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.



Beef Gyudon (Beef Rice Bowl)

I had my very first taste of Gyudon when Yoshinoya opened a franchise in the Philippines back in 1992 at Robison’s Galleria. I didn’t become a fan since I found it bland and lacking in taste. The reason maybe because of poor preparation or even presentation. That franchise didn’t last long and closed it’s doors after less than an year of opening.

Since moving to the the United States, I have had bowls of beef gyudon at various restaurants which left me with a better impression of this dish. I have made my own to serve to my family on several occasions but have yet to find one that I really love, until recently.


To make you will need some thinly sliced beef (I used thinly sliced ribeye), dashi stock, mirin, cooking sake, soy sauce, onion and ginger.


First, slice your beef further into smaller pieces and set aside. Cut a medium sized onion into half moon circles and grate a thumb size ginger.

In a small pot, add the following ingredients: 1/2 cup dashi stock (I just used hondashi or in my case dashing moto), 3 Tbsp. sake, 3 Tbsp. mirin, 3 Tbsp. soy sauce , 2 Tbsp. sugar, sliced onion and grated ginger. Let this come to a simmer then add your beef slices. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes on low heat and let the liquid reduce considerably. Skim off fat and scum that may rise to the top.

Fill two bowls with cooked white rice and top with your beef. Serve with beni-shoga (pickled ginger) and thinly sliced green onions (optional).



Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Beef Steak) Sandwich

I love to think of non-traditional ways to serve Filipino food. This is one of those, a creative way of serving Bistek or Filipino Beef Steak which is usually eaten with rice. I got the idea from the Vietnamese Banh Mi and just knew this would work. Using a baguette would be ideal since this would hold up the fillings and give that perfect crisp crust but you can always use hoagie rolls.

I made the meat filling by using the traditional recipe that my family has been using for Bistek. In a container place 1 lb of thinly sliced beef (I used a package of thinly sliced ribeye used for bulgogi), 1/4 cup soy sauce (use Filipino brand soy sauce for best results), the juice of one lemon, generous sprinkling of ground black pepper and a dash of worcestershire sauce. Let this marinate for one hour or more.

Next heat up a pan and add some oil, then fry some thinly sliced onion rings until just brown around the edges but still crisp and set this aside. In the same pan, add some more oil and fry your marinated pieces of meat until brown on both sides. Fry your meat in batches if necessary. Place back into the pan all your cooked meat and your leftover marinade. This may sound unpleasant but this is what my family has been doing. You can however make the sauce by mixing 1/4 cup soy sauce, juice of half a lemon and 1/4 cup water. Let this come to a gentle boil then add in your fried onions and cook until just heated through. You can adjust the taste by adding more soy sauce or lemon juice to your sauce.


To assemble, slice your baguette in half and arrange some greens and cucumbers on the bottom half then a generous amount of bistek last. Serve hot. P.S. You can also add some cilantro and atchara in addition to the veggies I used.




Birthday Dinner – Pan Seared Ribeye Steak and Roasted Purple Sweet Potato

Today is a special day and we are celebrating by having steak. My husband loves ribeye and it was just my luck that Whole Foods has it on sale. The bone in ribeye was going for $9.99 a lb, I got a piece which came just a little over a pound and is more than enough for the two of us.


You really need a cast iron pan to cook steak over a stove. I didn’t own one so I had to make do with my thick bottomed stainless steel pan. It’s not as hard as I thought to make this. First, pat dry your steak with paper towels and season liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in your pan until almost smoking then carefully place your steak and cook for about 3 minutes without touching it. Then flip your steak using tongs and add 2 tbsp. butter on the pan beside the steak. Continue cooking while basting and flipping steak occasionally for a total of about 6 – 8 minutes depending on how well done or rare you want your steak. If the pan becomes too hot lower your heat to medium. It’s best to use an instant read thermometer. I cooked my steak until it reached an internal temperature of 125. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let the meat rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Remember thick cut steaks continue to rise in temperature even after you remove it from heat.

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I served the steak with a side of roasted organic purple sweet potato. This is my first time to try the stokes brand and I was really surprised at how good it was. I just scrubbed it with a vegetable brush and pat dry with paper towels. Then pricked it all over with a fork, coated it thinly with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. I baked it in a 400F oven for about 35 – 40 minutes. It didn’t need any butter or brown sugar in my opinion as it is already sweet enough as is.




Quinoa Bowl with Oven Baked Meatballs

Quinoa is a great option if you are watching your carb intake or wanting a gluten free diet. Though it looks like a grain, it is actually a seed. It provides essential vitamins, minerals and fiber and is much healthier for you. We now use this as a substitute for rice in our diet. It is very versatile and you can do so much with it. It can be eaten on its own or added to soup, salads, your main dish and even desserts.

To make, cook quinoa according to package directions.

For the meatballs, place 1 lb ground beef in a bowl and add the following : 2 garlic cloves finely minced, 1 egg, 2 tsp. worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined and shape into balls. Place meatballs in a foil lined baking tray. I was able to make 1 dozen pieces from these. Bake in a 400F oven until brown or for about 20 – 25 minutes.

To serve, scoop some quinoa onto your plate, add some greens, your meatballs and one fried egg. Drizzle your favorite sauce on your meatballs -teriyaki, wasabi mayo etc. For this recipe I just mixed some Japanese mayo and sweet chili sauce.



Loco Moco

Loco Moco reminds me of Jollibee’s burger steak sans the fried egg. The recipe is almost exactly the same with the exception of the mushrooms in the gravy and of course the egg.

This dish has been around since the 1940’s. Story goes that it was made by Nancy Inouye, the wife of the owner of Lincoln Grill in Hilo, Hawaii; at the request of some teenagers who wanted something other than the usual sandwich. This is a true and awesome fusion of Asian and Western cuisine. The combination of white rice and burger patties over some brown gravy and fried egg is the quintessential comfort food.

To make this dish you will need 1-1.5 lb ground beef, 1 egg, 1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko, 1 medium sized finely chopped onion, 1-2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp ground black pepper and 1 tbsp. Knorr liquid seasoning (optional). Place all your ingredients in a bowl and with your hands using food safe gloves mix well to combine.

Divide your meat mixture into six equal parts. Take one portion of your meat and form it into a ball or patty then toss this back and forth in your hands like a baseball. Do this repeatedly about 5-8 times to ensure that there will be no air inside the patty, thus avoiding cracks while cooking. Then flatten it into a disk.

Heat a non-stick pan and add 1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil. Then place your patties and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium to low heat until a nice brown crust is formed. Then flip your patties and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes.

In the same pan, saute 1 medium sized finely chopped onion using 1-2 tbsp. of your pan drippings and cook until translucent. Then add 1 small can of sliced button mushrooms (fresh is ideal) and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of beef broth and let this come to a boil. Season with 1 tbsp. soy sauce and a few shakes of Knorr liquid seasoning or worcestershire sauce. To thicken the sauce, I made a slurry of 1 tbsp. cornstarch diluted in 2-3 tbsp of water. Slowly pour this into your gravy until you get your desired consistency.

To serve, place some steamed white rice in shallow bowls, arrange 2 patties and generously pour some gravy. Top it off with a fried sunny side egg.



Bulgogi Beef Bowl over Squash Rice

This is another dish that I whipped up in a hurry last week. I had a pack of thinly sliced rib eye that I got at HMart (our local Asian food store) that I marinated with 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2-3 tsp. sugar and garlic powder and ground black pepper. I let the meat sit in the fridge for at least one hour and then pan fried it in a little oil until golden brown.

I also made kabocha or squash rice to go with it. This is a staple in our household since this is my girls favorite dish. I usually make this in my rice cooker. The recipe can be found here.

To serve, scoop some squash rice onto a bowl then your beef slices. I topped this with a fried sunny side egg and added some steamed yuchoy. Our family always need to have some sort of greens with our meal.



Oven Broiled Kalbi

Kalbi is a Korean style of barbecued short ribs. My family usually order this everytime we go to our favorite Korean BBQ place. It can be quite pricey though. Until I discovered Beef short ribs at Sam’s club sold at a very reasonable price compared to buying at HMart (Korean grocery). It comes in 3-4 lbs pack more than enough for our family of 4. I usually marinate the whole club pack and just divide it into portions.

To make, rinse the meat well and pat dry with paper towels. Divide the meat in two separate freezer bags. In each bag add 2-3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp. mirin, 1 tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 tbsp. sesame oil, 2-3 tsp. brown sugar, 2-3 finely minced garlic (i was in a hurry so I used garlic powder) and about 1 tsp. black pepper. Marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.


Take the meat out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking. Set your oven to broil and place your meat in a broil pan in a single layer. Place the tray inside oven 6-8 inches below the broiler and cook until brown and meat looks caramelized. This does not take too long so make sure to watch it. Turn the meat over and cook until the other side is done.

We eat it with white rice and green salad. It will also go well with a side of kimchi.



I made this a couple of times and served it this time with several store bought side dishes and some green leaf lettuce.



Pork Sarciado in a Pretzel Bread Bowl

After dining at Leaky Cauldron in Universal Studios and having their beef and lamb stew, I was inspired to make this dish. I wanted to make a Filipino version so I subsituted Sarciado for the stew.

Sarciado in tagalog literally means sauced or any dish with a thick sauce. My sarciado is a recipe of my grandma which she passed down to me. I usually use beef to make sarciado but I didn’t have the right cut of beef in my freezer so I used pork instead.

To make, saute 1 large finely chopped onion, 2-3 cloves minced garlic and 1 can of diced tomato (fresh roma tomatoes are preferred, if using you need about 4-5 chopped). Cook these until softened. Then add 1.5 lbs cubed pork or beef (chuck roast). Stir and cook until the meat changes color then add 1 bay leaf and 1 tsp. ground black pepper. To this you will add 2 tbsp. sweet relish, 1 ladle of soy sauce, 1-2 ladle to tomato ketchup and 2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce. Let this come to a boil then cover and let simmer until meat is tender about 40 minutes. You may add 1/4 cup water is you think the sauce is a bit dry. Then add 1-2 potatoes cut into small pieces (depends on how you cut your meat, since it needs to be uniform in size) and 1/4 cup frozen peas and carrots. Continue cooking until potatoes are done to your liking.

To serve, get a pretzel a bread and hollow out it’s top with a knife. Ladle some sarciado inside the bread bowl and sprinkle some parsley on top. Add some mixed greens to your plate before serving.



Prime Rib Tapa

I served prime rib for our Christmas eve dinner and sure enough we had leftovers. So for Christmas day brunch I decided to make “tapa” from it. Tapa in tagalog is dried/cured meat which is then fried or grilled before serving. I didn’t exactly cure my meat but just quickly marinated it in a bit soy sauce, pepper and garlic powder. These are the seasonings that I use to make beef tapa. Then pan fried it in a little oil until both sides are seared and crisp at the edges.


This is then served over a bed of garlic fried rice and 2 sunny side up eggs. Sprinkle some garlic chips for that extra flavor.