It is a rainy Saturday afternoon in Paris now and because of the cold weather, I suddenly craved for special goto with chicken strips, tuwalya (ox tripe), sliced century egg, spring onion slices and toasted garlic bits. With calamansi (Philippine lemon) extract, it tastes heavenly.
But I guess, I have to set aside my culinary adventure today since there are still some tasks to be done for a big event at work tomorrow and more so, I don’t have the complete ingredients.
However, since I’m craving for Filipino food, allow me to share with you five (5) easy to cook Filipino dishes that can be done in 2-3 steps without consulting the numerous steps in cookbooks and without meticulous measuring of ingredients.
Does this seem ridiculous? Probably, but since I was former a educator, I believe that conveying information in a simple and understandable way is the best.
Also, those who are really good cooks might scoff at this, but I think home cooking can be done in a relaxed way, with just your taste buds and your gut feel (a sprinkle here, a dash there, haha!) to guide you. 😉 If you’d like to taste Filipino food, try these really simple home recipes:
- Put chicken or pork (or a combination of both) in a pan, together with soy sauce and vinegar, crushed garlic, pepper, and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil. Mix a few times to ensure that the salty-sour sauce is blended well together.
Note: There are so many varieties of adobo in the Philippines. You may add one of the following to the basic ingredients as you prefer: diced potatoes, sliced saba (a variety of banana in the Philippines), pineapple chunks, a bit of sugar. We also have the recipe called adobo sa asin (salt), which is simply pork cooked in a small amount of fat, salt and crushed garlic.
Sinigang (Sour Pork Stew with Vegetables)
- Put pork (may be pork belly or buto-buto) in a pot, together with onion, tomatoes, vegetables ( usually kangkong, string beans, okra, eggplantt), green chili pepper and salt. Put water at the same level with all ingredients.
- Bring to a boil. Add sinigang mix (sour powder made from tamarind). To make the sinigang more special, add gabi or taro.
Note: You may use real tamarind. Kamias may also be a substitute. We had both in abundance in our backyard in Albay (Philippines). But the sinigang mix you can buy from Philippine stores or Asian stores is okay.
Nilaga (Pork or Beef Soup with Vegetables)
- Put pork or beef in a pot with sliced onions, potato, saba, vegetables (cabbage, pechay), and corn (usually if you cook beef). Add water that is that the same level as the ingredients.
- Bring to a boil. Add salt or patis (salty fish sauce) and pepper to taste.
Cocido (Fish and Vegetable Soup)
- Put fish, tomato, onions and vegetables (kamote tops, kangkong, malunggay), green chili pepper and salt in a pot. Add water. Bring to a boil.
- Add calamansi extract.
Note: Personally, I prefer kamote tops. It has a sentimental value to me because this is the vegetable my mom and grandma usually use when cooking cocido. We only plucked the leaves from our backyard then. The leaves give the soup a slightly pinkish color.
Ginataang Gulay (Vegetable cooked in Coconut Milk)
- Put garlic, onion, pepper, ginger slices (optional), and coconut milk in a pot with your preferred meat/fish/shrimp/crab/ combination of seafood (Here in France, I usually buy the seafood mix in Picard). Bring to a boil.
- Add vegetables. You may use gabi leaves (my favorite), squash or string beans or a combination of both. For a richer texture and taste, add coconut cream. Cook for a few more minutes.
Note: The other three vegetables that really suit this recipe are unripe jackfruit, ubod (heart of coconut palm) and malunggay. If you would like the taste to permeate the vegetables (especially langka and ubod), use crab. In Albay, we usually cooked this dish with added shredded tinapa (smoked fish) and cubed stingray or a small type of pating (shark) sold at the local market.
There! Those are just sample recipes of Philippine cuisine that you can easily prepare at home.
I also would like to share this recorded video of the May 16, 2021 show “Sisig: Introducing the Iconic Philippine Dish” organized by the Philippine Embassy in Paris in celebration of the Philippine National Heritage Month 2021: https://www.facebook.com/PHinFrance/videos/884333255481576
Sisig is a famous and tasty pork recipe and is loved by almost everyone in the country. It is usually eaten with steamed rice or served as a pulutan. It is complicated for me to prepare sisig but you’re invited to watch and learn the evolution of the recipe and the preparation of this delicious pork dish.
So this new week, why don’t you try a new recipe? Sample Philippine cuisine. 🙂
Notes: The title “Kain Tayo!” means “Let’s eat.” It is second nature to most Filipinos to invite others to share their meal no matter how simple it is or how little the amount is.
For sinigang and nilaga, boil the meat first in water plus seasoning mix before adding the vegetables to avoid overcooking the vegetables. You may also add pork/chicken/beef cubes (Knorr or Maggi are the common brands) to the soup to enhance the taste.
The dishes are usually served with steamed rice.
Enjoy! Kain tayo! 🙂