Ala Yakisoba Pan

Yakisoba pan is a popular convenience store food in Japan. You can also get these at bakeries and food stalls during festivals. It is just Yakisoba (stir fried noodle dish) sandwiched in between a roll. I must say though that the Japanese does not a have sole claim on this. Filipinos have been doing this as well as far as I can remember. We have different kinds of pancit (noodles) and I have always eaten mine with either pandesal, sliced bread, steamed bun and even rice with it. Filipinos commonly sandwich their pancit in between pandesal or monay but it’s not just sold or marketed this way. It’s just something you do and eat at home.

One night I served pancit canton for dinner and it dawned on me that this is very much similar to Yakisoba. I ate mine with my some steamed white rice but the rest of the family had it with bread. I suggested to one of my girls to get a hotdog bun and place sone noodles in between like a Yakisoba pan. This is how I came up with this dish.

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To make, just heap some pancit canton in between a hotdog bun. Recipe for pancit canton can be found here. You can also use brioche rolls or any type of bread that you like.

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Korean Sausage Bread

Though our state is lifting restrictions on our stay at home order and restaurants are starting to re-open for take away or delivery, we still opt to eat at home and prepare our own food. We really miss going and hanging out at our favorite Asian Bakeries and Cafes so I try my best to make their bread creations here at home for the family.

This Korean sausage bread is one of the many offerings of Paris Baguette. They have various sweet and savory bread creations and this is just one of them.

This is not an original recipe, I just adapted the recipe from this site. The only change I made was I omitted adding the corn topping since we are not very fond of such flavor combination for our bread. I just added some shredded cheese on top before baking which works well for us. I also drizzled the ketchup after baking the bread as opposed to what the original recipe called for.

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Meat Pie

We almost always have leftovers being empty nesters. I hate throwing food away so most of the time I share what I make to my neighbor who is single and appreciates home cooked meals. Somedays, I think of creative ways to serve leftover other than just re-heating it.

This time I used my leftover Arroz a la Cubana from the night before as filling for meat pies. This is really easy to whip up since I just used frozen pastry puff that are sold in most grocery stores.

To make, take your pastry puff out of the box and its plastic packaging and thaw for 40 minutes. Then cut a sheet into either 4 or 6 equal parts. When you cut it in four you can do a fold over type of meat pie. Start by placing a heaping tablespoon of your ground meat in the middle of your pastry, then fold it over and cover the filling. Then using a fork press the tines around to crimp and make a tight seal. You can also create one using two sheets of pastry. Take one square of pastry sheet and place a heaping tablespoon of ground meat in the middle then place another square sheet on top. Again using the tines of a fork, press firmly around the edges to seal.

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Place your meat pies in a parchment lined baking sheet then brush the tops with an egg wash. Bake in a 350F oven for about 20. minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

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Best served straight out of the oven.

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Saba con Hielo

I must confess, I wasn’t really a fan of Saba banana specially the ones cooked in syrup until recently. This type of bananas are typically merienda fare meaning you have it for a mid afternoon snack. Bananas cooked in syrup is called “Kusilba” in Tagalog. You can eat this as is but there in one more popular way of serving it, by making Saba con Hielo.

To make your Kusilba, peel some Saba bananas and place in a thick bottomed pan. Add equal amounts of dark brown sugar and water. For this recipe I used 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar using 7 pieces bananas. Cook over low heat and let it come to a boil. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes until it becomes thick and bananas has a softened but not mushy.

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To serve, place a couple of bananas in a bowl. Pour some milk (Filipinos use evaporated milk which has creamier and richer mouthfeel) and top with a scoop of shaved ice. These is specially good during a hot Summer day.

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Adobong Mani (Stir fried nuts with Garlic)

Stir fried peanuts is one of my favorite snack. I learned to love this because of my dad. When I was grade school age, he would often ask me to buy 1/4 kilo of “adobong mani” at a stall inside Makati Supermarket (where Landmark is presently located) while he pays for our groceries. We would share this on the ride home. When we moved to the Northeast, my parents would often bring be a big container of “adobong mani” everytime they visit, since my family learned to love this too.

Mani is the Tagalog word for peanuts. In the Philippines, stir fried peanuts are usually made with garlic chips. Hence, the name adobong mani. Garlic being the predominant flavor of adobo.

I tried to make this several times without success, I usually end up burning the nuts. Until I discovered this Youtube video on how to make stir fried nuts. I can’t believe how easy it is and I didn’t have to use a ton of oil as called for in making Filipino style peanuts.

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To make, pour about 1/4 cup or less of vegetable oil in a cool pan and add you raw redskin peanuts. I also added 2 cloves of thinly sliced garlic. Cook this at low to medium heat stirring constantly. Watch it closely as it doesn’t take long to cook. When the peanuts changed color and the garlic chips turn golden brown. Remove from heat and sprinkle liberally with iodized salt. Remove the nuts from pan with a strainer and let cool for about 20 minutes. It’s important that you let this cool because, freshly cooked nuts is not crispy.

I also found out that it is a lot cheaper to make your own, since a bag of raw peanuts only sells for $2.49. While buying a small container of garlic peanuts cost around $4.00

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Serve as a snack or as an appetizer as is customary in many Chinese restaurants.

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Asian Rice Pudding

We call this dish in Tagalog, Ginataang Mais. Ginataan came from the root word gata which is coconut milk and mais is Tagalog for corn. This is very similar to the Western style rice pudding, the only difference is that we use sweet rice (glutinous rice) as opposed to short grain rice and coconut milk and not whole milk or cream.

This is typically serves as a snack, but my girls eat it anytime of the day.

To make you will need sweet rice, coconut milk, sugar, water, milk and 1 can sweet corn (fresh corn is preferred).

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In a medium size pot combine 1 rice cooker cup measure of sweet rice, 5 cups water, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 can coconut milk. Cook over low heat while continuously stirring. This may take 10-15 minutes. When the liquid has considerably thickened and the rice softened you may add 1 can sweet corn drained. Continue to cook for 5 minutes to allow the flavors of the corn to be absorbed. Note: I added about 1/2 cup milk towards the end of cooking, I find that this added to the richness of the dish without making it too cloying.

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Spam Fries

Spam is not a very popular food product here in North America. Many would actually turn up their nose on it. Mainly because it’s not really good for you due to the additives and it’s high sodium and fat content. Second, it’s often perceived as cheap food and is associated with financial hardship because of it’s relatively low cost. Though this perception changes depending on what region of the country you are in, Hawaii being the state where spam is extremely popular and where it is consumed the most in the whole of United States (source wikipedia).

This is not true in the Philippines and other Pacific Islands, in fact it is the opposite. Spam was introduced to the country during World War II. American soldiers brought this with them and for many it was a treat specially when you have suffered food shortage and rations. This quickly became part of the local diet and you can say part of the influence the US played in the region that time.

Spam has now become a breakfast staple not only in the Philippines but other parts of Asia as well. Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese and even Chinese commonly serve this fried with rice and eggs. But spam has evolved into something more than that in Asia, there are now spam musubi, spam burgers, spam kimbap, spam jjigae (stew) to name a few. This spam fries is one of the many creative ways they serve spam. I just recently discovered that it became a food trend last year as reported by Huffingtonpost.

When I saw this article, I felt I had to make it, as someone who grew up in a society and culture where spam is ubiquitous as adobo.

To make, get a can of spam, open and slice it into thick strips. Heat a non-stick pan with about 1-2 inches of oil. When the oil reaches the right temperature for deep frying add your spam sticks and fry for approximately 3 minutes. Do not crowd your pan. Fry until its brown and crisp on the outside and still a but juicy inside.

I served this with a dipping sauce of wasabi lime mayo. I just mix together 4 tbsp. mayonnaise, wasabi paste just enough to give it a kick and color and the juice of half a lime.

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P.S. For those interested here is a very good article on the history of spam a.k.a as an American Meat Icon.

Chicken Arroz Caldo (Rice Porridge)

Most countries in Asia have their own version of rice porridge. It goes by many different names: congee in China, juk in Korea, okayu in Japan and lugaw in the Philippines.

Filipino rice porridge is typically served as a mid-afternoon snack or what we call “merienda”. It is also considered comfort food specially during the cold and rainy season. When I was growing up my mom would always make us arroz caldo when we are feeling under the weather. The reason being it is easy to digest. Lugaw is also commonly given to babies when they are introduced or learning to eat solid food.

Rice porridge can be made plain with just rice, water and ginger and onions as seasonings. It can also be prepared with various meats (chicken, pork or fish) and toppings (green onions, fried garlic or shallots, boiled egg, fried tofu etc) for a more hearty dish.

To make chicken arroz caldo, In a heavy bottomed pan I sautéed , 1 thumb sized ginger cut into slivers, 1 finely chopped medium onion and a couple of cloves of garlic minced. Once everything is soft and aromatic I added 3 pieces boneless and skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Typically bone in chicken is used to make a more flavorful broth. I decided to use boneless and skinless thighs for convenience.

I then added 2 cups (using the cup measure of my rice cooker) of rinsed jasmine rice. Stir until the rice is coated with the oil and seasonings. Add 6-8 cups of water or chicken broth. Stir and cover until it comes to a boil, then lower heat and continue cooking while stirring constantly until the rice is soft and thickened. Season with pepper, salt or fish sauce.

Ladle into bowls and top with a few slices of boiled egg, some chopped green onion and fried garlic. Before serving a squeeze of lemon and splash of fish sauce is typically for an added boost of flavor. This is entirely optional and depends on your taste.

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Cheese Pimiento Spread

As a child, cheese pimiento was one of the things my mom used to make for us. Pre-made spreads or store bought fillings were unheard of in our household. My mom makes her own egg or chicken salad and even ham spread for our school snacks and lunches.

I must admit I was not really fond of cheese pimiento back then since I really don’t like cheese that much as a child. But that changed as I grew up and my taste buds matured and developed.

I made this yesterday since I suddenly had a craving for it. You will only need three basic ingredients: cheese, pimientos and mayonnaise.

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To make I grated an 8 oz package of extra sharp cheddar cheese, then finely chopped a bottle of pimiento that was thoroughly drained. Into these I added about 3/4-1 cup of mayonnaise. I added a tsp of sugar to balance the saltiness of the cheese. Mix well until thoroughly combined.

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Serve as a filling for sandwiches, crackers or even as a dip.

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Koimo Sweet Potato

Koimo is a Korean sweet potato. I always see an abundance of these during the fall and winter months at my favorite Asian Store. They are smaller in size compared to the yams and sweet potatoes sold here in North America. I believe that roasted sweet potato is favorite snack or street food in Japan and Korea. In the Philippines, camote which is sweet potato in Tagalog is also a popular snack often boiled or deep fried with a coating of brown sugar.

During my weekly trip to the grocery store, I finally bought some to try at home with the intention of roasting it. I just wanted to see for myself how it taste like compared to their North American counterpart.

I scrubbed the sweet potatoes under running water and pat them dry with paper towels. I then placed it in a baking sheet and baked it in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes. You can test for doneness when a toothpick inserted offers no resistance or it has a slight give when pinched.

When done they were the sweetest I have ever tasted and is like having caramelized sweet potatoes. This will be a family favorite for sure.

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