Grilled Mango & Real Food Challenge!

Grilled Mangos with Jalepenos

Memorial Day is not only an important American holiday but the beginning of grill season! This is an awesome side to any dish.

3 Mangos, peeled and sliced into flat pieces
2 jalepenos, sliced
Cilantro, chopped
1 lime
1/2 cup plain green yogurt mixed with 2tbsp coconut milk (regular milk okay too)


After slicing, drizzle each mango slice on each side with EVOO, sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne.

Grill one side then flip for about 2-3 minutes total or until there are grill marks on each side.

Place mangos on serving tray and squeeze lime, drizzle Greek yogurt mixture, and too with jalepenos and cilantro!

Anti-Depression Foods: Carbohydrate List

Carbohydrates are often the volume filler that makes you feel you’ve had a satisfying meal. There are three categories of carbs: sugar, starch, and fiber. You generally want to aim for the more complex, less processed carb sources. The problem is that simpler carbs– like white flour and sugar—process too quickly, sending the body in to a high and low blood sugar swings that can take your moods with them.

Some crash weight-loss diets call for low-carb/no-carb diets and, while they may be effective for weight loss, few people can adhere to such a diet. Also, the long-term effects of such a diet are unknown. Your anti-depression foods diet can include a comfortable selection of carbs, but aim for the healthier carbs (low glycemic index/ glycemic load foods). Generally speaking, avoid the more highly processed foods—particularly wheat flour and sugar. Lay off fried potatoes completely (really high in Omega-6) and aim to substitute potatoes often with a variety of healthier carbs, such as whole grain rice,…

Try whole wheat pasta, too (or, at least, partly whole wheat).

These days, carbs are less often categorized as “simple” or “complex” than with a new system, the GI/GL indices. The glycemic index (GI) and the glycemic load (GL) attempt to better distinguish the favorable and unfavorable traits of carbohydrate foods. High index numbers on both scales indicates a bad carb. A low GI number is below 55. High is 70 or above. A low GL number is below 10. High is 20 or above.

Glycemic Induces and Levels of Various Carbohydrate Foods

Food Serving Size (ounces) Carbs (grams) Glycemic Index(GI) Glycemic Load
Cornflakes breakfast cereal 2 oz 47.25 g 79 Low 20 High
Grapenuts™ breakfast cereal 2 oz 41.58 g 75 High 16 Medium
Raisins 2 oz 41.58 g 64 Medium 28 High
Nutella®, chocolate hazelnut spread 2 oz 34.02 g 30 Low 4 Low
Microwave Popcorn, butter flavor, 50% reduced fat 2 oz 31.18 g 67 Medium 7 Low
Prunes, pitted 2 oz 31.18 g 29 Low 10 Medium
Chocolate, dark 2 oz 29.48 g 23 Low 6 Low
Flour tortilla 2 oz 29.48 g 30 Low 8 High
Popcorn 2 oz 28.35 g 55 Medium 6 Low
Corn tortilla 2 oz 27.22 g 30 Low 12 Low
Pita bread, whole wheat 2 oz 26.46 g 56 Medium 8 Low
Bran cereal, high fiber breakfast cereal 2 oz 22.68 g 43 Low 5 Low
Whole wheat bread 2 oz 22.68 g 52 Low 6 Low
Multigrain bread 2 oz 18.90 g 80 High 8 Low
Whole wheat pasta 2 oz 15.75 g 58 Medium 29 High
Spaghetti, white, boiled 2 oz 15.12 g 33 Low 16 Medium
Rice pasta, gluten-free 2 oz 14.80 g 51 Low 24 Low
Pancakes, whole wheat flour 2 oz 14.17 g 80 High 16 Medium
Long grain rice quick-cooking 2 oz 13.99 g 68 Medium 25 High
Yam, peeled, boiled 2 oz 13.61 g 25 Low 9 Low
Nuts, cashew 2 oz 13.61 g 25 Low 3 Low
Sweet potato 2 oz 12.85 g 48 Low 16 Medium
Whole wheat spaghetti, boiled 2 oz 12.60 g 42 Low 17 Medium
Brown rice 2 oz 12.47 g 66 Medium 22 High
Blackeye peas 2 oz 11.34 g 33 Low 10 Medium
Sweet corn 2 oz 11.34 g 55 Medium 9 Low
Potato, white with skin, baked 2 oz 10.21 g 69 Medium 19 Medium
Banana, under-ripe 2 oz 9.92 g 30 Low 6 Low
Black beans 2 oz 9.45 g 20 Low 5 Low
Kidney beans 2 oz 9.45 g 19 Low 5 Low
Hamburger, lean beef 2 oz 8.99 g 66 Medium 17 Low
Ripe plantain, peeled, boiled 2 oz 8.98 g 66 Medium 13 Medium
Pinto beans 2 oz 8.69 g 33 Low 8 Low
Hot oat cereal (30 g) prepared with 125 mL skim milk 2 oz 8.41 g 40 Low 9 Low
Peanuts 2 oz 7.94 g 13 Low 1 Low
Apple, raw 2 oz 7.56 g 40 Low 6 Low
Butter beans 2 oz 7.56 g 36 Low 7 Low
Instant mashed potatoes 2 oz 7.56 g 80 High 16 Medium
Pineapple, raw 2 oz 7.56 g 33 Low 13 Medium
Papaya, raw 2 oz 7.09 g 60 Medium 9 Low
Lentils 2 oz 6.80 g 29 Low 5 Low
Pear, raw 2 oz 6.14 g 33 Low 13 Medium
Peach, raw 2 oz 6.14 g 28 Low 4 Low
Carrots, raw 2 oz 5.67 g 16 Low 1 Low
Kiwi fruit, raw 2 oz 5.67 g 58 Medium 7 Low
Apricot, raw 2 oz 4.25 g 34 Low 3 Low
Strawberries, fresh, raw 2 oz 1.42 g 40 Low 1 Low
Watermelon, raw 2 oz 2.83 g 72 High 4 Low
Split peas 2 oz 5.67 g 25 Low 3 Low
Carrots, peeled, boiled 2 oz 3.54 g 33 Low 2 Low
Pumpkin, boiled in salted water 2 oz 2.83 g 66 Medium 12 Medium

Anti-Depression Foods: Omega-3 Foods List

While it may surprise some that a “fat” would be suggested as an important food in preventing depression, it certainly is. Our bodies regularly need three types of nutrients: fats (or lipids), proteins and carbohydrates. There is substantial evidence to indicate that Omega-3 fatty acids serve to enhance the membranes of brain cells. Studies have found deficiencies in Omega-3 fats common among persons with depressive disorders.

Do note that there are still fats more likely to be harmful than beneficial. While Omega-9 fats, found in olive oil are among the safer fats, it’s best to minimize intake of Omega-6 fats,commonly found in various vegetable-based oils. One reason for this is that Omega-6 fats compete with Omega-3 fats in the brain and other organs. Also, while Omega-3 fats are relatively rare in the modern diet, Omega-6 fats are widespread to the excess. You want to aim for a balance between the two.

Fish is the category of food with the most abundant and accessible form of Omega-3 fats. The fats in vegetable sources of Omega-3 don’t tend to be as easily accessed by the body, so greater quantities may need to be ingested to reach the same level. While the amount of this fat varies in different types of fish, most all fish seem to provide worthwhile quantities. Cold water fish seem to offer the best source. The one thing to look out for is farm-grown fish, which, due to the way they are fed, may have high levels of Omega-6 fats, which is not ideal. While many have concerns of pollutant levels in wild-caught fish, the levels are considered safe if you eat no more than 4-5 fish meals per week.

The list below spotlights several of the best food sources of Omega-3 fats and, for comparison, shows some food with lower amounts, such as vegetables and fruits.

Omega-3 Fat Contents Of Various Foods

Fish / Seafood Serving Size (ounces) Omega-3 Fat (grams)
Salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 3 g
Salmon, Pink, canned, solids with bone and
4 oz 2 g
Salmon, Coho, wild, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 2.1 g
Salmon, Sockeye, canned, drained solids with bone 4 oz 1.9 g
Salmon, Pink, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 1.1 g
Salmon, Chinook, smoked 4 oz 0.5 g
Salmon, Chinook, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 2.4 g
Whitefish, mixed species, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 2.3 g
Herring, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 2.5 g
Mackerel, Pacific and jack, mixed species,
cooked, dry heat
4 oz 2.3 g
Anchovy, European, canned in oil, drained
4 oz 2.4 g
Oyster, eastern, wild, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 1.5 g
Tuna, fresh, Bluefin, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 1.9 g
Bass, Striped, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.9 g
Trout, Rainbow, wild, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 1.3 g
Tuna, White, canned in water, without salt,
drained solids
4 oz 1 g
Swordfish, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.7 g
Shrimp, mixed species, canned 4 oz 0.6 g
Shrimp, mixed species, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 0.3 g
Ocean perch, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.5 g
Crab, Dungeness, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 0.4 g
Scallop, (bay and sea), cooked, steamed 4 oz 0.4 g
Cod, Pacific, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.3 g
Cod, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.2 g
Snapper, mixed species, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 0.3 g
Nuts / Seeds Serving Size (ounces) Omega-3 Fat (grams)
Flax Seeds 4 oz 25.8 g
Chia seeds, dried (much higher in Omega-6) 4 oz 19.9 g
Walnuts, english (much higher in Omega-6) 4 oz 10.3 g
Butternuts, dried (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 9.8 g
Walnuts, black, dried (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 2.1 g
Beechnuts, dried (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 1.9 g
Pecans, oil roasted, without salt added (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 1 g
Pecans (very hi in omega-6) 4 oz 1.1 g
Pine nuts, Pinyon, dried 4 oz 0.9 g
Dairy Products Serving Size (ounces) Omega-3 Fat (grams)
Cheese, roquefort (fairly hi in omega-6) 4 oz .08 g
Butter (high in omega-6) 4 oz 1.6 g
Raspberries, raw (fairly hi in omega-6) 4 oz 0.1 g
Blueberries, frozen, unsweetened (fairly hi in omega-6) 4 oz 0.1 g
Vegetables Serving Size (ounces) Omega-3 Fat (grams)
Spinach, frozen, chopped or leaf, cooked, boiled,
4 oz 0.4 g
Spinach, canned, drained solids 4 oz 0.2 g
Alfalfa seeds, sprouted, raw 4 oz 0.2 g
Cauliflower, cooked, boiled, drained 4 oz 0.2 g
Peppers, sweet, green, sauteed 4 oz 0.8 g
Turnip greens, canned, solids and liquids 4 oz 0.1 g
Spinach, raw 4 oz 0.1 g
Peppers, sweet, red, sauteed (hi in omega-6) 4 oz 0.88 g
Brussels sprouts, cooked, boiled, drained 4 oz 0.1 g
Onions, yellow, sauteed (hi in omega-6) 4 oz 0.7 g
Squash, winter, all varieties, cooked, baked 4 oz 0.2 g
Squash, summer, all varieties, cooked, boiled, drained 4 oz 0.1 g

Anti-Depression Foods: Protein List

High protein foods provide amino acids that enable the brain to function in a non-depressive state. A shortage of protein in the diet can increase likelihood of experiencing depression. Of course, the good news is that there’s an easy fix: eat a healthy diet with plenty of protein. This can vary, but for many of us that means around 4 ounces (20 to 30 grams) of a high protein food at each meal. If you consistently consume much less than that and are often in a low-mood state, consider increasing you consumption of the amount of some foods from the list below.

You may have heard some conflicting opinions between factions that recommend higher protein with lower carbohydrates or vice versa. We won’t take a side in that argument because there is evidence that different people can respond well to both. The aforementioned a amount of protein for each meal is not excessive, so you might start with this amount while cutting down on carbs. Then if you still feel things are not right after a few weeks, consider adding carbs back—but be sure and choose from the healthy carbs list.

If possible, make a priority of 3-4 fish meals per week. Fish fights depression in two ways, since it is both a good source of protein and a good source of Omega-3 fats. Unlike protein sources like chicken, cheese or peanut butter, fish is proportionately low in Omega-6 fats, of which we tend to take in far too much and which can compete with Omega-3 in the brain.

If you choose to be a vegetarian, you are going to have more of a challenge in creating an anti-depression foods diet for yourself. The quality and quantity of proteins and Omega-3 fats in vegetable sources are such that you will need to eat larger quantities in order to meet your needs.

A serving size of 4 ounces is used throughout this chart for easy comparison. You wouldn’t eat some of these foods (such as parmesan cheese) in that quantity, but you can use the amounts to see how estimate quantities in combination for a single meal.

Protein Content of Various Foods

Protein: Dairy Products Serving Size(ounces) Protein (grams)
Cheese, Parmesan 4 oz 47.6 g
Cheese, Goat, hard 4 oz 36.4 g
Cheese, Swiss, low fat 4 oz 31.7 g
Cheese, Mozzarella, part skim milk, low moisture 4 oz 29.2 g
Cheese, Provolone 4 oz 29.2 g
Cheese, Cheddar 4 oz 28.5 g
Cheese, Monterey 4 oz 27.4 g
Egg, whole, cooked, fried 4 oz 14.7 g
Cottage Cheese, lowfat, 1% milkfat 4 oz 14 g
Yogurt, plain, skim milk 4 oz 6.2 g
Milk, nonfat, fluid, protein fortified, with added vitamin A (fat free and skim) 4 oz 4.6 g
Milk, nonfat, fluid, with added nonfat milk solids and vitamin A (fat free or skim) 4 oz 4.1 g
Milk, nonfat, fluid, without added vitamin A (fat free or skim) 4 oz 3.7 g
Butter 4 oz 1 g
Protein: Fish Serving Size(ounces) Protein (grams)
Tuna, Yellowfin, fresh, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 33.3 g
Roe, mixed species, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 32 g
Trout, mixed species, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 31 g
Tuna, white, canned in oil, drained solids 4 oz 30 g
Salmon, pink, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 24.5 g
Haddock, smoked 4 oz 28.3 g
Sardine, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone 4 oz 28.1 g
Ocean Perch, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 27.2 g
Mussel, blue, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 26.6 g
Crab, Dungeness, cooked, moist heat 4 oz 25.3 g
Catfish, channel, wild, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 20.6 g
Oyster, eastern, wild, cooked, dry heat 4 oz 9.3 g
Protein: Poultry Serving Size(ounces) Protein (grams)
Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, fried 4 oz 37 g
Turkey, fryer-roasters, breast, meat only, cooked, roasted 4 oz 33.8 g
Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, roasted 4 oz 34.8 g
Protein: Beef Serving Size(ounces) Protein (grams)
Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8″ fat, all grades, cooked, braised 4 oz 39.3 g
Beef, brisket, flat half, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8″ fat, choice, cooked, braised 4 oz 37.5 g
Beef, ground, 85% lean meat / 15% fat, crumbles, cooked, pan-browned [hamburger, ground round] 4 oz 32 g
Beef, rib, large end (ribs 6-9), separable lean only, trimmed to 0″ fat, all grades, cooked, roasted 4 oz 31.2 g
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, pan-fried 4 oz 29.4 g
Beef, ground, 75% lean meat / 25% fat, crumbles, cooked, pan-browned [hamburger] 4 oz 29.3 g
Beef, short loin, t-bone steak, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8″ fat, select, raw 4 oz 22.5 g
Protein: Pork Serving Size(ounces) Protein (grams)
Pork, cured, bacon, cooked, pan-fried 4 oz 48.8 g
Pork, cured, ham with natural juices, slice, bone-in, separable lean only, heated, pan-broil 4 oz 31.3 g
Pork, fresh, composite of trimmed retail cuts (loin and shoulder blade), separable lean and fat, cooked 4 oz 29.5 g
Pork, fresh, ground, cooked 4 oz 28.9 g
Protein: Nut and Seeds Serving Size(ounces) Protein (grams)
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, roasted 4 oz 37.4 g
Peanuts, all types, oil-roasted  (very
high in Omega-6)
4 oz 31.5 g
Peanut butter, chunky, vitamin and mineral fortified
(very high in Omega-6)
4 oz 29.4 g
Peanut butter, smooth, reduced fat 4 oz 28.3 g
Peanut butter, smooth style 4 oz 28.5 g
Beans, kidney, royal red, mature seeds, cooked,
4 oz 8.8 g
Beans, pinto, mature seeds, cooked, boiled 4 oz 9.9 g
Lima beans, large, mature seeds, cooked, boiled 4 oz 9 g
Beans, navy, mature seeds, canned 4 oz 8.6 g
Refried beans, canned, fat-free 4 oz 5.8 g

Tomato Basil Soup

I felt a little inspired by some cooler weather this week to post an end of summer/fall friendly recipe!

Ingredients: (this makes enough for a family of four to eat twice or more)

  • 3lbs tomatoes, sliced, just get close to 3lbs!
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it!)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • dried basil leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • salt, pepper, EVOO


Toss sliced tomatoes in some EVOO, salt and pepper.  Add 1tbsp dried basil leaves. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast for approx 45 minutes, should not burn.

In a large saute pan or pot heat onions and garlic with some EVOO, add red pepper flakes and allow onions to become golden brown. Add the red pepper, 2tbsp dried basil, several fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper. Add water, add tomatoes from oven, bring to boil for 30 minutes.

Place in a food processor or vitamix and blend until desired consistency. Add more spice if desired.

Creamy Mexican Grilled Chicken

Make sure you get the grill master of the house- chicken can be tough to get right! This creamy marinade will help keep it from drying out.


1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 cup chopped cilantro
2tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon squeezed with a press)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
4 chicken breasts (or cut into tenders!)


1. Mix all ingredients except chicken into large re sealable bag. Add chicken and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
2. Grill chicken when ready! (You can always bake at 350 for 20 min!)

Cravings, Sudden Cravings

Without a plan, I craved Lomi! Definitely not good because I haven’t gone to the grocery store in a week. So… searching our fridge, pantry, down every nook and cranny, I found these.

I called my mother-in-law, my Chinese cooking mentor, and asked her to recap the recipe.

And quickly and easily, here goes… No Ingredients Lomi!


1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 tsp five spice
1/2 cup meat, diced (pork, chicken, beef or seafood)
3 pcs fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced in thin strips
1/2 medium cabbage, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 thumb ginger, sliced
1 small pack fresh noodles (I used mami noodles here)
3 cups chicken broth or water
3 pcs medium eggs
1 Tbsp cornstarch, dilute in 1/2 cup water
1 bunch spring onions, minced
To taste salt (or patis) and pepper

For noodles:
Boil a pot of water with ginger. Add noodles as soon as water boils. Boil for 3-5 Mins or until noodles are cooked yet firm to the touch.

Strain while pouring cold water to stop cooking. Reserve.

1. Sauté onions and garlic in sesame oil. Add five spice. Quickly add meat.
2. Cook meat well. Add mushrooms. Season.
3. Add all vegetables. Add broth if available, if not, water will do. Season.
4. Add noodles and simmer until vegetables are cooked.
5. Add cornstarch and continue stirring slowly while adding the eggs.
6. Season and top with spring onions.

Sambal Petai (Chilli Smelly Beans)

According to wiki, there’s a whole string of names for it Parkia Speciosa (scientific), bitter bean, smelly bean (English), Sataw (Thai), Petai (Malay & Indonesian)

These delectable beans are one of God’s strange creation, you either love it or hate it; in terms of aroma and taste. Like asparagus, petai has high content of amino acid, hence after consuming these yummy beans, it is detectable from your breath and pee for at least 2 days. Your poor friends and family will also have to deal your heavy flatulence effect.

When I was younger, I had to help my mum to extract the petai from the casing. After which I had to split the beans to check if there’s any worms, ooh I hate worms…I remembered I use to screamed, jumped and run away whenever I cut through a worm. Eeew I still squirm till this day when I prepare it.

Fortunately, today the labor is cut by half and many local supermarkets and markets sell them in packets ready peel. I still split the beans to check for worms though.

Choosing Petai

Whilst you’re out shopping for petai be sure to choose the beans based on its appearance. It should look bright green, big and plump (looks a little like broad bean after removing the skin), check for worms in the bag. I recommend Geylang Serai Market, it is cheaper, there’s more in each packet, and you can easily purchase the other ingredients and spices there. Not to forget you can have your breakfast or lunch at the food center on the 2nd level. The Nasi Padang is a bomb!

Avoid the shrivelled, tainted brown petai, chances are the petai has been left on the shelves for a while now and there are worms burrowed in it. Recently I picked up a bag and a swarm of worms came surfacing. Needless to say, I screamed, threw the bag at vendor and scared the rest of the customer and I ran away.

Preparing and Cooking it

You can literally use petai in whatever dish you fancy. The Southern Thais tend to use it in their curries, fried rice and Nam Prik (a salad dish where you dip the raw vegetables into thai chilli chutney). The commonly know Malay, Indonesian or Nyonya dishes cooked with petai  are normally Sambal Petai cooked with prawns, ikan billis (dried anchovies), squid or mince pork (there’s a really good version of petai mince pork at Sin Hoi Sai at Tiong Bahru).

The recipe that I’m going share with you is one that I stole from me dearest mummy. It not traditionally nyonya, its been tweaked with a little Thai influence.  I especially like her version of Udang Sambal Petai cos she minces the prawns. This way you will always get a good mouthful of prawns and petai with every spoonful.

Udang Sambal Petai


10-15 cloves Shallots

3-5 cloves Garlic

4 Candlenuts

30-45 Dry Chilli

15 Fresh Chilli

1 tablespoon Belachan (about size of 3-4cm cube)

4 stalks Lemongrass

1 thumb size Galangal (Blue Ginger)

2 tablespoons Tamarind (Soak in 1 cup hot water, strain and remove pulp. Use a little for the paste)

2 tablespoon of dried shrimps (dry fry the shrimps and blend finely) *optional

Roast the shallots and belachan on an open fire to release the fragrant. Be sure not to char the shallots and belachan otherwise it will be too bitter.

Blend all the ingredients together, add a little water/tamarind water to help make it pasty.

The Cooking Stage

1kg of small-medium prawns (shelled, minced)

*recommend to minced with a knife, this way it there are some chunky bits of the prawns. You may mince it in a blend but it may become to pasty.

200g-250g of Petai (halves)

1 cup Coconut Milk (*optional but I love it for the fragrant)

Remainder of the Tamarind Water

Shredded lime leaves


Lime Juice

Fish Sauce

1 teaspoon heap Brown Sugar

Fry the paste till it fragrant or when the oil seeps through the paste.Heat up the oil in a large pot or pan.

Add the tamarind water, coconut milk, brown sugar, petai and lime leaves, simmer for about 7 minutes or till the petai is slightly cooked.

Add the minced prawns and stir the sauce so that the prawns do not clump together. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Season to taste with the Lime Juice and Fish Sauce.

Best eaten after it has been set aside for several hours or the next day; cook heaps of rice to accompany the petai.

Note: some people enjoy the raw taste of the petai, so they will fry the petai 1st in oil for about a min or two and set aside. Using the same oil to fry the paste and only to add the petai at the end.

Ikan Billis Sambal Petai (Anchovies) – you have to do this in stages. Fry the ikan billis till crispy, then the paste and the petai, finally add the fried ikan billis.

Sotong Sambal Petai (Squid) – clean and skin the squid, cut into rings. Fry the paste, followed by the petai and add the squid at the last minute. Be sure not to overcook the squid.

Minced Pork Sambal Petai – cook the same way as the mince prawn version.

Familiar Flavors at Abe’s Farm

I grew up in a household in Angeles City that places a high premium on what we eat: ingredients, cooking techniques, slow food, palatial delights. Nothing is served below these requirements.

Taking my taste buds away from home, I started a journey that has exposed me to other things like new ingredients, techniques and tastes. But there’s none as exciting as trekking back home and indulging in comfortable flavors that has reared me to who I am today.
Abe’s Farm gave me that flashback Friday! Back to my roots, back to that little girl who loved climbing guava trees and munching on its fruits and being reprimanded because Ima (my maternal grandma) will use those same fruits that will ripen for “bulanglang” or the Capampangan version of Sinigang sa Bayabas, a favorite dish that I can eat everyday.
Abe’s Farm offers that peek into history with it’s ancestral interiors and spacious grounds… And the best part — they serve the genuine deal in Capampangan flavors. Two of my highly recommended dishes are the Pako Salad and Adobong Pusit.
Paco or fern (young fern) is the “bida” of this salad! Used fresh, the young fern tops are washed well and often soaked in salted water before combining with fresh tomatoes, red onions and topped with red egg. The dressing is a gastronomic favorite for me: calamansi, suka (paombong goes well with this recipe) and patis! (Currently salivating…) I don’t want to say a “gasgas” word but since my mind went blank together with my tongue… REFRESHING!
Inday Fely, our former neighbor in Cebu who was the Yaya of one of Bacolod’s princesses, taught me well on how to cook this unassuming yet power packed with flavors dish… Salamat kaayo, ‘Day!
But instead of adding a dash of muscovado like the Bacolenos, this one is Pampanga-based and has more of the sour taste from vinegar. Mind you! The baby squids fresh and the “plasticky” spines removed (just like ‘Day Fely has taught me)… So soft, so fresh and so delicious!

El Cangrejo, a story of crabs and steaks

I cannot imagine the horrors of overeating! But overeat I did! Good thing it was a lunch affair… Here’s the scoop on my satisfying indulgence.

El Cangrejo, tucked away inside a restaurant compound along Sgt. Esguerra in Quezon City, might look simple and unassuming but hold your tongues! In the midst of a straightforward crabs, seafood and steak menu lies the flavor of freshness from the sea.
What bowled me twice over was the skill in sauce making. A saucier’s job is to perfect the sauces (mind you, sauces can make or break a dish!) and to assure that they won’t overpower the natural flavors of the ingredients. In this instance, crabs and steaks, my lunch order in eat-all-you-can fashion for a very good deal at Php795!
I had to bow before the chefs! My medium rare steaks came just as I wanted them with a demi glacé that was perfect I had to ask for another serving. And, oh my goodness! The huge live crabs!!! Freshly caught and freshly cooked… No allergies for me!
The crab meat was bountiful and the crab fat was just right I had to eat with my hands. So so so good I’m left with no words. The milky taste of the crabs we’re perfect with the beurre noisette sauce and of course the all time fave humble vinegar. I couldn’t complain. I couldn’t ask for anything more.