Filipino food the next new trend?

What do you know about Filipino food, I believe it is the forgotten little sibling of the South East Asian cuisine. The reputation it has now, you might say that it is more of a distant cousin. Many have tried it, but they just know it is Filipino.

Pancit canton, click on the picture for the recipe

The palate of Filipino cuisine is entirely its own, relying on acids and sweetness perhaps more than any other cuisine. It in this cuisine that flavors don’t blend together so much as sit atop one another, lifting each up into an addictive symphony of tangy, salty, sweet and sometimes bitter. The dishes range from very simple food to complex meals.  Dishes like fried salted dried fish or crispy anchovies, crispy golden slices of spam sandwiched between white bread with fried egg to lechón, kaldereta, kare kare, puchero,  pinakbet sinigang, and many more. Our cuisine is as diverse as there are ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines, and are closely related to the Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine. You might say it is the original fusion. The Filipino cooking style has evolved from their pre colonial dishes to a mixed of flavours from Spain, India, China, Japan, America and the Pacific Islands.

Analiza Gonzales, Kare kare, Fiipino, Ox tail, Peanut, Beef and peanut stew
Kare-kare, beef and peanut stew. Click on the picture for the recipe

Renown chefs like  Andrew Zimmerman and the late Anthony Bourdain has booth predicted that Filipino cuisine is going to be the next new trend.  Actually they said it to be the next American food trend. No matter, when it is popular there, the rest of the world is soon to follow.

Bourdain believes Filipino food is “underrated,” “ascendant” and a “work in progress.” He said that western palates are ready for it: “I think certain Filipino dishes are more likely to take root and take hold more quickly than others,” he told CNN.

He pointed out that Filipinos “were able to assimilate and Americanize very easily and very quickly.”

“I think Filipinos embraced America and were embraced by America in a way that other cultures might not have been,” said Bourdain. “I think Filipinos in America maybe underrated their own food. They used to be mocked for balut.

Kaldereta, Spanish inspired dish. Click on the picture for the recipe

I did not grow up in America, but in Norway, and I think Bourdain is right, we assimilate and learn the new culture quickly. I have not seen or heard of a Filipino town yet, but we do group together at party’s and other happy events. I think he also is right about underrating our own food, and until lately I have, but it is not because of the balut.  And yes, some of the dishes will easily take root than others. Kare kare is one of them in my mind.

Our food is so similar to the rest of Asia, but yet different. One might say that the different cuisines have been Filipinized the way the different cuisines from around the world has been adjusted to the palates of the people of the country it has been introduced to. I have eaten gyros in California, Norway, Germany, Greece, Hong kong and South Korea, there have been slight differences but the one that was far from the others was the one in South Korea. And no, I have not tried gyros in the Philippines.

Chicken bbq, marinade made with banana ketchup, Click on the picture for the recipe

Bourdain believes Filipino food is “underrated,” “ascendant” and a “work in progress.” He said that western palates are ready for it: “I think certain Filipino dishes are more likely to take root and take hold more quickly than others,” he told CNN.

He particularly likes sisig, which is made from the snout, jowl, ear and tongue of a pig, which he believes will lead the charge in Filipino cuisine’s rising international recognition.

“I think sisig is perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole,” he said, adding that he thinks the dish is “casual, accessible, exactly what you need after a few beers.

“I think it’s the most likely to convince people abroad who have had no exposure to Filipino food to maybe look further and investigate further beyond sisig. I think that’s the one that’s gonna hook them.”

I personally belive that Filipino cuisine has already won the hearts of many, as I wrote earlier, they just do not know it is Filipino.

Lecon Cebuano, Lecho, Pork, Filipino, filipinsk
Lechon Cebuano, click on the picture for the recipe

Filipino cuisine is pork heavy, but a natural abundance of seafood and tropical fruit has given rise to dishes that are light without being bland. We often use pineapple in our marinades and mango is often eaten as a side dish with bagoong, an umami-rich fermented krill condiment native to the Philippines. Or tilapia sinigang, a delicate soup for which whitefish is poached in sour tamarind broth alongside fresh greens like water spinach and bok choy.

Sinigang, Filipino, Filipinsk, Tamarind. Salmon
Sinigang, tamarind based soup. Click on the picture to get the recipe

Do you know of any Filipino dishes or have you tried any?

I have a few favorites, Sinigang is one of them wich is similar to Malayan Singgang Serai. Sinigang is also one of my childrens favorites. In Norwgian we used to call it(I still do) “got a suppe” When my oldest son was about two he could not say “Det var en god suppe”. He was trying to tell me that the soup was yummy. The sinigang in the picture above has been norwgianized, I have used salmon.

As in many Asian countries, Filipino food is also free of dairy or gluten, making it suitable for a many diets and health regimens. The reliance on vinegar as a condiment renders Western sauces full of sodium and fat redundant. This in itself should be seen as a welcome addition to any table.

 

Mung bean strew. Click on the picture for the recipe

Filipino meals are traditionally eaten family style, allowing the cuisine to slide seamlessly into the trend of sharing plates and communal dining. At a fiesta in the Philippines you would often see meals decked on banana leaves covering the whole table, and we eat with a fork and spoon or with our hands.

Tosilog, tocino, sinagag(garlic fried rice) and Itlog(egg). Clik on the picture to get to the recipe.

Writing this I can not say that Norway have many Filipino restaurants to boost of. I have been to one in Oslo, but sad to say it will just be that one visit. I might be just picky or maybe it was their quality of cooking and menu, too many other Asian dishes. Having said this there are a lot of successful Filipino chefs and restauranteurs in Norway. Chefs and restaurants that get great revues, but none cook or serve Filipino food, only at home.

Filipino mussel soup. Click on the picture for the recipe

Last Filipino independence day celebration in Oslo there was one stand serving really nice barbequed beef, but unfortunately open to the public this one day or through catering. The people behind this stand have started up a bakery that makes Filipino buns and breads, Bread’n butter So far it is made to order, but this coming fall they will open a shop in Oslo. I will get back to this later.

Champorado, rice porridge with chocolate, came about after trade with Mexico. Click on the picture for the recipe.

Looking at the different pictures I have posted, many of you might say “I have tried that”. Did you know they were Filipino? As I have written earlier they are similar to Asian cuisine, but yet different.

I hope I have caught your curiosity and would like to try more Filipino food. If you click HERE you will find the rest of my Filipino recipes

Palitaw, sticky rice treat with coconut and sugar, click on the picture for the recipe

 

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Lechon kawali, Pan fried pork belly on a bun

Pan-fried pork or lechon kawali as we Filipinos call it, is also a favorite among the inhabitants of the pearl of the orient.

Lechon kawali or Pan-roasted pork to some is different from Lechon, the well-known national dish of the Philippines. The difference between the two is that lechon is cooked in a pit filled with flamed charcoal, lechon kawali is cooked by boiling or baked then later deep fried, the most common part to use  is pork belly, or as the Filipinos call it liempo

This dis is usually eaten with steamed rice and some lechon sauce for dipping, but this time I served it in a bun with bbq sauce with chicharon on the side.

How to Cook Lechon Kawali

Cooking Lechon Kawali takes two processes, usually you boil the pork belly until tender, and then deep fry it in oil.  I baked mine and I pan-fried it.  You can prepare the pork belly a day or two before serving it. NB,  do not slice it and store in the fridge until you need it.

lechon-kawali-fried-pork-belly-milk-bread-filipino-analiza-gonzales.jpg

You need

Pork belly
Crushed garlic
Salt
Pepper

Oil for frying

Burger buns or Japanese milk bread. I used the latter, for recipe see HERE
lettuce
Onion
Bbq sauce

Score the skin of the pork belly and rub it with crushed garlic, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 200 C

Wrap the pork belly in aluminium foil, put it in the oven and turn down the heat to 120 C and bake it in the oven for about 5 hours.

lechon-kawali-fried-pork-belly-milk-bread-filipino-analiza-gonzales.jpg

When the pork belly is finish, cut slices and remove the skin. Fry the slices in a pan with a little oil, and the skin you deep fry.

The only thing left is to build your sandwich, serve and enjoy.

lechon-kawali-fried-pork-belly-milk-bread-filipino-analiza-gonzales.jpg

 

 

 

Taho, Sago, Taho and sago drink, Filipino drink, filipino staple, analizagonzales.com, lizasmatverden

Taho drink

Kumusta at magandang araw ( Hello and have a nice day)
You have probably heard of Bubble tea, but have you heard about Taho? A filling drink brought to the Philippines by the Chinese. You also have Indonesian(Tauhue) and Malaysian(Taufufah) versions of this drink. This drink is also made with sago and gulaman in the Philippines, gulaman is an agar jelly. The differens between Taho and Sago at gulaman is that the first one is served warm and the latter served cold.
Can you imagine my surprize when bubble tea started popping up around the world  as a new invention.
Most of the Asian world have been refreshing themselves on drinks with sago pearls for most of their lives.
This drink is a must try. It is sweet, warm and fragrant, filled with silken tofu with the same consistency of custard, and chewy sago pearls. This drink is also a childhood vacation memory of mine.  I can still imagine the peddlers walking down the streets carrying two buckets that hang from each end of a yoke and calling “Tahooooo!” to attract customers. The larger bucket carries the tofu base and the smaller bucket holds the syrup and sago pearls.
Silken tofu, Sago drink, Sago, Thao, Thaho drink, Filipino drink, analizagonzales.com,
To many Filipinos this is a quick breakfast sold by peddlers called Magtaho in the morning. The drink is packed with carbohydrates and proteins, and it fills you up. Unfortunately since I have become diabetic, this drink is an absolute no no for me.   The base for this drink is called arnibal it is a syrup made from sugar and water with added flavoring, so you can understand why I should not drink this.
Actually I can probably enjoy this again, but I have not found or experimented enough to come up with a good recipe with sugar substitutes for this warm version.. Spring has decided not to show up in Norway, so I wanted to treat myself to a piece of memory while just sitting on the couch covered with a soft blanket with a warming glass of taho in my hands watching my family enjoy the drink too.  I was probably deceiving my self thinking that if I just ate the tofu and sago laced with a bit of arnibal that I wont be eating too much sugar, but ones or twice for the past five years won’t hurt me too much.
Silken tofu, Sago drink, Sago, Thao, Thaho drink, Filipino drink, analizagonzales.com,
Tao recipe, makes 4-6  servings

For sago pearls:

1/4 cup dark brown sugar
8 cups water
1 cup sago pearls

For arnibal,  syrup:

Sugarcane tablets equal to 1/2 cup (some use 1 cup, but that is just too sweet for me.)
1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 cups water, depending how sweet you want it.

1 one-pound package organic silken tofu

 

Put sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add tapioca pearls and stir until water returns to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and continue cooking the tapioca pearls with the lid on, stirring occasionally, until they are almost translucent. Sago is cooked when it is tender but still chewy. Drain, rinse under cold water top stop the cooking process.

Cooking time depends on the sizes of the tapioca you use, follow the instruction on the pack. Cooking Tapioca pearls on a hard boil for a long time breaks them apart and makes them too soft and too mushy. They can be prepared ahead of time. Transfer drained cooked pearls to a container, add enough water to cover pearls, cover with a lid and refrigerate for up to a few days. Stir well and then drain before using.

To make arnibal, caramelize sugar in a pan and when it is nice and golden add water and vanilla and bring to a boil. Take pan off the heat and set aside. Remember you do not want the sugar to burn,

Silken tofu, Sago drink, Sago, Thao, Thaho drink, Filipino drink, analizagonzales.com,

Steam silken tofu in a steamer until heated through, about 15 minutes.

Fill your glasses with thin slices of silken tofu and tapioca pearls, 3/4 full and top the glasses with the sugar syrup. Mix together and serve warm.

Refreshing melon and cucumber infused water

Refreshing melon infused water, is one of my vacation memories from my very first time to the Philippines. Well actually the drink from the Philippines was sweet with alot of added sugar. This thirst quencher is just ripe melon, cucumber and water and left to rest in the fridge for a few hours to bring out the flavours.

If you are used to the Filipino kind, this drink will be quite tame in comparison. As my cousin said this is a thirst quencher, if there is too much sugar in the drink you will just get thirstier.

Melon infused water, thirst quencher, melon, water,drink

Ingredients

1 ripe melon, I used 1/2 a Piel de sapo and 1/2 a cantaloupe

A few slices of cucumber for color

1,5 liter Water

(If you want it sweet add some sugar and artificial sweetener)

Shred, dice or scoop out the fruit. I usually do this over a large bowl or directly into a pitcher so no juice will go to waste, that’s where the flavour is. Thinly slice some cucumber for color.

Combine the fruit and water in a large pitcher and leave it in the fridge for a few hours or a day.

You can do this with any fruit and fruit combination. Experiment and enjoy your fruit infused water.

Melon water, thirst quencher, analizagonzales.com, melon water, melon, water

Tinolang tahong na may malunggay, Filipino mussel soup with moringa

Mmmm, my mouth is watering from just smelling this dish may friend said after taking a big whiff of her bowl with Tinolang tahong, I haven’t eaten mussels or moringa for ages.  OMG and a big sigh followed after her first spoonful.

This ginger broth dish  is a simple Filipino dish traditionally made with chicken, wedges of green papaya, and leaves of the siling labuyo(local chili), chili pepper in a broth flavored with ginger, onions and fish sauce, but this shell fish dish is becoming just as popular.

Continue reading “Tinolang tahong na may malunggay, Filipino mussel soup with moringa”

Vegan adobo with jackfruit

 

Adobo is a popular filipino dish and most often made with chicken, you can use any type of meat for this dish. Filipino adobo is different than latino dishes with the same name, the difference is that the Filipino dish you boiled the meat in vinegar or in this case the fruits and vegetables.

Continue reading “Vegan adobo with jackfruit”

Coconut and ube ice cream sandwiches

Coconut and ube icecream sandwich

One of my dads favorite deserts was Ube halaya, purple yam boiled, grated and mashed and cooked in condensed or coconut milk with butter until a thick paste. I haven’t been able to find any purple yams in my vicinity, but I found ube ice cream:)

Coconut macaroon and ube icecream sandwich

I thought I could make ice cream sandwiches, but what kind of cake or cookie should I use, I wanted to use a typical Filipino cookie. After googling I decided to make something a little closer to home(Norway) and used a recipe for a cookie typical around Christmas time here, coconut macaroon.

16 cookies

4 egg whites
200 g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200 g desiccated coconut
Pinipig for decoration (Pinipig are immature grains of glutinous rice pounded until flat before being toasted)

Preheat oven to 180 ° C.
Whisk egg whites lightly together in a saucepan. Add sugar, vanilla extract and dedicated coconut.
Set the pan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon, make sure the mixture do not stick and burn. When the mass has the consistency of thick rice porridge is the complete, approximately 10 minutes.Coconut macaroon

I divided the dough into 16 equal parts and rolled them into balls, rolled the balls in pinipig then placed them on a baking paper lind tray and pressed them down a bit so they were 1 cm thick.
Bake them in the middle of oven for about 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a rack.

Place a scoop of ice cream between to macaroons and enjoy:)

Haluhalo, a cooling dessert for the warm summer months

Halu halu

Refreshing iced dessert filled with a lot of yummy goodness. This is probably one of the most popular desserts in the Philippines

Haluhalo is a dessert with shaved Ice and milk  and most commonly used is sweet condensed milk. Other ingredients include boiled sweetened beans, sweetened palm fruit (kaong), coconut (macapuno), nata de coco, plantains sweetened with sugar, jackfruit , jello, tapioca,, sweet potato, cheese, pounded crushed young rice (pinipig). Most of the ingredients,fruits, beans, and other sweets are first placed inside the tall glass, followed by the shaved ice. This is then sprinkled with sugar and topped with either or a combination of leche flan, purple yam or ice cream, and right before serving you add the evaporated milk.

Filipino dessert

I on the other hand think that the combination of sugar and evaporated milk is too sweet, plus all the other sweetened ingredients, this dessert is a sugar bomb. My solution is to freeze a two liter carton of milk and shave the frozen milk.

I fill the glass with different treats, you can use what ever you want, sweetened or healthy.

I used some traditional ingredients this time except for the frozen milk.

Sweetened beans
Red colored kaong(palm fruit)
Coconut
Tapioca pearls
Leche flan(creme caramel)
Pinipig
Shaved frozen milk
Ube Ice cream

Childhood memory

Champorado, filipino rice porridge with chocolate.

Champorado

Champorado is a sweet chocolate rice porridge made with sweet glutinous rice known as Malagkit among Filipinos and pure cocoa known as Tableya. This porridge can be served hot or cold and is mostly eaten for breakfast, some also enjoy this as mid-afternoon snacks and pared with Tuyo a salted dried fish, this is something I have never tried.

This porridge is a tradition that comes from Mexico, the Philippines got tableya and the mexicans got Tuba a type of palm wine. The Mexican Champorado is made with chocolate and corn, the Filipino is chocolate and sticky rice.

I remember my parents always had a little stock with Tableya when I was growing up, sent to us from my grand parent so I would be able to enjoy filipino treats. I remember it as awful tasting stuff. Tableya is roasted cocoa beans milled and pressed into tablets. Imagine a very young Analiza getting hold of something she was told was chocolate, sneaking away to enjoy the treats in secret, I can tell you that that secret and forbidden moment was not very enjoyable:D

I do not have any Filipino Tableya at hand, but I have other dark chocolate and cocoa powder.

 

Filipino rice porridge

Serves 3-4

300 g  dark chocolate
2,5 dl glutinous rice (Malagkit)
5 dl water
1 can coconut milk
condensed milk and dark chocolate for garish

Rinse the rice until the water is clear.
Combine the rice with the water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. turn down the heat and let it simmer.
break the chocolate into pieces, add to the milk and rice mixture and stir continuously
Once the glutinous rice is cooked and thick, serve hot in bowls  with condensed milk and shavings of dark chocolate on top.

Hot spcy vinegar, Suka na maanghang

Suka na maanghang in Baybayin

Chicharron is a snack that is popular in every country with spanish heritage and probably has hundreds of regional variations. In the Philippines though a must have condiment with chicharron, is hot and spicy vinegar.

As a kid on vacation in the Philippines chicharron is one of the snacks I always bought. I can remember buying chicharron from vendors in the the Philippines and they often came with a tub with hot and spicy vinegar.

One of the tell tell signs to spot a Filipino is the persons love of vinegar. Being filipino I love the taste of vinegar:)

500 ml sugar cane vinegar
20 pcs. red and green Thai chilies
1 whole head garlic, peeled
1 tbsp. whole peppercorns
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, salt and sugar. Bring to a light simmer and mix until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Set aside to cool a bit.

Thoroughly wash the chilies and cut the stems before putting them inside the bottle.

Press the garlic cloves with the side of the knife to lightly crush allowing the flavors to come out. Put them inside the bottle

Put the whole peppercorns inside the bottle

With a funnel pour the warm vinegar into the bottle. Allow to completely cool at room temperature and seal the bottle with a cork.

Steep for a couple of days before using. The vinegar can be stored inside the fridge for several months. The flavors of the spices will intensifies the longer it is kept.

So get a bag of chicharron or some kind of pork rind snack and enjoy them with hot and spicy vinegar.