Budget Paella

Made from the available ingredients from my kitchen, this Paella might have been concepted and executed without much primping but the best thing is IT WORKED!

Armed with my foodie friend Jeng’s gift of paprika pimenton, I salivated for Paella and created it with only what’s inside my pantry.
  • A pack of frozen seafood
  • Green peas
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chicken bits (leftover from last night’s dinner)
  • White long grain rice
  • 2 pcs Tomatoes
  • 2 pcs of leftover chorizo
  • Leftover hard boiled egg
  • Olive oil
I did it anyways. Sautéed the chorizo on olive oil. Placed them aside for later. Sautéed garlic and onion with seafood. Saved them for later. Cooked the tomato sauce and tomatoes in the same pan and oil. Added the chicken and rice, making sure rice was coated in oil. Added water (around 3 cup first for 2 cups rice). Allowed it to boil and then simmer while covered.
I added a generous sprinkling of sweet pimenton to the rice. Placed the seafood and chorizo back. Added some more pimenton for good measure. Tasted it. Added a bit of salt and pepper.
GREAT! No fear. Do what you can with what you’ve got! Take note, I do not own a paellera (yet!).
Here’s how…

Sabaw Soup

Every dish I cook came from people who are close to our hearts and home (the kitchen most especially ). This sabaw soup is from my Papa’s Ilonggo side of the family. I learned it from my aunt, Mommy Beth.
Have fun making and eating Molo Soup! Good for a family of five.
1 Tbsp. oil (We use olive oil or coconut oil)
1 pc. medium onion, minced
2 cups chicken breast, deboned and shredded (I boil about 2 small chicken breasts in garlic, leeks and ginger. Don’t throw broth! Strain and reserve for the soup.)
1 pc. medium carrot, cut in thin strips
1 pc. small Chinese cabbage, cut in thin strips
1/2 cup spring onions, chopped
For Molo:
1/2 kilo ground chicken breast
1/2 pc. medium carrot, grated
1/2 pc. medium onion, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pack Molo wrappers, small sized
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Sauté onion in oil. Add chicken once onions turn transparent. Sauté until chicken is cooked.
2. Add vegetables. Add chicken broth.
3. Let boil and turn down heat to bring it to a simmer.
4. Meanwhile, for molo, combine ground chicken, carrot and onion, salt and pepper as filling for molo wrappers. Place a teaspoonful of filling in the middle of the wrapper and seal all edges with water in a triangular shape.
5. Add each filled molo in the simmering broth. Do not stir.
6. For leftover molo wrappers, cut into lengthwise strips and individually add to broth.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Sprinkle spring onions on top before serving.

The meal that saved Chinese food

It exists! A good high quality Chinese meal on the average price.  IN METRO MANILA!

It’s been years since my last visit. I might not like the interiors but I love the food and the price. At 6pm, we had all the wait’s attention all to ourselves.

Real shrimps (with an s) Hakaw… No extenders!

Thick (Hm, I like mine thinned out) Hot Sour Soup that didn’t need ocho or black vinegar.

My fave, Vegetable Rolls, that refreshing feel of sweet vegetables in my mouth. The best quality tofu slices. Mushrooms were absolutely fresh. The flavors of umami in a steamed healthy dish.

Of course, I needed Yang Chow Fried Rice on a cheat day! A meal in itself – all my Yang Chow fave ingredients. Lots of asparagus – love!

You won’t go wrong with the Roast Platter – century egg, Peking duck, char siu, soy and white chicken, seaweed, and (drum rolls please!) the crispiest, juiciest, yummiest roasted suckling pig slices.

You know what I’ll have for next month’s cheat day… a whole plate of Roasted Suckling Pork at Zong’s.

Pampanga Express

Just because…

An all-veggie affair making use of the Bicolano’s gata cooking technique and the Pampango palate (meaning it’s sweeter than spicier!).
Don’t scream! I just like how it sounds. Yes, yes, I know there are no trains to Pampanga and it’s not as spicy you won’t rush to the CR!
What you need:
1 tsp cooking oil
1 small red onion, minced
1 tsp ginger, finely sliced
1 pack/10 pcs lady’s finger chili or siling pansigang, finely sliced
2 packs/12 pcs winged beans, finely sliced
1 1/2 cups coconut cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Do it:
1. Sauté onions in oil until translucent. Add ginger.
2. Add chili. Sauté until translucent.
3. Add winged beans.
4. Add coconut cream and bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
5. Cook until dish has a thin layer of oil on top brought about by the coconut cream.
6. Salt or patis and pepper to taste.
7. The secret? Sprinkle a bit of brown or muscovado sugar 🙂 It balances the flavors!

Callos and white rice overload

I’m sure you can relate! Pigging out during a celebration. Diet on hold when served a comfort food. Or, even forgetting one’s name while savoring delicious dishes.

That’s me.

It’s fun most times. Other times it’s tummy bulging grief. One thing I love about those moments – I clearly remember the taste of the food, the texture, the combination of flavors, the colors, the ingredients I can identify by taste. I remember.

This kind of Callos had more of the tomato sauce. This had more of the tripe that has been cleaned thoroughly without even the slightest tinge of aftertaste. This kind was the kind served in fancy restaurants. As a poor man’s dish, the Callos has been elevated to my list as tops. It’s hard to replicate the good ones (believe me, I have tried!)! Even my mom finds it hard.

It takes skill. It needs a lot of patience. It’s a lifetime affair. This is very good Spanish Callos. I had it at Poco Deli, Ayala Triangle.

Basic Bulalo Bonding!

Comfort… Don’t we all pine for comfort? Comfortable shoes, comfortable couch, comfortable shirt, comfortable bed, comfortable eyeglasses, comfortable friends, and the list goes on!

In food, we often crave dishes that will do just that! For me, it’s hot and piping soup (light and thin, not thick and creamy) with lots of vegetables! I want “sawsawan” or dip as a side to it – fish sauce with calamansi and red bird’s eye chili! I can taste it now! Bulalo!

What else can you ask for? Hmmmm… the beef shanks give out all the goodness of the beef in the soup. The tender meat falls off from the bone (boiled and simmered at least 6 hours). The sweetness of the cabbage, potatoes, green beans adds to the flavors of herbs and spices – onion leeks, ginger and garlic. The dip gives the flavors the contrast to appreciate each of them with every bite. Hmmmm… Add some corn on the cob to balance everything in place.

This is comfort!

A delicious happenstance

It was meant to be… I laid eyes on you, I knew you’ll be great, I got you and took you home, I will never forget you! That was the bowl of shawarma rice I happened upon at Il Mercanti, Metrowalk!

DELICIOUS! Oh, and did I say super friendly on the pocket?

Meshwe, a Lebanese food specialty kiosk, had ALL the right flavors! A Lebanese word that means grill, Meshwe serves 101% authentic Lebanese fares – my first taste of this cuisine. Yes, I’ve tried and loved some of them Middle Eastern, Persian and Iranian, but Lebanese, my first.

For P100, every bite of my shawarma rice bowl made of grilled chicken, bukhari rice ( a word I need to familiarize myself with! Love it!), sliced tomatoes, salsa and Meshwe’s special garlic sauce was so worth it! The rice had those tastes of spices intermingled with lemon. The rice might not be basmati but every bit had flavors I will not forget. The garlic sauce was a frothy yogurt with garlic dip that will have one thinking how it was made. It was so good!

Muhallabia is another word I should remember! It’s the P30 dessert of very light creamy and rosy (rose-flavored) yogurt topped with crushed pistachios (lots of them!)… I should have bought the other tub left.

I normally don’t write this way. What with my theatric words and drama! But I am out of words right now! Meshwe took them all away with each and every enchanting morsel!