step photos either, for the same reason.

This isn’t for the faint of heart, dear readers, but if you’re feeling adventurous you’ll be rewarded with something so delicious! I sure hope I didn’t deter you from making this beloved Filipino delicacy:

Lengua Estofado (Braised Beef Tongue)

The ingredients really came together. The tomato-based sauce added a boost of flavor to the meats. I cooked some beef meat with it, as you can see above, so that Dan will have something in case he didn’t like the tongue. He’s never had it before and I wasn’t about to force him to do so. [He did try a couple of slices and I'm so proud of him!] Traditionally, this dish has chunks of tomatoes and carrots, but for my version, I fried potato slices and took the carrots out altogether. Dan said the fried potato was perfect in this dish and was a nice contrast of texture with the tender meats.

Here’s the recipe: Continue Reading

Posted in beef, featured, Filipino dishes, offal, original Gourmeted recipe, vegetables36 Comments