Saturday, December 8, 2007



Nothing stirs more nostalgic memories than the aroma of a small town bakery at dawn (sometimes with the stars yet) when the freshly baked loaves are shoveled out of the wood fire oven. Pan de Sal, once upon a time it was kingly size, with hard crust and cracked top. Only the alternative to it were the breads called Pan De Limon and Pan de Leche, all seemingly synonyms for the bread with ridges on top, like two halves joined together. The large delicious soft bread was the Pan de Mongja or "Nun's bread," whose name through the tears evolved into a racier monay, slang for the female private part. All were good for dunking in hot chocolate*, or eating with a sliver of keso de bola (Edam from Holland) or hamon de punda ( Chinese ham similar to the Smithsfield of Virginia).
The Pan de Sal that one can get nowadays are not the kind that I grew to love then. Today, I can't reconcile myself to call them Pan De Sal. I facetiously call them "Pan De Sweet." The real one has a hint of saltiness and like I said above, they have a crusty top like a French bread. Today, the bakers buy the pre-mixed flour that all they have to add is water...and they used the ready mixed flour for almost every thing , like the Pan De leche, Dinner rolls, etc. They don't have the salty taste, but sweet.
By mid morning the bakery converted the stale cakes into mamon tostado, sweet toasted slices beloved by children. With the addition of margarine and sugar, old Pan Amercano (loaf bread) was re-baked and become biscocho. Biscocho Pricipe, in turn, was nothing but re-baked monay slices. Ensaymada, like the croissants only the are in the rounds and smoothered with butter or margarine and dusted with sugar was part of the bakery repertoire as the pianono or jellyrolls.
Food style changes with life styles at times, and in the slower, lazier days of biscuits* had a role in the Philippine life. It was for the people who had the time to nibble and savor it, with a cup of hot chocolate, coffee or tea as part of the ritual merienda. The lost of popularity shows in the diminished numbers of biscuits jars in todays bakeries. In the old days there was quite an assortment of biscuits: the ever-present round, powdery galletas, the square galletas de patatas with upturned corners, the round aglipay which was light brown, somewhat dry but flaky, araro a powdery concoction made from the arrow root flour, the coin size sweet pacencia a biscuit named after a virtue (patience). For the kids there is a long crisp scalloped, round at both ends called margarita or masa flora. They sell for two for one centavo, equivalent to two cents those days. Toady, fast food eateries abound Manila. Every shopping malls have there signature food courts where one can satisfy his gustatory pleasures. All the "biscuits" are sold in packs wrapped with cellophanes. Yes, gone are the square jars that houses my chilhood delights.
In the afternoon, when the bread peddlers returned with unsold breads the recycling contained, nothing went to waste. There was always a tray of buding, (bread pudding) in the bakery that could be bought by the slice. The best buy for one's money was the machacao, which was a mixture of all two days old bread - cut in cubes pan de sal, monays, pan de leche sometimes even bits of ensaymada. They are all dumped in large baking trays pushed into the oven and toasted. I can call this the Filipino biscotti. They will reappeared in a large Kaing. a deep open basket and were sold five centavo a big bag. From here too came the bread crumbs for thickening the lechon sauce, for the pochero and other dishes that calls to be thickened. Anything still stubbornly unsold was converted into vile pastries with bright pink or purple fillings, their last stand and ultimate disguise...ugh!
* biscuits - anything that resembled a cookie type baked breads are called biscuits in the Philippines during my time. I am sure that to these days anything like cookies in the tins in England are called biscuits
*hot chocolate - my maternal grandfather prepares the chocolate akin to the Mexican that I have seen today. the chocolate come from the local market in big tablet forms or from the backyard cacao tree. It will be grated while the water is boiling...with a special elongated enameled pot the grated chocolate and boiling water will be beaten with a batidor, a slender wooden pole with a serated head. With both hands, the pole will be between the palms and roll it back and forth rythmically until the mixture is foamy... then to the cups.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Last Sunday, I watched the re-run of Bizarre Food of the World with a guy by the name of Andrew Zimmerm. I have seen the show before but I found it interesting because I was thinking of blogging the odd and exotic foods from the Philippines. The Americas' Europe and the East countries has been featured. The segment of the Philippines, I think is not very well represented. There are some missing that I know from experience and knowing what there is in my home land. Of course they featured the balut (boiled fourteen days unfertilized duck egg).

What I am going to write here are things I have seen, but won't dare eat them...maybe if I am that hungry and it is for survival....and some that I have eaten.

A veritable source of food, specially vegetables is the backyard of almost all the Filipinos homes in the countryside. Vegetables patch, a pig pen and a small poultry are found. Malungay
(horseradish tree) is planted for its leaves, fruits and flowers which goes into stews and salads. The fruit of this tree are long and slender. They are skinned and cut Julienne and goes with a chicken stew, of course , seasoned with bagoong. The trees doubles as a fence, too. Another sturdy tree that is familiar plant in the backyard or front yard is the Katuray. They are grown for the young and tender fruits and blossoms. The white petals of the blossoms resembles a folded wings of an angel is particularly used for salad. To me they look like white orchids hanging on the tree.My mother make some good salad with them when they are available in the market. The petals are separated from the stamen, pestle are removed and will pour hot hot water to wilt them. A dressing of olive oil and white vinegar, a dash of sugar. seasoned with smoked fish flakes. Onions and tomatoes goes with the salad.
The Filipinos goes farther from the backyard garden for food. The rice fields and rivers often yields weeds and water plants, which, perhaps considered weird by others, are found nutritious by the natives. I remember gathering amargoso or papait, a field weed boiled with a dash of salt and marinated in vinegar. or add to mung bean or fresh corn soup. There is the balla-iba, transparent spade-like leaves good for salads. The stem of the river gabi (taro) stripped of its skin and cut into pieces, goes well with stewed hito (catfish) in coconut sauce seasoned with bagoong. Not to mention pako, or forest Fern very good for salads. Freshly gathered mushrooms abounds during rainy seasoned which is a favorite in our house. They came fro the countryside brought to the city by walking vendors. The river also yield a variety of small shrimps called lagdao that are always eaten live with calamodin ang bagoong. But this is really a delicacy because it is hard to come by. When food is scarse, the women and children go knee deep in mud puddies and search with their fingers for mullusk and shells. they boil the meat and eat with rice and sweet potatoes.

At the start of the rainy season, hordes of insects of thick-winged salagubang or beetles flock to the tamarind trees for refuge and food. It is the time to catch them by the baskets. The feelers and wings are removed and cooked adobo style, toasted to crisp and eaten as side dish or as pututan, beer accompaniment. Locust and the crickets are cooked the same way. Locust are seasonal are not always available. You have to get used to their big heads, but once you swallow your fear, you can chomp away the rest on the plate.

The bayawak, a lizard grows up to five feet has become a delicacy among the drinking menfolks. Traps are set where people complain of their chickens disappearing during the night. They use their long tail to hit and kill the chickens. The lizard feeds on chickens and has been regarded as pest. When there is no chicken they feed on fish from the river. In some places the lizards are captured with the aid of dogs. I was told that the meat has a texture of chicken and best cooked abodo style or stew with green papaya . The eggs are also eaten, boiled in salted water for 30 minutes. The eggs remain soft with a toothpaste consistency. Frogs from the rice field are plenty and can be cooked in a variety of dishes.
The snails are one of the delicacy of the country. Before the onset of planting rice. The rice fields are scoured to get the snails which is considered a pest. The white kuhol (apple snails) was introduced in the country from South Africa. They are harvested by the baskets, soaked in water with alum to remove the digested food that the snails have eaten. This is cheaper than soaking them in beer. In some places they will extract the meat, dry them in the sun or at low temperature ovens, dredged the with corn starch and flour, dipped in eggs and deep fried andeaten like a chicharon. I have not tasted this but in our house, my mom will buy Kuhol (black snails) from the market. soaked them like the apple snails, individually cut the end of the shell, for easy release of the meat. Sauteed garlic and onions until translucent, the snails will be stir-fried with bagoong to taste. Coconut milk , kankong (swamp cabbage) mild whole pepper will be added . This best way to extract them meat is to remove the outer shell covering, slurpped with a little air and the meat will come out. There is another kind of snails that you can get in the market, the black spiral snails, but it is not the house favorite because it has a bitter taste.
The preparation of meat for the daily consumptions is basically guisado (sauteed) or sarciado (with tomato sauce). The influence of long Spanish rule in the Philippines. The cooks has all the ingredients a stone throw away in his backyard. Salt is always plenty, by cooking the sea water until it give a fine white residues. Beef innards are cleaned with papaya leaves and cooked for different recipe. This is also done the same with pigs and goats. The bile gall is save for ingredient for sinsglao , singcuchar and imbalihtad recipes. The recipe calls for the choice cuts of the lining of the intestines and innard of the cow which we call goto (tripes). In some region, specially the Ilocos region, the kari-kari uses the head and neck of the pig. Higado is minced pork meat. liver, lungs and kidneys cooked in vinegar, garlic, peppercorn. The dinuguan. (blood stew) calls for the innards of the pig, liver and plenty of blood. In some areas, Goto (tripes) boiled cow's intestines with chunks of coagulated blood and cow's brain is a delicacy. Outside south of Manila, in the Taal region, they are famous for their horse meat tapa (jerky). You will find them hanging like curtains in quaint market stalls. Tapang kabayo (horse meat jerky) with fried rice can be found in some speciality restaurants in Manila. The tapang kabayo ( horse meat jerky) when cooked has the color of dark brown leather shoes. with a suitable horsy smell, with texture not unlike beef, and a taste that could be best described as manly. The horse meat and fried rice can be taken with coffee for breakfast, soft drink for snacks, or beer in the evening.

In the country side it is common practice among the families to fatten a pig, a goat or a cow and slaughter it for spacial fiestas, baptism, weddings, the 40 days mourning or bienvenidas or despididas ( welcomes and goodbyes). A whole goat slaughtered specially for a big gathering. From one goat a variety of recipe can involve. The legs will be roasted, the shoulder for stewing or for caldereta a stew with tomato sauce, liver and garnished with olives and grated cheese. The skin is singed to remove the hair and cut into small pieces and goes with the innards and some meats and made into kilawin, a ceviche type appetizer or an accompaniment for beer guzzlers. Another version of the kilawin kambeng, is the adition of bile cooked previously in vinegar and added to the concoction to give the dish a bitter taste. Actually this dish originated out of necessity during the Spanish era. Since wealthy landowners and friars always gets the best cut of the slaughtred cow or caraboa, the poor had to contend themselves with the entrails. After the entrails are washed and cleaned thoroughly, they boil them water with salt and ginger until soft...and different dishes are borne.
I had the privilege being a wedding sponsor in Ilocos del Norte...what an experience! The party night before the wedding as one of the guest of honor. I was given the eyes of the goat that was in the kilawin. We were gathered under a makeshift palapa outside. I am fortunate that there was a dog nearby waiting for handouts. He ate it! Not me!
A pet pig is not one to play with. It is a litter kept for a year in a separate pen away fro the other pigs. The Ilocanos have what they call bagnet. The pet pig after a year or so was slaughtered and provides the family an ample supply of meat and pork fat for almost a year. Bagnet is a whole chunk of spareribs cooked in salted water until most of the fat was rendered. A cook bagnet looks like a lechon kawali (pan-crisp pork shoulder) with the ribs still intact and can be eaten as chopped pieces dipped in vinegar and garlic sauce or with onions, garlic and tomatoes with bagoong. They also served as flavoring ingredients for other dishes that calls for pork.
In the mountain provinces, meat is traditionally eaten by the natives of Beguet only during feast or whenever a important visitors came around. But since they are in frequent communication with the beings of the other world and all kinds of spirits, they are constantly holding a kanyaw (ceremonial rites) to implore their Gods for a bountiful harvest, safe journey and good health. However if an accident or sickness occurs, they also seek relief and consolation in the kanyaw until their prayers are answered. then again, they celebrate a feast in thanksgiving.
Contrary to popular belief, the mountain trbes are sensitive to raw food. They either roast or boil them. Very seldom they sautee their food, and oil, garlic and onions are hardly used. No table though is without siling labuyo (small hot pepper) and salt which is used for sauce during meals.
In some places, skulls of pigs, cows, carabao and other animals used duting the kanyaw are hung in rows around the house to indicate how many feast have been celebrated. Each grouping show the quantity of animals slaughtered for a particular feast. Pretige and wealth is counted by the skulls.
In the remote areas, the well-to-do have their kerosene refrigerators. Others use huge burnay (earthen jars ) where the inasinan or salted pork and beef are stored and aged, sometimes for as long as a year.Whenever they have guests, they cut portions of the meat and boil them with vegetables. The other portions of the slaughtered animal are out and dried eventually end tp be what they call as itag or Igorot ham which can be kept to a long period of time. When your native host mixes a piece of itag and pinik-pikan chicken and serce you, you are considered as a very important guest. The pinik-pikan is a term for killing the chicken. For the highlanders, the kiling of a chicken always have a significance. It is used as offering to the Gods or celebrating some ocassion. They call the ceremony of holding the chicken by its two legs and beating the chicken to its death....thus pinipikan literally translate to "killing-me-softly." As soon as the chicken dies, they burn the feathers over a the fire and cut the chicken in half to expose the liver. they check the position of the bile for signs and give them interpretations, whether the ceremony is in honor of a visitor or somebody embarking a journey.
Dogs have ceremonial value and and also considered a delicacy in the mountain ethnic groups. They say that the supreme compliment one can pay to man's best friend is to eat it. The natives believe that drinking the blood of a black dog, raw and still warm will cure tuberculosis or asthma. It is a commom knowledge the prepartion of killing a dog takes about a week. The poor dog destined to be slaughtered will be deprive of anything to eat. After a week the dog will be given some rice gruel, The entrails will be full of gruel when the dog is killed. The delicacy part of the dog is the entrails with the gruel that they cherished....huh! There is also the pinoneg, sausages made of entrails and blood of the dog well seasoned with lots of black pepper.
Bizzarre...? not with the natives.

Saturday, November 24, 2007



The Ilocanos lives in the narrow strip of hard land bounded by the forbidding Cordillera mountain range on one side and the treacherous China Sea on the other. The land is dry most of the year but flooded during rainy season. The limitation of their region have driven many Ilocanos to greener pastures in far-flung lands but those who chose to stay must fight the odds, plant for food and be patient to coax the land and sea for their existence.

Ever wonder why the Ilocanos is persevering, thrifty and hard working? Sometimes the ILovanos can only contemplate on natures stinginess on his region, sign in resignation and come up with a song or verse about his existence in the land of his birth. But to live and become a composer or poet, he must be forever work the land--planting for food, for the money to send his children to school.

Part of the culinary adventure is learning that the Ilocanos have a whole lifestyle built in the kitchen cooking, planning a week's menu, stocking on salt, vinegar and condiments, preserving fruits of the season, smoking a ham for Christmas or a special occasion, picking vegetables, curing home-made corned beef. Other lesson learned along the way in relation to Ilocano food are avowed thrift, self-reliance and self sufficiency of the Ilocano.

Unless forewarned, the first timer coming upon atypical Ilocano meal will be turned off by the smell or taste of the Bagoong in most of the fod served. Bagoong (fermented fish sauce, usually made from small fish like anchovies or other small fish from Lake Buhi), is the base of most Ilocan vegetable dishes such as dinengdeng or pinakbet. Those two Ilocano staples are mixtures of leafy vegetables, fruits and flowers and stewed with broiled or fried fish. The dinengdeng is cooked with broth (sabaw) normally using the water from second washing of the rice. The pinakbet is sauteed and depends upon the natural juices of the vegetables.
Dinengdeng also called inabraw, is a dish of the Ilocano, similar to pinakbet. It is classified as bagoong soup based dish. Unlike the pinakbet, dinegdeng contains fewer vegetables and contain more bagoong soup base. This dish contains a few of the following vegetables combination: jute leaves, the pods and leaves of the horseraddish tree (malunggay), the leaves and fruits of the bitter melons (ampalaya) calabasa, the shoots and its blossoms...sometimes sweet potato tubers and young leaves. wax gourd (upo)and shoots, eggplant, okra, sting beans (sitaw), hyacinth beans (bataw), patani, (lima beans), chayote squash and shoots and banana blossoms, corn, whole taro , purple yams, and cassava tubers. Winter melon (kondol) when available. Leftover fried fish or other meats are addedto the dish.
If you are adverse to the smell of bagoong but have the stomach for it, like you would with some other weird foods, then your adventure into the Ilocano cuisine should rightly begin. And it begins in the kitchen where one is likely to find some high-fired earthen jar called (burnay) filled with fermented fish sauce, some of them desirably aged. Sure there are some vintage bagoong as there are some vintage vinegar or native wine from Nipa saps.

Being a Tagalog, we prefer the other kind of bagoong. The Tagalog bagoong is made by fermenting Krill of shrimp fries. The family of my grandmother has tapayan (large high-fired
jars for storage) and she owns a few of them in different sizes. She uses the big ones rice and salt. She own a not too small jars for preserves like dalok green mangoes and mustard greens. Some particular jar is for the shrimp Bagoong and for burong dalag (mud fish with cooked rice and spices. The later when on its prime is with pink- purple hue. This is later cooked with coconut milk.

One thing I remember while watching her do the process, after the meticulous cleaning the shrimps fries, picking small sea water snails and seaweeds, she will divide them in three part.
This way, she can tell how much salt she will use. So the recipe is 1 part salt to three parts of shrimp fries. She never but bagoong in the market bacause for her they are always saltier than it should be. The concoction is nothing but the shrimp fries and salt...but she have secret. beforehand she will gather some mature leaves of either bataw (hyacinth beans) or patani (Lima beans). carefully washing them and placed on top of the salted fries then cover the jar with a katsa (gauze material) taut-tied along the rim of the jar. This will insure her that it will not be spoiled with maggots... in a week or so, it is ready to be sauteed with garlic, onions and tomatoes with small pieces of browned pork. This will be an accompaniment for kare-kare (ox tail stew) and enhancement for the Tagalog style pinakbet, and other recipes that calls for the concoction. During the summer season when fruits are in abundance, the bagoong is for green mangoes, guavas and other sour fruits. It is also good with slices of sinkamas (Jicama) instead of just plain salt..'

Sunday, July 22, 2007



The above picture was the resultsof my "Greek" adventure with the New Zealand Spinach from my backyard as pictured below. The plant is very prolific...It does not need any pampering and they seed themselves every year. What I like about this spinach is there is a more of bite to it than the regular store bought spinach.


I am always fascinated going to ethnic grocery stores. One of my favorites was the "International Grocerie" (that is how they spell grocery on their sign board). This one was owned by a Palestinian, but they closed the store after so many years shopping there. I think I am the only Filipino that shopped there. Mihcal the owner knew me and so did Wahdi who worked there. The store now is owned by an Arab looking man with a long scraggly beard. I don't like the set up of the store at all...They have an eating place in front now and the merchandise is Topsy-turvy! Luckily there is another store on Balboa Avenue...another "Internationl Grocery" newly opened and the store is very nice, clean and have the things I like to buy. This is where I get my goat cheese, filo dough leaves, puffed pastry dough, olives, sultana raisins, fresh and dried dates, dried apricots and many other things...Lucky me because it is also closer to home.


If you have the plant...separate each leaves from the stem, discard the stem, wash and clean and parboil in a pot of water.

2 lbs. spinach leaves

Drain, chop and set aside. Let stand for 15 minutes, then press out all the liquids.

In a bowl, combine;

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup fresh dill

2 cups finely chopped onions

1 tsp. salt

the par-boiled spinach


1/4 cup Extra-virgin Olive oil

Add and saute until soft and transparent:

3 cups chopped onion


the spinach mixture and saute for a few minutes


1/2 lb. feta cheese

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Prepare the filo leaves:

Place each filo leaf in a buttered 10" x 17" x 2" baking pan, brushing each leaf with melted clarified butter. Add the spinach mixture, spread into a thick layer then add the remaining filo l;eaves, again brushing with melted clarified butter. Cut into 3'' X 3" pieces with a sharp knife.

Bake a 375 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Loquats from the backyard

Loquat Strudel

The strudel that I knew of was made of apples. Our loquat trees has always provided us with ample fruit every year. We are up to our gills with the fruits. So I decided to do something with them. Why not make a strudel? Whether you make strudel dough yourself or buy it---for it comes ready to use---there are endless possibilities for the "interior decoration".

Prepare the filling in advance since the loquats needs to be peeled and seeded...drop them into a large mixing bowl with water to cover with 1 tablespoon salt. When all the fruits are peeled and seeded, drain and combined with:

You should have 5 to 6 cups of the fruits.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup melted butter

You can buy your strudel dough or use the filo dough (remember you have to brush melted butter on each layer of the filo dough---this is rich in calories...but good!).

I make my own dough the old fashion way;

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Work with your hand...

1/2 cup room temperature lard

...until the grain in the mixture is pea size.

Stir in;

3 tablespoon ice cold water

...until the mixture holds together when you gather it into a ball. With a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 8 x 12 sheet, place the fruit mixture and roll into a log. Securing both ends. Scour the top with a knife, brush the top with scrambled egg...sprinkle some sugar on top. Place on a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until the tops oozes some juice and golden brown...

Serve with vanilla ice cream or grated cheddar cheese while it is hot or warm.

Friday, April 20, 2007


The Filipinos are not squeamish eating the "menudencia" or "lamang-loob", what the Afro-American calls "offal" (the waste part of an animal for food). A home slaughtered pig, is the "piece de resistance" for a huge gathering or fiesta. Liver sauce is a must for the "lechon" or roasted pig in a poke. The other parts, like the intestines are hosed down and gingerly inverted, scrubbed with papaya leaves and blanched in salted water. These are used for casing homemade "longoniza" or sausages, or for "dinuguan", a recipe that you will encounter here. Today you can find almost every Asian markets sells them and that you can buy it cleaned, sometimes precooked, so that your job is the final cooking.

I still won't eat anything that I have not prepared in the case of what I call "The Insiders". In some cases, I substitute the meat ingredients to my liking.


This "insider" is the muscular lining of the beef stomach. There are 4 kinds, all of which are used at least in one or two Filipino classic recipes. There is the "fat " of the belly, then there are three different sections of the honeycomb tripe which comes from the second stomach of the cow.---the extremity of the the belly, which is only partially honeycomb.
The honeycomb is more expensive than the others. In Italy, I was fascinated with the street vendors in the city and beaches that peddled boiled tripe, cut in big square pieces, eaten by the consumers with a twist of lemon wedges. Honestly, I did not have the nerve to try them. I had them at home from my own was even bought at the Navy Commissary.


In the different region of Spain, "callos" has been prepared similarly with variations. My mother cooked this dish on special occasions and as I remember it was eaten with "puto Binang", a very light, yellowish in color steamed rice cakes. This dish is eaten not as main course, but somewhere between meals because steamed rice is not part of it. I am guessing that the original dish came from Pamoploma, Spain, I am also sure that there has been some alteration somewhere. I had encountered and tasted a few, one is called "Callos Madrillena." but not as good as how my mother prepared it. Of course the recipe below was only adapted from her recipe ...I made a few twists here and there.

Wash the tripe thoroughly in cold water, blanch in a boiling water for 5 minutes, Drain and transfer to a big pot to hold. (If you have a pressure cooker, cook them for half an hour).

Two pieces of honeycomb tripe, about 3 lbs
1 onion, quartered
2 bay laves

If you are cooking in a big pot, skim the foam from the top of the boiling broth and simmer until the tripe is fork-tender. Remove from broth, let it cool and slice into bite size pieces. Strain the broth and set aside.

In a wok or skillet, saute:

4 rashers of bacon cut into small pieces and render fat.
(do not crisp-fry the bacon)


3 minced garlic cloves
1 diced onion
1 1-inch fresh ginger, minced
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and diced

Add and saute for 5 minute:

The sliced tripe
2 chorizo de Bilbao or pepperoni, sliced 1/8 inch

Transfer to the original pot with strained broth.

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut 1/2 cubes
1 8-o. canned chick peas(garbanzo beans) with the juice
1 8-oz. canned navy beans with juice.

Simmer until potatoes are done.

Stir in:

1 cup of cream or 1 can of evaporated milk

Correct seasoning with fish sauce and ground black pepper.

Served with grated Parmesan cheese on top.



With this recipe try to get at least two kinds of honeycomb so as to give you different textures.

Trim out the fat, wash and parboil for 5 minutes in water to cover, discard the water and wash again and drain. Cool.

Cut into 1x2 inches squares

3 lbs. honeycomb tripe

Have ready a heavy pot with lid
Add to enough water to cover:

1 beef bouillon cube
1 quartered onion
3 garlic cloves garlic
1 celery stalk
1 bay leaf

Bring to a boil and add tripe and simmer for 1 hour to one and one half hour until the tripe is fork tender. This depends how old the owner of the tripe was.. Drain and set aside, Strain the broth, discard the vegetables seasoning.

Pressure Cookers will cook the tripe fork-tender in 30 minutes

Meanwhile prepare the sauce;


1/2 cup rice flour and set aside

In the same pot where you coked the tripe saute:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 minced garlic
1 diced onion

Add the saved broth.

Stir in;
2 canned coconut milk
2 Chinese eggplants, sliced 2-inches thick
1 lb. whole green beans or "sitaw"
1 lb. bok-choy, cut in 2 inches length
2 cans banana blossoms or frozen artichoke hearts
1 teaspoon annato or achuete
1 teaspoon azzafran blossoms("kasuha")

Simmer until vegetable are cook.

In a bowl put the toasted rice flour
1 cup peanut butter... I like the smooth type but you can use the other type.
Add some broth and stir before putting it to the tripe and vegetable mixture. Gently stir the stew, may add some more "extra" broth or water if needed.

* If you notice there is no salt added in the recipe...! It is suppose to be a bit bland but with the flavor of toasted rice and peanut butter.

This is served with "guisadong bagoong."



In a covered pot over medium heat, bring to boil:

6 cups of water
2 pounds boneless picnic or shoulder cut with skin pork
2 pounds chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste

On the first boil, scoop the foam, discard and lower the heat
Continue until the meat is tender. Cool and cut into bite size cubes.
De-bone the chicken and cut the same size as the pork. Save he broth.

In a skillet or wok, saute until translucent;

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 minced garlic cloves


Although the Philippines has never been under the Mexican regime, the culmination of over two hundred years trade route from Manila and Acapulco made an impact to some of the Philippine dishes. Mexican and Filipino sailors that sailed in the galleons must had exchanged recipes along the way that the "tamale" or what the Filipinos calls "tamales" (with an "s") came and stayed in the islands. In Cebu island, the natives use corn husk. I would assume because most of the Visayan islands are corn-eater natives of the Philippines. But predominantly, the Filipinos use a lot of banana leaves for wrapping food like some of the South American countries. This is specially in Pampanga, a suburb of Manila in Luzon...where according to historians, some Mexican sailor jumped ships, intermarried with he natives and settled in the area. There is a town in the area called Mexico.

In the Philippines. "tamales" is one of those dishes eaten when one craves something different for merienda or snack. They are not easily available, nor sold by the street vendors. In Mexico and even at the border cities of the US, one can buy them from the street a cart with poratble stoves that you can assure that they are freshly hot. In Manila certain select establishments specializes in them. I remember in my younger day, Aristocrat Restaurant in Dewey boulevard (now Roxas Blvd.) sells them. They don't make them in their kitchen, but delivered by one of our relative from Jolo, Mandaluyong.They are related to my maternal grandmother.


In a wok or skillet, toast:

5 cups of rice flour, set aside

Combine with;

1 cup chicken broth
6 cups of coconut milk
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup ground peanuts
1/2 1/2 brown sugar
1 tesapoon annato powder (achuete)

Cook over low heat until thick and mixture separates from the side of the skillet stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

Cool and set aside:

In another skillet or wok, combine;

2 cups of rice flour (not toasted)
3 cups of coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth salt and ground white pepper to taste

cook over low heat, as the first mixture. Cool and set aside;

Meanwhile, boil ;

4 eggs, sliced in eight's or whole quail eggs ( canned quail eggs will do)

In a wok or skillet saute and caramelize;

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 minced garlic cloves
1 diced onion


1 cup flaked chicken breast
1 cup julienne ham
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper



Chorizo de Bilbao or pepperoni crosswise thin

Prepare the banana leaves;

Wash and wipe dry and cut into 5x5 inches pieces. Blanch in boiling water or pass through an open fire of a gas burner to make the leaves pliable. This also strengthens the leaves and will not split or tear while in he process of wrapping. I personally prefer blanching in boiling water...the easy way.

Lay two pieces on top of the other.

At the center put 2 tablespoon each of the flour mixtures side by side.
Pat lightly to to make a mound. Top with the meat mixture in the center, sliced eggs, Chorizo de Bilbao and a few roasted peanuts.

Overlap the two ends of the leaves over and fold encasing the "tamales " mixtures. Wrap again with another piece of leaf or aluminum foil into the desired bundles. Without the aluminum foil, you can tie the bundles with raffia or Cotton strings.

Steam for about an hour, Serve warm or cold.

Note: If you don't have a steamer, use the foil for the final wrap. place them on a large baking dish . Cover with aluminum sheet and steam-bake 350 degree oven for an hour.



This recipe is what I can remember my mother and use to make. It is not often that this was present in our dinning table because like working mother. she does not have the time to do it personally. We have a relative that specializes in this dish, sells the finished products to hotels and restaurants in Manila. So, our "tamales" for the holidays comes from the kitchen of a relative...bought! There is a lot of planning and work on this recipe, but worth it!

In a stock pot, boil in water to cover:

6 chicken breast
1 pound pork butt (optinal)... (you can use prepared cooked sliced ham and does not have to with the rest of the ingredients)
1 onion, halves
1 celery stalk
2 whole garlic cloves
2 chicken bouillon cubes

Drain, cool and set aside.

In the same broth cook;

1 pound shelled shrimps, just pink and opaque...don't over cook them.

Drain and set aside;

Combine and stir
2 cups water-ground corn meal
2 cups of water
cups of coconut milk
2 tablespoon chili powder
1/cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon azzafran ('kasubha")
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place on top of the double boiler in simmering water.
Stir until the mixture is set and does not stick on the side of the pot. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Clean the top pot of the double boiler, combine and stir;

4 cups glutinous rice flour
2 cups chicken broth combine with,
2 8-ounces canned coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Cook the same as the first flour should have a soft paste consistency for both of the pastes.

Cool and set aside.
Prepare the banana leaves as above recipe.

At the center of the banana leaves, put 2 heaping tablespoons of the paste mixture side by side, top with;

pieces of flaked chicken breast
sliced pork can eliminate the pork and use ham instead.
sliced Chorizo de Bilbao
quartered piece of hard boil eggs or one quail egg

Wrap as above recipe, arrange on a steamer,steam for an hour.



This is a pseudo-tamales in a sense and look like the real tamales. This I found while in Hong Kong and sometimes they are sold frozen in some Asian supermarket that has been wrap in bamboo leaves...yes! bamboo leaves are big in China.

Soak overnight;

3 cups glutinous rice (malagkit), washed and drain

Transfer to a microwave-casserole dish and add and blend well;

3 cups coconut milk
1 table spoon chili powder
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder or mashed

Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and place in the microwave oven, set for "rice." When the "ringer" of the oven indicates the rice is done...I assure you that it not! Stir the rice, turning over several times, discard the the plastic wrap and place a wet paper towel on top and cover with lid or another plastic wrap...COOK TWICE!

Cooking twice will assure you to have a tender glutinous rice. Cool and set aside.

Have ready;

3 hard boil eggs, quartered
4 chicken breast, boil and flaked into 12pieces
12 slice pieces of ham
1 Chorizo de Bilbao, cut into 12 slices
1 cup of unsalted roasted peanuts

Divide the rice into 12 portions, make a compact mounds on prepared banana leaves. Place on top of the the following order; ham, chicken, chorizo, peanut and eggs

Follow instruction for the banana leaves preparation and wrapping as from the above recipes.

Steam for an hour.

Serve with your favorite salsa.