Japanese Korokke (meat and potato croquettes)

It’s been challenging to plan dinner menus lately. It feels like I have made all the dishes I can think of since the pandemic started. So I constantly try to look for new and inspiring dishes to serve my family.

Japanese Korokke is one thing I haven’t attempted to make. We have had these several times in Japanese restaurants in New York City as an appetizer not as a main course. In Japan this is mostly considered as snack since it’s sold in convenience stores and supermarkets.

To make, peel and cut into big chunks 4-5 medium sized potatoes. Place in a pot and add enough water, let boil and cover and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and place back into pot and mash until smooth.

While your potatoes are cooking, get a pan and saute in a little olive oil a medium sized onion finely chopped. Cook until translucent, then add 1 lb ground beef. Cook until meat is well browned, season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain excess fat before adding it to your mashed potato.

When your meat and potato mixture is cool enough to handle form into oval or round patties.

Then prepare a light batter by mixing 1 egg, 4 Tbsp. flour, 3 Tbsp. water and 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise. Mix until smooth. Dip your potato patties into this mixture before rolling into panko bread crumbs. Place your korrokke patties in a parchment lined tray and place in refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes. I did this to set the panko so it won’t fall off while frying.

Meanwhile, heat enough oil in pan until it reaches a temperature of about 320F. Fry your korokke until brown and crisp on all sides. This will only take a couple of minutes so make sure to keep watch. Drain in paper towels and serve with finely shredded cabbage or green salad. I made a dipping sauce of 1 part ketchup and 1 part mayo with a teaspoon of sweet relish. You can also use bulldog sauce (the Japanese Tonkatsu sauce).





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.



Beef Salpicao

I’ve been feeling out of sorts lately thus have not been blogging much. But I don’t want to totally neglect this blog so here is my new recipe to keep myself going. Don’t get fooled this is a Filipino recipe with a Spanish sounding name. This somewhat reminds me of another favorite steak a la pobre.

To make, cut some good quality beef like sirloin into cubes. I used about 2 lb ribeye steak for this recipe. Then marinate this in the following: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup Knorr liquid seasoning ( I don’t have this so I just substituted low sodium soy sauce) and 1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika.

Take a pan and fry 4-5 pieces garlic cloves finely chopped until golden brown. Set aside.

Remove excess oil from pan and then sear or fry your meat in batches until brown on all sides. You don’t need to cook it for long specially if you have good quality meat, it shouldn’t be tough or crisp but seared and tender inside. Then put back in pan all the cooked meat, add a few pats of butter and allow it to coat the beef cubes until it’s become somewhat glossy.

Transfer onto a serving plate and top with the garlic crisp. Serve over rice.




Arroz a la Cubana II

I have made a post on the Filipino version of Arroz a la Cubana during the early years of this blog. I felt the need to create a different version of this dish. The reason being that it came to my knowledge that there are individuals who used my photos for their own purposes without proper acknowledgement or consent.

I have also made some adjustments and changes to my original recipe as sort of an upgrade.



Start by saut̩ing 1 medium finely chopped onion and 3-4 cloves minced garlic in a little olive oil. Cook until onions are translucent and aromatics are fragrant. Then add 1 lb ground beef and cook until browned. I cook this for about 5 minutes or more and add 1 tsp ground black pepper at this point to remove any beefy smell. Add your pototoes that has been cubed (I used 2 small red potatoes) and half of a red bell that has been diced. Then stir in 1 small can tomato sauce, 1/2 cup water, 2 T. Worcestershire sauce, 2 T. soy sauce and 1 tsp. dried oregano. Stir and cook covered for for around 10 Р12 minutes or until potatoes are done. Season to taste with salt, I added about 1 teaspoon. You may add a scant teaspoon of sugar just to balance the acidity.

Serve over a bed of rice and top with a sunny side egg, some fried Saba bananas and avocado slices (optional).



Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and sour dishes are generally a crowd pleaser. It’s no wonder one of the most popular take out Chinese food is sweet and sour pork. What we are accustomed to eating here in the West is the Cantonese style where the meat is cooked first and the sauce is added before serving. The sauce is primarily made of of vinegar, sugar, ketchup for color and soy sauce.

Filipinos have an array of sweet and sour dishes of their own ranging from meat to seafood. Meatballs is one of the most popular kind since its the easiest to make in my opinion. This is on no way an authentic Cantonese sweet and sour dish, it’s something my family have created and what we like.

For the meatballs, combine 1 lb ground beef (ideally it should be a combination of pork and beef), 1 egg, 1-2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp. ground pepper and 2 stalks spring onion white parts only. Mix everything to combine and form into uniform balls. I was able to make dozen.

Shallow fry your meatballs until golden brown making sure not to crowd your pan. Set aside.

Cut into chunks half a red, green and yellow bell peppers. You don’t have to use all three, I just wanted it for color and presentation. In another pan, quickly fry your peppers for 30 seconds in hot oil the set aside.

For the sauce, combine 1 cup water, 3/4 cup ketchup, 3 tbsp. vinegar, 1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar. Let this come to a boil while continuously stirring. Then add 1 tsp. potato starch or cornstarch dispersed in water and add to your sauce until thickened. Add your meatballs and pepper to the pan until everything is coated with the sauce. Plate and serve.

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Beef Sinigang (Sinigang na Baka)

Sinigang is a well loved Filipino dish. It can be made with either meat or seafood. I have several recipes of sinigang in this blog like pork, pork ribs, corned beef, milkfish belly, salmon and shrimp.

I just feel I need to make a beef version since it’s also a dish that I always prepare.
When making beef sinigang, it’s better to use beef with bones in it like shank or short ribs. You can also use a fatty cut of beef like blade chuck roast or chuck eye roast. I don’t like to use stewing beef since it makes for a bland broth.

To make, add 1.5 chuck eye roast cut into cubes in a pot and add water just enough to cover the meat. Place over medium heat and let it come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil lower heat. Make sure to remove all the scum as it floats to the top. When all the scum has been removed add one medium sized chopped onion and 2 medium sized chopped roma tomatoes. Continue cooking until meat is tender about 1 to 1.5 hours. Add more water as needed.


Then add a packet of sinigang mix, I prefer to use Mama Sitas. Then add your veggies. I used yard beans, Asian eggplant, and spinach. Add your yard beans first, then your eggplant. Cook just until crisp tender and not soggy. Add a bag of spinach and turn off heat. Ladle into bowls and serve with rice. Filipinos like to eat this with fish sauce on the side.




Beef Tapa

This is a revised recipe of my beef tapa and by far this is my favorite one. My original recipe has lemon juice. I think lemon juice makes it more like the Filipino bistek (beef steak). For this recipe vinegar was used which I believe gives it that distinct flavor of tapa.

To make, slice your beef (about 1.5 lbs.) into thin strips (a personal preference for faster cooking time). Then add 4-5 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. salt, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 2 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar, 1- 2 tsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce. Let the beef marinate for about an hour, preferably overnight.


Take meat our of the fridge. Get a non-stick pan and place over medium high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. of oil, then arrange your beef slices in a single layer. Cook until brown on both sides. Serve with steamed rice or garlic rice. We like to eat this with a dipping sauce of cane vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper.



Beef Mechado

Authentic Filipino beef mechado is a larded piece of beef that is braised in a mix of soy sauce, calamansi, tomatoes, ground pepper and bay leaf. The meat resembles that of a roast and when done it’s sliced into rounds.

In our family this is served most often for Sunday lunch at my maternal grandmother’s house or at home. Meals are always extra special during Sunday’s when everyone gathers after church services.

Nowadays, mechado has evolved into a kind of beef stew where meat is cut up into chunks. Probably for convenience and ease of cooking. Another possibility is that we have access to better quality beef since larding was primarily done as technique of adding fat to very lean and/or tough pieces of meat to make it flavorful.

To prepare mechado, you will need a pound and a half of beef chuck roast cut into cubes. Place this in a pot together with 1 large white minced onion, 4 chopped roma tomatoes, 2 ladle spoon of soy sauce, 1 tsp ground black pepper, bay leaves and a cup of water. Let this sit and marinate for a minimum of an hour in the fridge.

Then place this under medium high heat and let it come to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour or until meat is fork tender. Strain your beef from the liquid or broth. Get another pot and heat about 1-2 tbsp olive oil and saute 3-4 cloves minced garlic, cook until fragrant. Then add your beef and let it brown a bit. Pour in your cooking liquid and about 2 tbsp of tomato paste and one red bell pepper that has been chopped. Adjust seasoning as needed (you can use soy sauce or salt) Cook until sauce has thickened and reduced.


We typically eat this with rice. I however tried something new and served it with quinoa as we are trying to cut back on carbs.




Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Steak and Onions)

This is a very simple dish that requires just a handful of ingredients: soy sauce, lemon, ground pepper and of course your meat. The ratio of your seasonings and marinade is the key to the success of this dish. Of course how much one uses is very subjective and this why the flavor of this dish could differ among Filipino families. Preparation is easy, the key is to not overcook the meat which most cooks are prone to do. It’s really delicious when done right.

My late grandmother or “Lola” who was a very good cook can whip this up with little effort. She was the one who taught me how to make this. During one of my visits to her in Chicago, she showed me where she gets her meat to make bistek, a Mexican grocery store. We went up to the meat section and pointed at “Bola de res” and asked the butcher to slice it thinly for her. Since we don’t have any Mexican grocery near us I just use thinly sliced ribeye roll from my local Asian store.


To make, Place your meat about 1.5 lb in a ziplock bag and add 1/4 – 1/2 cup Filipino soy sauce (I prefer the lauriat brand) not Kikkoman or any other Asian soy sauce, the juice of one lemon (if you can get your hands on calamansi please use this instead), ground pepper and a dash of worcetershire sauce. Marinate for at least an hour preferably overnight.


Get a large white onion and cut into rounds. Heat a non-stick pan and add about 1-2 tablespoon vegetable oil, cook your onion until just crisp tender and set aside. In the same pan add a couple of tablespoon of oil and quickly pan fry your meat without crowding the pan. Cook your meat in batches. Make sure that you don’t overcook your meat so it won’t get tough. You just want to get a nice brown color on both sides. Place in a platter and top with your fried onions.

If you want your bistek to have a little bit of sauce you can do this. In another pan, add 1/4 cup soy sauce, the juice of one lemon and 1/4-1/2 cup water. Let this simmer for a minute then add your cooked meat and just let it get coated with the sauce. Place in serving platter and top with your fried onions.



Green Rice Bowl with Beef Tapa

We have been on a month long vacation that is why my blog was put on hold. It’s hard to get back to cooking when you stopped doing it for a while.

I used a simple recipe in an attempt to get back to cooking – Beef Tapa Rice Bowl. Beef tapa, is a Filipino dish of fried beef slices that has been marinated or cured. Rice bowls are very forgiving and there is very little room for error in making one. Start by marinating a pound of thin slices of beef with a couple of pieces of crushed garlic, 1 tsp of ground pepper, 2 1/2 Tbsp. of soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, 2 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar and 1 tsp. sugar. Marinate for at least 3o minutes.


Fry, the beef pieces in a some oil until browned on both side without crowding the pan. I like to cook it until it’s a bit crisp on the edges. Set aside. In the same pan I pan fried some garlic scapes which I got that morning in our town’s farmer’s market. Then added back the beef and stirred everything together. I just let this cook for about 1-2 minutes until the the flavors are mixed in.



To plate, place a scoop of steamed white rice in a deep bowl. Arrange some steamed okra, some greens ( I used arugula ) and slices of avocado. Top with a generous amount of the beef tapa. Serve hot.