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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The Search for Zucchini Blossoms at Union Square

I love going to Farm Markets, it’s exciting to see produce available for the season. Seeing all the fresh vegetables, fruits, bread and meat gives me such a high and enthusiasm to run back to my kitchen and just cook or create something.

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I always make it a point to visit the world famous Union Square Market everytime we visit the city. I was there for a weekend get away with the husband and being a Saturday I knew there would be more vendors and selections to choose from. That day, I was there on a mission to find the elusive zucchini blossoms I have been hunting for since the beginning of Summer. I made a quick round first to see what is on offer and the dizzying array and colors of what is in season just blew my mind.

The different colored carrots and beets and even radishes !!! Eggplants, tomatoes, squashes and more ….

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I wanted to buy everything in sight, but alas I can’t since I was there for a vacation and can’t store fresh produce in my hotel room and was not prepared to lug back pounds of produce to Penn Station.

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I almost gave up and missed the vendor selling the zucchini blossoms. I was already on my way out when I happen to glance at a cooler not really knowing what it was at first. But upon close inspection there they were, stacks of it neatly arranged on plastic containers. I was over joyed on my find and stopped myself from buying more than I need. In my excitement I forgot to take photos of it at the market.

Here is the package I got sitting at my kitchen awaiting my next adventure in the kitchen.

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Ate Neng’s Dinindeng

Sometimes the simplest of food is the tastiest and most nutritious. On my recent trip back home to Manila I got to sample this vegetable dish called”Dinindeng“. Ate Neng kindly showed me how to prepare it. This is the Visayan version of Dinindeng and a staple of her hometown in Rombang, Belison, Antique.

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To make you will need several kinds of vegetables – alugbati (malabar spinach), saluyot (jute), sitaw (yard beans), talong (eggplant), kalabasa (squash) and okra. First, boil about 4-5 cups water in a medium size pot. Once it boils, add a medium sized chopped red onion and about 2 pieces of diced roma tomatoes. Then add 2 Tbsp fish sauce or salt to flavor the broth. Add the vegetables beginning with the hardiest, first add the cubed squash and let it cook for several minutes, then the okra and eggplant. Once these vegetables are tender you may add your leafy greens. Just let this cook for a minute or so, you don’t want to overcook it.

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Ladle into bowls and serve hot. We ate this with steamed rice and fried fish.

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P.S. Alternatively, Ate Neng said you can add the fried fish directly on the cooked vegetables before serving to make the dish more flavorful.

Purple Sweet Potato Fries with Miso Mayo

You may have noticed I have recently been creating a lot recipes with purple sweet potato. It is considered a superfood because it’s not only delicious but packed with nutritional benefits as well.

This recipe is very simple to make. Pre-heat your oven to 425 F. Wash and peel your sweet potato (I used 2 small ones), then cut into strips. Pat dry with paper towels and place in a bowl. Add 1-2 tbsp. olive and oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything to coat. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread your sweet potato on it in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turn your sweet potatoes halfway during cooking time.

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Serve with a dipping sauce of Miso Mayo (3 tbsp Japanese Mayo mixed with 1 tbsp white miso).

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Stove Top Grilled Corn On The Cob

I make it a point to get Jersey corn at our town’s Farmer’s Market during the Summer. They simply are the sweetest corn ever. It’s also not that expensive at 6 for $3.75 . I don’t do anything fancy with it. I usually just boil or grill them.

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I just discovered that you can grill corn on your stove top. This made it a lot easy for me since I have avoided using our outdoor grill lately, simply because I cannot stand the heat and humidity we have been having.

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Remove the husk and silk from your corn and give it a quick rinse. Dry with paper towels. Place a wire mesh or rack on top of your gas stove/burner and turn the heat to low. (Note:If you don’t have a wire mesh/rack just wrap your corn in foil). Place your corn on top and grill it by turning occasionally until charred and cooked through. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and brush with butter. Serve immediately.

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Ground Beef with Bok Choy

One of the simplest and most satisfying dish you can serve your family. I must admit I made this one night because I was in a hurry. This is a what you can see on a typical Filipino dining table, some kind of meat sautéed with whatever vegetable on hand. Filipino’s like to season their food with fish sauce but I prefer soy sauce.

First, saute 1 medium sized finely chopped onion cook until translucent. Then add 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Add your 1 lb. ground beef and cook until well browned. I like to add 1 tsp. ground pepper at this point and let it cook with the beef. Then add in 1-2 chopped roma tomatoes. Stir and let this cook down until it has released it’s juices. Pour in 2 cups water and season with 4 tbsp. soy sauce or to taste. Cover and let simmer for a few minutes. Then add a bunch of roughly chopped bok choy. Stir until just combined and cover. Let cook for 1-2 minutes then turn off heat. Remember not to overcook your bok choy, you want your vegetables to be crisp tender.

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Vegetable Spring Roll (Take 2)

Lumpiang Gulay or Vegetable Spring Roll was my very first entry on this blog. That was a little over two years ago. I was new at blogging then and I feel I didn’t do justice to that dish.

So here is my new entry. I used the same recipe but gave it a different presentation. As I mentioned previously, this is considered a snack or what we call merienda in Tagalog. My family loves this and I serve it for lunch or dinner with steamed rice and a dipping sauce of soy sauce, white vinegar and black pepper.

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Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

After indulging during the Christmas and holiday season I am now trying to include as much vegetables as I can into our meals.

I decided to make stuffed zucchini for dinner one day. I used grey squash for this recipe. It is rounder and it has a light green color with silver flecks on it.

First, wash your zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides of your squash and set aside. Place your sliced zucchini in a microwave safe dish and add about 3/4 cup water (I used 3 zucchinis to make 6 halves). Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for about 3-4 minutes until somewhat softened.

Place your sausage (casings removed) in a pan and cook until brown. Add 1 finely chopped onion and saute until translucent. Then add 1 medium diced carrots and half of green bell pepper diced and cook until crisp tender. I also added the part of the zucchini I scooped out and chopped in into small pieces.

Stuff your zucchini with the sausage mixture top with grated cheese (I used fontina since I had some leftover from New Year’s). Then place in a 375F oven and baked for 10-15 minutes. I served this with brown rice and salad greens.

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