Corned Beef Pandesal

In the Philippines when you say corned beef it goes without saying that they meant the canned variety. The cured beef brisket that is either fresh or ready to eat slices sold in delis is not widely available when I was growing up.

Canned corned beef was probably one of those staples brought by US soldiers to the country during WWII or even during the American occupation. It has become a staple in Filipino households and is usually served for breakfast and eaten with rice. There are several brands of corned beef available in the market, the brand I grew up with was “Purefoods“.

American brand canned corned beef is very different from those sold back home. The US made ones is minced and quite salty and breaks down when sautéed. There are those made in Brazil and Australia but I find those too greasy, it’s meat is shredded not ground which gives it more texture.

While shopping at our local Asian grocer I spotted a Philippine brand Corned beef which really got me excited. I didn’t realize that it was Made in USA until I got home. The can says “longer shreds” though which characterizes Philippine made ones.

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I prepared the canned corned beef by sautéing it in a little oil with garlic and onions. Once the vegetables are softened I added the corned beef and cook until warmed through. I usually add a dash of ground pepper and a bit of water if it appears too dry.

I like this brand because it’s the closest to what I remember having back home. It has a good texture and flavor and is not as salty.

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To serve, slice your pandesal and stuff it with corned beef. This also goes well with garlic rice and a sunny side egg.

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Hot Pot Dinner

Hot Pot dinner is just the perfect meal for these cold winter nights. This is a communal way of eating where a pot of simmering broth is placed in the middle of the dining table. Various meats and vegetables are added to the broth which creates a rich and flavorful kind of stew. The most popular type of meat used are beef and pork which are sliced thinly. You may also use seafood such as shrimp, fish balls and fish fillets. For the vegetables you may add bok choy, spinach, napa cabbage and mushrooms to name a few. You can actually add anything you want in your hot pot, it’s really up to the diner’s taste or preference. Just make sure that your ingredients are cut into small pieces or sliced thinly so it cooks faster.

I don’t have a steamboat or hot pot cooker so I used my salad master multi purpose cooker. For the broth I placed a clove of garlic, a knob of ginger and 3 stalks of spring onions (white parts only) in the cooker and added 8 cups of water. I also placed 2 packets of instant dashi. When the broth comes to a boil you may add your meat and vegetable and any other ingredients you have. I used thinly sliced pork belly, assorted fish balls, bok choy and three kinds of mushrooms (enoki, white and brown beech mushrooms). I served this with steamed white rice and a dipping sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.

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Champorado II

I made a new pot of champorado since my family thought that first one was too rich and chocolatey. They say it was like eating a bar of chocolate. I guess I am the only one who really appreciated it since I am such a chocoholic.

I doubled the recipe this time and substituted Hershey’s dark chocolate powder to Hershey’s Natural unsweetened cocoa. I just added a tablespoon of the dark chocolate to make it darker in color. This makes for a decadent chocolate porridge that is not intensely sweet. For those who prefer to use dark chocolate you may adjust the recipe as follows: either make it 2 cups sweet rice instead of 1 (I used the measuring cup that came with my rice cooker) and 6 cups water plus 1 cup to dissolve the chocolate with; or use 1/4 cup dark chocolate powder and 1/4 cup godiva hot cocoa powder and follow the original recipe.

To make place 2 cups sweet rice (glutinous rice) and 6 cups water in a heavy bottomed pan. Note: I used the rice cup measure that came with my rice cooker. Let it come to a boil then add 1/3 cup the natural unsweetened cocoa, 1/4 cup godiva hot chocolate powder and 1 tablespoon of Hershey’s dark chocolate powder dissolved in 1 cup water. Cook while continuously stirring until rice is soft and translucent. Add 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar to taste towards the end of cooking time. This took about 20 – 25 minutes. Ladle into bowls and pour milk on top before serving. This can be served warm or cold.

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Dark Chocolate Champorado (Chocolate Porridge)

I really don’t like eating a cold bowl of cereal in the morning during winter. I usually make myself a hot bowl of steel cut oatmeal, but these do get tiresome at times. I woke up today inspired to make champorado, a breakfast treat that I grew up with. It is rice porridge made with chocolate and sugar and served with milk.

In the Philippines champorado is made with tablea, chocolate that has been ground, mixed in with sugar and formed into tablets or disks. This is also used to make the Filipino hot chocolate.

It is not easy to get a hold of chocolate tablea where I live so I substituted Hershey’s cocoa powder instead. I used special dark to make a richer and darker colored champorado. I also added godiva hot chocolate powder for added sweetness and chocolatey flavor.

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To make you will need 1 cup sweet rice (glutinous rice), 4 cups water, 1/3 cup Herhey special dark chocolate, 1/4 cup Godiva hot chocolate powder, and 1/4 cup sugar (or more depending on your desired sweetness). Place 3 cups of water in a heavy bottomed pan and add 1 cup of sweet rice. Dissolve your cocoa powder in 1 cup water and add this to your rice. Add 1/4 cup sugar and cook over low fire while continuously stirring to prevent scorching. Cook until rice is translucent and done to your liking, mine took about 20-25 minutes. Ladle into bowls and drizzle milk on top. This maybe eaten warm or cold.

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