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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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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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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Kimchi Pancake

So in my quest to find recipes to use up my 3 lb tub kimchi. I’ve decided to make kimchi pancakes for the first time. I’ve tried the frozen ones sold at our local HMart but we really didn’t like the taste of it.

After looking at several recipes online this is what I came up with. It’s fairly easy to make.

First, place 1 cup of chopped kimchi in a bowl. Then add 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1 Tbsp. kimchi juice and 1/2 cup water. Mix well to combine.

Heat a non-stick pan and place a generous amount of oil. Then pour about 1/3 cup of the batter making sure to spread it thinly. I intentionally made smaller sized pancakes than bigs one usually the size of the pan as what you would normally see in recipes. Cook until brown on both sides and crisp around the edges. This won’t take long around 2-3 minutes per side.

I served this with a dipping sauce of black vinegar, lite soy and sesame oil. Proportions is totally up to your taste. You can use rice vinegar in place of black and add a pinch of sugar for a touch of sweetness.

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Korean Pancake

This blog has truly become a collection of family recipes. We are a family that loves to cook and we have learned at a young age from our grandmother (Lola), mom and aunts. My sisters and mom has given permission to share dishes they have made in their owns homes from across the Pacific. This recipe came from my youngest sister, she made Korean Pancakes or Vegetable Pancakes. The ingredients may not be the typical ones you use since they too are in lock down on the other side of the globe. So she made do with what she has like cabbage, carrots and deli ham.

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To make, prepare the batter by using a Korean Pancake mix. She didn’t have an exact measurement but said that batter should really be thin. So maybe you can start using 1 cup and just add water a little at a time until you achieve the right consistency. You also need to add one beaten egg to the batter and make sure to mix well. Then thinly slice your carrots, cabbage and ham and also some scallions if you have some and set aside.

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Get a non-stick pan and heat a couple of tablespoons of oil, then lay your vegetables and ham mixture flat and saute or fry it for a bit. When vegetables have somewhat softened but not wilted add your scallions then carefully pour your batter until it’s covered. Cook until crisp and brown on both sides. Serve immediately.

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Note: Photos used are all sent by my sister.

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Tortang Talong II (Eggplant Omelet)

This is just an updated version of a blog I made on Tortang Talong four years ago.

For best results I recommend that you use an Asian/Chinese eggplant. It is slender and elongated in shape and has a more delicate flavor and thinner skin compared to the American ones.

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First, you need to grill or broil your eggplants. You can do this on top of your stove if it is gas, or inside the oven or outside grill. The purpose is to soften the eggplant and to make it easy to peel off the skin. Wash and dry your eggplants. Then lay it on top of a grill mesh specifically made for stove top use. Let the skin blacken all over. When cool enough to handle peel of the skin. Then flatten the flesh using a fork creating an oval shape.

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Beat 3 eggs in a shallow rimmed plate wide enough to fit your eggplant. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Then dip your eggplants making sure to coat both sides.

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Get a non-stick pan and heat 2-3 tablespoon olive oil or any neutral oil until hot. Carefullly slide in your eggplant. Cook until brown on both sides. You can also stuff your eggplant with some cooked ground meat of your choice. For this I just added some corned beef has which was leftover from breakfast. Just place on top of the eggplant and scoop some beaten eggs on top. Slide into pan stuffed side up, when it’s brown on the bottom carefully flip it and continue cooking until brown and a bit crisp on the other side.

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We like to eat this with rice and a dipping sauce of ketchup or in our case Filipino Banana ketchup.

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Okoy (Mung Bean Sprouts and Shrimp Fritters)

In my parents hometown of Navotas, Okoy is considered an afternoon snack. These are sold during the mid afternoon hours along with others treats like, Valencia (Turon goes by this name in Navotas), Maruya (banana fritter) etc. I remember older family members would eat Okoy with cold rice and a dipping sauce made up of vinegar, garlic and ground black pepper.

When I was growing up we would sometimes have this for breakfast during the weekends. This is one of my favorite dish of all time. Whenever I would come back home to Manila for a visit, this is my top most requested dish from my family.

I have tried dozen of times to make this for my own family here in the Northeast without much success. It will either fall apart during frying or become too soggy and not crisp as it’s supposed to. Thanks to this video I finally found the perfect recipe. Her technique or method is also similar to how I remember my Ninang Aveling and Lola would make it. The reason maybe because of the fact she ¬†is from Malabon, the town next to Navotas which shares a culinary tradition and history.

To make, wash and drain very well a bag of mung bean sprouts. Cut one medium sized white onion into thin slices, and separate the rings or segments. If you have access to fresh small/baby shrimps, wash and trim it’s pointy ends or whiskers. You need not remove it’s shells when you are using baby shrimps. For this recipe I used dried pink shrimps as a substitute.

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For the batter mix the following ingredients in a bowl: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 a tsp. ground black pepper. I just added annatto powder for color, this is totally optional since my aunt or Lola do not use this in their recipe. Slowly add about 1 cup water.  Batter should be thick but pourable.

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Take a small non stick pan and add about 1/4 -1/2 cup neutral oil and heat.

To make, get a small plate or saucer and sprinkle some sprouts until it just covers it. Next add some onion strips or slices then add a few pieces of shrimps on top. Then get a small ladle or big spoon and pour your batter until it just covers your vegetables and shrimp. I used about 3 small ladles of batter.

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Then quickly slide your fritter into the hot oil. It should slide easily if you added the right amount of batter. Cook until brown and crisp on both sides. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce of vinegar, crushed garlic and ground black pepper.

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Filipino Chop Suey (Vegetable Medley Stir Fry)

Filipino chop suey is just a colorful medley of vegetables that has been stir fried. Most often chicken, pork or shrimp is added. In my family chicken is the protein of choice. You can use any kind of vegetables you want; cabbage, carrots, celery, cauliflower, bell pepper and chicharo (snow peas) are the most popular.

For this recipe I didn’t add any kind of meat, instead I opted to use quail eggs and some fish cake.

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To make, in a large skillet or wok saute in 2 tbsp. oil 1 medium sized white onion finely chopped and cook until translucent. Add 3-4 cloves minced garlic and continue cooking until fragrant. Add your vegetable starting with the hardiest: 1 medium sized carrot cut into rounds, 1 small broccoli and cauliflower head cut into florets, a handful of snow peas. Let this cook until vegetables are crisp tender. Then add a can of young corn, a can of quail eggs and 1/4 cup fish cakes then carefully stir. Continue cooking for 2 – 3 minutes until heated through. Then place the following in a small bowl 1 tsp. cornstarch, 2 heaping tablespoon each of soy sauce and oyster sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil. and about 1/4 – 1/2 cup water. Mix until thoroughly combined. Pour this into your vegetable and cook until sauce has thickened. You may add more water if you think it’s a bit dry.

Serve immediately.

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Shishito Peppers Spring Roll (Dynamite Lumpia)

Filipinos love their lumpia and our family is no exception. There are several kinds of lumpia that we have in the Philippines and I have featured some of it in this blog – lumpiang shanghai, lumpiang gulay (fried and fresh) and tuna lumpia. You can actually wrap anything that you can think of be it savory or sweet.

Dynamite lumpia is sweet peppers spring roll. They call it dynamite because of it’s shape and form and it’s explosive flavor being spicy hot. In the Philippines they use green finger chilis or siling haba in Tagalog. This has a milder flavor compared to other varieties of pepper. For this recipe I used Shishito peppers. This variety of pepper is usually used in Japanese cuisine most often in yakitori. When grilled it has a sweet mild flavor, hence the reason why I chose to use this for my dynamite lumpia.

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To make, wash and pat dry your shishito peppers with paper towels. Make a vertical slit along the side of the pepper and stuff with your choice of cheese (I used gouda). Then tightly wrap with spring roll wrapper. I used the technique in wrapping firecrackers shrimps. For step by step guide visit this site. Then deep fry your lumpia until golden brown. For the dipping sauce, I just combined some mayo and sriracha ketchup.

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This is a perfect appetizer or cocktail snack.

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Zucchini Blossoms Three Ways

My search for zucchini or squash blossoms has finally come to an end at Union Square Market in NYC. Was really overjoyed at my find and had to literally stop myself from hoarding since I know it won’t keep well. I was in the middle of my vacation and still have to bring it back home to Jersey.

I bought two packages, the male blossoms which is attached to a thin stem and has fuller petals and the female blossoms which has a miniature squash/fruit attached at it’s base.

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The male blossoms are typically the ones dipped in batter and deep fried. I used half of the package to make deep fried zucchini blossoms and the other half stuffed.

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To make, prepare your zucchini blossoms by trimming the ends of the stem and removing the stamen inside the petals. Then fill a bowl with water and gently swirl and submerge the flowers to remove any dirt or bugs and pat dry with paper towels. What I did to remove excess water was line a strainer or colander with paper towels and lay the blossoms around it upside down.

Meanwhile, heat a pan with about 1 inch of vegetable oil.

In a bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 1 tsp. kosher salt and 3/4 cup chilled club soda. For an even crispier and lighter batter I folded 2 stiffly beaten egg white into it. Then take your zucchini blossom and coat it with batter making sure to shake off excess. Place it in the hot oil one at a time, do not overcrowd. Cook until golden brown on both sides, this will only take a couple of minutes. Drain in paper towels. Serve immediately.

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For the stuffed zucchini blossoms, I just placed 1 tbsp of bourin cheese inside the folds of the petal and gently closed by twisting the ends before dredging it in the batter.

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For the soup, I wanted to make a simple broth that won’t overpower the delicate taste of the zucchini blossom. Filipinos love to add shrimp paste or fish sauce into their vegetable dishes and I just find these to strong a flavor to add to this dish. I racked my brains and tried to think of an alternative flavor base for my soup and I came up with these — dried anchovies !!! Japanese and Koreans have been using these to make stocks and base for their soups. I placed 2 tbsp of small dried anchovies (make sure you get good quality ones) in disposable tea bags.

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I added these in 5 cups boiling water and let this simmer for about 2 minutes. Then remove the pouch with your anchovies and add 1 small onion diced and 1-2 cloves garlic minced, continue cooking at a low heat until onions are tender. Then I added the zucchini blossoms and let this cook for about a minute. Then threw a couple of handfuls of baby kale and turned off the heat. P.S. you can season with salt or 1 tbsp of fish sauce to taste.

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