Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Crispy Adobo Flakes

When you mention the word Adobo, you think of the quintessential Filpino stew that is unanimously agreed upon as the Philippine's National Dish (or the iconic Mexican dish). But there is an incarnation of the stew that is a popular breakfast fare. Let me present to you - Crispy Adobo Flakes.



They're simply shredded Adobo meat. It can be chicken or pork but the meat, usually from leftovers, are shredded by hand and then fried over low heat until they turn nice and golden brown. Before you can make the dish, you must first have abodo, no? If you have adobo, good. If not, here's my recipe for Chicken Adobo. 


My tip is to cook boneless and skinless chicken breasts. Now drain the cooked chicen adobo from the sauce. Now don't you throw away that adobo sauce, you will need it later. Now comes the hard part, shredding the chicken by hand. I do it while I am watching TV with my hubby. I put a breast in a small basin and meticulously start shredding the meat into the thinnest strands I can possibly can. Do this for all the meat. If you are using leftover meat from your adobo recipe, discard the skin and the bones before shredding the meat. So have you shredded all your meat? It's time to fry it.

If you followed my recipe for adobo then you would have some fat that you have skimmed off the sauce while it is stewing. If you saved the fat then you're a good cook. Take that fat (about 2-3 tablespoons of it, yes I know it's a lot but trust me it will add great flavor to your flakes). Put it in a nonstick pan and set the heat to low. Dump all the shredded meat and start stirring. It's best to use two spatulas to toss the meat around. Keep tossing the meat until everything starts to get nice and golden-brown. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how low your heat is.

                    


Now to serve this, you would need rice (garlic fried is the best kind), a sunny-side up egg, and some tomato slices on the side. I made this late at night so that my youngest can bring it to school for his lunch. Eldest son aka (Bottomless Pit 1) was still up so he asked for some as a midnight snack. This is him after taking the first bite. 



It was all worth it.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Crispy Tofu & Chicken Dumplings


I love dumplings. Wontons, siomai, gyoza, mandu, whatever you call it, I love them. We had a slight blunder in ordering chicken delivery (what we got was super-spicy fried chicken). There were only a couple of pieces that were eaten from that order so I decided to strip the meat from the bones and chopped it up. I figured I could use it in burritos, quesadillas or even dumplings. I decided to do the latter.

Fried Tofu and Chicken Dumplings

Ingredients:
1 pack dumpling wrappers 
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup crumbled tofu (firm variety)
1 egg
2 tablespoons grated carrots
1/4 cup grated onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
salt & pepper

oil for frying

Directions:
1. Combine all the listed ingredients (except for the oil) in a large mixing bowl. Salt and pepper the mixture to taste. Make sure everything is well combined.
2. Take one dumpling wrapper and place a tablespoon of the mixture in the middle, seal up the edges with egg white (the best "glue" to seal your dumplings). Set aside on a plate.
3. Do the rest for all the wrappers and mixture.
4. Prepare your steamer and steam the dumplings for about 5-7 minutes. Remember, these will be fried later.
5. When all the dumplings are cooked, take them out and let them cool on a plastic-lined tray (or oiled, so that the dumplings don't stick to the surface).
6. Heat about 1/2 cup of oil in a deep frying pan. Put the heat to medium and drop dumplings one by one. When one side gets golden-brown (about 1-2 minutes) flip them over and fry that side. Take out the dumplings and put them on papertowels to drain.

Serve hot with your preferred dip: ketchup, soysauce with vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, etc.


I tried one, it was amazing!

I fried a couple to test them out. They were amazing! The first bite was crunchy and then the filling was good and savory. It went well with my soup and tofu salad meal for lunch. If you can see below the filling turned out nice and done. If you plan to freeze them, do it on a tray first (spaced apart, not touching together). Then once it's frozen, just take them out and let thaw a bit and fry them. 



This was a serendipitous recipe borne out of a botched chicken order. I can't wait to have these again tomorrow for a late afternoon snack.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Egg Drop Soup for a Sick Boy

A couple of weeks ago, my eldest son and I had the cold virus. After a week's rest and a gazillion of horse pills from my doctor, I am finally over my cold. Eldest son is still coughing a little but it looks like he's getting over it soon. The bad news is, my youngest son Billy woke up with a slightly sore throat. He still went to school because he thought it will be gone after a couple of hours. When he came home, the sore throat had worserned and he had a raging headache.

I knew Billy was sick when he wasn't hungry after coming home from school. He always ate a big snack (growing boy = Bottomless Pit). He promptly headed to his room and laid down. For dinner, he asked if he can have some soup. When I asked him what he wanted, he replied he wanted some of my Egg Drop Soup. Thank goodness I just made some chicken broth the previous day. I had everything in my refrigerator for the soup.

Egg Drop Soup

Ingredients:
2 cups chicken broth
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tablespoon finely minced white onion
1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 tsp. finely chopped spring onion or chives *(optional)
salt & pepper to taste





Directions:
1. Boil the chicken broth in a large sauce pan or a small pot. When it starts to simmer, add the ginger and onion.
2. Let it simmer for five minutes. Taste the broth, if it needs it, salt it to your liking.
3. Bring it to a boil and add the cornstarch slurry that you made with the cornstarch and water. Add the slurry slowly in a thin stream while slowly stirring the soup. If you see the soup thicken up to your liking, stop pouring the cornstarch mix.
4. Turn the heat down and let the soup simmer for about a minute. Turn the heat off and slowly drop in the beaten egg. While you are pouring the egg, use your ladle to stir the soup to create wispy feathers of egg throughout the soup.
5. Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with black pepper and chopped spring onions/chives.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Filipino Pork Barbeque - Sinugba-style


One of my favorite Filipino dinner to fix is Sinugbang Baboy (which means Grilled Pork or Pork Barbecue in Tagalog). Like what I mentioned before, Filipinos love pork, they love Spam, too. But pork is revered in the Philippines. There would be no Letchon (Roasted Pig), Adobo, Crispy Pata (Pork Leg), etc. without our beloved porcine meat. And topping that list would be Sinugbang Baboy.

Like there are many ways to cook adobo, there are myriad ways to make this simple dish. Now, this is my go-to recipe.

Filipino Pork Barbeque

Ingredients:

1 kilo sliced pork (fatty cuts like pork chops, pork belly, etc.)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
1/2 cup ketchup (yes, ketchup trust me on this)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tablespoon oil

1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade: soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ketchup, salt&pepper in a large mixing bowl. The ketchup will add a balance of sweetness to the pork and at the same time giving it a nice red tint. Make sure that the bowl is non-reactive (metal). Cover the pork and let it marinade for a couple of hours, or if you can wait, overnight in the fridge.

2. Set your grill out. If using coals, make sure that the coals are nice and hot before you slap the meat on the grill. If you use an electric grill like I do, brush the grill with oil when it gets hot before you lay down the meat. Grill over medium heat, about 10-15 minutes each side (this depends how thick your slices of meat are, the thinner, the faster it gets cooked).

Now when your pork is done, set it out with steamed rice, salad (I love oysters cerviche with this) and a dipping sauce made out of equal parts of soy sauce and vinegar with a dash of lemon in it.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Roasted Eggplant Salad


I love eggplants. I love them in moussakas, in lasagnas, in tempuras and most especially, roasted in a salad. This salad is very versatile. It can be served as a light appetizer, or as a side dish for anything barbeque'd. I love this salad when I eat my very Filipino meal of fried fish and rice. It adds a zing to the meal and wakens the appetite even more. Let me show you how I prepare this kind of salad.

Ingredients:
2-3 oriental eggplants (long thin purple ones)
1/2 medium onion
1 large tomato
Bagoong (sauteed Filpino fermented shrimp)**

1. On a grill, roast the eggplants until the skin is nice and charred. You can also use the direct flame method (that I use) using a metal rack placed on top of your stove and roast the eggplants directly over the flame. You can also use an oven but you won't get that charring effect on the skin and the taste is slightly different. Remember to pierce the skin with a skewer or a fork all over. You don't want it exploding on you while you are grilling or roasting it. (It happened to me and the results were not pretty. Pretty much my kitchen was sprayed with eggplant innards).

2. When the skin of the eggplants are nicely charred and cooked, pop them in a paper bag and let them sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes. The steam from the cooked inner meat of the eggplant will soften the charred skin and make it easy to slip it off. Take the eggplant out and gently rub the charred skin away. Chop or dice the eggplant in small squares and put in a mixing bowl.

3. Roughly dice or chop the onion and tomatoes and add to the mixing bowl. Toss all the ingredients together. Add a tablespoon of bagoong and toss again. Serve as a side dish to your meal.

**If you don't have bagoong, use other fermented shrimp pastes as a substitute.

Roast Thyme Pork Loin - A Family Favorite



My family is a family of meat eaters. My boys and my hubby always crave for a good portion of meat with a starchy side dish (rice, potatoes, bread, etc.). One of the perennial family favorite is my Roast Pork Loin redolent with Thyme. I don't marinate the loin, I dry rub it. 

Marinate is when you soak the meat in a liquid-type mixture of sauces, condiments and spices. Dry-rub is different. You basically take your meat, rub it with whatever spice powder, herb mixture, flavored salt, etc. that you have and let it sit for a while. The best time is 1 hour. But in my case when my days are busy and my men are hungry, I just rub my herbs and powders on and then pop it in the oven.

Here's my go-to mixture of dry rub:

Onion powder
Garlic powder
Lawry's seasoned salt (*if you don't have this, substitute with your choice of flavored salt)**
Dried thyme leaves

1. Put your pork loin on a big platter and pat it dry with a paper towel or a clean dish rag.
2. Sprinkle onion powder evenly to coat all the surface of the loin.
3. Do the same with the rest of the ingredients.
4. Once the meat is thoroughly covered, let it sit for an hour (optional).
5. Heat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius and pop the meat in and cook for about 50 minutes to an hour (depending on the size and thickness of the meat).
6. The roast is done when the surface of the meat is evenly browned and the juices run clear when the loin is pierced with a fork.
7. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 5-7 minutes. This will allow juices to come out (for gravy or for drizzling over the starchy accompaniment).
8. Slice and serve the roast.

**(if you don't have flavored salt, just use salt and pepper).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sopas for a Rainy Day


One of my friends warned me that a storm was coming to Korea. Sure enough, it did and arrived at midnight. That morning,  I kept our youngest son from going to his elementary school (and sent the teacher a text message why). I looked inside the fridge and saw I had chicken pieces, some veggies, and milk. Ahhh, time for Sopas.

In my country, rainy days means hearty soups for afternoon snack after school. It can be savory like Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge) or sweet, Guinataan (Sweetened Fruits and Root crops in Coconut Milk). And then, there is Sopas. Sopas, literally means soup in Filipino and Spanish (yup, our colonial ancestors brought it to us) and is usually a savory chicken soup with pasta and diced vegetables with a milk broth.

Here is my version of the Sopas.

Ingredients:
250 grams of chicken meat (1/4 kilo of meat, either with bone or plain meat)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 carrots, diced
1 stem of celery, diced
1 large potato or 2 medium ones, peeled and diced
2 tablespoon oil
2 cups pasta, you can use any kind tht is small (macaroni, penne, spiral, etc. I used spaghetti which I broke into 1-inch long pieces)
6-8 cups of chicken broth (or 6-8 cups of water plus a chicken bouillon cube)
2 cups of milk

1. In a large wok or heavy bottom pot, add your oil. Heat until it is hot and add your garlic and onions. Saute them until their fragrance fills the room (the garlic will be golden brown while the onions will be translucent).

2. Add your diced carrots and saute for about 3 minutes. Add your chicken pieces now if they cut-up with bone still in them. Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of salt. If you have shredded chicken meat, add that later. Saute until the chicken pieces are slightly cooked (they would look white and not raw).

3. Add your celery and saute for about 1 minute more. Now it's time to add the broth/water. First add a cup to the wok/pot. Stir the bottom, scraping it so that all the crunchy bits that are sticking gets mixed. This will add flavor to your soup. Now add the rest of the water/broth.

4. Bring the pot to a boil, when scum rises, try to skim all of it off. This will make your soup look cloudy and dirty. Keep skimming the scum that floats up. Lower the heat to medium and add the pasta. Stir every now and then so that the pasta won't clump up.

5. Continue simmering the soup until the pasta is half-cooked. Add the diced potatoes. Add another 1/2 tablespoon of salt, a sprinkling of pepper and chopped herbs of your choice (it can be dried parsley, dried oregano, dried sage... in this recipe, I used dried tarragon because I wanted to try it - it worked out great!)

6. Simmer until the pasta and potatoes get cooked really well. Add a cup of water or broth if the soup seems to be drying up. When the pasta and potatoes are done, add your milk. Bring to a simmer and then turn off the stove. Serve the soup hot with crusty bread or garlic toast.

Tips:

1. This can be your clean-out-your-fridge soup. I have been known to put chopped ham, diced hotdogs/sausages, diced hardboiled eggs in the soup.

2. When using herbs, stick to one. For this soup I used tarragon. Another great herb to use is parsley.

3. The diced veggies you can add is unlimited. You can add zucchinis, mushrooms, squash (my mom did this all the time), etc.