Pork Afritada

Afritada is a Filipino tomato based stew. I believe this is one of the many Spanish influenced dishes that we have. It is meat (pork and chicken are commonly used) braised in tomatoes, onions, garlic with a couple of tablespoons of vinegar. Tomato paste is then added with broth or water. Lola (my maternal grandmother) does not like to use tomato sauce as she finds it too sour. Bay leaf, salt and pepper are used to season. My family always include vinegar in our “afritada” recipe, I remember my mom and lola saying that this is what makes it different from “Menudo“.

Each family in the Philippines usually have their own recipe or way of making this dish. My recipe may differ from others but this is what makes Filipino cooking interesting.

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The trinity of Filipino cooking – garlic, onions and tomatoes. The rest of the ingredients I used are potatoes, carrots and red bell pepper.

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Meat of choice, you may use chicken or beef.

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Pork Afritada

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Dinner is served, pork afritada over rice.


This is an updated version of this recipe. I added some Spanish chorizo after placing the carrots and potatoes in the simmering stew to give the dish added flavor.



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

Totoro’s Friends Bento

As part of my Totoro series, I decided to make my daughter a bento of Totoro’s friends. Chibi Totoro is a smaller white version of Totoro. It is also a forest guardian. Susu-Wataris are round and black furry creatures seen from the movie Totoro and Spirited away. They are also soot sprites.

For today’s bento I made Chibi Totoro onigiri, Susu-Watari onigiri, turkey meatballs from last night’s dinner, green beans and strawberries.


Totoro Onigiri

Our family is a big Hayao Miyazaki fan. “My Neighbor Totoro” is one of our all time favorite movie. I’ve always wanted to make a “Totoro” inspired bento, but just the thought of it intimidates me. After searching the web and finding a step by step tutorial, It finally got me excited to try.

This is going to be the first my Totoro Bento series. Here is my take on Totoro onigiri. I borrowed my daughter’s plush Totoro collection (Totoro, Chu Totoro, Chibi Totoro and Susu-watari) for this post.



Hinamatsuri Onigiri

Hinamatsuri or Girls Day is celebrated in Japan every 3rd day of March. To commemorate this occasion, I decided to make these onigiri in the shape of the Emperor and Empress.

As a backgrounder, this is the day when people pray for the happiness and health of their girls. They also put up a display of dolls in tiers wearing costumes during the imperial times. With the top most reserved for the emperor and the empress. The remaining tiers would hold the ladies in waiting, court musicians, ministers and guards.

Onigiri “Empress”

Onigiri “Emperor”

The Imperial Couple

Bento Lunch Series

My daughter loves anything Japanese. I made these bento for her school lunch beginning Spring of last year. Bento are very popular in Japan. They are packed lunches which consist of rice, meats, vegetables usually in small portions served in a box shaped container. “Kyaraben” or character bento are more elaborately styled to look like popular characters. “Oekakiben” or picture bento on the other hand are made to look like people, animals, flowers etc.

Most of the bentos I have made are oekakiben since I find it really cute. Plus my daughter looks forward to what she gets come lunchtime.

Onigiri, chicken nuggets, tamagoyaki and cherry tomatoes

Sumo onigiri, ground beef stir fry, grape tomatoes, kiwi and blueberries

Ninja kids onigiri, chicken wings, beef shumai and mixed vegetables

Rilakkuma onigiri, braised chicken, turkey ham roll ups, cucumber and grape tomatoes P.S. Rilakkuma is a japanese character/cartoon

Koala onigiri (i used half white and half brown rice), chicken teriyaki, omelet, green beans and strawberries

Vegetable Spring Roll (Lumpiang Gulay)

Vegetable Spring Roll (lumping gulay) is an all time favorite of our family. In our hometown of Navotas, it is called Sumpia and usually paired with arroz caldo (rice and chicken porridge).

I usually make mine with what is available in my vegetable bin. Saute garlic and onion. Add in shrimps or any meat of your choice, you may even use fried tofu. Then add sliced carrots, celery, green beans, mung bean sprouts and cabbage. Season with salt and pepper. Let the vegetable mixture cool then wrap in Spring roll wrapper and deep fry until golden brown. Serve with a dipping sauce of white vinegar, soy sauce and a dash of ground pepper.

Sauteed Vegetable Mixture

Stack of just wrapped lumpia

Deep frying the lumpia