Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 23: Tinapang Galunggong & Gisadong Munggo with Ampalaya Leaves

There are a good number of artisan tinapa makers in Manila and you could find their products in groceries and weekend specialty markets. I bought my stash of tinapang galunggong in Greenhills. And all that needs to be done is to fry the fish in a little bit of oil for just a few minutes.

I cooked the tinapang galunggong for dinner and paired it with gisadong munggo with ampalaya leaves. Modest & honest home cooking; and simply delish!

Soak one (1) cup of mung beans for at least an hour. Wash the beans and remove any impurities. Fry two (2) strips of bacon till it crisps. Remove the bacon from the oil, chop it into bits and set it aside. Saute a chopped onion, a chopped tomato and two (2) cloves of minced garlic in the bacon fat. Add about eight (8) cups of water into the pot and add the mung beans & one (1) pork bouillon and simmer the stew till the mung beans soften. Then add two (2) cups of ampalaya leaves and simmer for another two (2) minutes. Add patis to taste. Before serving, sprinkle the bacon bits on the stew.

Day 22: Pork Steak

My mother wanted to eat bistek tagalog but we didn't have any beef in the freezer. I used the next best thing to accommodate her request i.e. I used pork tenderloin instead. It actually tastes great.

Slice 500 grams of pork tenderloin into thin strips and marinate the pork in equal parts of soy sauce and calamansi for an hour. In this case, it's 1/4 cup each. Then fry the pork pieces in oil till they brown and remove it from the pan. Arrange the pork strips on a serving platter. Fry slices of a large onion in the same oil on which you cooked the pork. Arrange the cooked onions on the platter of cooked pork. Pour the marinade into the hot oil and simmer the it for a few minutes to make a sauce. When done, pour the sauce on the fried pork and onions. Serve hot.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 21: Halabos na Alimasag & Tahong Soup

A while earlier, an office mate was asking our group out to lunch at the famous Dampa market where fresh seafood of all shapes and sizes could be purchased, cooked according to your preference and served right there and then. I wasn't able to join the group for lunch but the prospect of having all that seafood was so consuming that my appetite for seafood demanded to be satisfied.

And so we had halabos na alimasag and tahong soup for dinner. It's a modest take on Dampa, just enough to satisfy my craving for seafood. I bought a kilo and a half of Alimasag (P210) and a kilo of Tahong (P40). Not bad for a Dampa-ish dinner sans the traffic, pollution and, yes, it's relatively easy on the budget.

In cooking Halabos na Alimasag, just place the crabs in a pan; add 1/2 cup of water and sprinkle one and a half tablespoons of rock salt over the crabs. Turn on the fire and cover the pan to allow the crabs to cook from the steam created by the boiling water. This process takes only about 15 minutes.

For the Tahong Soup, immerse the mussels in a pot of water for about ten minutes, then remove the mussels from the pot. You will find sediments of sand and other foreign matter at the bottom of the pot. Discard the water and the sediments; discard the mussels that have opened up as it means they have turned bad already and would therefore be unsafe to eat. Remove any beard sticking out from the remaining good ones; return the cleaned mussels into the pot. Add two cloves of minced garlic, an onion that's been sliced and a finger and a half size of ginger that has also been sliced. Add about eight (8) cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and allow it to simmer for a few minutes; it won't take long for the mussels to cook. When the mussels are cooked, turn off the fire and add a bunch of sili leaves. Add patis to taste.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 20: Sinampalukang Manok

I went to the neighborhood grocer today to get some inspiration on what to cook. At the vegetable section, I saw packs of tamarind leaves and there I had my eureka moment. I knew I had to take advantage of the precious find and make Sinampalukang Manok for dinner. It's easy to find sampalok leaves in the provinces; at least one household in every street nurtures a Sampalok tree in their backyard. But in urban Manila, it's certainly not the case. So it's best to take advantage of the ingredient whenever it's available.

Sinampalukang Manok is actually easier to make than, say, sinigang na baboy or hipon, since there is no other ingredient to the dish than the sampalok leaves and the chicken, well, aside from the usual aromatics. So, if you'd like to conserve on energy, Sinampalukang Manok is a great option; plus, it's a real comfort dish.

Saute a sliced onion and three (3) cloves of garlic in tthree (3) tablespoons of oil. Add a whole piece of chicken that's been cut into pieces. After a few minutes, add eight (8) cups of water, a pack of sinigang mix and one (1) chicken bouillon cube. Simmer till almost done. Add the sampalok leaves and simmer for another five miutes.

Day 19: Steamed Cream Dory and Baguio Spinach in Oyster Sauce

I had a 500 gram pack of Cream Dory fillets that's been in deep freeze for about two months now. I was certain to make a chinese-inspired dish out of it but as to what exactly, I haven't really thought it out. It was a toss-up between sweet and sour-style or just plain steaming. Eventually, I decided on the latter option. For after all, if you have a good ingredient such as Cream Dory, it's best to let the flavors of the fish shine. My family was very pleased with my choice.

Steaming fish is very simple to do. Just place the fish on a heat-proof plate, sprinkle a 2-inch long ginger that's been thinly sliced and the white part of 3 stalks of green onions on top of the fish. Then pour a mixture of 2 tablespoons each of chinese cooking wine & soy sauce, one (1) tablepoon of sesame oil, half a teaspoon of sugar. Steam the fish for about 15 minutes; when the fish is cooked, sprinkle the remaining chopped green onions over the fish.

I paired this dish with Baguio Spinach with oyster sauce. Wash the leaves of two (2) bags of spinach and set it aside. Chope four cloves of garlic and fry it in a tablespoon of oil. Then add the washed spinach and add about four (4) tablespoons of oyster sauce, 1/4 cup of water, one (1) tablespoon each of sesame oil and chinese cooking wine, hald a teaspoon of sugar. Once the spinach wilts, remove it from the pan and thicken the sauce with a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in a little water.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 17: Giniling Turo-Turo Style

This recipe of turo-turo style giniling which I found at the Filipino food lovers blog is so reminiscent of my college days http://www.filipino-food-lovers.com/?p=82. Giniling was a carinderia favorite since it was so packed with flavor that barely a platito of giniling was more than enough for two heaping cups of rice.

I tried the recipe found in the blog above for dinner but I used green peppers instead of yellow peppers since the latter is very expensive; I also added half a cup of raisins which made it even more delicious. Pair this meal with a glass of your favorite ice cold cola and you'll see the look of satisfaction in everyone's face.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 18: Pinoy Fried Chicken and Ginisang Upo

Before we were introduced to the KFC-style fried chicken, Filipinos had their own idea of what fried chicken should be. I for one enjoyed the tart & salty flavor from my family's style of cooking fried chicken. It certainly has no resemblance in taste and appearance to the breaded fried chicken of today. In fact, no breading is required for this version of fried chicken. And cooking it every once in a while just gives me a mega dose of nostalgia of life way back then.

Here's how:

Cut a whole chicken into several pieces and marinate it for an hour in a mixture of 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/2 cup of Calamansi and some pepper to taste. Make sure that the chicken stays in the refrigerator while it marinates so it won't develop any harmful bacteria. Turn the chicken half an hour into the marinating process. After an hour, drain the liquid off and deep fry the chicken in hot oil till it is fully cooked and till the skin turns crispy. It's a bit dark in color because of the soy sauce marinade but I assure you, it's very tasty. It goes well with tomato catsup.

For the vegetable accompaniment, I made ginisang upo. Upo is very similar to a zucchini but it's much bigger in size. In making this dish, peel a whole piece of upo, chop it into bite-size pieces and set it aside. Saute some garlic, onions and tomatoes in a large pan till they release their flavor and aroma. Add 1/4 cup of dried shrimp or Hibe, half a cup of water and the chopped upo. Add some patis and pepper to taste and simmer the upo till it's done.