Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kesong Puti

Kesong Puti is made from the freshest Carabao milk and is originally from Laguna. A coagulating agent, either vinegar or rennet (part of the cow's stomach), is added to the milk to harden it. A small amount of salt is added to the mixture to give taste.

This cheese is not pasteurized. The trick is to sift the mixture in cheesecloth for about six times.

The cheese is then molded to medium-sized cubes, wrapped in banana leaves and stored in the freezer. Kesong puti has a shelf life of one week. It actually tastes like cream cheese with a tinge of saltiness. However, the best way to eat Kesong Puti is to enjoy it with hot pandesal and a mug of steaming coffee.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Simple Empanada Recipe

Before you start any recipe, you should gather all your ingredients and utensils together.

Place the empanada dough on a floured counter top. Roll the dough out into a 1/8 inch thick layer.

Remove the excess dough from the cut out circle. Place your filling of choice in the center of the circle. Here I use a little pizza sauce, shredded cheese, and pepperoni slices as the filling.

Carefully fold over the circle with contents into a semicircle. Crimp down the edges with a fork. If the edges won't stick together, wet your finger and rub it along the inside edge of the dough and try again.

Finish the empanadas by deep frying in vegetable oil at 360 degrees for 1 to 2 minutes per side. They should be lightly golden. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

  • 3 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • Directions
    -In a bowl, beat the water, egg, egg white and vinegar together. Set aside.

    -In a separate bowl, mix together the 3 cups of flour and salt.

    -Cut the shortening into the flour mix with a pastry blender or two butter knives. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour the liquid ingredients from the first bowl into the center.

    -Mix the wet and dry ingredients with a fork until it becomes stiff.

    -Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it just until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth.

    -Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but never more than 24 hours.

    -Prepare the work surface by lightly flouring the area where you plan to roll out the dough.

    Tip: If you want to keep the dough longer than 24 hours, you can freeze it.

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Halo-halo for summer!

    Halo-halo is a mixture of various ingredients, which could be as varied as langka (jackfruit), macapuno (young coconut), minatamis na saging (sweetened banana), various beans, sago (tapioca), gulaman (gelatin), pinipig (rice crispies), jalaya or ube (purple yam), leche flan, ube ice cream, milk and, of course, crushed ice. It’s amazing how you could simply throw all these ingredients in a container, add milk and ice, and voila! You have a food that gives you not only energy (or diabetes, whichever comes first), but also a sure-fire way of beating the heat of summer (or any ordinary humid tropical day).
    (above photo is Chowking's Halo-halo)

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Fresh Lumpia or Lumpiang Ubod

    Lumpiang Ubod (heart of palms spring rolls) is a specialty of Silay, Negros Occidental.
    (Lumpiang Ubod at Max's Restaurant)

    Lumpia Wrapper:
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 oz/75 g flour
    • ½ pint/250 ml water
    • peanut oil


    • 2 tbsp. oil
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
    • 4 oz/100 g parboiled lean pork, diced
    • 4 tbsp. peeled chopped prawns / shrimp
    • 2 oz/50 g cooked chickpeas (garbanzos)
    • 8 oz/200 g ubod (coconut palm hearts), shredded
    • 1 carrot, shredded
    • 12 oz/300 g cabbage, shredded
    • 12 sprigs onions
    • salt and pepper
    • 12 crisp lettuce leaves
    • 12 lumpia wrappers

    Lumpiang Ubod sauce:

    • ¼ pint (or more) chicken stock
    • 2 oz/50 g sugar
    • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1 cup finely crushed peanuts
    • 1 tbsp. flour
    • 3 tbsp. cold water
    • 1-2 tsp. finely minced garlic

    Lumpia Wrapper:
    • Separate the eggs and whisk the whites until very stiff. Fold into the lightly beaten yolks.
    • Blend the cornflour with water, adding the water gradually to ensure smoothness.
    • Stir thoroughly into the egg. Lightly brush the frying pan with oil and heat.
    • Using 2 tbsp. of lumpia batter at a time, fry very thin pancakes.
    • Tilt pan to spread the batter evenly, do not turn and do not allow the pancakes to color.
    • Heat the oil and lightly saute' the garlic and onion until soft.
    • Add the pork and cook, stirring for a few minutes.
    • Add prawns and chickpeas and cook a little longer.
    • Stir in the ubod, carrot and cabbage.
    • Season with salt and pepper.
    • Cover and simmer until the vegetables are just tender. Drain and cool.
    • Wrap a portion of the filling and a sprigs onion in a lettuce leaf and then in a pancake.
    • Serve with Lumpiang Ubod sauce.
    • Bring the stock to the boil with the sugar, soy sauce and salt.
    • Blend the flour with the cold water and stir it into the stock.
    • Simmer, stirring for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
    • Sprinkle the minced garlic and crushed peanuts on the top.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009


    (A local Chavacano name given to this sea crab species that is uniquely found in the waters around Zamboanga, and no where else in the world. It is popularly described as a highbred crustacean, with crossbreed characteristics of a large sea crab and the big spiny lobster. Thus, it is unusually large [reddish-pink in color] for a hybrid crab and quite meaty, and oh so delicious! A special Zamboanga City treat.)

    Cooking Instructions:
    Steam or boil in plain water, until cooked to desired level. Curacha is best experienced in its natural exotic flavor, cooked minimally so as to preserve its original taste.

    If you care to add a touch of local flavor to it, mix in some lemongrass and about 3-5 cups of coconut milk to sauce, and boil until done. Sauce topping could be enhanced with ginger, grated coconut meat, sea salt, pepper, red chilis, and choice vegetables.

    Saturday, March 7, 2009

    Chicken Inasal

    Grilled chicken. It is chicken thigh marinated in honey, brown sugar, calamansi, ginger, (according to my tastebuds) and other secret ingredients. A lot of people are trying to create their own version of this dish, but only a true Ilonggo can do it.
    (above photo is Mang Inasal's chicken, Mang Inasal G/F SM Sta. Rosa, Laguna)

    • salt
    • 4 stalks lemongrass, julienned
    • 1 roasting chicken, quartered
    • 1 tsp fresh coarse ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp chili pepper flakes
    • juice of 1 lemon, extracted
    • juice of 1 lime, extracted
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tbsps garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup annatto seeds, soaked in 1/4 c water
    • 1/4 cup garlic butter, melted

    Combine the juices of lemon & lime, divide in 2 equal parts. Marinate chicken overnight in salt, lemon grass, garlic, pepper, half lime & lemon juice mixture. Mix marinade with the water that has been used to soak the annato seeds & margarine. Pour the mixture in a saucepan, bring to a rolling boil for 5 to 10 mins. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper flakes if desired. Barbecue chicken over hot coals or grill brushing it with the prepared mixture, cook to desired doneness.

    Monday, March 2, 2009

    La Paz Batchoy

    Soup perks up every meal and serves as a great appetizer. Philippines has a variety of soups, among which is the La Paz Batchoy that originated in Iloilo. It is a noodle soup garnished with pork innards, crushed pork cracklings, vegetables, and topped with cracked raw egg; a truly tempting treat.

    • 2 tbsps. cooking oil
    • 1 head garlic, minced
    • 1 medium onion, minced
    • 200 g. pork kasim, boiled & cut to strips
    • 1 Pork Broth Cube, crushed
    • 2 cups pork broth
    • 2 cups water
    • 150 g. fresh miki, washed
    • 100 g. pork liver, cut to strips
    • spring onions, chopped
    • chicharon, pounded (optional)

    1. Heat oil and saute garlic until brown. Set aside, leaving only about 2 cloves in the pan.

    2. Add onion, pork strips and Pork Broth Cube, cook a few min.

    3. Stir in pork broth and water. Bring to boil then add miki and liver. Simmer about 2 min. then serve topped with fried garlic, spring onions and chicharon if desired.
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