Healthy Vegetable Rice Bowl

We try to eat healthy specially now that our physical activity is limited due to this pandemic. So I incorporate low fat and and vegetable filled dishes in our diet. This recipe is one of those. I think this is a much healthier version of Bibimpab since it does not contain any meat and it’s way easier to prepare too.

First, prepare your rice as you would normally do using a rice cooker or in a pot. Then add your choice of chopped vegetables on top of the uncooked rice. For this recipe I used, thinly sliced yellow squash, a couple of asparagus cut a bias and Bok Choy. You can use any kind of vegetable like kale, bean sprouts, carrots, radish, mushrooms to name a few. Amount really depends on how much can fit on your rice cooker. Just turn on the rice cooker and when rice is done, gently mix the rice and vegetables together.

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Scoop your rice onto bowls and top with a fried egg (optional if you want to make it vegetarian). Drizzle with some bibimbap sauce before serving. To make the sauce just combine the following ingredients: 2 Tablespoons gochujang, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1 Tablespoon water.

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Spicy Tuna Pasta

This is a favorite pasta recipe that I can easily throw together when I am too lazy and want something fast and easy to prepare. I have several variations of this dish, and one has been featured here already.

The Filipino Century tuna is my favorite brand of canned tuna. My sisters and I have been loyal to this brand since the late 80’s. My favorite is their Spanish style tuna, which unfortunately isn’t available here in my neck of the woods. So I just make do with the hot and spicy flavor which I can get at my local Asian store.

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To make, cook your spaghetti according to package directions. While your pasta is cooking, get a large skillet and add 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Then add 3-4 minced garlic and let this cook until fragrant and just until it’s starting to brown on the edges. Be careful not to burn it. Then add the entire contents of your canned tuna. Let this simmer for a minute. Then add once can of diced tomatoes and a container of sliced black olives. Stir until everything is well combined. Then add your cooked pasta directly on to the skillet, no need to strain. The added water will help bind the sauce together. Season to taste with kosher salt. Add a handful of chopped parsley, toss and turn off heat. You can also add a drizzling of extra virgin olive oil towards the end of cooking to finish it off.

Serve immediately.

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Kori Kohi ala UCC

Kori Kohi literally means Iced Coffee in Japanese. It was my sister who introduced us to this drink back in 2018 when were were vacationing in Manila. It is a coffee drink offered and popularized by UCC Cafe’s (pictured below). UCC (Ueshima Coffee Co) is a Japanese Coffee and Tea manufacturer based in Kobe. They are the very first company who made and invented canned coffee in 1969. They have several cafe locations in Manila and we have been to three them when we were there.

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This coffee creation is frozen coffee cubes served in a tall glass then warm milk is poured over it. As the coffee melts it slowly infuses the milk with it’s flavor. It also tastes much better than Starbucks I must say !

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To make, I used instant coffee powder to make a cup of strong black coffee. Proportions is totally up to you. In our household we use UCC instant coffee but you can use whatever brand you prefer. You can also make it using a coffee machine. However, we ran out of the UCC Instant Coffee so I resorted to using the Nescafe Cafe Viet Instant Coffee which too has a superior flavor and aroma. This is also made specifically for iced coffee. I dissolved 1 packet in about 3/4 cup hot water then let it cool down before pouring in my ice tray. Let this freeze overnight. Then remove the frozen coffee cubes and place in a tall glass and pour your choice of milk. Normally one would pour warm milk over it but we just used cold milk and for me it was so much better. The frozen coffee melts at a much slower rate which allows the milk to be gently infused with flavor making it more creamier and mellower in taste much like latte. An alternative to your regular iced coffee and just perfect for this sweltering hot Summer weather we are having in the Northeast.

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Corned Beef Pandesal

I had my first corned beef pandesal from Le Coeur de France, a bakery chain in Manila in the early 90’s. This is pandesal with the corned beef filling baked inside and not just sandwiched in between. This bakeshop was French inspired but had the Filipino taste and flavor in mind; they sell corned beef pandesal, kesong puti panini, croissants, fruit tarts and other bakery treats. My dad would always get corned beef pandesal to take home for us. Le Coeur de France was also a favorite hang out for me and my husband when we were still dating. They have a location in Alabang Town Center, which is a stone’s throw away from where we live. Unfortunately, they permanently closed their doors in February 2016.

Fast forward to 2018, during a visit to Manila we fell in love with the corned beef pandesal from Starbucks. They offer this from their bakery menu together with spicy tuna pandesal, ensaymada among others.

Ever since I made pandesal at the beginning of this lock down, I told myself I will make my own corned beef pandesal. It’s just that for the past few month’s I haven’t been able to get my hands on my preferred corned beef brand. Fortunately, on a recent trip to a Filipino restaurant to pick up food, we were pleasantly surprised to see that they are carrying a few grocery items. My husband was able to pick up a couple of cans of Purefoods corned beef.

I just followed my recipe for pandesal. While my dough was proofing, I prepared the filling by sautéing 2-3 cloves garlic minced and half a medium sized onion chopped in olive oil before adding the can of corned beef. Cook until just heated through and I just added a bit of ground black pepper to season. Do not add any liquid since you do not want a watery filling. Set aside to cool.

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When your dough has sufficiently risen. Punch it down and divide in two. Roll the dough into logs and cut each log into seven pieces. Flatten each piece into circles and place a tablespoon of corned beef in the middle. Gather the dough around and up and seal the edges by pinching. Roll in breadcrumbs and place in a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for all remaining dough. Cover the filled dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. Bake in a 375 F pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Best eaten straight out of the oven.

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Longganisa Breakfast Muffin

Breakfast sandwiches are sold by most fast food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks to name a few. These are only available during breakfast hours, but some do serve these all day. Here in New Jersey, the most popular breakfast sandwich is Taylor ham, egg and cheese on a kaiser roll or bagel. For most New Yorkers, it’s bagel with cream cheese and lox or any flavored cream cheese for that matter. In Korea they have what you call grandma toast.

I wanted to make a breakfast sandwich with a Pinoy twist. Longganisa was the perfect choice for me to make it truly Filipino. This Philippine style sausage has proven to be versatile since modern Filipino restaurants have adapted these to their menus and even created burgers which incorporates these to their ground beef.

First, you need to prepare your longganisa patty. I used my recipe for skinless longganisa which can be found here. You need to shape it into patties instead of the usual logs. Then fry it until cooked and brown on both sides, set aside and keep warm.

Prepare your scrambled eggs by beating in a small bowl 1 egg and seasoning it with a bit of salt and pepper. I then place this in my microwave egg poacher. (Note: you may also use a ceramic or glass small bowl) . Then microwave on high for 1 to 1.5 minutes or just until set.

To assemble, split an English muffin and lightly toast it. Place some greens on one of the slices, followed by some smashed avocado that has been seasoned with lemon juice and salt. Then carefully place your egg and longganisa patty before topping with the other piece of muffin. Serve immediately.

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Bulalo (Beef Shank Soup)

For me Bulalo is just like Nilaga, a boiled meat dish. Using beef shanks and bone marrow is what makes it Bulalo. This dish is a local specialty of the Southern Tagalog region of the Philippines. You will see numerous roadside stands and restaurants along Tagaytay going to Cavite and Batangas with big signs and advertisement offering these to eager tourist. It’s popularity in this region, may be due to the fact that Batangas is the cattle trading capital of the country. History says that cattle was brought to us from Mexico. The Spaniards identified Batangas as the sole place with proper grass fit to raise cattle then. Today it’s considered the source of prime beef in Manila.

This probably was considered a rustic dish since it’s mainly made up of bones with few meat in it. I guess that this is what rural farmers did back then with unwanted cuts of beef so nothing would go to waste, after choice and prime cut of meat are sold.

To make, place 2 lbs of beef shank in a stock pot and fill with water until it covers your meat. Boil for a couple of minutes. Then fish out your meat and quickly rinse it under running water to remove scum and set aside. Then drain your pot and thoroughly wash and clean before returning the beef shanks back in. Cover again with enough water, one roughly chopped white onion and 1 tsp. peppercorns. Let this boil then lower heat. Cook covered until meat is very tender. You may need to add water as needed. Make sure to remove scum that floats on top to ensure a nice clear broth. Season to taste with salt or patis (fish sauce).

Then add the 2 corn on the cob that has been cut into smaller pieces. Cook for about 5-8 minutes. Throw in the several bunches bok choy with leaves separated. Let the broth come to a boil again. Cover and remove from heat.

Serve with steamed white rice and a dipping sauce of calamansi and patis (fish sauce). Our family prefers a combination of calamansi and soy sauce. You can substitute lemon for calamansi.

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Stir Fried Snow Pea Leaves

I am used to having a side dish of vegetable during mealtimes, specially at dinner. This was just something that my mom and maternal grandmother have always done as far as I remember. So I picked up this habit and have always made sure we have a side of vegetables specially if our dish does not contain any type of greens.

I just don’t make elaborate or complicated vegetable dishes like my mom and grandmother. I must confess, it was too much work for me then with too small children to care for. So I resorted to just making simple steamed veggies like brocolli, asparagus and beans. But our favorite is stir fried Asian greens such as yuchoy, bok choy, Chinese brocolli to name a few. If you want to learn more about Asian greens here is an easy guide for you to read.

Stir fried snow pea leaves is something that you always see at Cantonese restaurants. It’s somewhat hard to find these here in our area, the only place I have seen these is at 99 ranch. I was lucky enough that when I was shopping for it, the lady from the grocery store helped me pick the best from the pile.

First make sure to sort and clean the snow pea leaves, separating the hard stalks from the tender leaves. Then soak this for a a few hours before washing 2 -3 times to rid of dirt and sand and set aside.

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Get a wok or a skillet and place on high heat. Then add 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil and swirl to coat the pan. Then add 3-4 cloves garlic finely chopped then the snow pea leaves taking care not to burn the garlic. Stir contanstly and season with salt and white pepper. Cook until leaves are just wilted and still a bit crisp. Serve immediately.

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Cinnamon Rolls

Last time I made cinnamon rolls was with my daughter five years ago when she was still in high school. Now I’m thinking why I never made it again. The only reason I’m guessing was not having enough time, since my girls had so many after school activities that I have been running around to.

I made these cinnamon rolls again finally as a Mother’s Day treat. Almost everyone have so much time in their hands these days, so it’s no big deal. I adapted this recipe from this site. It works great for me and I am always pleased with the results. The only thing I didn’t follow was coating the bottom of the pan with butter and sprinkling sugar on it. I didn’t want to make it too gooey and decadent, this is sweet enough for us as it is.

In a bowl place a packet active dry yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water and set aside. In a mixing bowl add the following: 1/2 cup scalded milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, 1 tsp. salt, 1 egg and 2 cups all purpose flour. Mix until smooth. Then add your yeast mixture. Mix an additional 1 1/2 cups flour. You may use up to 4 cups total flour, until dough is easy to handle. Knead for 8-10 minutes until you get a smooth dough. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and roll it on a lightly floured clean surface into 15 x 9 inch rectangle. Spread 1/2 cup melted butter on dough and then sprinkle a mixture of 3/4 cup brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon. Roll the dough beginning on the 15 inch side then pinch to seal the ends. Using a sharp knife cut into 12 – 15 pieces.

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Place rolls close together on lightly greased pan. Cover with kitchen towel and let it rise again for 40 minutes. Then bake in a 350F preheated even for about 30 minutes or until nicely brown on top.

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While rolls are baking prepare frosting by combining the following: 4 Tbsp. butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 3-6 Tbsp hot water. Mix until smooth then spread over your cooled rolls.

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Ochazuke

I have always wanted to try this dish, it’s just that I have never gotten around to making it until now. This reminds me of my Lolo Sianing (maternal grandfather), I remember when I was about five seeing him pour hot water over a bowl of cold rice with some dried fish on it. I was fascinated to say the least. I even tried to imitate what he did much to my mom’s dismay, thinking I was playing with my food. I added way too much water which in turn made it inedible. The dish that he was eating by the way was called “kanin labay”, kanin is rice in Tagalog. I also found out that labay which is a very uncommon Tagalog word means to eat with broth.

So when I discovered this dish, I thought my Lolo knew what he was doing back then. Ochazuke is a very traditional Japanese dish wherein you pour hot green tea over rice with savory toppings. Although I read water was used during the Heian period and it was just at the beginning of the Edo period that tea was used instead. This is also what they do at home with leftover rice.

To make, place a scoop of rice in a bowl. Then sprinkle some furikake or Ochazuke seasoning (freeze dried toppings) which can be found in Asian stores. Top with some flaked salmon, I used smoked salmon for this recipe. Then carefully pour hot green tea over the rice. Serve immediately. I think you can really get creative and use different types of toppings. I might even use Filipino dried fish to make it more pinoy next time.

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This is something that you can easily put together if your are in a hurry and is very light on the stomach too.

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Salted Duck Egg Salad

Salted Duck Eggs is not solely Filipino. In fact it originated in China centuries ago. This was probably brought to us by the Chinese merchants who came before the country was colonized by Spain. Salted duck eggs even became a food trend in Asia several years back where it was added to everything imaginable, even potato chips !

We always have salted duck eggs as a side dish with tomatoes added to accompany fried seafood or meat. This is just a fancy version of the salted duck egg and tomato I made before.

This is an easy recipe, you just need to peel and cut the duck eggs into quarters. You can get salted duck eggs in any Asian store by the way. Then get some grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Thinly slice some red or breakfast radish. Arrange everything on a plate then sprinkle some micro greens on top. I also added some mango strips as an after thought. I did’t add any dressing but just a sprinkling of kosher salt since that is what we do. But you can definitely use a combination of lemon and olive oil if you want to dress it.

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