Showing posts with label Filipino dishes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Filipino dishes. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Yummy Pumpkin Bibingka


"I'm going to make bibingka," I said on Christmas morning.

"Do you know how to make bibingka?" asked the Husband. 

The Husband forgot that I've baked this Filipino dessert a few times before. Of course it was easy for him to forget since the Mama liked to make this cake treat nearly every Christmas and for any day she deemed special.  I don't know if I'll carry on the Mama's annual holiday tradition. It simply felt good to have some kind of warm sweetness enveloping the house on Christmas morning.

The tradition I will carry on is the Mama's like to experiment with recipes. I read a recipe for pumpkin mochi which I thought would translate quite well into pumpkin bibingka. Both recipes use sweet rice flour rather than wheat flour. Instead of condensed milk, I used a combination of coconut milk and lactose-free whole milk. I'd give you the recipe but I modified it as I was going and you know how that goes.

The result turned out pretty yummy. Not too sweet since I cut the sugar by a third.  I was surprised that the pudding-texture of the cake came out almost like the Mama's, which means I may have approximated the secret ratio of liquid to dry ingredients that the Mama used. Nearly every Filipino woman has her own unique take on bibingka once she has mastered the basic recipe.

"It's like pumpkin pie without the crust," said the Husband.

I think the Mama would've liked it, too.


Y is the letter for this week's ABC Wednesday, a weekly meme that has been around for 10 years. Thank you, ABCW team!  Want to join or check out the participants? Then click here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From the Archives -- Taboongow


Here's another post that I wrote for my first blog, Cu'Pie Bird Says Chirp. Chirp. FYI: I slightly edited the post for today. Tomorrow, I shall be back to regular posting. Maybe.

Gourds for the Eating
(originally published November 20, 2008)

Several years ago, in the upcountry of Maui, I heard birds coo, “Ta-boong-ow. Ta-boong-ow.” I wondered if they were hungry for the gourd, and whether they wanted the long, bat-shaped ones or the ones that look like hourglass women.

Taboongow is the Ilokano word for upo, which is the Tagalog name for the gourd. (Please note that I’m phonetically spelling ta-boong-ow according to what my American ears hear.) Many people think of this vine-growing vegetable as an ornamental plant to dry and use for display or to make into crafts or musical instruments. Taboongow is also yummy to eat when they are still fresh. If you eat the gourd young, you can eat the center white part as well. Otherwise, you cut it away so you cook only the light-green part.


There are many types of gourds. Taboongow is known as the bottle gourd. They are light green and smooth-skinned. They may grow straight, roundish, or curvy. They are not to be confused with the bitter gourds (bittermelon) or the ridged gourds, which are made into loofahs when the fruits are dry.
 

The Daddy grew taboongow every year and when he passed away years ago, the Mama continued the annual sowing. In recent years, she lets the vines climb up the fruit trees in the back yard. This year, the Mama had a decent crop. We have been eating taboongow almost once a week since summer. Usually, when the Mama cuts up a fruit, we cook part of it into a soup and she freezes the rest uncooked for the winter. This year, the Mama and I decided we’d just cook each fruit she harvests and freeze cooked portions.

Taboongow doesn’t have a strong taste. In other words, it works with almost any spices and herbs you want to add to it. I’ve experimented a lot this year. So far it has tasted good with a curry, coconut, basil and thyme, or cilantro base. I’ve cooked it with shrimp, bacon, chicken, tofu, fish, or pork. All good. I’m sure it would taste good with beef. Hmmm.

Taboongow soup is one of my favorite dishes. The basis of my soup goes like this: Sauté onions and garlic. Add chicken or pork, if you’re using it. Once meat is brown, add tomatoes. Once tomatoes are broken up, add any herbs and/or other veggies (bell pepper, celery, etc.). Add up to 1 cup of water. Put lid on and simmer until meat is almost done. Now, stir in taboongow so it is coated with the liquid. Cook until the taboongow is translucent.


Things to note: The fruit is 90 percent water, so your soup will get a bit more flavorably soupier. (Are there such words? asked the Husband) Also it has been years since I’ve added salt to my cooking. So, add in salt where you normally would when making a soup.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for Adobo, Pork Adobo

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The clatter of metal against metal and heady aroma of frying pork, garlic, and onions lured me to the dark, cool kitchen that hot summer morning. At the stove was the Daddy's young cousin who was staying with us while on leave from the Navy. One hand shook a large grey soup pot on a burner, and the other hand stirred the ingredients rapidly with a large silver spoon that made a rhythmic clang against the inside of the pot. His body swayed and seemingly danced. The sizzle of the meat and vegetables was his music.

I was maybe four or five years old. I don't recall the Mama being home, otherwise why would the handsome, dark-haired man with a sweet smile be at the Mama's stove. But, maybe that day the Daddy's cousin said to the Mama, "Let me cook." So that she could care for Baby Sister who Died too Early. Now that I think of it, that was more likely what happened.

The Daddy's cousin smiled at me as I came up beside him.  "What's that?" I asked, most likely taking a deep breath of the developing delicious perfume. I had never smelled anything like it before.

"Adobo," he said. "Pork adobo. Do you like it?"

"I don't know."

"Just you wait then." 

As I remember the Daddy's cousin, my imagination sees him as a magician dancing a ballet. In my mind's eye, I see him pouring apple cider vinegar into the pot, next sprinking salt and pepper, and then tossing in a bay leaf or two.  .  . .Clang, Shake, Sizzle.Clang. Clang. Sizzle. Shake. . . Finally, he throws in a healthy amount of spice that brings the dish together -- paprika. He continues wildly. . .Clang. Clang. Shake. Clang. Clang. The sizzle has turned into pure jazz.

With one last clang and shake, the dish is done. Then with great flair, he spoons the tender, glistening red pork on a large plate.

I don't recall eating lunch, but most likely the Mama, the Baby Sister who Died too Early, the Older and Only Bionic Brother,  the Daddy's Young Cousin, and I sat in the cool, dark kitchen eating the pork adobo with rice. No doubt that was the day pork adobo, cooked Ilocano style, became one of my favorite dishes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Making My First Filipino Dish

The parents liked fresh meat and they believed it was cheaper to purchase a pig (or cow or chicken), slaughter and butcher the animal,  and freeze the parts for when you wanted to cook. Because the cost of purchasing a pig was high, the parents often bought it with one or more friends. They didn't bring the pig to the butcher though, as part of the pig-buying event was the camaraderie among the men as they slaughtered and butchered the pig in our backyard. A bottle, or two, of whiskey also figured into the festivity.

Every part of the pig was used. Everything. For instance, the blood was directly drained from the pig into a pot. The right amount of vinegar was added to the blood and it was beat with a hand mixer until it coagulated into a thick pudding. The blood was used for a pork dish known as dinardaraan, which the Filipinos would call Chocolate Meat as they served it to children or non-Filipinos.

Along with the whiskey, Daddy always  served his compadres a meal of the freshly butchered pig. The rice would be made. Some pieces of pork would go on the makeshift grill in the back yard. And, some chopped pork would be brought into the kitchen for Mama to saute with garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, and pimento (in a jar), and frozen peas (if she had some).

This is one my favorite comfort dishes. Don't ask me what the name is of the dish. I don't know. Even Mama doesn't know the formal name of the dish. At least, not anymore.

It was at one of these butcherings that I made this favorite dish for the first time. Mama was not home, so Daddy called me to the kitchen. He pointed to the meat on the counter,  told me to cook it, and went back outside. There were no if's, and's, but's, or I-don't know-how's with Daddy. So, of course, I prepared it, visualizing how Mama made the dish.

I have no idea how Daddy and his friends liked my first try, whether they actually ate it or chewed it and politely spit it out. Both the parents believed in practice makes perfect. So, Daddy continued to ask me to prepare the dish during these butchering events whenever Mama was not home or she was busy cleaning the pig's guts.

Today, I make this pork and garbanzo bean dish whenever I have a craving for it or when I think Mama would enjoy eating some Filipino food. I know I've done well when she eats all of her meal.

© 2011 Su-sieee! Mac. All rights reserved.