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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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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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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Spinach Chive Linguine with Chicken Sausage

This is just one one of those meals that I hastily put together for lunch. Sometimes it’s easy to make a dish with a few simple but flavorful ingredients.

I got this Spinach Chive pasta from Trader Joe’s. I liked their lemon pepper pappardelle pasta which I was looking for initially but saw this instead. Since the pasta is already flavored, I thought it doesn’t really need a lot of things added to the sauce to make it taste good.

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Cook the pasta according to package directions. Then set aside. Then get a skillet and saute some bell peppers in 2-3 tbsp olive oil ( I used half a green and half yellow) and a couple of king oyster mushrooms. You may use red or green bell peppers or any other vegetable you may have like zucchini or white mushrooms. Just cook until crisp tender. Remove from pan. Place a couple of chicken sausages (I used spicy Italian but you can use whatever type sausage you want) in the same pan that has been cut up and cook until done and brown on all sides. Put back your vegetables and stir. Then add your pasta, toss to combine. You may add some pasta water and a bit of olive oil to finish off the dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I served this with some rustic whole wheat bread.

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Pork and Tofu Stew

This recipe is one the that is frequently seen on our dinner table and a favorite of my oldest sister. I must confess that I was really not that excited as a teen when this was served to us but now it reminds me of home. It was just made up by my late Ninang Aveling and is now comfort food for me.

This recipe is similar to the ground beef with bok choy I posted before. I just used cubed pork and added tofu.

To make, saute in 2 tbsp vegetable oil one medium sized chopped white onion until translucent, then add 2 cloves finely minced garlic and cook til fragrant. Add 1 lb. cubed pork butt and continue cooking until its has changed color. Season with ground pepper. Add water just enough to cover the meat and let it come to a boil. Add 2 Tbsp soy sauce, I used the Filipino brand Silver Swan. (I don’t recommend using Kikkoman or any Japanese soy sauce for this as it would drastically alter the taste). I also added 1 Tbsp. fish sauce for depth of flavor. You can totally omit this and just increase the amount of soy sauce if you want. Cook until meat is fork tender. Then add a package firm cubed tofu and continue cooking until it’s heated through. Throw in about 4 bunches of Bok Choy roughy chopped stir and cover and let cook for about a minute or so.

Ladle in bowls and serve with rice.

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Ensaladang Talong (Eggplant Salad)

My mom usually serves this eggplant salad as a side for any grilled fish or meat. It’s a very Pinoy dish since green salad is not something that you will regularly see on a Filipino table. Specially in the early 70’s where iceberg lettuce is the only leafy salad greens that is available in grocery stores.

Start by grilling 2 Asian eggplants. This is the long and thin ones which has a sweeter taste. When cool enough to handle peel the charred skin and flatten with a fork to form an oval shape. Set aside.

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Chop 2-3 tomatoes and half a medium sized red onion. Place in a bowl. Season with a mixture of 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon Philippine cane vinegar, juice of half a lime and ground pepper. Toss until the onions and tomatoes are coated with the dressing. Pour on top of the eggplant.

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One other way to serve this is just by placing the coarsely chopped grilled eggplant in a bowl then and add tomatoes and onion in. Pour your dressing and toss to combine. Serve chilled.

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Stewed Pork with Lily Blossoms

This stew is favorite of my dad. My family would used pork hocks when making this dish since it gives it a wonderful thick and gelatinous kind of sauce. Back home we would use dried banana blossoms, but it’s difficult to find it here so I substituted dried lily blossoms which is similar in taste and texture.

I wanted to make a healthier version with less fat so I used pork butt for this recipe. To make place in a thick bottomed pan 1 lb. cubed pork and add the following: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup soy sauce, bay leaf, some peppercorns and about 1/2 cup water. Let this cook covered until meat is tender and liquid has reduced and somewhat thickened. You may add water 1/4 cup at a time when you think the dish is drying up too much.

I served this with some steamed Yuchoy and 7 grain rice.

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