dadscookgoodfood

Two dads who enjoy cooking for their families

Archive for the category “Meal”

Antonio’s Arroz Caldo

arroz caldo

Named after Daddy Robert’s son, this chicken rice porridge is a combination of simple ingredients: spring chicken, ginger, garlic, onions, safflower, salt and pepper. My idea was to keep the ingredients basic and all-natural and avoiding the addition of chicken bouillon or fish sauce.

Arroz caldo (literally hot rice) or lugaw (in Tagalog) is a well-known Filipino dish that serves as a complete meal, a merienda (snack), or as soup. It is a comfort food for Filipinos, usually during cold or rainy weather. It is an elixir for those who are feeling under the weather. Its preparation and ingredients are akin to the Chinese congee and other rice porridge dishes in Asia.

Antonio’s Arroz Caldo

Ingredients:
1 whole young chicken (spring chicken)
½ cup medium grain sticky rice and ½ cup Milagrosa rice
4 cloves of garlic, chopped and minced
1 thumb sized ginger, cut into strips
4 hardboiled eggs
1 onion head, finely chopped
1 tbsp. safflower (Kasubha)
1 scalion, cut diagonally
Lemon wedges
Salt (kosher)
1 tbsp. ground pepper
3 tbsp. canola oil
6-8 cups of water

Directions:
1. After washing the chicken, chop the chicken into appropriate serving portions.

arroz1
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium size pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic and ginger until light brown. Add chicken pieces and stir to allow the chicken to absorb the garlic and ginger. Add salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is golden brown.

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3. Add rice and mix with the chicken and herbs until rice is well coated.

rice soup
4. Deglaze pan by adding water slowly. Once deglazed, add the rest of the water until chicken is covered.

deglaze
5. Stir occasionally to prevent rice from sticking on the pot and until you get a smooth consistency. Do this for about 40 minutes.

kasubha
6. Add kasubha for colour and flavour then add scallions and cook for 5 minutes.

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7. Finally, add hardboiled egg. Serve with toasted garlic, lemon wedges, fish sauce and sprinkle with more scallions if desired. Enjoy!

*The secret to delicious arroz caldo is deglazing and good chicken stock. As mentioned earlier, I tried to maintain all-natural ingredients (salt, pepper and herbs) without having to add chicken bouillon or fish sauce. You can make the chicken stock in advance but for this one, deglazing the pot then slow cooking the porridge allows the flavours of the chicken and herbs to blend and gives the porridge a delicious taste.

Fishin’ for a Simple yet Delicious Lenten Dish

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For Christians around the world, Lent means more time to pray, reflect and do penance or some acts of charity and sacrifices, including abstaining from meat on all Fridays and fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and eating fish instead. This practice goes back to the early days of the Church when the observation of Lent began in AD 313.

The word, Lent, refers to the spring season and that the 40 days of Lent usually falls mostly during the end of the winter season and the beginning of spring. Coincidentally, the Spring Festival (or otherwise known as the Lunar New Year) is sometimes celebrated at the start of Lent and is considered a very important celebration among the Chinese. Curiously, exceptions from celebrating the beginning of the Lunar Year are sometimes even sought from the Catholic Church. Spring is usually associated with a gradual increase in temperature, including the warming of waters where life is renewed: plants begin to grow and schools of fish come out in abundance to feed and spawn. Incidentally, eating fish during the Lunar New Year is considered a surplus of money and good luck.

Similarly, because of the fish’s abundance during spring time in many places, the practice of eating fish (or seafood) among Christians during Lent was a satisfactory alternative to eating meat, except for Eastern Christians who are known to abstain from fish. With the advent of trade liberalization, places where fish used to be scarce and expensive have become easily available. This is why Pompano (Pomfret), which tastes good and is easy to cook, can even be found in Ontario! And because presumably, eating fish is healthier than eating meat, giving up meat for Lent reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases; in effect making you healthier. It’s interesting that this simple sacrifice can make a whole lot of difference to one’s life!

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BAKED POMPANO
(adapted from Kulinarya’s Fried Fish Packets, 2008)

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 40 minutes

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Ingredients:

1 pompano (150 to 200 grams each)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 head of yellow onion, chopped finely
1 medium sized tomato, diced
1 thumb sized ginger, cut into thin strips
2 celery stalks, chopped finely
1 lemon, juiced
2 stalks of green onion, chopped
1 tbsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. dried parsley
Pepper and salt to taste
1 tbsp. canola oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375’F.
2. Clean the fish in cold water, ensuring that entrails from the cavity are removed. Score both sides of the fish with a sharp knife then rub the fish with salt, pepper and juice from 1/2 of the lemon including its cavity. Set aside and marinade for 30 minutes.
1. Preheat oven to 375’F.

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3. Prepare stuffing by mixing all ingredients in a bowl: garlic, onions, tomato, ginger, celery, dried parsley, green onion, and lemon zest. Add juice from the other ½ of the lemon and add salt and pepper to taste.

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4. Stuff the fish’s cavity and belly with the mixture then lay it on a greased aluminum foil.

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5. Add some of the stuffing on top of the fish then wrap with the foil and crumple both ends.

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6. Lay the wrapped fish on a baking pan and bake the fish for 40 minutes.

7. Remove the fish from the foil and serve on a platter. This is best served with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and lemon juice and steamed rice.

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W’cha Like A HEaLThy Sandwich?

helt sandwich2

Living in a fast paced city in North America coupled with the demands of work, sometimes, leaves dads and moms compromising a healthy meal for their kids, like eating in a fast food. Ironically, people’s preference for fast food seemed to have declined recently , with food industry giants reporting slipping profits last year. According to a recent report , younger consumers are more concerned about what they eat (compared to the previous generation) and their preference for healthy food has seen a decline in sales in fast food. This has prompted food industry giants to rethink and revisit their strategies when it comes to selling their food products.

But apart from city life, recent economic issues have forced our family to watch our budget for almost everything, including food, but mindful of ensuring our kids that we are all still eating healthy and enjoying good food. Apart from setting aside certain food preparation practices from our home country (think of cooking pancit!), these times also call for more healthy and quick alternatives. Part of this is to rethink and revisit some of the food we used to prepare but have often referred to as a snack or even fast food and not associated with the usual home cooked meal. This brings me to looking at sandwich as a healthy yet quick alternative.

A quick check on the sandwich’s etymology tells us that the word was originally a family name from Kent, England; which literally means ‘sandy harbour’ or ‘trading centre on sand’. The real inventor of sandwich was not John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich*, but most probably his cook whom he instructed to prepare his food in such a way that he would not have to be interrupted during a gambling marathon. Foodtime.org  wrote that Montagu copied this from his trips to Greece and Turkey where he saw locals grilling pita bread as an appetizer (also called mezes).

On the other hand, the Nibble astutely pointed out that ‘edible plates’ to hold roasted meat or fish from hand to mouth were made from unleavened breads and most likely started in 9000 B.C.E.! Interestingly, sandwiches were also associated with men who ate it during late night parties but the first person who wrote a cookbook for sandwiches was a woman, Charlotte Mason!

But I digress. The sandwich as a meal does not stop from putting meat and spread between two pieces of bread. Although we do have our own favourites (My siblings and I used to enjoy butter with condensed milk on a warm pan de sal and Reuben sandwich) sandwiches have certainly evolved from slices of white and rye bread to using baguette, croissant or even pita and tortillas . Apart from its varying cultural influences and variety, sandwiches have changed to healthy meal alternatives that can be quickly prepared and enjoyed. For our family, a sandwich lunch or dinner is something we all look forward to. Here’s a simple sandwich that all of us help prepared. Except for the potato chips (unless you go for baked ones!) :-D, the rest of the ingredients are good and yes, healthy alternatives. Enjoy!

HELT sandwich

HELT* Sandwich
(Ham, Egg, Lettuce, and Tomato)

Ingredients:

2 slices of whole wheat or light rye bread
1 slice of roasted forest ham
1 free-range egg
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
2 tbsp of skimmed milk
1 leaf of Romaine lettuce
4 slices of marble cheese
2 slices of tomato
Some lite mayonnaise and mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Prepare all ingredients: slices of tomato and cheese, a piece of forest ham, lettuce and bread.
2. Preheat oven to 270 ‘ F.
3. In a small bowl, whisk one egg and skimmed milk then add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a small pan over medium heat. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is cooked.
5. Spread butter on the two slices of bread then place the ham on one side of the bread and the slices of cheese on the other piece. Warm both pieces in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese slices have melted.
6. Remove the warm bread pieces of bread and immediately spread some light mayonnaise and mustard on the ham.
7. Place the egg on top of the ham then add the tomatoes and lettuce over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with the remaining piece of bread with cheese.
8. Put two toothpicks in the middle of the bread and slice the bread using a bread knife. Enjoy!

*Earl is a title in the Old English period for a person of noble class or rank that may be serving as a leader (or governor) for a division in England.

*Sandwich is a historic town in Kent, England. The town still exists to this date. The first English celery was grown here and salt was taken from its salt marshes. Presently, Sandwich has cafes and restaurants within this historic town including seafood restaurants, Greek, Italian, Indian, a sandwich shop (of course!) and two Thai restaurants, among others!

For sandwich cornucopia, check out this sandwich glossary from the website, The Nibble.

Sandwich photos by Ana Saplala.

Maple and Apple Flavored Pork Ribs: It’s Rib-Tickling Good!

dads ribs2

“…The intoxicating scent of fruit woods wafting through the air…as smoke lightly kisses a pork shoulder for hours until it has turned…into a savory, achingly tender cut of sheer deliciousness…”Bobby Flay, Barbecue Addiction

Summer is on its way to a gracious exit but the sudden onset of humid temperature the past week feels like Mother Earth has reserved a memorable last hurrah. Over the weekend, for instance, the storm clouds suddenly drifted away which probably led “me to give in to my family and friends’ request to grill a meal. To paraphrase an old adage, “Now, there’s the rib!”

To my knowledge and based on media exposure, Bobby Flay seems to have set the benchmark when it comes to grilling food. And so when I decided to take the challenge of grilling ribs, I turned to Flay’s  Barbecue Addiction, a book which I got for Father’s Day. After trying some of his recipes, I’ve also ventured into coming up with my own but adhering closely to his suggestions. For example, with the exception of the maple apple barbecue sauce, most of the ingredients and directions for the barbecue rib recipe below were adapted from his own recipe, Grilled Rack of Pork with Sherry Vinegar Barbecue Sauce. I’ve tried this recipe twice and on both occasions, my family and friends said that the ribs were masarap (delicious), with enough juice and flavors oozing from the meat. But as I mentioned earlier,  I thought of tweaking the tomato-based barbecue sauce by adding apple sauce (since fall is just around the corner?) and maple syrup (to make it more Canadian)! 😀

Cheers to Summer 2014!

tomato sauce

Preparing the Maple and Apple Barbecue Flavored Sauce:

Ingredients:
½ cup apple sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup tomato ketchup
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp paprika
1 cup chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 white onion, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat a saucepan in medium heat. Pour oil and sauté garlic and onion for a minute.

onions red wine
2. Add red wine vinegar and cook until mixture is reduced in half about 15 minutes.

tomato sauce
3. Pour broth, ketchup, tomato paste, apple sauce, thyme, paprika and maple syrup and stir gently. Cook mixture until it thickens and when it is reduce in half (about 10-15 minutes). If necessary, add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cool mixture completely before using.

*For barbecue rub ingredients, please refer to Grilled Rack of Pork with Sherry Vinegar Barbecue Sauce or Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction.

Cooking the brine and grilling the ribs:

ribs in brine

1. Prepare the ingredients. Wash the pork ribs in cold, running water.

2. To make the brine water, mix 8 cups of cold water with brown sugar, chopped onions, peppercorn, mustard seeds, fresh or ground thyme, and salt in a pot. Stir the mixture until the salt and sugar dissolves in water. Cool the brine completely before adding the pork ribs.

3. Cover and refrigerate the ribs in brine for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours. Bobby Flay explains that the brine ensures that the pork is moist and flavorful.

drain brine
4. Drain the brine 1 hour before cooking, rinse in cold, running water and pat dry with paper towels.

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5. Since I use charcoal, prepare the barbecue grill in advance. I try to do this at least 20-30 minutes before grilling. Check if the center of the grill has an even layer of charcoal and the outer edges of the grill have less charcoal for indirect grilling. Also, the best advice I got from Flay was never use lighter fluid but to use a chimney starter instead.

6. Once the grill is prepared, brush the ribs with canola oil and rub with the spices then sear the pork on both sides over high heat about 5 minutes per side. Wait for each side to form a lightly golden brown crust.

A word about flare ups: Because there is a tendency for fats to drip on the charcoal bed which can serve as fuel for flames, one needs to be extra careful. To avoid flare ups, make sure that your grills are clean and free from fat. Also, before grilling, trim the ribs off excess fat. When flare ups happen, carefully move the ribs (if you can) to the cooler side then cover the grill to extinguish the flame. Always have a dry chemical fire extinguisher handy. Worse comes to worse, call 9-11.

brush ribs

7. Move the pork ribs to the cooler side of the grill for indirect heat, brushing with the barbecue sauce every 5 minutes and do the other side of the rib as well. The meat should instantly register 140‘F, which according to Flay, takes about 30 minutes.

dads ribs

8. Remove the ribs from the grill, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

References:

http://barbecuetricks.com/warning-what-you-need-to-know-about-grease-fires/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-rack-of-pork-with-sherry-vinegar-bbq-sauce-recipe.html

http://bbq.about.com/od/grillinghelp/a/aa062406a.htm

No-Cook Oatmeal Surprise

oats with fruits

It’s only a week away before the new school year starts. From our homefront, the kids are not really excited about the end of their summer break. For instance, one of them noticed that the trees’ leaves are turning yellowish orange. Another chimed in saying that the earlier sunsets and cooler evenings herald the impending turn of the season. This also means trying to go back to a routine of waking up early and fighting off the sleepiness that is further aggravated by bed weather.

Having noticed these changes and adjustments and knowing that school is just around the bend, I thought of experimenting on a breakfast meal that might give their lethargic bodies a right jolt. Two weeks ago, I happen to see Michael Smith‘s recipe book, “Family Meals,” at a local supermarket and saw a breakfast idea that reminded me of how pinipig is prepared by my grandmother. It never occured to me that oatmeal, which is traditionally cooked as a hot breakfast, can be ‘cooked in cold milk.’

Called Overnight Oatmeal Jars with Last-Minute Stir-Ins, this breakfast idea simply cuts down on the morning stress of preparing breakfast and the hassle of ensuring that the kids would be packed with enough nutrients to sustain them throughout the day. Having quick-cooking oats sitting in our cupboard for quite some time and extra mason jars supposedly for storing more fruit jams, I thought of giving the recipe a try. I made two; one for my wife to try and whoa! We both love it!

I also found out that there are a lot of ways of enriching the flavours of the oatmeal: Smith adds yoghurt, fruits, and nuts and Monica Matheny adds cocoa powder or peanut butter with banana to the oats. This made me more excited because my kids, who seem to be getting tired with our usual corn cereal with milk, can look forward to something new.

The recipe that I am sharing below is based on my memory of Smith’s suggestions and tweaked to my own taste. As well, you may have other ideas re tweaking this recipe so feel free to post your suggestions. You may want to ask your kids to prepare this one too. Enjoy and bon appetit!

No-Cook Oatmeal Surprise

6 tablespoons of Quick-Cooking Oats
1/2 cup of whole or skim milk
1 tbsp. plain yogurt
¼ tsp. cinnamon (or ¼ tsp. vanilla or lemon zest)
1 tbsp. brown sugar (or 1 tbsp. of honey or maple syrup)
1 tbsp. mixed nuts, chopped* (almonds, cashews, or walnuts)
5 pcs. medium-sized fruits, sliced (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches or apples)

Directions:

oats jar
1. Place oats inside a half-pint mason jar.

oats milk

oats milk
2. Add milk, cinnamon, mixed nuts, fruits and any of the sweeteners.

oats milk2    oats milk3
3. Close the lid and give it a good shake until all the ingredients are well-mixed. You can also stir it a bit with a spoon if you wish to soak the oats well.

oats with fruits
4. Store in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and top with a dollop of yogurt and additional fruits or nuts. Serve chilled as breakfast food or snack.

*You may omit the nuts if your child is allergic to nuts. Likewise, you can substitute whole or skim milk with soy or almond milk if your child is lactose-intolerant.

 

When East Meets West: Herbs and Spices Roast Chicken

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Welcome 2014! Let’s start the new year right with an almost-original chicken dish which I thought of through careful research, a few kitchen experiments and  yes, some thoughtful consideration of previous experiences in eating delicious, varied and unforgettable roast chicken dishes. I’m sure the other dads and moms would agree that preparing a big meal such as roast chicken (well, I have a modest standard for roasting chicken alone is a gargantuan task for me!) elicits questions such as ‘Would it turn out okay?,’ ‘Will they like the taste?’ or even realistically asking, ‘Would it be palatable enough?’ 😀

Well, coming up with this recipe was  a challenge! After all, it would be easier to get an existing recipe and tweak it a bit, right? But I wanted to make our traditional New Year’s Eve dinner (in the Philippines, we refer it to as media noche) extra special so I thought of coming up with a somewhat original recipe (I guess only a few can really claim that their recipe is original). To help me with the challenge, I thought of watching a few You Tube videos to check out certain procedures such as tenting the roast chicken, using the right temperature when roasting chicken, checking herbs and spices that will bring out the best taste in chicken,  and recalled the oh-so-good taste of roasted chicken from my previous travels (read: chicken inasal of Bacolod, roast chicken in Hawaii).  From these, I came up with a fusion of East and West or a blend of various herbs and spices that was a superb roast chicken recipe that we’re bound to cook again.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

HERBS AND SPICES ROAST CHICKEN

Ingredients:
1 (5-6 kg) chicken fryer or any 1 whole dressed chicken
1 tbsp. olive oil

For the marinade:
1 tbsp of salt
3 tbsp sugar
¼ cup white wine vinegar
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. lemon juice

For the herb stuffing:
1 onion (cut into quarters)
8 cloves of garlic, pounded
1 lemon grass, chopped

For the chicken rub:
1 tsp of cumin
2 tbsp of paprika
1 tsp. of grounded thyme
2 tsp mustard seed

For the gravy:
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Let’s begin by….

chickeningredientsprepare

1. Preparing all the ingredients. I have grouped the ingredients above to avoid confusion when preparing the dish. A good tip from my sibling: Read the ingredients aloud so as not to miss out on any ingredient!

2. Wash your hands well then remove all the giblets from the chicken’s cavity and rinse well.

chickenmarinadewhisk

3. On a non-reactive bowl (e.g. glass or ceramic), mix and whisk all the ingredients for the marinade: vinegar, salt, sugar, white wine vinegar, soy sauce and lemon juice. Set aside.

chickendryingredientswhisk

4. Then mix the dry ingredients for the rub on a separate bowl: cumin, paprika, grounded thyme and mustard seed.

chickenmarinadepour

5. Pour and rub the citrus marinade on the chicken and in its cavity, wrap in plastic or aluminum foil and marinate it for 2 hours, preferably refrigerated.

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6. After 2 hours, drain the marinade on a separate small non-reactive bowl and set aside. Brush it with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken rub on top and rub them both inside and in the chicken’s cavity. Wrap in plastic or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

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7. The next day, preheat the oven to 425 ‘F. Bring out the chicken from the refrigerator and remove the cover. Let it rest for a half an hour to bring the chicken to room temperature. This way, the temperature for all parts of the chicken evens out and you avoid having a dry chicken.

chickenstuffing

chickengarliccrush

8. Stuff the chicken cavity with the herbs and spices: pounded garlic, lemongrass, and chopped onions. Pounding it will allow it to infuse into the chicken during baking. Use a kitchen twine (or a non-waxed floss) to tie the two legs of the chicken. This prevents the stuffing from spilling.

chickenbaste

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9. Finally, baste the chicken with the rest of the citrus marinade and rest it on a roasting pan or on a bed of herbs and spices (or you may choose to use potatoes, green peppers, and asparagus).

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10. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes in 425 ‘F then reduce it to 375’F and continue roasting for an hour.

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11. Insert the meat thermometer in the chicken’s inner thigh (but not the bone)  to check internal temperature. When the temperature is 165 ‘F, the chicken may be taken out of the oven, rested on a heat-resistant board then tent the chicken with a foil. This will allow the juices to redistribute itself.

chickendrippings

12. Meanwhile, drain the drippings (these are really flavourful since they came from the marinated chicken infused with the bed of herbs!) from the pan. In a preheated skillet, melt unsalted butter and whisk in flour slowly until it forms a paste. Then gently pour the drippings, continue whisking until it thickens into a gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

chicken carve

13. Remove the kitchen twine, carve the chicken and serve with the gravy and herbs (or vegetables).

Serves 4-6 people.

References:

CHOW. Basic Whole Roasted Chicken. Retrieved from http://www.chow.com/recipes/30264-basic-whole-roasted-chicken on December 31,2013.

Chicken Cooking Times. Retrieved from http://www.chicken.ca/chicken-school/view/9/chicken-cooking-times on December 31, 2013.

Flay, B. , Banyas, S. and Jackson, S.  (2013). Barbecue Addiction.  Boy Meets Grill Inc: New York.

How To Make a Basic Chicken Rub. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlmzZkQMp8M on December 31, 2013.

How To Roast the Perfect Whole Chicken Recipe. Retrieved fromhttp://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/chicken/how-to-roast-the-perfect-whole-chicken.html on December 30, 2013.

Roasting Chicken in Oven. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=roasting+chicken+in+oven&sm=1 on December 30, 2013.

Roasting Chicken in Oven Squishy. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=roasting+chicken+in+oven+squishy+&sm=3 on December 30, 2013.

A taste of seafood that’s simply good!

seafood soup

Time really flies when you’re having fun! It’s almost two years since we began sharing recipes and stories about reasons why dads can also cook good food.  I noticed that these past two years, we’ve shared recipes that are not only from us but from other people as well. We thought that tweaking some of these recipes a bit to suit our taste would be okay.

The recipe today is no exception!  It was adapted from Skipper/Sy’s  Asian Seafood Noodle Soup but with simple ingredients. Also, because winter is a mere two weeks away, I thought of sharing a recipe for dads and moms whose concern is having a tasty meal that is complete yet within a shoestring budget.  Hope you enjoy this as much as my family and I did!

SEAFOOD NOODLE SOUP

Ingredients:

½ lb. shrimp, medium size, washed, de-shelled and deveined

2-3 pcs. strips of pork belly (or low salt bacon), cut

1 pack fish balls, cut into two and fried

3-5 leaves from Chinese cabbage, chopped

1/4 cup mung bean sprouts

4-5 pcs. of fresh shitake mushrooms, washed and cut in half

8 cups of seafood stock (a combination of fish and shrimp bouillon dissolved in 8 cups of water)

1 pack of Cantonese style steamed noodles (yellow)

2-3 tbsp of soy sauce

1 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tbsp. scallions, minced

2 tbsp. toasted onions

1 tbsp.  ground pepper

Salt to taste

How do we do it? Let’s begin by…

noodlesfishballschinese cabbagedissolve brothpork belly

1. Preparing the ingredients: set aside noodles, slice and fry the fishballs in oil, chop the Chinese cabbage, wash the bean sprouts, dissolve the fish and shrimp broth cubes in hot water, and slice the pork belly.

saute pork

2. Warm wok or sautéing pan. Pour vegetable oil then stir fry pork belly, adding some soy sauce until a brownish glaze can be seen at the bottom of the pan then set aside. Note that when using bacon; add a few drops of soy sauce only for additional flavouring. Use the bacon/pork belly oil for sautéing.

shrimp

3. Split the shrimp into half; add some salt and let sit for 10 minutes. Then fry in wok using the bacon oil for 10-15 minutes until the shrimps turn pink then set aside. Remember not to overcook!

ginger

4. Sauté the ginger until the aroma comes out, approximately for 5 minutes. Add onions and caramelize for 3-5 minutes. Here you can actually see the brownish colour that came from the pork belly.

deglaze

5. Add some of the seafood stock slowly and deglaze the pan. Deglazing adds the pork belly and shrimp flavours to the soup. Add the rest of the stock and boil in high heat. Once stock boils, reduce to medium heat and let stock simmer for 10-15 minutes.

shitake

6. On a separate pan, sauté the shitake mushrooms for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are wilted, add some soy sauce then set aside.

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7. Meanwhile, heat a pot half-filled with water. Add some salt and oil then at rolling boil, cook the noodles using a spider strainer basket or spider skimmer for 1-2 minutes.

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8. Place the cooked noodles in individual bowls. Add the rest of the ingredients: fish balls, shrimps, pork, Chinese cabbage, shitake mushrooms scallions and some sesame oil.

seafood soup

9. Add to each bowl some seafood stock. Top with toasted onions and scallions. Serve and enjoy!

Warming up to good soup

Beef noodle soup

Slurp…ah! Nothing beats taking good, warm soup on a cold night. Although winter is still officially two weeks away, the noticeable frigid (sub-zero) longer nights have made my family and I look forward to soup, soup, and more soup!

But I’m beginning to run out of ideas, too. Fellow dad, Robert, was kind enough to share the beef noodle soup recipe (which was adapted from Vanjo Merano’s Panlasang Pinoy), below. The taste of this soup brought back memories of delicious beef noodle soup of the Binondo Noodle House paired with warm siopao asado.

Alas, the beef noodle soup had to stand alone without the soft meat steamed bun. However, the soup was such a treat that nary a peep was heard when everyone took it; except of course, for some occasional slurping from the kids!

Ah, soup is indeed an elixir for the weary soul! Who would ever think that soup can be this powerful? Now I can say that I fear not Old Man Winter for this mighty beef noodle soup will surely save the day…or night! 😉

BEEF MAMI (Beef Noodle Soup)

Ingredients:

1 pack wonton noodles (1 pack contains 4 servings of dry yellow thin noodles)
Chinese cabbage, chopped
scallions. chopped
1 lb beef brisket, cut into cubes, can also add beef tendons if available
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 medium-sized onion, minced
4 cups water
1 piece beef cube
2 pieces star aniser
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp salt

beef  noodle gisa

Cooking Procedure:

1. Boil a big pot of water with some salt.
2. Add meat, boil and remove scum.
3. Lower temp and simmer till meat is tender. Remove meat from stock.
4. Heat pan and add oil. Saute the garlic, ginger, and onion.
5. Put-in the meat and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes
6. Add the soy sauce, ground black pepper, sugar, and star anise and continue sauteeing.
7. Add 1 cup of beef broth and simmer until the sauce thickens a bit.
8. Reboil the soup stock. Dip 1 serving of noodle using a kitchen spider strainer basket  into the boiling pot of soup for about 1 minute. Loosen it to allow thorough cooking.
9. Place cooked noodles in an individual soup bowl. Put some cooked meat with its sauce. Put some chopped Chinese cabbage and scallions.
10. Repeat 11 until all 4 bowls are done.
11. Pour soup into the bowls. Serve with warm siopao.

Beef noodle soup

This beef noodle soup was made extra special by our kid who included a note of affection for my wife.

Re-post: Bamboo Shoots with Vermicelli and Pork Cracklings

We’re reposting this article (first posted May 12, 2012) in honour of Ms. Nora Daza who passed away on September 13, 2013.

Rest in peace and thank you, Ms.Daza!

nora-daza

Philippine Culinary Icon Nora Daza gave my mom a thumbs up for this recipe!

Wearing my psychologist’s hat just one bit tells me that a recurring theme in our blog entries is how our mothers shaped our fondness for good food. We are what you may call as Mama’s kitchen boys! For us, it is mommy who quietly concocts her dish at the kitchen and that a whiff of the food’s flavors escaping the kitchen door was enough to arrest our senses. It could be the reason why Daddy Robert’s memory of his nanay’s Adobo Lavezares is so powerful that cooking the dish without the actual recipe came to him with ease.

The dish featured today, Bamboo Shoots with Vermicelli and Pork Cracklings, is also an example of a recipe that I strongly associate with my mom. The memory of it is so strong that I was able to recall 95% of the ingredients correctly, all from my childhood memory (but I had to call my mom to be sure)! What makes this dish extra special is remembering my mom cook her winning recipe on national TV, next to Nora Daza. Her TV show, Cooking it Up with Nora, was considered a trailblazer on Philippine TV because it featured not only Nora, who was like the Julia Child of the Philippines, but also homemakers and working mothers like my mom! To top it all, this dish was even included in Nora Daza’s Maya Kitchen Tested Recipe Cookbook! Definitely, this is my mom’s signature dish.

And speaking of moms, the Dads of this blog would like to dedicate this recipe to their mothers, their children’s mothers and all the mothers who have become part of their lives. Happy Mothers Day! Cheers!

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Bamboo Shoots with Vermicelli and Pork Cracklings (Labong with Sotanghon and Chicharon)

Ingredients:
½ kg of preboiled bamboo shoots (labong) or ½ can of bamboo shoots*
¼ kg of vermicelli (sotanghon variety) soaked and softened in water
¼ kg of fresh shrimps
1 cup of shrimp stock (shrimp heads pounded and washed with water)
5-6 cloves of garlic, pounded
1 medium size onion, sliced
2 cups of saluyot (corchorus) or spinach*
¼ kg of lean pork meat, sliced
Fish sauce and pepper to taste, pork cracklings (chicharon) for garnish

1. Sautee onion and garlic in lard or oil.

2. Add lean pork meat and shrimps and continue sautéing.

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3. Add the bamboo shoots and the shrimp broth. Season with fish sauce (patis) and freshly grounded pepper.

4. Let simmer for about 3 minutes then add the vermicelli noodles.

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5. Finally, add spinach and garnish with pork cracklings.

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6. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Picture source for Nora Daza: http://www.cca-manila.com/blog/?p=344

Chicken & Tofu in Black Bean Sauce

chicken tofu

Who would think that eating can be this fun and healthy?

Tofu, which is made from soybeans, has been a boon among health buffs ever since I can remember. (Incidentally, young soybeans are known for its Japanese name: edamame!) Although tofu is not exactly what my kids like, the delicious mix of chicken and black bean sauce makes it a good extender; unlike carbohydrates which can leave you feeling stuffed.

And for a healthier dish, baking the chicken helps you remove unwanted chicken fat. Although 45 minutes of baking is a long time,  it also meant being less concerned with half-cooked, sometimes bloody fried chicken! :-b The waiting also  meant doing other stuff (read: multitasking). No sweat!

Just imagine: the softness of tofu sinking between your teeth, the flavour and crunch of green bell pepper, and baked chicken tossed in black bean sauce served with steamed rice. Go ahead! Eat and live…longer!

CHICKEN AND TOFU in BLACK BEAN SAUCE

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. black bean sauce dissolved in ½ cup of water
2 pcs of tofu (medium firm), sliced
2 tbsp. rice flour, whisked and dissolved in ¼ cup of water
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium-sized white onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, sliced
2 tbsp. sesame oil
6 pcs. of chicken thigh*, cut into two pieces
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 430 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Marinate chicken thighs with salt and pepper for 10 minutes. Set aside.

3. Line two baking trays with aluminum foil and arrange chicken pieces and bake them in 430 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, preheat pan on medium feat then add oil. Sautee garlic and onion for five minutes or until onions become translucent.

Baked chicken

5. Add baked chicken then add green pepper and black bean sauce then toss over medium heat.

chicken sautee

6. Add tofu with care and continue tossing.

add tofu

7. Finally, add rice flour mixture to thicken the sauce.

chicken with bell pepper

8. Serve warm over steamed rice.

chicken tofu

* Chicken thighs can be substituted with chicken breast, which has less fat. In this case, chicken breast should be baked in less time: 25 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Be mindful when cooking white meat because overcooking it can leave you with dry meat. Brushing it with olive oil would help retain moisture.

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