• 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…

  • 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…

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    Heirloom Recipe,  Kanin at Pancit | Rice and Noodles/Pasta,  Ulam | Main Dishes

    Arroz Caldo | Chicken Congee Recipe

    Arroz caldo—from the Spanish words “arroz” for rice and “caldo” for broth—is the Filipino version of Chinese congee that was adapted to the tastes of the Spanish peninsulares. Filipino congee comes in three basic forms: lugaw is plain rice broth; when tripe is added, it becomes goto ; but when chicken is used instead, it is called arroz caldo or pospas. A hot and hearty bowl of lugaw, goto, or arroz caldo is pure comfort on a rainy day. But to nurse a cold or a fever—or when you’re just feeling under the weather—the best food to eat would be arroz caldo. The ingredients that go into arroz caldo suggest everything restorative in nature: calming rice for an upset stomach, chicken and broth…

  • Spaghetti_Jollibee_closeup
    Kanin at Pancit | Rice and Noodles/Pasta,  Pagkaing Pang-Handaan | Festive Dishes,  Ulam | Main Dishes

    Jollibee Sweet Style Spaghetti Recipe

    Filipino spaghetti is notoriously sweet—the mere thought of which would make Italians foam in the mouth. I make my spaghetti sweetish, rather than sour. Amongst all local spaghettis, Jollibee surely takes the cake. The secret ingredients are liver spread, milk, and sweetened condensed milk. I made this copycat for my grandson’s 4th birthday. It will not be my everyday spaghetti though but will be my standard spaghetti for kiddie parties.  Amongst all local spaghettis, Jollibee surely takes the cake. The secret ingredients are liver spread, milk, and sweetened condensed milk.

  • aristocrat chicken barbecue image
    Ulam | Main Dishes

    Chicken Barbecue à la Aristocrat Recipe

    Aristocrat is a family-style restaurant founded by Engracia “Aling Asyang” Reyes and her husband Supreme Court Justice Alex Reyes.  From its humble beginning in 1936 as a snack mobile along Roxas Boulevard (Dewey Boulevard at the time) serving snacks from a Studebaker van, Aristocrat opened its first permanent restaurant two years later still in the same boulevard.  Over the years, Aristocrat became famous for its native Filipino dishes such as Kare-Kare, Pancit Canton, Dinuguan, Lumpia, and its most popular dish, Chicken Barbecue. I remember going to Aristocrat a few times when I was already in university.  And the only dish I had each time was its Chicken Barbecue—three pieces of…

  • Texas BBQ chicken image
    Heirloom Recipe,  Ulam | Main Dishes

    Texas Chicken Barbecue à la Lea & Perrins Recipe

    After this post, I received a message from my brother in WA: “You mentioned on your blog about a cookbook you once had called ‘Dishes Men Love.’ I have a booklet called “Dishes Men Like” also from Lea and Perrins. I bought it at a garage sale years ago when I was still in Hayward. Is this the same one?” and attached a scanned photo of the booklet. My heart was pounding as I eyed the thumbnail image of the blue booklet—I could recognize even a pinhead image of it. It was the cookbook I had been looking for in the past 20++ years. I even wrote Lea and Perrins a couple…

  • Pinoy pork barbecue image
    Pulutan at Pica-Pica | Bar Chow and Appetizers,  Ulam | Main Dishes

    Pinoy Pork Barbecue Recipe

    When Filipinos say barbecue, they usually mean charcoal-grilled skewered pork. A favorite party dish—children and adults would welcome a Pinoy pork barbecue anytime. This is one of my regular potluck dish—like today for family reunions and the like. I always make more than enough for lunch—and watch the kids come back for it again and again all throughout the rest of the afternoon. I like to eat it with rice, and a dipping sauce of garlic-vinegar. During my eldest granddaughter’s first trip to the Philippines in 2004, she had just turned 4 and was quite a picky eater. She however loved rice (she could eat it plain), noodles (even the…