Sunday, March 31, 2013


Saranggola, photo courtesy reichelbee
Many of younger generations nowadays seem not having experience in making “saranggola”. If you may ask what is a “Saranggola”, it is a tagalog term for a “Kite”. I said that first statement because I can see from children these days that they are mostly playing only inside the comfort of their homes and in front of the computer. I asked my nephew if he knew how to make saranggola but he was like a bit confused of what saranggola means. So I taught him how to make one and he was so happy.

I want to share my thoughts and experiences when I was a kid. Back in our early years, my eldest brother and I used to make “Saranggola” using materials which are highly available in our backyard. With just having, walis ting-ting sticks, a page taken from a newspaper, glue, a thin nylon, and a scissors you can already build one for you.

It’s fun making a Kite because you could understand the concept of the design. You are not only having fun but you are also using your brains to calculate and to become innovative. Most of our designs were successful and from making many kinds of saranggola we had created bigger designs and using colorful paper covering. I remember the famous tagalog song with these words “matayog ang lipad ng saranggola ni Pepe” which makes me think of our childhood activities hehehe..

Do you also have some experiences in making saranggola, please don’t hesitate to share them here, please leave your comments below.

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

What is Halo-Halo

When it is hot especially during summer, we tend to look for something cold to eat and drink. Why don’t you try halo-halo. It’s a special dessert that is perfect during summer, enjoy it with your family and friends to relinquish the heat of the summer.

What is halo-halo by the way?, well “halo” is a tagalog term for “mix”, so halo-halo is a term used by Filipinos for a dessert such as shown in the picture. This is actually a mixture of different kinds of ingredients such as boiled kidney beans, garbanzos, sugar palm fruit (kaong), coconut sport (macapuno), and plantains caramelized in sugar, jackfruit (langkâ), gulaman, tapioca, nata de coco, sweet potato (kamote), cheese, and pounded crushed young rice (pinipig). These are just the basic solid ingredients for halo-halo, in some parts of the Philippines they include some fruits such as avocado, mango and many more.

How about liquid ingredients? Well milk is needed to have a delicious blend of taste to these solid ingredients, then don’t forget to put a crushed ice as this is the most important ingredient of Halo-halo, and lastly of course is sugar. So when they are mixed together they provide a very delicious taste.

You can call it special halo-halo when you see a scoop of ice cream on top of it. Wow it’s so tempting to see this dessert, I can’t wait to buy one already. Don’t forget to grab a spoon and enjoy your summer with Halo-halo. Cheers…
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Leche Flan Recipe

I went home to notice that my wife had already made a leche flan so I have nothing to do but to start scooping them until one of the llanera is almost half emptied. But then I realized that I ate a lot, and I need to control also because I am avoiding high sugary foods because we have a diabetes history in our family.

Anyway, for some, Leche flan is a popular dessert to to eat with Suman (sticky rice) or serve with sweetened macapuno (young coconut) and ube (purple yam), or just serve as it is.

This dessert is one of the recipes that is almost available during celebrations and served during Christmas, new years, or fiestas in the Philippines. I asked my wife on her recipe and she was so generous enough to share to us her leche flan recipe.

So here are the ingredients the we need to make this dessert. This recipes makes 4- 5 llanera of Leche Flan.

Leche Flan Ingredients:
12 Egg Yolks
2 Cans Condensed milk (14 OZ.)
5 Cans small Evaporate Milk
2 Cups Fine White Sugar
2 Tablespoon Vanilla or ¼ Teaspoon grated dayap rind (Optional)

You will also need the following:

How to make the Caramelized Syrup:

1) In a stainless steel pan, dissolve 3/4 cups of sugar, add 1/4 cup water over medium heat, do not stir, just swirl the pan gently, caramelize in low heat if you don't want it burnt. 

2) Pale brown means sweeter and too dark means bitter. 

3) When you have achieved the desired color, pour the syrup in the llanera and make sure to coat all the parts of the pan.

How to make the Custard:
1) In a mixing bowl, combine all the egg yolk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar and vanilla. Use a whisk to mix thoroughly but gently to prevent bubbles from forming. Remove any solids by using a strainer.

2) Pour the mixture in the llanera and cover it with an aluminum foil, so that the moisture from the steam won't come in the pan as it will become watery.

3) Steam Cook for 40-45 minutes, or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

4) Remove the llanera and let it cool at room temperature. Then refrigerate for several hours before serving.

5) To unmold the leche flan- run a sharp knife around the edge and carefully invert it unto a platter or serving dish, let the caramelized sugar flow over the leche flan.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sinigang na Bangus Recipe

Whether you are in the Philippines or in other parts of the world, Bangus will certainly be a fish of choice for dish with soap (such as sinigang) and for a fried one.   What most pinoys love about this fish is its belly especially if the fish is marinated in vinegar overnight and later fried.

Having said that, making sinigang out of Bangus is also a great choice of dish to cook today.  I like using kangkong leaves or sometimes malungay leaves for my veges. For the tamarind, it is always best to use the original tamarind fruit, but in our recipe we will be using a powder pack one.

So we will be cooking Sinigang na Bangus in a while, so get your basket and grab those ingredients that we need to prepare this dish.

What do you need for Sinigang na Bangus?
1 piece large Milkfish (bangus), cleaned and sliced into serving pieces
2 cups kangkong leaves cut into serving size, or malungay leaves
2 pieces tomatoes, quartered
1 small white radish (labanos), sliced
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 medium onion, sliced
5 cups water
1 small pack tamarind powder
salt to taste

How to cook Sinigang na Bangus?
1) Put water in a pan and bring water to a boil.
2) Add the tomatoes, onion, and simmer for few minutes.
3) Add the bangus. Simmer for 10 minutes.
4) Add the tamarind powder and salt to taste.
5) Add the labanos and simmer for 5 minutes.
6) Remove from heat, Let stand for 5 minutes.
7) Serve hot. Enjoy with white rice!

Note: if you want a little spicy soap, add some green chili in the ingredients and put them on the pan after turning off the fire.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ilawang Gasera

Ilawang Gasera is a traditional lamp used in many houses in Philippines when there was no available  electricity yet especially in far places from cities or in rural areas. “Ilawang Gasera” is a tagalong term which means “Kerosene Lamp” in English.

I remember when I was at elementary, we used to have this at home. Although there was already a supply of  electricity in our town, but most of the time the transformer at our place was always overloaded and in return  it always end up to a “brownout” and using ilawang gasera is the last resort. Making our homework and  assignments for school was hard when we are using Ilawang Gasera because it can only produce dim light.

In this blog, we will get to make a Ilawang Gasera from scratch. I am not that expert enough but I used to do  this when I was a kid and I had perfectly done several of these kinds.

How to make this one?
Well it’s easy, what you need are the following:
1) Empty glass (probably with sealable metal cap, you could use here empty glass from coffee, jams, cheese,  etc.
2) A small metal sheet (2x2 inches) – use here aluminum sheet from milk cans.
3) Strips of cloth (a bit longer than the height of the glass), cut from un-wearable T-shirts.
4) Kerosene (a right amount for the volume of the glass, be extra careful in keeping kerosene as it is  flammable.
5) A Nail (pako)
6) A Hammer

How to prepare the Ilawang Gasera?
1) Take the cap of the glass and flip it over, using the nail and a hammer prick a hole (same diameter of a  pencil) on the center of the cap.
2) Pick the Strip of cloth and a metal sheet, then at the one end of the cloth wrap the metal sheet on it to  cover that area but put some extra spare of cloth at the end (this will be used for the flame side) such as  shown in the picture.
3) Assemble the glass cap by attaching the side of the cloth with wrapped metal to the hole of the cap. The  wrapped metal should be halfway positioned on the glass cap.
4) Return the cap on the glass and put the strip-cloth inside the glass.
5) This is now ready, you could pour some amount of kerosene (such as half of the glass) and allow the cloth  to soak some kerosene.
6) You can also put a little amount of kerosene at the tip of the cloth (on the wrapped metal side) before  igniting the gasera.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pancit Bihon Recipe

Let’s cook a pancit bihon today. It’s a recipe that most pinoys love to prepare every time there is an event or celebration. The good thing about this recipe is the combination of protein, veges, and carbohydrates so it’s already a perfect meal. What you need is just another dessert and a cold drink to complete your day. 

When I am cooking this recipe, I would actually soak the bihon in water before I drop them in a wok/pan because this way the bihon would become soft and easy to cook.

Mostly while you are cooking the noodle, there will be a time that noodles will stick to the pan, in this way you can add a little bit of water to loosen the noodles.

As with any recipe, adjust according to your taste. I like mine salty-sweet with a healthy portion of vegetables that have a slight crunch to them. For softer vegetables, cook a little bit longer once everything is mixed in the wok.

Okay, let’s prepare now our ingredients and we are ready to go to do our recipe. 

Pancit Bihion Ingredients:

8 ounces “Excellent” brand rice sticks
2-3 pieces chicken thighs or drumsticks
1 small green cabbage (shredded in 1/2 inch pieces)
2-3 medium carrots (either shredded or chopped thinly crosswise)
1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 pound shrimp (remove the shell)
1 tablespoon cooking oil (sunflower or canola is recommended)
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional, add 1 tablespoon soy sauce if not adding fish sauce)
Freshly ground black pepper

Optional Garnishes:

Calamansi or Lemon wedge
Chopped scallions
Chili garlic oil

How to cook Pancit Bihon

1) Boil chicken in 4 cups of water to make the stock. Once cooked, shred the chicken meat into thin strips. Discard the bones and set the stock aside.

2) Heat a large wok to medium-high heat. Add canola oil. 
3) Stir fry the garlic and onions until the onions turn clear. Be careful not to burn the garlic. 
4) Add the shredded chicken pieces and shrimp (if using). Once the shrimp turns pink, add cabbage and carrots. 
5) Lightly stir fry 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture onto a bowl and set aside.
6) Pour the chicken stock into the heated wok. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium. 
7) Add rice sticks, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Boil for another 5 minutes or so until there is approximately 1/4 cup stock left. 
8) Add the meat mixture back into the wok. Lightly stir fry until all the liquid has evaporated. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.

Garnish with a lemon wedge, chopped scallions, and chili garlic oil.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

What is a "Tokwa"? - How to make appetizer

Many people get confused with the “Tokwa” because its physical appearance is like a block cheese but actually they are made from a refined or ground bean which is processed until the soy milk is extracted.
Tokwa is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds into a rectangular casing and when it hardens it looks similar to white cheese such as parmesan.

What I like about the Tokwa is its subtle flavor that can be used in savory and sweet dishes.  This is also a great source of protein, and so I often add this food to my diet when I do weight lifting exercise.

In Philippines, the best dish that you could cook using Tokwa is the famous “Tokwa’t Baboy”, meaning the combination of “Tokwa and Pork”.  We will post here a recipe of that in a later time but at this moment let me just give you another typical Filipino appetizer using the Tokwa.

When you buy a tokwa in a local market, you could actually get them in a rectangular shape such as seen in the picture. For now, let’s start making the appetizer.

Here are the ingredients:
5 tablespoons of soy sauce
3 pcs of kalamansi or 2 teaspoon vinegar
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
3 onion leaves (sliced finely)
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 small chilis (siling labuyo) (optional)

½ to 1 cup of edible oil
1/8 Kg Tokwa

Here is the procedure:

1) What you need to do is to cut the Tokwa in cube shapes (maybe ½ inch thick and wide). Set aside.
2) In a pan, heat the oil, once hot, drain all the Tokwa cubes into the pan.
3) Stir occasionally until Tokwa turns golden brown.
4) Remove the tokwa from the pan and drain the oil.
5) In a bowl, prepare the sauce ingredients by combining them together.
6) Pour the fried tokwa into the sauce and enjoy!

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