Category Archives: Recipes

My ginisang monggo recipe

It’s always sunny in the Philippines. For the past few weeks, we’ve been experiencing the wrath of the sun. I don’t like the feel of always being sticky, but being stuck inside the room with the AC fully cranked is also not my idea of FUN. Whether I like it or not, I’d still need to go out and do my normal duties, which means getting stickier than before.

That’s why I drink lots of water every day. Eight glasses is such an understatement, these days, my average is usually around 12 glasses of water. Not to mention my addiction to calamansi juice. Yes. I know that calamansi is a little bit expensive nowadays, but it’s really good in refreshing you. It’s like our local version of the lemonade. And it’s healthier than drinking a can of soda or sweetened canned juice.

It took me awhile to think of what food I’ll feature today, the reason being I tried avoiding being in the kitchen for the past few weeks. I planned my menu where I’ll be in and out of the kitchen within 30 minutes, tops. But last week, my dad requested if I can cook ginisang monggo for him. It would’ve been easier to cook the said dish if I would just boil the beans and not mash and remove their casings. But I like my ginisang monggo smooth. Therefore, my 30 minutes was spent with the mongos alone.

Here’s my recipe for ginisang monggo:

Ingredients for ginisang monggo
Ingredients for ginisang monggo


1 bag of mongo beans
Shrimps or ground pork (while others will opt to use pork belly)
Garlic, onion
Tomatoes (enough to have a hint of tartness to the soup)
Salt and pepper (you can use fish sauce too)


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Boil the mongo beans first, then mash them. You can do that either with your hands (but that will take time because you have to cool them off first before you can touch them) or do what I do: get an ordinary sifter and use the back of a ladle and mash it. I throw most of the skin but saved enough to include the soup, just to add texture. I sauté then the garlic, onion and tomatoes. If you’re using pork belly, render the fat of the pork belly first, then use that oil for sautéing. After the onion becomes translucent and the tomatoes softened, put in the shrimps or the ground pork or the belly. Saute for awhile, and don’t forget to season it with salt and pepper. After a few minutes, pour in the mashed mongo beans and add water. Depends on the consistency you want, make sure the water’s not too much. It’s better to add water later than trying to spoon out extra water from your soup.

Wait a few minutes for it to boil, or until the meat’s tender then the soup’s ready to be served. In my family, we have an abundant supply of chicharon since we’re from Pampanga, so instead of garnishing it with parsley and other herbs, I throw in some chicharon right before serving it.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Let’s go beyond fried food! Here’s a recipe for sinigang na salmon sa miso

Sinigang na salmon sa miso
Sinigang na salmon sa miso

I did have my stint at culinary school, but I feel in my heart that my passion for cooking is genetic. How else would I learn how to cook regular dishes without any supervision or a recipe book in front of me? I rely on both of my sense of taste and sight. My mom always tells me that her mom didn’t teach her neither, it just came naturally. But I do study to learn the basics (what to do and what not to do) and also to acquire further knowledge in cooking and baking. And one thing that I love about cooking is that you discover something new in the kitchen every time you cook.

Not everybody is meant to be the queen of the kitchen, but I know that for most of the people out there, they don’t really have a choice because they’re married or living on their own. Not all of us can afford help, go through a culinary course, or order take out foods every day. That’s why I feel bad when I hear my friends tell me that all they feed their children is fried food. Honestly, it took me a while to perfect the art of cooking fried chicken, but frying is the simplest form of cooking for most of the moms out there.

It will be good if once in a while you’ll feed your love ones something nutritious aside from fried chicken, fried eggs and hotdogs. They need nourishment and it’s about time that you man-up and start familiarizing yourself with different types of cooking.

You don’t need to be a Martha Stewart; Rachael Ray is fine (Rachael Ray did not graduate from any culinary school). Don’t be discouraged when you don’t succeed during your first try. It takes a while, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that the kitchen is not as frightening as it used to be. Here’s one recipe you could try:

Sinigang na Salmon sa Miso

Ingredients for sinigang na salmon sa miso
Ingredients for sinigang na salmon sa miso

1 kilo of Salmon (whatever part is available in the market will do)
1 pack of Sinigang sa Miso mix
Onions, ginger
Talbos ng kamote (or, if you prefer, kangkong)
2 cups of water

Usually in sinigang, you just boil the meat and then add the vegetables and the sinigang mix. I find that it tastes better when you sauté it first with onions and tomatoes, but since I’m using fish and Miso mix, I’ll use ginger instead of tomatoes. Ginger is pampatangal ng lansa, so you don’t really need to put a lot. Depending in the part of fish that you’ll use make sure to mix it gently because you don’t want to end up with a mushy fish in your soup. Put at least two cups of water, and if you want it to be more soupy, then you can add more water. Just make sure to taste everything along the way. Then pour in the sinigang mix, plus the vegetables. Wait for it to boil, then it’s done.

Sinigang na isda usually doesn’t take long to cook. You just have to make sure that your vegetables are cooked, and you’re ready to serve your Sinigang. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me here. I’ll try my best to answer all of your queries. Until next time!

 This post was written by Rita Salonga.

A simple recipe for Ginisang Ampalaya (Bittermelon)

My family loves Ampalaya. It’s one of the few vegetables that my sister actually eats. Since she’s a very picky eater, we usually plan our meals around her favorite dishes. Here’s a simple recipe of Ginisang Ampalaya, especially useful now that it’s the Lenten season and some people would prefer eating non-meat dishes.


Ingredients for Ginisang Ampalaya2 small size Ampalaya
5 medium size ripe tomatoes
Garlic and onion
Some fresh shrimps (depends on the size that are available in the market)
Salt, pepper and vinegar to taste


I boil my Ampalaya for a few minutes just to lessen the taste of bitterness in them. I don’t overdo it because I still want the crispness of vegetable. I then sauté the onions, garlic and tomatoes. I wait till the onions turn translucent before adding in the shrimps. I have pre-cooked shrimps already, but fresh shrimps are always better. Then, add in the Ampalaya, and season it with salt and pepper. You may add water if the tomatoes are not juicy enough. Then before simmering it for a few minutes, I like to add a touch of vinegar in it. Not too much, just a tablespoon or so, to enhance the acidity of the tomatoes. Don’t mix it yet, cover it for a few minutes then it’s done.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Noodles with a twist

I try to start my day with only positive thoughts, but there are just some things that really get on my nerves. I heard that my friends who are filming today were fed instant noodles for lunch. Who in their right mind would feed their talents instant noodles, with all the delicious food and the great restaurants available here in Manila? That’s just awful. It makes us look bad… and to think that Filipinos are known to be food lovers and great cooks.

This is not to say that instant noodles are evil in themselves. I usually eat instant myself when I feel too lazy to cook. When I was a kid, I’d always tell my mom to feed me instant noodles for breakfast. But because we need to eat healthy and nutritious food, my mom only allowed us to eat it thrice a month at most, or only when we’re super craving for it.

Now, my instant noodle is not so instant anymore. I often find myself tinkering with it rather than cook it the usual way. At first, putting on eggs would be a treat already. Sometimes, I try to keep the yolk intact like a sunny side up and then break it while eating. You’ll see the soup will turn yellowish because of the yolk’s color. When I’m feeding other people (not guests) and I’m in a hurry, I sometimes scramble the egg. When we’re busy with overtime work and we get hungry in the middle of the night, I just cook instant noodles for them and add vegetables in it, nothing too fancy, just some carrots, celery and if you have cabbage, then that’s it. And don’t forget the eggs 🙂 The hot soup plus the veggies will wake us up and rev up our brains.

Another twist is to spice it up. I love spicy food! I’m a fan of kimchi and I always keep a bottle of kimchi with me in the fridge. I learned from my Korean friends that they add kimchi in their instant noodles. At first I thought it was weird because kimchi has a sour taste to it. But when I tried it, I fell in love with it! The sourness of the kimchi doesn’t overpower the saltiness of the instant noodles. I use the chicken instant noodle kind with my kimchi, since the beef’s broth is too dark and it looks dirty with the red specks from the kimchi. But for my staple instant noodle creation, regardless whether it’s pork, chicken or beef, I add half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and an egg. That’s it, nothing more. I know it’ll be spicy, but when you drink the hot soup, your face turns red and you start to sweat. I love that feeling it gives me.

I know that I shouldn’t get mad with that producer for feeding my friends instant noodles. But for pete’s sake, if they can’t afford to give them a decent meal, they should’ve just told me. I could’ve cooked for them, free of charge. Besides, what are friends for? 🙂

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

How to cook fried stuffed Bangus

I like to cook. Some people say do not cook when you’re sad or in a bad mood because it’ll reflect on the food you’re cooking. I, on the other hand, cooking is my remedy for stress and bad moods. Cooking makes me happy. It brings me back my sanity when the world around me seemed insanely chaotic. If I stop cooking, that’ll be the end of me.

My whole family is my willing victims when I’m experimenting with food. There are some hits and misses I tell you, but nothing worst so far as to one of them losing totally their sense of taste. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in culinary school is that “know the basics rules first before you start breaking them”. That’s what I always apply whenever I’m trying a new dish or tweaking an old recipe.

Last week, my mom requested Fried Stuffed Milkfish (Bangus). My dad and my sister are both carnivorous and it’s rare that we serve fish in the dining table. They only eat a handful of seafood dishes, and it’ll be such a waste if we cook too much dishes for just the four of us.

You’re aware that frying the milkfish is a dirty job. No matter how hot the oil is, there will always be splatter. And I hate oil splatter on my kitchen. It irritates me to death. So, I found a way on how to avoid splatter by wrapping the fish in aluminum foil. (Not all food can be wrapped in aluminum foil when frying, avoid any acids if possible.)

I sliced the Bangus in half, but not entirely, just so I can insert the stuffing. For the stuffing, I put mix in onions, garlic, tomatoes salt and pepper, siling haba (optional) and sometimes if I feel like making it extra special, I put in some slices of red eggs. But to each its own. Whatever you fancy, go ahead and I won’t take it against you 😉 I minced chopped everything so that the cooking time will be the same for everything that’s stuffed in the Bangus.

Grease the aluminum foil very well with salt and or some dried herbs if you have. I usually use dried thyme or rosemary. Wrapped the Bangus carefully, make sure that the Bangus is well stuffed. Depends on the size and weight of the Bangus, usually I give 5-7 minutes cooking time on both sides of a regular-sized bangus. I don’t put the temp too high, just on medium heat because you’re in a way steaming the fish inside first.

The fried Bangus is good with soup or sautéed vegetables. I usually accompany it with my simplified version of chopsuey. For the spicy food lover in me, I prepare a special hot dipping sauce of soy sauce, calamansi juice, sugar to taste and a lot of siling labuyo. Yummy!

In cooking something, it should always come from the heart. If I can advice someone about cooking, don’t cook when your heart’s not into it. No matter how expensive the ingredients are or how easy the recipe is, if you don’t feel like cooking, it won’t work. Annyeong!!!

This post was written by Rita Salonga.