Congee with Youtiao

Congee is the traditional breakfast fare in Far East Asia. In China, Hong Kong and Taiwan it is usually just made up of rice, water or broth and aromatics such as ginger and scallions. Most countries in Asia have their own version of this dish as I have explained in my previous post on Arroz Caldo.

It is often prepared plain when served for breakfast. Toppings are always added depending on one’s preference. In most households and coffee shops in Asia this is usually paired with Youtiao. Youtiao is a long fried strip of dough, also known as Chinese Cruller. In the Philippines we call this Bicho-Bicho. Some refer to is as Chinese doughnut. I do remember this sometimes being rolled in sugar after being taken out of a big vat of oil. Prepared Youtiao are sold in most Asian groceries and you can find them in the refrigerator section.

To make this congee, I just placed 1 cup measure (I used the cup that came with my rice cooker) of jasmine rice in a medium sized pot. Then I added 5-6 cups water, 1 stalk of scallion finely minced (white part only) and a thumb sized ginger cut into slivers. Let this come to a boil, after which let it simmer under low heat until the rice is softened and broken down. Make sure to stir it once in a while to prevent scorching.

Ladle in bowls and serve with Youtiao. I got prepared Youtiao and just warmed it in the oven for a few minutes. You can serve this on the side or cut up as topping.

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Crispy Anchovies Over Rice (Dilis Rice)

Anchovies or Dilis in Tagalog are usually sold dried. Dried anchovies are widely used in Asia, in Japan and Korea they are used to make stock and as savory snack or appetizer. Southeast Asians on the other hand usually fry these in a little oil until golden brown and crisp. It is commonly eaten with rice but each country in the Southeast has it’s own unique way of serving it.

Malaysia and Singapore has Nasi Lemak a traditional breakfast of rice, sambal, dried anchovies and boiled or fried egg. Indonesia has Nasi Goreng which means fried rice but they have a version with anchovies on it. In the Philippines, Dilis or Dried Anchovies is a typical breakfast fare served with garlic rice and sunny side egg.

To make my Dilis Rice, I heated a non stick pan and added about 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Then placed about a handful of small dried anchovies. I let this cook over medium heat until golden brown and crisp. Make sure to watch it as the small anchovies tend to cook fast and can burn which will make it bitter.

To serve, place your cooked white rice on a plate and top this with some egg crepe strips. Then liberally sprinkle your anchovies on top of your egg. Serve with a couple of tomato slices and chopped cilantro.

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Filipino Corned Beef Hash

I have enough leftover corned beef from the sinigang I made last week to create another dish. When I make the traditional corned beef and cabbage for my family, I usually make a Filipino style corned beef hash from our leftovers. I posted a recipe for corned beef last year and this recipe is similar except for the addition of diced potatoes.

I did not use all the cooked corned beef for my sinigang, from what is left I sliced the meat as thin as possible and cut it into small pieces. You can also shred it which is ideal. Then finley chop a clove of garlic, one small onion and dice 1 small potato.

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Fry your diced potatoes in non stick pan with a little oil. Once the potatoes are done set it aside. Into the same pan sauté your garlic and onion until softened then add your meat and potatoes. Continue cooking until the meat is heated through. Season to taste.

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Longganisa (Filipino Sausage)

Longganisa is the local sausage of the Philippines. There are various types of longganisa available and most are regional in taste and flavor. There is the Lucban which is garlicky, the Vigan which has a sour undertone due to the addition of vinegar and Pampanga style which is sweet to name a few.

Longganisa is usually a breakfast fare served with garlic rice and sunny side up egg popularly known as Longsilog (Longganisa + Sinangag + Itlog)

I made this longganisa by using the recipe for the Filipino burger I made last summer. I just shaped the meat into small logs, so it’s what you call skinless longganisa (without the casing). You can form the sausages a bit bigger or even into patties, whatever suits your fancy. I made use of ground pork for this recipe. Ground chicken maybe substituted as I have seen chicken longganisa widely sold in Asian grocery stores.

I served this with garlic fried rice and a sunny side up egg.

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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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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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Taylor Ham/Pork Roll Sandwich

Taylor Ham/Pork roll sandwich is the unofficial state sandwich of New Jersey. You can find this in most diners in the state served as a breakfast fare. This meat product was created by John Taylor of Trenton, NJ in 1856. They say “Taylor ham” is commonly used by residents of North Jersey and “Pork roll” by those from Central and South Jersey. There is a great debate on how to call this meat product. Our family calls it Taylor ham since our local diner and bagel place calls it by that name, btw we live in Central Jersey.

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Taylor ham is similar in taste and texture to Spam for those who are unfamiliar. To make this you will need a few slices of Taylor ham, an egg, a couple of slices of American cheese and a Kaiser roll.

Take your Taylor ham and score it’s sides to prevent it from curling as you cook it. Pan fry it until browned or a bit crisp on the sides which is how we like it. Then cook your eggs over easy but break it’s yolk before flipping it and continue cooking for a minute. To assemble, place your cheese slices on one side of your roll, add your Taylor ham and top with your egg. Cover with the top half of your roll and slice the sandwich in half.

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Traditional Filipino Breakfast

We rarely eat rice for breakfast since moving to the Northeast. Our everyday fare would normally be toast, cereal or fruits and yogurt. I was at the Asian store earlier today and saw in the freezer section a pack of chicken “tocino” (Filipino cured meat). I thought of making “Tosilog” (Tocino + sinangag + itlog) with it, a traditional Filipino breakfast. Roughly translated this is cured chicken meat, garlic fried rice and sunny side egg over easy.

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“Sinangag” or garlic rice is made by browning minced garlic in 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. You then add cold cooked rice, stir fry until hot and season with a little salt.

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I cook the chicken tocino by adding 1/4 – 1/2 cup water with the meat in a non-stick pan. Let the water reduce considerably and wait till the meat release it’s own juice. Add a bit of oil and cook until browned and caramelized.

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Tocino + Sinangag + Itlog = Tosilog