Tag Archives: chicken

Puchero a la Perlita, my mom’s puchero recipe

The name is my mom’s because she thought me her own version of puchero, and I’m quite satisfied with it that I didn’t bother looking for other versions.

I like puchero because it has everything in it. It has protein, vegetables, and fruits. It’s filling but at the same time, you won’t feel guilty because it’s a fairly healthy dish.

My mom doesn’t put artificial coloring because my sister doesn’t like the taste of food color and or achuete. So we really just rely on tomatoes. We actually use both the fresh tomatoes and a couple of spoonfuls of tomato sauce.

I have to warn you, I don’t put water in my puchero. The sauce will come from your tomatoes, vegetables and your protein. I use either pork or chicken. Sometimes I combine both, just because I’m really not fond of pork in my puchero but my dad and sister love it so much.


1 Kilo Pork (you can use either ribs or liempo. Just make sure there’s some fat to it)
**same amount for chicken, and when it comes to parts, any part of the chicken will do.
1 regular size cabbage (cut into 8 parts)
3 bundles of Bok Choy or Pechay (make sure to clean them properly)
1 bundle of Beans
3 pieces medium size tomatoes (cut into 4 parts)
1 medium size potato (cut into cubes)
3 regular size Saba Banana (cut into 1/3 inch)
A few table spoons of Tomato sauce
Garlic, oil, salt and pepper

Note: This might look daunting because of the number of ingredients involved, but it’s really worth the taste.


Fry your potatoes and bananas first, just enough until they soften up. Set aside. Then, sauté your protein in garlic, tomatoes, and oil. While doing that, splash a little fish sauce. Keep your heat on medium and let it simmer for a few minutes. If you’re combining chicken and pork, cut your pork a little bit smaller than that of your chicken because chicken cooks faster than pork. You don’t want to end up with pulled chicken and pork instead of puchero. This process usually takes 15-20 minutes. Then, add your vegetables. Add first the vegetables that take a while to cook, then your cooked potatoes and bananas. Try adding one tablespoon of tomato sauce at a time until you’re able to achieve the color you want. Simmer again for a few minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked. As for seasoning, try not to overdo it, especially on pepper. Since you already added fish sauce in the beginning, taste your dish first before adding more.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.



New Year’s and the new cheese I’ve found

When I was a kid, I’d make a list of all the things that I want, need, and the changes that I have to do for the new year.  But just halfway through the year, I throw the list away because I can’t even seem to do half of what I wrote.

It’s frustrating to actually have something so concrete in your thoughts but ending up as a failure when you put it into actions.  Not sounding pessimistic here, but as I grew older, I realized that it’s better to set your expectations realistically than to wish for something grand and end up with nothing.

So, as the new year approaches, instead of making a list of new resolutions, I listed all the things that I’ve accomplished and achieved in the past year.  I was happy to know that most of what I’ve prayed for came true, and more.  Of course there were disappointments, but still, what mattered to me was that 2012 was my best year.

One of the many things that I found fascinating too was that I’ve discovered some good eats throughout my 2012 journey.  How could I forget food, right?  I love my cheese, but I’m very picky with what cheese I eat because aside from being lactose intolerant, my body is just weird that way.

cheese slice 01
Move with the cheese!

But since it’s the Christmas season, our house is full of queso de bola.  This I munch on like regular chips.  So, a friend suggested that I should try Queso De Bola Cheesecake.  Queso de bola and cheesecake are two of my favorites in this lifetime, so I said, “send me one!”  Lo and behold, that cheesecake was to die for! I heard that there’s this good pastry girl who’s known for her queso de bola cheesecake, hopefully soon I’ll be able to taste her version.

Another new found thing for me is my tolerance for chicken.  I like chicken, but to eat it every day is not really what I call healthy eating.  But for the past holiday season, I’ve been craving for it almost every day.  Good thing my office is located near a food center.  Even the crew knew me already as “Miss Combo Meal with Extra Gravy.”

Now that it’s the New Year and up next is summer, I vow to lose all the unwanted weight I gained during the past two weeks. Imagine that! I’ve only been indulging myself for 15 days and yet I have to work doubly hard on the treadmill.

It’s not about looking good, or feeling guilty about what you ate.  Going to the gym is one way of keeping you healthy.  I don’t go to the gym because I want to look beautiful or be thin; that was never my motivation. I run on the treadmill because with my type of work (i.e. mostly sedentary), I need a form of exercise.  I need to sweat once in awhile so that I can have a well-balanced life.

So, who needs any more New Year’s resolutions?

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Learn to cut your own chicken

Before I attended culinary school, I always bought pre-cut chicken. First, because I could choose the parts that I like, and second because I really didn’t know how to cut a chicken up. But when I went to culinary school, they taught us how to do it. It looked easy at first but it was difficult for me. So, I practiced a lot, inspired as well by chefs who’d cut chicken as if it were a piece of cake. If they can do it, so can I! I told my mom to but whole chickens instead of those cut ones. Believe me, in the beginning, my family made fun of my chicken proportions.

But I slowly learned how to cut them properly. The thing about doing your own chicken portions is that you can control the size of your chicken. Not that you can do so much, but you know what I mean.

Caution: Raw chicken contains salmonella, so I advise that you use a separate cutting board for you chicken, wash it thoroughly after use, including your knife. Make sure to cook your chicken properly.

How to cut up a chicken

You need a knife (a sharp one please) and a separate chopping board.

  1. Remove the parts that are hanging, like the head, neck and the wing tips.
  2. Then, cut off the chicken tail. Foreigners don’t really eat this part, but we Filipinos love this. You can set it aside, or you may choose to not cut it yet and include it when you cut one of the chicken breasts.
  3. Cut the skin between the thigh and breast area. Then pop the bone connecting to it. This will give you access to where you would have to cut through the skin to separate the breast from the thigh.
  4. Cut at an angle between the drumstick and the thigh. The knee joint has a bone, and that’s where you have to cut.
  5. Cutting the wings is easy; all you have to do is spread it and cut where the wing ends. (Again, you need a sharp knife for this.)
  6. Cut down the middle following the chicken backbone. You could use a pair of scissors to cut through it, but a knife will do too.
  7. You can proportion size of the chicken breast you want, then just cut through it.

For beginners, I suggest you cut the chicken first into two. Then, you remove one by one the parts. The reason why I didn’t mention this as my number one is because as time goes by, and you’ll get used to it, and it’ll be easier to remove the parts first before butchering the whole chicken.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.


Rainy days and the Pinoy dishes that match

Last week was hell week for me. I got stuck in the office for four days straight and I had to shop for extra essentials because I couldn’t work while smelling like yesterday’s news.  My body was practically running on coffee—news was everywhere so work at the media firm I work in just kept on piling up.  Add that to the fact that there was really no room to sleep in, so I just ended up taking multiple naps.

But if there’s one thing that I was overwhelmed with during the calamity, aside from flood water, it was food.  Inasmuch as I feel for the victims who were stuck in their rooftops, my officemates and I were constantly hungry and had to refuel as needed.

Do you notice that whenever it’s raining you feel like you’re always craving for something? Some people crave for food, while others have this feeling of snuggling on a sofa with just a hot coffee or cocoa.  If I could indulge on a rainy day, I would cook something, anything! I don’t usually eat after, but the smell of food in the room calms me. I guess food really has that effect on me.  I don’t really have to eat it, i just have to see it.

As a proud “promdi,” there are certain foods that we like to cook when it’s raining, or what I like to call “bed weather”.

  1. Suam na mais – For some people, the sabaw of choice is sinigang because it’s hot and sour, good for rainy days.  But I love the stickiness of the corn, sautéed in shrimps, garlic and onions. Then top it off with chicharon.  Any fried food will go well with it, but I prefer fried fish like tilapia or galunggong.  If they’re fried super crispy, you can actually eat even the bones.
  2. Champorado – Need I say more? Chocolate rice pudding: you can eat it either hot or cold.  I like it hot, then pour some milk over it.  Good to eat when cuddled up in the sofa with a big blanket while watching TV.  My mom and my grandmother like to pair it with tuyo, but I don’t eat tuyo so I always skip that part.
  3. Turon – I know turon with ice cream is a summer thing, but when it’s raining, my family usually has nothing better to do so we end up in the kitchen, cooking whatever is available in the pantry. This is one of the things we often whip up for ourselves.
  4. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and suman – This I can eat over and over again.  I wait for at least a day after buying the suman before frying them and then submerging them in hot chocolate.  Yummy!
  5. Chicken sopas – I have to be honest, I don’t normally cook this because I’m the only one who’s fond of it at home.  But whenever I’m out and it’s raining, if a restaurant we’re in serves it, I’ll definitely order it from their menu.  I just like the comfort it brings when you drink in the milky soup.

I hope you guys stay safe and dry.  I heard there’s more rains coming.  Stock up on food, batteries and don’t forget to just enjoy life.

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.

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.