• Sizzling tofu top
    Pulutan at Pica-Pica | Bar Chow and Appetizers,  Dagdag na Pagkain | Side Dishes

    Sizzling Tofu a la Max’s

    Crispy golden cubes of fried tofu in a creamy and savory sauce served in a sizzling plate. This is my take on sizzling tofu aka as tofu sisig, one of Max’s (the house that fried chicken built) most popular offerings, second only to their signature fried chicken. It is so easy to prepare but so impressive to present as an appetizer or bar chow, or as a side dish to, what else but, fried chicken. My husband loved tofu any how it’s cooked. I can’t remember any time that he passed on it. He ate it con gusto, especially in his twilight years when he tried to eat healthier. Our son…

  • Pistou closeup
    Almusal | Breakfast

    Pistou Sulipan | Sulipan Omelet

    Pistou Sulipan is an omelet that was served during special breakfasts such as at weddings and baptisms in Sulipan, an old town in Pampanga. Sulipan is no longer in the map, the area that used to be is now a part of Calumpit in Bulacan and Apalit in Pampanga. But pistou is still served in traditional Kapampangan homes and restaurants. It is technically not an omelet in the French kind of way as the egg does not encase, but is scrambled with, the filling. ≈ Adapted from Gene R. Gonzalez’s Cocina Sulipeña, Culinary Gems from Old Pampanga

  • Rosti top view
    Almusal | Breakfast

    Rösti | Swiss Potato Pancakes

    Considered a national dish in Switzerland, rösti [reursch ti] is a potato dish that is a cross between hash browns and a potato pancake. Crisp on the outside, soft and meltingly potato-ey within, it was originally a breakfast dish eaten by farmers in the canton of Bern but is now popular throughout Switzerland and around the world. Rather than being served only for breakfast, rösti is now more commonly served to accompany other dishes as a replacement for the standard side dish for that meal.

  • ampalaya guisado close up
    Heirloom Recipe,  Ulam | Main Dishes

    Ampalaya Guisado | Sautéed Bitter Melon Recipe

    When we were growing up, both my husband and I were not fond of  ampalaya.  I guess it is—like okra and cilantro—a taste that you acquire as you grow older.  As grown-ups we like the bittersweet taste of ampalaya, and find it quite cooling and therefore refreshing to the mouth.  Bitterness also has its place in the diet, according to traditional principles of Filipino cooking.  In my teenage years when dysmenorrhea was part of my monthly experience, my elders discouraged me from taking pain-killers.  Instead I was made to eat ampalaya to expel as much unwanted blood as was causing the pain.  Today ampalaya (Momordica charantia) is a BFAD-approved anti-diabetes food and drug supplement whose efficacy is beginning to…

  • baked bell peppers cheesy
    Ulam | Main Dishes

    Rellenong Sili | Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

    For many years, green and red were the only bell peppers available in the Philippines.  They are called siling pukinggan or just pukinggan [poo-king-GAHN] in Malolos, a term many “outsiders” find weird and, to others, even risqué. It is a term I associate with my father and his siblings whose regular food vocabulary included it.  Funny thing is the term does not exist in the the vocabulary of my mother whose family lived only two blocks away. Stuffed bell peppers is a classic American dish—it is essentially meatloaf stuffed into bell peppers and baked in the oven.  I omitted the typical rice and used pizza sauce instead of tomato sauce.  This is not a dish I…

  • chicken macaroni salad
    Kanin at Pancit | Rice and Noodles/Pasta

    Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

    A holdover of American-Filipino fusion cooking of the 1950s, chicken macaroni salad is perhaps our most popular pasta salad.  Back in the days, no banquet table would be complete without it.  Perhaps because it is the most versatile salad—it may be served as a starter, as an entrée, or as a dessert (pang-alis umay).  The use of meat in the form of chicken or ham makes it a starter or main, but the addition of raisin and pineapple makes it a dessert.  Pasta in salad is definitely an American influence but definitely Pinoy if served as dessert.   Chicken macaroni salad is not only a filling and colorful salad you can…

  • Potato Salad top view
    Dagdag na Pagkain | Side Dishes

    Potato Salad à la Pancake House

    We have our timeless favorites at Pancake House and they’re not pancakes—Spanish omelet for my husband and son (maybe a man-thing?), pan-fried chicken for me. But I agree with them on the side dish to go with our orders: potato salad. Pancake House’s version is simple and no-frill, served on a bed of lettuce, topped with a slice of hard-cooked egg and garnished with cubes of red jello. Sometimes a full order (3 scoops) of potato salad is all I’d have and I’d be satisfied. This has become quite a comfort food for me that it—along with fresh fruit salad—was all I ate three times a day for three days after I…

  • Pork Humba Image
    Heirloom Recipe,  Ulam | Main Dishes

    Humba Recipe | Braised Pork

    Humba (whom BAH) is a braised pork dish from the Eastern Visayas provinces of Samar and Leyte, where pork belly is used. In the Tagalog provinces, however, Humba is predominantly pata, pork hock. At first glance, Humba and Paksiw na Pata look alike. The former uses tausì (salted black beans) and tajurê (fermented beancurd) and peanuts; the latter, bananas and banana blossoms. As a little girl, the distinction was completely lost on me, and I called them both Humba. This is one of my father’s favorite dishes. Humba surely originated from the Chinese settlers because of the use of black beans, fermented beancurd, and peanuts—as well as the name which…