Monday, June 30, 2008

Bangus Belly ala bangusbelly

Well, it's bound to happen given this blog's url (for those on Multiply, I'm writing this on http://bangusbelly.blogspot.com).

Ingredients:

bangus bellies
lemon juice
coarsely ground black pepper
garlic, minced
onion, minced
dried herbs mix (e.g., Italian Seasoning, Herbes de Provence)
olive oil

1. Marinate bangus bellies in lemon juice (you can also use lime or calamansi juice). Sprinkle with ground black pepper and dried herbs. Let it sit for an hour or more.

2. Stuff bellies with minced garlic and onion and fold over. You may stick in some toothpicks so the folded bellies will keep their shape and the minced garlic and onion will stay inside while cooking.

3. Drizzle with a little olive oil and broil or pan fry until golden brown.

Serve with steamed rice and sauteed leafy vegetables (I ate it with my old spinach recipe, sans the olives and Worcestershire sauce).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Food Blog for Hungry Bachelors

Just joined a new blog: Food Blog for Hungry Bachelors. It's a collaborative food blog by and for single-person households-- an oft-neglected demographic in our country. I've never met any of my co-posters personally, though you might recognise some of them. Despite the name, as always, bachelorettes are more than welcome to drop by. :)

I'll be writing there from time to time, mostly about recipes and reviews. I'll probably keep the cuisines, food news, and trivia here since they might be off-topic over there. Just posted my first contribution, which is a rewrite of my second post in this blog.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thit Heo Kho (Vietnamese Braised Caramelised Pork)


This is a recipe of that "Vietnamese adobo" dish I alluded to in a previous post. If I understand correctly, thit heo means pork and kho means broth, so thit heo kho translates to pork braised in broth. Like most folk dishes, this dish has so many versions as there are people who cook them, so this is a combination of the various versions I've seen (e.g., see recipes 1, 2, 3). This dish has complex flavours, combining the sweet caramel and coconut juice with the salty fish sauce and spicy black pepper.

Ingredients:
1/2 kilo cubed pork, preferrably with some fat and skin
1/2 cup muscovado sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce diluted with 1/4 cup water*
4 cloves garlic, chooped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups coconut juice
coarsely ground black pepper

1. Heat up a thick-walled wok or casserole over medium heat. Caramelise the sugar with about a tablespoon of water until it is dark brown and lightly syrupy.

2. Add the fish sauce and water mixture to the caramel, stirring well. Bring to a simmer.

3. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, and pork. This will cool down the wok considerably, so continue simmering until the temperature is back up, occasionally stirring for even cooking.

4. Pour in the coconut juice and stir well. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for around an hour until the broth reduces to a sauce, braising the pork in the salty caramel sauce and coconut juice. Stir from time to time.

Some recipes suggest adding hardboiled eggs or tofu during the last few minutes of cooking, the bland eggs or tofu absorbing the sweet-salty sauce of the stew. Garnish with chive flowers or scallion greens. Serve with steamed rice.

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* One of my source recipes calls for 1/2 cup of Vietnamese fish sauce, or nuoc mam. However, for this recipe I used Filipino patis, which is much stronger and saltier than the subtly flavoured nuoc mam, so I diluted it with water. You may change the proportions of patis to water according to your taste. Better yet, use nuoc mam if you have some at home.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Iced Green Tea (no hot water, or ice, needed)


This is the easiest way to enjoy iced green tea. No need to heat up water (thus conserving energy), and no need for ice to cool it down. Just pure, unadulterated, cold green tea.

Ingredients:
3 green tea bags
1.5 litres water, room temperature

1. Put water in a pitcher. Choose a pitcher with a good cover, lest your tea will be infused with the smells of today's leftovers.

2. Swish tea bags in the water for around 15 seconds until the tea leaves are completely soaked and the tea bags sink.

3. Put pitcher in the ref and leave it for a few hours, allowing the tea to steep slowly while chilling the water. The longer you allow the tea to steep the better it will taste (I left mine overnight).

The green tea is ready to drink as soon as it chills down. You may wish to add honey or lemon according to your taste, but I prefer the taste of unadulterated green tea. You may also add ice to the already cold green tea, but this will dilute its flavour.

I was quite sceptical about the results when I stumbled upon this method of steeping tea, thinking it can't match green tea brewed with hot water. I thought it will either be too light (due to low temperature) or too bitter (due to protracted steeping time). I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it the next day-- it tasted just like green tea perfectly brewed in hot water, but cold. Much better (and healthier) than the sugary bottled iced green/white teas we get in the supermarkets.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sweet Cat's Tongue for Merienda

I bought myself a container of lengua de gato-- those small, crumbly, buttery cookies that are a favourite of mine-- and it got me wondering what the name literally means. Well, for those who wondered the same, here's my small list of Spanish-named Filipino snacks and desserts and their literal meaning. Some are straightforward, others quite imaginative. Do tell me what I missed.

barquillos = rolled wafers
brazo de mercedes = arm of favours/gifts (so it has nothing to do with someone named Mercedes?)
canonigo = a priest serving in a cathedral
crema de fruta = cream of fruit
empanada = pie or stuffed pastry (from empanar, to wrap with bread or dough)
ensaimada = sweet bun (from the Catalan saim, or pork lard, which was traditionally used to make the bun)
galletas = hardtacks or hard biscuits (from the galleon; hardtacks are also known as ship's biscuits in English)
leche flan = milk custard
lengua de gato = cat's tongue
maiz con hielo = corn with ice
maja blanca = white belle (but maja can also come from from majar, or to mash)
maja maiz = corn belle
mamon = small baby (noun); suckling (adjective, as in suckling baby)
merengue = meringue (supposedly named after the Swiss town of Meiringen)
pan de regla = menstruation bread (regla's association with menstruation comes from regla menstrual, or menstrual rule/period)
pastillas = pills
pastillas de leche = milk pills
rosquillos = ringlet cookies (from rosca, meaning ring-shaped roll)
torta = round cake or loaf (the Spanish word for omelette is tortilla)
turrones = nougats

References:
Castillo, Carlos and Otto F. Bond. 1948. Spanish-English English-Spanish Dictionary. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago
Duran, Carlos Francisco. 1942. English-Spanish Spanish-English Dictionary. Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing Company
Free Translation Online
Online Etymology Dictionary
Wikipedia