Pinakbet. photo by Ruben Ortega
Pinakbet with Bagoong Alamang
This version of pinakbet uses bagoong alamang which is a shrimp paste instead of fermented salted fish bagoong.
This pinakbet is a little milder in taste but it has its own merit all the same.
- 1 large eggplant (aubergine), sliced
- 1 large ampalaya (bitter gourd), seeds and pith removed, then sliced
- 6 pieces okra (ladies’ finger), sliced diagonally in half
- 4 sigarilyas (winged beans), sliced diagonally
- 50g string beans, cut into 2 inches lengths.
- 1/2 medium squash, peeled and sliced (refer to the photo above)
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 1 1/2 lbs pork belly, sliced
- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 4 tablespoons of bagoong alamang (this can be bought at most Oriental food shop)
- 2 1/2 cups water
Method of Preparation:
- Using a lidded casserole pan, boil the pork with half of the water.
- Cook until the water has evaporated and the pork is tender.
- Stir fry the pork in its own oil until it has turned golden brown.
- Add the ampalaya, squash, okras, tomatoes and onion.
- Spoon in the bagoong alamang and stir it in thoroughly with the pork and vegetable. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the remaining water, cover the casserole and leave to simmer for 7 minutes.
- Add the sigarilyas and string beans.
- Cook for 5 minutes or until the sigarilyas and string beans tender but it is crispy. Do not cover the casserole to maintain the beautiufl vivid colouring of the sigarilyas and string beans.
Enjoy with a freshly boiled rice.
Again, this can be a vegetarian delight by not adding the pork. 😉
Patupat, photo by Arnold Gamboa
Patupat – Ilocano Glutinous Rice Dessert
Patupat is a specialty of the Ilocanos. It is a sweet glutinous rice cake.
Depending on which part of the Ilocos region, patupat can be wrapped in banana leaves or with intricately woven palm or banana leaves.
The photo below shows the specialty of Pangasinan, patupat encased in woven basket of palm leaves.
Pork Leg Asado, Photo by Ruben Ortega
Pork Leg Asado With Pineapple
This recipe is as good tasting as the photo shows. The secret to this is marinating the meat in order for the sauce to get into all the crevices of the meat sinews.
- 2 lbs pork leg, chopped to the bone into manageable pieces
- 1½ cup water
- 1/2 tsp whole blackpeppers
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- 1 inch cube butter
- 1 large white onion, peeled chopped finely
- 1 lemon or 1½ tbsp of fresh calamansi juice
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 small can of pineapple
Method of Preparation:
- Using a large bowl, mix together the soy sauce, blackpeppers and lemon juice (or calamansi juice)
- Stir in the sliced pork leg and leave to marinate for an hour (or overnight in the fridge).
- Drain the meat but keep the marinade.
- Heat a large lidded frying pan or a casserole pan.
- Add the oil and then the butter.
- Fry the meat and cook until golden brown on both sides.
- Pour in the marinade and also the water.
- Drop in the bay leaves.
- Cover the pan and leave the meat to simmer until the meat is tender.
- Add the can of pineapple, including the juice, and cook for another 7 minutes.
- Serve immediately with a freshly boiled rice or green salad.
Pako Salad, Photo by Ruben Ortega
Pako (Fern) Salad
Back when we were little children in Marag, Philippines, pako became a staple diet. It was in our dinner table at least once a week. We ate a lot of it so much that we kids 🙂 should have grown into goats 🙂 or hated it after a while. But I have always a vibrant and positive memory of pako.
Gathering pako is an adventure for us youngster. We had to roam a dense growth of greens at the mouth of a forest and try to pick the young furling sprouts of pako. Thank goodness they grow profusely together and therefore picking them one by one was not much of a chore.
Pako can be prepared in plenty of ways, it can be blanched and made into a salad, it can be left fresh as it is as a salad as well or cook and added into various kind of inabraw, an Ilocano way of cooking.
Below is another pako salad recipe.
- 1 large bunch pako (fern)
- 2 salted eggs or hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- sprinkling of salt to taste
Method of Preparation:
- prepare the pako by removing any tough stalk.
- Bring a large pot of boiling water. Blanch the pako by quickly dipping them into the hot water. Leave for a minute and drain.
- Arranged the pako on a serving platter.
- Put the tomatoes and onion on top then garnish with the slices of salted eggs.
- Make a typical Filipino dressing by mixing the vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper, sugar and a very little salt. Stir it in thoroughly for the granules to dissolve.
- Pour the dressing all over the pako.
- Serve immediately.
Chicken feet Adobo, photo by Ruben Ortega
chicken feet, photo by PH Morton
Adidas is the name given to chicken feet. Obviously as a homage to the great trainers brand.
The raw chicken feet photo was taken by Peter during one of our shopping at the wet market of Pritil in Tondo, Manila, Philippines.
To be truthful, I have not really tasted chicken feet before but Peter had. He said it was taste but rather rubbery. I’ll take his word for it. 🙂
- 1-2 lbs chicken feet, cleaned thoroughly
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon whole peppercorn
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp dried chilli
- 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1½ cups water
Method of Preparation:
- Clean the chicken feet thoroughly and trim all claws. Butchers usually would have trimmed the scary claws already. 🙂
- Heat a large saucepan or a wok and add the chicken feet with the soy sauce, vinegar and water.
- Also add the bay leaves, peppercorn, sugar and half of the crushed garlic. Do not stir. Bring this to a boil and then lower down the heat and leave to simmer for three quarters of an hour. (45 minutes)
- Remove the chicken feet from the remaining liquid. Drain and then set aside the stewed feet. Do not discard the liquid sauce from the wok. Pour in a container and set aside.
- Clean the wok and heat.
- Add the oil. Stir in the remaining garlic and fry until fragrant.
- Add the dried chilli.
- Stir in the fried chicken feet and fry until sizzling hot.
- Pour in the liquid sauce and heat for a minute or two.
- Transfer into a serving bowl and enjoy with a few beers.
Binondo Church, Manila Philippines, Photo by JMorton
Simbang Gabi (Philippine Christmas Tradition)
Puto Bungbong, Photo by Bless Mercado
Bibingka, Photo by Bless Mercado
Simband Gabi is a tradition of the Roman Catholics of the the Philippines. It is going to church to attend mass from midnight or early hours in the morning.
This mass at dawn is a nine-day devotional religious and cultural tradition which starts on 16 December and ending on the 24th of December. These series of masses herald the coming of Christmas as well as a homage to the Virgin Mary.
After the mass, people are entised by the smell of freshly clay-oven baked bibingka and puto bungbong, washed down by salabat (ginger tea).
Simbang gabi is still popularly practise to these days.
Must See Filipino Dramas (FDrama)
I have to be really honest here. It is really hard to recommend a Filipino drama to international audience.
It is unique in that it is even more surreal than Korean’s makjang, a form or drama where absurd circumstances occurs.
As a case in point, there is currently a drama called Ika-6 na Utos (Sixth Commandment) which is both wowing and frustrating viewers. The drama has gone on and on showing mind-blowing scenarios after another, which has gone beyond a joke; highest level of absurdity.
Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Thai and Chinese have set numbers of episodes but Filipino dramas tend to go on forever when it is deemed popular. They extend the series and tries to wring every emotion that can be wrung until there’s none left. Viewers then would get bored watching the same story line but with a different dialogues or scenery; it is like milking a dead cow. Rating then would go down and finally an ending is imminent.
Of course there are gems to be had and here is my list but not in any order.
Not too sure:
- My Korean Jagiya, I quite like this at first but it gone way too tedious. The cute potential love affair from a contract marriage between Gia and Jun Ho has gone on long enough and yet there is no resolution in the offing. They are prolonging the story line until ennui sets in and no one bloody cares. How can a stupid sock-wearing probinsiya plays hard to get for such a long time from a supposed to be KDrama superstar?!!! Tell me? No don’t, I don’t really care anymore. 🙂
Sungka Board, photo by JMorton
Sungka – Filipino Mancala Game
I used to be obsessed with this board game when I was a little girl.
For whatever reason my mother used to discourage us playing sungka. She was really adamant that we should not play it. I think I heard her say that it was a game of the dead or something. She made it sound like there was something sinister about it.
But I’ve always had a mind of my own, and the more I was told ‘NO’ the more I had to do it; it was like a red rag to a bull to me, a fascination of the forbidden. 🙂 I was a tad naughty! LOL
Probably that was the reason I loved playing sungka. I used to ask a neighbour, Lagring, who was a year or two younger than me to play sungka. We did not bother with the wooden board; at my instigation we would just dig little holes similar to those in the wooden board on the ground under our mango tree. We would then gather little stones and away we play for what seems like hours. 🙂
My mother always knew what I was up to as I would come home with dirty hands and even dirtier finger nails. And of course those little holes which suddenly appeared all over our backyard! 🙂
In the end, knowing that I would not really listen, she just gave up on her embargo against sungka. Funnily enough as soon as the ban was lifted I moved on to another obsession, Jack’s Stone! 🙂
By the way the photo above was taken at late president Ferdinand Marcos childhood residence in Batac, Ilocos Norte. It seemed President Marcos used to play sungka as well. 🙂
Click here to see a quick tutorial.
I actually want one for Christmas, thank goodness they are easily available here.