Sunday, July 22, 2012

Let Us Dance The Beat of Avocado Salsa

Avocado Salsa
Avocado Salsa

As part of my continuous recovery, I am oblige to discover healthier foods that are locally available here in the Philippines. Every Sunday, it is my routine to go to the market to buy stocks for the whole week, this will lessen the time and prevent hassle in preparing what to cook for every meal. I discovered that there were lots of ripe avocados that can be buy from the street vendors. Maybe it is their season of abundance. One of the vendor had offered me and without any second thought I bought 2 kilos. My daughter asked me what shall I do with it and I said, just watch and eat. She was only familiar with adding sugar and milk. Sometimes she doesn't want avocado because of its bitterness and color.

Some nutritionists conducted studies that Avocado contains carotenoid lutein, carotenoids, zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene,and even significant amounts of vitamin E that can combat prostate cancer.

They believe that it also have high levels of phytonutrients or phytochemicals – plant compounds thought to have health-protecting qualities – that are often found in dark colored fruits and vegetables. This compound can prevent Oral Cancer.

For diabetic person, avocado can also be good for them. Avocados also offer vitamin E that helps neutralize free radicals, folate that may lower homocysteine levels in the blood, and fiber that helps regulate blood sugar levels. All of these functions offer important benefits for people with diabetes. Ounce-per-ounce, avocados rank highest in monunsaturated fat, vitamin E, folate, potassium, magnesium, lutein, beta-sitosterol and glutathione, compared to other commonly eaten fruits. (

After we arrived from the market, I immediately prepare a recipe which I think it can be interesting for the whole family since this is not common for us.


  • 2 ripe avocados (sliced and cut into cube)
  • 3 tomatoes (smaller size than the avocado)
  • chopped fresh cilantro (it depend on how many cup that you want)
  • shallots or onion (sliced)
  • squeeze juice of lime (kalamansi)
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (or virgin coconut oil)
  • 2 pickled jalapeno chili, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • big pinch salt


  • Toss all ingredients together in a bowl
  • Leave it for 4 hours to let the aroma combine with its other.
  • Best serve if you have pita bread, nachos or tacos. 
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Famous Ensaladang Pako

Fern Salad

After experiencing a two times of seizure, I was more conscious of my food intake. I make sure that there is always a vegetable and fruits in every meal, I limit the rice in my plate to one scoop and increase those recipe that I know it can boost my health.

As I researched thru the internet, I came across this rare recipe which is almost unknown to the young generation. They call this as Ensaladang Pako or Pako Salad. The main ingredient of this recipe is the fiddle-head fern combined with a twist of different Philippines available mixture.

I have tried to copy the photo that had captivated my attention. And when I tasted it, I found out that it turns-out to be nice. So I am sharing to you the Ingredients and preparation in making it.

  • Paco Tops / Fiddle-head Ferns
  • Sliced Shallots or Onions 
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Salted Egg (Itlog na Pula) 
  • Vinegar (preferably apple cider)
  • Kalamansi
  • Orange Zest
  • Kesong Puti (Caraboa's Milk Cheese)
  • Fish Sauce 
  • Sugar

Needed Materials:

  • Hot water
  • Ice cubes


  • Submerge fiddle-head fern into the hot (boiling) water for about a minute.
  • Transfer the fern in a cold water with ice cubes to stop from being cook.
  • Remove the fern from the water and drain it thoroughly.
  • From a separate bowl, mix vinegar, sugar and fish sauce to make a vinaigrette.
  • Combine the fern with sliced shallots and tomatoes.
  • Toss it with vinaigrette.
  • Squeeze with some kalamansi.
  • Then top with sliced salted-egg and kesong puti.
  • Lastly, designed and scattered the orange zest.

 Photo from
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

There's A Fetus In My Palate


Aside from Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian and Filipino, maybe the most disgusting food that a foreigner may consider in their list is the balut. According to Tim Cameron of, he listed balut as his top "Most Terrifying Foods in the World". Even the well-known chef and foodie Andrew Zimmern has a hard time in swallowing this considered bizarre food. So what is balut all about?

Balut/balot is a fertilized duck embryo that's boiled alive and eaten in the shell. Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, balut are mostly sold by street vendors in the regions where they are available. It is commonly sold as streetfood in the Philippines. -

Here in the Philippines, almost all Filipinos have tasted balut except for those people who are choosy with their food. This food is mostly eaten with salt or seasoned vinegar. This is to neutralized the flavor. Balut is mostly accompanied by a broth and believe to be the albumen. This can be sipped prior to the whole part. Baluts are mostly being sold by street vendors during at night

Aside from eating the egg in a shell, balut is also wrapped with cornstarch and they deep fried. In some restaurants, they serve balut in different ways. They have adobong balut, balut soup, balut tempura and sizzling balut.

According to some historians, balut is not native to the Filipinos. They believe that it was originated in China and being brought by the traders and immigrants during the pre-colonization era. Pateros in Metro Manila is well-knowned as the balut capital of the Philippines
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Monday, March 19, 2012

How Do You Carry Kare-Kare?

Just I have thought that curry dishes (Indian food) is similar to the well-known Kapampangan dish "Kare-Kare". The looks maybe similar but the preparation is very different. So what is kare-kare anyway?

Kare-Kare is considered a stew dish which need the meat to boil for long hours in order to become tender. The typical meat that is use are the oxtail, offal/tripe and ox leg. This food is compose of peanut sauce with a variety of vegetables that are included after the meat have undergone the tenderization. It is common to serve with bagoong (shrimp paste) when eating

According to some food historians this dish has originated from the province of Pampanga, the culinary center of Philippines. But others said that it was that Moro's who has this because in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi this dish is popular to them, they even speculated that this food is being serve long before the arrival of Spaniards in Manila to the elite member just like the datus and rajahs.

Because of complication in preparing it, a typical Filipino can't afford to have this in their everyday's menu. In Pampanga where it originates, during fiesta this are common in every table. You can find this dish also among fine dining Filipino restaurant with a mild twist depending on the chef. Also Kare-kare can be bought in karinderia (side street pre-cook restaurant), but don't demand the authentic one because there might be an absence of one or two ingredients.

Kare kare a la  Bistro Burgos 


  • Ox tail
  • Ox leg(optional but better if you have it)
  • Ox tripe/offal

  • 2 pcs of eggplant - sliced it in slant
  • 1 banana bud/heart/flower - sliced in diagonal
  • 5 pieces of pechay
  • 1 bundle of string beans

Other Ingredients :
  • 2 cups of peanut butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
  • 1 big onion - sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil

How to cook:
  1. Wash the ox tail, legs and beef. Cut into serving pieces. Place in a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, remove the scums as it rises, cover, add more water if you need to. Kare kare is better if the meat is tender. Let simmer until the meat is tender this will take about 1-2 hours.
  2. Transfer the meat into a plate or a bowl and let it cool, set aside the stock. (While others cooked the meat one day ahead, put it into the fridge to solidify the fat and remove it when cooking.)
  3. In a large caserrole put the cooking oil to saute the garlic and onion in about 30 seconds.
  4. Put the meat in the skillet and continue mixing.
  5. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil for another 10 minutes.
  6. Add the vegetables.
  7. In a small bowl, stir the peanut butter with about 1/2 cup of stock and pour it in the caserrole. Stir to blend well. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce is thick.
  8. Serve hot with bagoong alamang and boil rice.

Photos from and
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Halo-halo, The Seasonal Flavor of Summer


Because Philippines is known as a tropical country, the weather during the summer months are extremely hot. Every Filipino have its own way to beat the heat. Some are spending their vacation in the beach to refresh their body from the humid of summer, others may find the cheapest way to cool down the temperature and that's to eat the seasonal flavor of summer, halo-halo.

Halo-halo (from Tagalog word halò, "mix") is a popular Filipino dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice and evaporated milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served in a tall glass or bowl.

Ingredients include boiled kidney beans, garbanzos, sugar palm fruit (kaong), coconut sport (macapuno), and plantains caramelized in sugar, jackfruit (langkâ), gulaman, tapioca or Tae, nata de coco, sweet potato (kamote), pounded crushed young rice (pinipig). In terms of arrangement, most of the ingredients (fruits, beans, and other sweets) are first placed inside the tall glass, followed by the shaved ice. This is then sprinkled with sugar, and topped with either (or a combination of) leche flan, purple yam (ubeng pula), or ice cream. Evaporated milk is poured into the mixture upon serving. (from wikipedia)

During summer, every corner of the street in the Philippines is fill with halo-halo vendors. They grab the opportunity to get extra income for their family. You can buy as low as seven (7) pesos to a higher price of thirty (30) pesos for a special one. Prices may also differ when you buy inside the malls and restaurants.

The preparation of Halo-halo ingredients maybe the hardest among Filipino delicacy. Every ingredients should be cook separately. Halo-halo is a representation of how the Philippines is bountiful with regards to tropical fruits.

Today, every ingredients of halo-halo can be find in the supermarkets. It shorten the long way of preparing it. When you have those, just mix all the components and you may have now the world's elusive dessert.

Photo from
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Magic of Adobo

chicken adobo

pork adobo

Philippines maybe known for one food trademark in terms of cuisine. And that's Adodo. Foreigners can recall our country with this food. Ask them if what's their favorite Filipino food and they will say Adobo.

As it was expected, Adobo was first introduced by the Spaniards in the 16th century during the colonization era. For the Spanish, Adobo is a process of preserving food. A marination of meat which involves seasoning ingredients and other spices.

Although it has a name taken from the Spanish, the cooking method is indigenous to the Philippines. When the Spanish conquered the Philippines in the late 16th century and early 17th century, they encountered an indigenous cooking process which involved stewing with vinegar, which they then referred to as adobo, the Spanish word for seasoning or marinade. Dishes prepared in this manner eventually came to be known by this name, with the original term for the dish now lost to history.

While the adobo dish and cooking process in Filipino cuisine and the general description of adobo in Spanish cuisine share similar characteristics, they refer to different things with different cultural roots. While the Philippine adobo dish can be considered adobo in the Spanish sense—a marinated dish—the Philippine usage is much more specific. Typically, pork or chicken, or a combination of both, is slowly cooked in vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, black peppercorns, and soy sauce then often browned in the oven or pan-fried afterward to get the desirable crisped edges.

There are two meats that can be use in cooking adobo. You can use pork and chicken, others combine them. Cooking Adobo is not really hard to prepare. Its a matter of combining all the ingredients, boil to let it tender, and to adjust the sauce.

Let us try the Chicken-Pork Adobo:


  • ½ pound pork, cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 whole bulb garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ pound chicken, cut into cubes

Combine the pork, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, onions, pepper, bay leaves and water and bring to a boil. Simmer until the pork is moderately cooked. Add the chicken and simmer for 20 minutes.

Photos from Wikipedia
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Intriguing Lokot-Lokot


Fascinated by its name, lokot-lokot was not really prominent in the entire Philippines. When I first heard the word "lokot", the first thing that it crossed in my mind is like a thing that you rolled. Then my guessed had not missed.


The Muslim communities in the Zamboanga Peninsula are known for the variety of delicacies they produce during special occasions, especially the “Hariraya” or the feast of the Eid-il-Fitr, which celebrates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Foremost among the goodies is the golden brown curious-looking “locot-locot” or “jaa” as the villagers call them. A lot of people actually consider it as the “queen” of the delicacies because it is the most popular and frequently asked for by guests.

It is fascinating to watch someone who is seeing the locot-locot for the first time. After asking what it is, he instantly wants to taste it, and as it crunches in his mouth his eyes light up with pleasure and he nods approvingly. Some give the okay sign or put up their thumbs enthusiastically.

If you ask how the locot-locot came about, its origin is sadly lost in the mist of time. Fortunately the ancestors of the present Muslims passed on its technology to the next generations down through the millennia. Some people believe it came from Malaysia or Indonesia as the region, including the southern Philippines, was once a part of the great Madjapahit Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. The seafaring Malays probably brought it to our shores as they wandered freely throughout the area.

Legend has it that it was the locot-locot that inspired the appearance of the Chinese noodles, such as the sotanghon, bihon and miswa. It is said that several attempts of the people of China to imitate the locot-locot led to their creation, which over time became famous delicacies themselves.

Making locot-locot requires a lot of time and hard work. First the grains of rice have to be pounded into flour. Then the correct proportions of water and sugar are added to create a gooey mixture which is poured into a container made of coconut shell with regular small holes at the bottom, all the while it is poised above a frying pan filled with hot oil. As it turns golden brown it is deftly and expertly folded and shaped in the pan with a couple of wooden spoons to create the desired look. Watching a cook do the locot-locot is like watching an artist in motion.

You can tell a house is making locot-locot by the rhythmic sound coming from the kitchen made by the beating of the coconut container to pour out the dough into the frying pan. Some purists say if the rhythm is out of sync the locot-locot will not look attractive and enticing.

(Other infos came from the Facebook page of Taluksangay Muslim Delicacies)
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