Tag Archives: mum

Pancit Palabok

25 May

May in the Philippines is also known as the Fiesta month.  During this time different regions in the country play hosts as they highlight their region’s specialties while giving thanks to their respective Patron Saints for all the blessings during the year.

Now May is also the month wherein we celebrate the special ladies in our lives – our moms!

For this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club Challenge, we will present the regional specialties prepared by our moms during the Fiesta Celebration.

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and it’s colourful cuisine.  Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes.  By sharing these recipes we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.

Last Sunday our Baranggay celebrated their Fiesta (which I missed.. again!). During this time, my  mom often takes a day off from cooking and we troop to our relatives to maki-fiesta (which means we eat and get takeaway for free in exchange for greeting them “Happy Fiesta!). As we live in Manila, we don’t really have a specialty dish like most regional areas do. The feast would be a mish mash of different dishes (that often don’t go well with each other.. hehe!) home-cooked and bought and almost always ending with a karaoke session with my uncle singing “Fernando” a few times (each version sounding different – worst – from the last!).

I spent most of my growing up years in Mandaluyong, so did my mom, whereas my dad grew up in Pasay. We don’t have a province.. well we lived in Angono for a while (is that even considered a province? Or just a faraway suburb?) as my dad really wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. But in the end we moved back to Mandaluyong as most of our movements are based there.

One of the more popular food establishments that Mandaluyong was famous for while I was growing up was Tonangs which specializes in Pancit Palabok. I’m not sure if they’re still open.. (actually.. I just checked online and they have a Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/tonangspancitpalabok How about that?!) I remember Sandy Daza featuring them on one of his cooking shows when I was younger (yes.. while most kids take advantage of weekend mornings to get some extra sleeping time, I wake up early to watch Cooking with the Daza’s). My mom loved their pancit and we would often stop their on the way home from school to eat merienda or take away a bilao for dinner (during that time it was one of the few restaurants/eating establishments in our area, together with the giant Lugawan along Mandaluyong City Hall Circle that is now occupied by Jollibee/Greenwich).  Come to think of it, it has been a while since I had some Tonangs Pancit, as heaps of establishments have popped in our area, but now that I am being a bit senti I will make it a point to visit this place when I go home – adding this on my TO DO list now.

Pancit is a staple dish that’s always present in Filipino celebrations and Fiestas are no exceptions. Here’s how I make my Pancit Palabok. Again really sorry as I don’t have exact measurements :

Saute garlic and onions in annatto (achuete) oil. Add some flour  and stir until it’s well blended. Now add in some shrimp broth (made from boiling pounded shrimp heads and skin – which flesh you will use later on as a topping). Season with some fish sauce and pepper. This needs to have a thick consistency – which you can achieve by adding more flour (or cornstarch) in.

I like using rice noodles (the fat kind) instead of bihon noodles (which makes my Palabok more of a Pancit Malabon – am I right in assuming that they are the same, save for some difference in toppings, apart from the noodles?). Just follow packet instructions when cooking them but I find that soaking them makes it soggy. So I just add them in briskly boiling water and keep a close eye until it’s cooked.

For toppings, I go with squid rings (quickly cooked in boiling water), shelled prawns (which can either be cooked by boiling or a quick fry with a bit of oil), fried chopped garlic (I saw on a Thai cooking show once that the secret to crunchy golden fried garlic is by putting them in as soon as you put the oil in the pan and cooking it slowly, instead of adding them to already hot oil), chopped spring onions, sliced boiled egg (but as you can see on the photo below, I went for the lazy option and used canned quail eggs instead) and crushed chicharon (pork rind). I don’t like tinapa on my pancit but I know some do. Other topping options are sliced boiled pork and fried tokwa (firm tofu).

Now that everything’s cooked, it’s just a matter of putting them all together and adding some calamansi (or in my case lemon) before serving. Best eaten with some puto (which I made using my much-loved Daza cookbook).

Now excuse me while I have some Fiesta Pancit 😉


Pork Menudo

20 Feb

Who is your first crush?

And what dish reminds you of said person?

That is this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club Challenge.

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and it’s colourful cuisine.  Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes.  By sharing these recipes we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.

Instantly, I had visions of the 80’s – acid washed jeans, mile-high bangs, flouro shirts and *big pause* MENUDO!

Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that my first ever ever crush was Ricky Martin of Menudo. I remember, he was 12 and I was 6, he was a member of the biggest boyband at that time and I can’t even carry a tune (even now… really shames me when people ask me if I’m a good singer coz I’m Filipino.. anyhoo!), he was travelling all over the world promoting his album while my furthest destination was my school via the school service… but despite those differences we still found ourselves madly in love with each other – okay so it was a one-sided relationship which is (obviously) mainly from my end.

Once my brother caught me watching their music video (with Lea Salonga, I think that was) on TV wide-eyed (and probably with my mouth hanging open and a bit of drool on the side) and being the big brother that he was proceeded to tease me. I remember crying and walking out, but quickly coming back once I saw that the coast was clear.

Years later our paths crossed again… this time I was already in College and he a solo star. Although the love was still there, unfortunately, it wasn’t as strong as when we were younger. This, however, didn’t stop me from taking Spanish as an elective so I can impress him with my linguistic skills (if and) when we meet. Completely ignoring the fact that he speaks perfect English but whatever!

So now I present you my dish, one that I never made until now. See I’m not a big fan of tomato based stews so my poor husband has to wait until we go home for Christmas so that he can eat his (according to him) one of his favourite dishes (top three he said) menudo.

Having never made this dish, I dialled (or texted) a friend – otherwise known as my mom. She quickly replied with her basic instructions, so again all the measurements on this dish were just done by feel.

I started by browning pork belly cubes in a bit of oil, once they’re done I sauteed chopped onions and then added the minced garlic once the onions were soft and transparent (segue to.. I once heard Kris Aquino – man I hate her – say that she learned that when sauteing you should start with onions as the garlic burns and becomes bitter, so much as I hate her, this tip actually made sense and I’ve been using it since then). Then I added quarter pieces of tomatoes. Once everything was nice and mushy, I added some sliced chorizo (in replacement of hotdogs as we don’t have tender juicy or tender meaty here and the red hotdogs aren’t really that good.. so I thought it’s a Spanish dish might as well add a Spanish hotdog eeer sausage) I placed the pork back and added strips of red bell pepper, green peas, cubed potatoes and cubed carrots and covered everything with just enough tomato sauce. Simmer until nice and bubbly and then added raisins (or sultanas as we call them here) and strips of pork liver. Just leave it simmering for a few minutes more until the liver is cooked. Of course, season season season as all those TV chefs would say.

Above is my attempt at plating (needs more practice I think!)

Husband was really happy that I made menudo and knowing that I never really liked this particular dish was extra curious as to why I cooked it. I didn’t tell him the truth as it might hurt his feelings (he thinks he’s my first love.. haha!) but was happy to eat it nonetheless.

Some little points re : making this dish – chorizo is actually a good replacement for hotdogs, but since most of the chorizo sold here is fresh (i.e soft and not smoked) I would drop it in last minute along with the liver next time as some disappeared into the sauce. Also, my mom mentioned garbanzos (or chickpeas) but I didn’t include it as I’m not a fan. And another thing, I know that I said menudo is a Spanish dish, but then I remember eating Mexican menudo in the US – different though as it had offal and wasn’t sweet-ish like the Filipino version.

It’s my first week back at work…

31 Aug

which explains my absence as I was running around doing last minute things i.e chores and cleaning, preparing for my daughter’s first birthday party *exciting* and spending as much time with her as I can – going for walks, playing in the park and singing & dancing at home.

I do miss being a fulltime mum and homemaker *sigh* but life must go on.

Hopefully we win the lotto this weekend! haha! But for now I should really go back to doing work.