Biko, photo by PH Morton
Biko From Alma’s Kitchen
My sister-in-law, Alma is a very capable woman. A good example of a decent human being. She is friendly, she is caring, she can’t do enough to be helpful to anyone.
She is well like by everyone.
Her abilities go on and on. What I like most about her is her cooking. She can really cook up a storm.
Her biko is to die for. Peter, my English hubby, who do not usually eat anything made of rice love’s Alma’s biko.
The above photo was from Alma’s kitchen. Doesn’t it look so delicious? And it was so yummy.
Click here for the recipe!
Biko a a favourite of mine. It reminds me of happy childhood and young adulthood in the Philippines. It reminds me of my loving family, cheerful, always ready for a laugh and adventure.
I remember my mother going to market and coming home with biko, which we would share and enjoy.
I remember my grandfather coming home with ‘pasalubong’ of biko, amongst others, when he goes out.
Biko is a symbol of halcyon days for me!
Baked beans, chips and nuggets, photo by JMorton
Homemade Baked Beans Recipe
It is very rewarding, and not to mention delicious, to make your own dinner, especially if it is an old family favourite like the baked beans.
This is the important bit: soak the beans overnight. Apparently this is to remove the phytic acid that beans contain which would make them more digestible. I’ve always thought the soaking process was just to make them softer, ergo, would make them cook faster.
But apparently beans contain anti-nutrients, the phytic acid, and this can cause heartburn, indigestion, flatulence and reflux. Ensure to discard the dirty soaking water afterwards.
Of course you can also get cans of beans in the supermarket, which is ready to cook.
- 400g dried haricot or cannellini beans or two cans of ‘cooked beans”
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 150g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp cider vinegar
- Soak the beans overnight. Drain them, place in a large casserole pan, cover the beans with water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Keep removing any scum that gather on top.
- Cook for about 45 minutes-1 hour until tender, then remove from the heat and leave to drain in a colander for half an hour.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onions and garlic.
- Stir in the pancetta or bacon and cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and 400ml water, then tip in the beans. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1½-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick sauce and tender beans.
- If you are using canned beans, start from No 3. 🙂
Sinangag, Photo by JMorton
Sinangag Breakfast , Photo by JMorton
Sinangag (Garlic Fried Rice Filipino Style)
Filipino fried rice called sinangag is the easiest fried rice recipe to do.
It is so tasty because of the addition of fragrant garlic. It gets even tastier if the oil you fry it in was from the oil you fried your meat of dried fish in as it absorbed all the tasty residue of the meat or fish.
Fried rice are better cooked from left-over rice or at least rice that has been cooked a day or night before. A day old rice has a a better texture as it had ‘dried’ up as it sits on the fridge. A fried rice from a freshly boiled rice tend to yield a rather soggy mess.
Sinangag cannot be simpler. It can just be from left-over rice, onion and garlic. This is because it is often eaten with separately cooked friend eggs, salted eggs, hot-dog sausages or the best there is – tuyo or danggit. (See above photo.) All washed down with a hot strong milky coffee.
2 cups leftover rice, even out the clumps
4-6 garlic, peeled and chopped or minced finely
1/2 onion, chopped finely
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp cooking oil
Heat the oil using a wok or a large frying pan over medium to high heat.
Fry the garlic, then quickly add the onion. Stir-fry until fragrant.
Add the rice. Fry vigorously until the grains absorbed all the oil giving off a fragrant breakfasty aroma. 🙂
Serve immediately with any of your favourite meaty or fishy breakfast.
Congee with Dried Anchovies, photo by PH Morton
Congee With Dried Anchovies
When we stayed at the Armada Hotel, in Malate, Philippines for almost a whole week, everyday, I started by breakfast with congee or lugaw topped with crispily fried dried anchovies or dilis.
It was strange at first as I have never had dili in my lugaw before but I quickly developed a taste for it. It sets the day right.
Now back in London, I am missing this little treat. Thank goodness it is pretty easy to make at home.
Here is the recipe –
- 3 tsp sesame oil
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup long-grain rice (uncooked)
- 4 cups vegetable stock or 3 vegetable cubes dissolved in 4 cups of hot water
- 1/2 ” piece of ginger (grated finely)
- 2 tbsp chili oil
- 2 tbsp dried anchovies, fried until golden and crispy
- 1 egg (boiled)
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped finely and then fried until golden brown
- 1 stalk spring onion, chopped
- Fish sauce
- Calamansi or lemon, juiced
- Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over high heat.
- Add the chopped onion and fry until translucent.
- Stir in the rice and cook for a couple of minutes until well covered with the oil.
- Pour in vegetable stock, add the ginger and bring to a boil.
- When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer but ensure to give it a stir once in a while.
- When the rice had softened and absorbed most of the liquid and has a porridge-like thickness, then it is cooked but if a more runny consistency is wished, add more hot water.
- Fry the anchovies in wok or frying pan with a little oil. Stir for 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy all over.
- Ladle a good portion for one in a bowl. Add a bit of fish sauce to the congee. Sprinkle with the fried garlic and chopped spring onion then add the chopped boiled egg and dried anchovies.
- Finally drizzle with the juice of calamansi or lemon according to taste.
Jar of Basmati Rice, Photo by JMorton
Rice – Asia’s Staple
The above is an Indian basmati rice. If you do not have a kitchen hero like the rice cooker, basmati rice is the easiest to cook, using an ordinary pan, among the various types of rice. It is almost full-proof as long as you follow the packet’s instruction.
Just over a week ago, I found out from my sister that rice can cause diabetes. Apparently the carbohydrates in rice can be converted into glucose in the body. So if you are rather partial to rice at every meal, then train yourself to regularly exercise. Sweat out that rice carb before it turns into glucose!
Spaghetti Bolegnase, Photo by PH Morton
Noodles for Longevity
I was watching an episode of Father is Strange last weekend when there was a scene where the family insisted Joon-Young, who finally passed his civil service exam after many tries, to slurp the whole of the noodle strands rather than biting into it.
I was intrigued enough that I googled what it meant. 🙂
Apparently it is a Chinese tradition (or superstition), which seems to have a widespread effect that neighbouring countries had adapted it. I know in the Philippines, eating noodles is a must during birthdays. The long strand means longevity of life. I was not aware though that you had to slurp the whole thing into your mouth and then chew, rather than biting a bit of it as you chew.
Anyway, it is encouraged to slurp the strand in all its length so that one does not cut off one’s span of life.
Thank goodness, this superstition is applied only on birthdays and other milestone celebrations.
I couldn’t be going to restaurants, especially posh ones, and slurping my pasta down my throat. It would be unethical and extremely embarrassing. LOL