Tag Archives: garlic

My simple taco recipe for Christmas Eve

My taco recipe comes from last year’s Noche Buena menu.

Usually, during Christmas Eve, we prepare food that we can serve the next day. It’s for random people who visit our house for the usual “pamamasko.” But, last year, I was too busy with my new work. So, my mom and sister decided to “outsource” our Noche Buena feast for that year.

Despite that, my sister still insisted that I should at least prepare two dishes. It’s like her request for me to cook her favorite food. I obliged, since it’s always been my tradition for us to cook our family dinner anyway. She wanted ttaco recipe Philippinesacos and fried chicken. My mom knew my ingredients for fried chicken so all she had to do was to put everything in the turbo broiler.

My taco recipe is also simple. If you’ve been reading my posts, you’re now aware that my sister is a picky eater. Anything fancy would come under tight scrutiny. The more simple the dish is, the more she’ll appreciate it.

It’s ok to combine ground pork and beef if you so desire. That’s what I do on ordinary days, as it’s cheap and tastes almost the same. But, on special occasions, I’d say you can splurge a little and use 100% ground beef.

So here’s the recipe for my Simple Taco. I’m going to use 1 kilo of beef here, but if it’s too much for your family, just make the necessary adjustments.

Ingredients

Taco shells (soft or hard)
1 kilo ground beef
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (substitute: EDEN cheese)
1 medium size onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Grated EDEN cheese or any cheese that you fancy (for Christmas, since we had an abundance of queso de bola, I combined EDEN cheese and queso de bola for the topping)

Procedure

In a bowl, mix the ground beef, salt and pepper and the 2 T of grated parmesan cheese. Remember, since we’re putting in cheese, you might try to put just a little amount of salt at a time. You can always adjust it as you taste. Then sauté onions and garlic until they turn translucent. Add in the beef, cook for about 15 minutes or until the beef is tender. You can add a few teaspoons of your taco sauce if you want, but I prefer to keep it simple.

The rest of the ingredients will be assembled by the diners. This is why eating tacos is fun! It’s like building your own castle. But don’t overdo it, especially if you’re using the hard taco shells. Your taco skyscraper will just spill all over you. Oh, and a word of advice: use a plate or have a tissue in hand when eating a taco 😉 Hope you enjoy my Simple Taco recipe at your Noche Buena!

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

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.

Ingredients:

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.

Procedure:

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.

 

 

How to cook Kare-Kare

Kare-Kare recipeKare-Kare is one of my all-time favorite dishes. I can eat it everyday without getting bored or wanting anything else. What’s not to love about it? It has vegetables, peanut butter and oxtail. Though when we choose to make some at home, we opt to use Pata (pig’s leg) because oxtail takes a while to cook, not to mention quite expensive.

Since I’m only home on the weekends, we see to it that we prepare dishes that our family will enjoy. Hence, on one weekend, we made Kare-Kare. My sister has her own bagoong because she doesn’t like the kind that’s being purchased in ordinary markets. But I always believed that it’s really up to you on how you cook your bagoong. That way, you could make it to your own taste and liking.

Here’s my family’s own version of Kare-Kare.

Ingredients

1kb Pata (cut into smaller portions)
Pechay
String beans
Eggplant
Peanut butter
Garlic, a cup of water, salt (fish sauce if you want)
Powdered atsuete (half a teaspoon will do, just to add color)

Procedure

My family's Kare-Kare recipeHeat the pan with a few table spoons of cooking oil. Saute the pata in garlic and atsuete powder. If you don’t want to use atsuete, then you can omit that. Put the cup of water and let the meat simmer until it’s tender. Halfway through the cooking process, put in the string beans, since they will take time to cook. When the meat and string beans are tender, put in the peanut butter. On this I can’t be specific because the amount of peanut butter is really up to your taste. Some people like a lot of peanut butter, while others would opt for a milder taste. I suggest you take a separate bowl, get some sauce from your dish, then mix a few teaspoons of peanut butter. You can always add if you think you need more.

After adding the peanut butter, you can add in the pechay and eggplant. Salt or fish sauce is necessary but you DON’T need to put a lot, since you’ll be using bagoong later. I just want you to season it well because food spoils easily when they’re not seasoned right. Let it simmer for a few minutes, or until the eggplants are cooked, then you can serve it with white rice. If you’re on a diet, then maybe half a cup or rice will do?

Enjoy!!!

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

How to cook the perfect Crispy Pata at home

It would be nice and deadly if the crispy pata will be cook deep-fried, but considering the economics of it, being cooking oil is expensive these days, not to mention that it’s really not good for your health, we always cook our crispy pata in our turbo broiler.

We have two kinds of turbo broiler, the really ancient steel looking kind one, and one of those new, glass ones where you can actually see the fat dripping from the meat. If you’re to ask me, I would prefer to use the newer one because it’s user-friendly. You can set the temperature and can actually see the meat inside. But with the old one, which is what we’re all accustomed to using, is a matter of gut feel. You’ll know that the food is done by using your senses and/or a cooking thermometer.

My family loves food. Healthy, deadly, name it and we’re always craving for something. But the big Crispy is a one-time deal. Meaning, if we eat crispy pata today, it’ll take a few months till we cook it again. It’s a conscious effort on our part because the dish just spells “heart attack” all over it.

To achieve the crispiest, juiciest and most succulent crispy pata at home, you only have to do a few things. No need to go to a fancy restaurant and order it there. You can buy at least two “pata” for the usual price of a crispy pata in our local restaurants, not mention they’re sometimes dry on the inside because of overcooking.

  1. Boil your patas first. Yes. You have to boil them to achieve the tenderness inside and to make sure that your pata is well-cooked all the way. Make sure to season your water with a generous amount of salt, enough to taste like salted water BUT not a “sea water”-type of saltiness. Add few cloves of garlic—no need to peel them, just smash them with the back of your knife. Add a couple of shallots or a piece of onion, cut in half, and a few pieces of whole peppers.
  2. Let it rest. Before wrapping it in foil, rub some more seasonings to it. I usually rub in fish sauce (patis) and pepper, but just enough to coat the skin. Then wrap it tightly with foil or cling wrap.
  3. Put it in the freezer for at least a day. Yes my dearies! The secret to a crispy, crispy pata is to make sure that it’s been boiled and kept in the freezer for at least 24 hours. A freshly-boiled and seasoned crispy pata will not crisp enough. There will be no “lutong” factor.
  4. A great sauce can accompany a great dish too. Sarsa lechon is somehow being used by the upper class, because they associate crispy pata with the like of a lechon too. But a true-blooded meat lover will know that the combination of toyo-mansi with onions and sili will make you screaming for “isang tasang kanin pa nga!”

Don’t feel bad serving your family crispy pata once in awhile. Besides, if you use the turbo broiler, half of the fat will be remove from the meat already. Enjoy eating!

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Alimango sa gata recipe

Alimango sa gata
Alimango sa gata

You can use crabs or any kind of shellfish for this recipe. I often use alimango because they’re cheap and easily available in the market. If you’re using crabs though, may I suggest you use the “female” crab instead of a “male” one? You’ll know that the crab is a girl by looking at its abdomen, which is located at the back. It’s circular compare to the pointed one of the male.

Ingredients

Niyog (a type of coconut)
Niyog (a type of coconut)

1 kilo of Alimango
2 cups of freshly-squeezed gata (usually the 1st squeeze is the best to use)
Siling haba
Onion/garlic
Salt and pepper

I don’t normally include ginger in this recipe since I usually pre-cook the alimango before sautéing them in the gata mixture. But if you’re cooking it straight, then half a head of ginger, thinly slice is enough to remove the “lansa” taste from the crabs.

Procedure

Steam your crabs with a couple of teaspoons of water and some salt sprinkled on top of them. After a few minutes, depending on the weight and number of your crabs, remove them from heat and let them rest for awhile. If the alimango or crab are too big, try to cut them in half, just so they’ll be easy to eat and the meat of the crab will also absorb the gata sauce.

Heat your saucepan with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Then add the onions and garlic (ginger if needed) then wait for the onions to turn translucent before adding in the alimango (crabs). Sautee the alimango for a few minutes then add in the gata and the sili. The pan should be on medium heat because you don’t want the gata to boil or else it’ll curdle. Stir once in awhile, have it simmer for at least 15 minutes. Don’t forget to add your salt and pepper gradually.

You can serve it as is or you can top it with fresh basil leaves and slices of fresh siling haba.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

What’s for breakfast?

I’m not a morning person but because I work at home, I’m tasked to cook breakfast. Well ok, not just breakfast, but lunch and dinner too. Of all the three meals, I always find breakfast to be the most difficult. Half of our household eats rice and the rest prefer bread. And it doesn’t help either that my family are picky eaters. With lunch and dinner, I have no problem preparing for a meal plan for a week 😉

Eggs are a staple in my breakfast menu. I either do scrambled, or sunny-side up. When I was still in culinary school, we spent one day just cooking eggs. I’ve never had so much egg in my life ’til then. I can’t say that I’ve perfected the craft of cooking perfect scrambled eggs, but I do know a few tricks on making your ordinary scrambled eggs look appetizing.

Typical Scrambled Egg

Ingredients

4 medium eggs
1 medium onion/2 shallots
3 cloves garlic
½ cup milk (Whatever type of milk you’re drinking will do. You could also use evaporated milk.)
Salt and pepper to taste

I usually sauté the onions first since I don’t like the burnt taste of garlic in my food. When the onions begin to turn translucent, add the garlic. Beat the eggs with the milk. I don’t salt my eggs, but if you want, you could. I usually add the salt and pepper when I pour the scrambled eggs on the pan. Slowly mix it to avoid burning and to incorporate everything. A scrambled egg is good when it’s still a little bit runny. It’s not advisable to serve dry scrambled eggs, but my family prefers it a little dry, a little over-cooked.

You may want decorate it with snippets of chives or basil. You could also add in tomatoes and mushrooms to make it extra special. I don’t suggest a throwing in mayo, since that’s too much cholesterol. Maybe once in awhile, I add in parmesan cheese, just to make it luxurious.

Enjoy eating your breakfast!

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

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

Ingredients

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)
Water
Salt and pepper (you can use fish sauce too)

Procedure

2012-04-20 08.29.58

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.