Recipe #44: RED SINIGANG with Del Monte Tomato Sauce

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a Sinigang recipe on my blog before. Don’t get me wrong — I love Sinigang, and my family loves it too. In fact, we love Sinigang so much we cook it almost every week: Sinigang na Baboy, Sinigang na Manok, Sinigang sa Miso, Sinigang na Hipon, Sinigang na Salmon, Sinigang na Bangus, and so on…

Sinigang has been a staple on our dining table, which is probably why I haven’t shared  its recipe. I eat it every week, so I never really found any interest to write about it. It’s like making an omelette or frying hot dogs.

So, you ask, what makes this particular recipe special? I’m adding Del Monte Tomato Sauce, that’s what! Yes, Sinigang with tomato sauce, hence the name Red Sinigang.

The mere idea of adding tomato sauce to Sinigang already raised my eyebrow. Won’t it taste weird? Won’t it just turn it into a Caldereta or Mechado of some sort? Is this even legal?

I must try to find out.

Red Sinigang

Albeit skeptical, I couldn’t wait to prepare this Red Sinigang recipe from Del Monte Kitchenomics. Sinigang itself is very easy to prepare — just dump everything into the pot. It has protein and vegetables — a hearty, well-balanced meal, perfect with steamed rice.

The classic Filipino recipe uses fresh, ripe tomatoes and tamarind (sampaloc) to create a sour soup base that we all crave for. For Red Sinigang, I replaced the tomatoes with Del Monte Tomato Sauce. I’m also using Sinigang mix to make things quicker and easier to prepare, although you can still use fresh tamarind if you prefer.

I also decided to use pork ribs because this is one of the bony sections that gives out a rich, meaty flavor, ideal in making soups and soup-based dishes. Just the same, you can use any pork parts that you like.

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Recipe #43: BANANA TURON (Valencia)

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Last Sunday, my father and I prepared the perfect merienda for the family — Banana Turon. Actually, it was my mother who asked us to cook Turon to be sold outside our house as an afternoon street snack alongside my sister’s Halo-halo. But I discovered some vanilla and ube ice creams in the freezer, so I think the family practically ate half of the Turons that we made.

Turon is a sweet roll of saba banana and jackfruit (langka) coated with caramelized sugar and enclosed in lumpia wrapper. In my native town Malabon, it is locally known as Valencia, and the Turon the we have always known has a munggo filling instead of banana. It is usually served as an afternoon snack, although some posh Filipino restaurants serve it as a dessert “a la mode” which sometimes comes with an unreasonable price tag.

Banana Turon

Most of the ingredients of Turon are actually inexpensive. Saba bananas are cheap and nutritious. You can buy jackfruit flesh in tingi (small portions). In fact, we sell one piece of Turon for only P15. However, preparation can be hard labor, especially if you’re not used to rolling and wrapping and keeping everything neat and tidy.

Before you start cooking, here’s a few notes in buying the fruit ingredients: make sure the saba bananas are ripe, possibly with black spots on the skin, soft to the touch, but not mushy; jackfruit flesh must be golden yellow and sweet smelling. Using unripe fruits may result to a gummy bite which is not very appetizing.

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Recipe #42: GINISANG MUNGGO (Mung Bean Soup)

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So, I’ve been staying at home for the past six days, nursing a flu (and a cold and a cough). My body finally gave up on me. I haven’t been sick for years now and I thought it can still take all the stress. I’m blaming everything on the weather; 34 degrees C (about 93.2 degrees F) of glorious summer heat practically envelopes the entire Metro Manila. And it’s still getting hotter!

There’s no comfort in being sick especially during the hot season. The rainy season is more merciful; you can easily find pleasure with a bowl of warm soup or a serving of porridge or a cup of hot something. In this weather, they might be a bit hard to appreciate. But, I still wanted my bowl of soup, so, I came down to a decision and gathered all my strength to get up and prepare my favorite comfort food — Ginisang Munggo.

Ginisang Munggo

I love Ginisang Munggo. I used to not like it when I was a child for reasons that I don’t remember, then started liking it when I was growing up. Ginisang Munggo is pure pleasure in a bowl. Although technically it’s a soup, most Pinoys would eat it with rice. It’s the perfect partner for your fried dishes, especially fish. Ginisang Munggo is usually served every Friday (if you know why, let me know by leaving a comment below!), but I’d eat it any day of the week anyway!

There are many ways to prepare Ginisang Munggo. If you can buy chicharon with laman (pork cracklings), you can use that instead of rendering raw meat. You can also make it vegan or vegetarian friendly by removing the pork and/or shrimp altogether and use tofu instead. For the leafy ingredient, I personally prefer malunggay (moringa or horseradish tree) because it’s packed with nutrients. The thickness of the soup depends on your desired consistency; just add more water and adjust the seasoning.

Note: If you have a high level of uric acid, this dish may not be for you. I’m looking at you, Larry.

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Blogged: On TV, Print, and Gratitude

Hello, everyone!

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for your continuous support of this blog. It has been almost five years since this food blog started. There were some challenges along the way to the point that I almost gave up on keeping it updated. But because of my faithful readers throughout the years, I am inspired to stay to keep it up and running.

Creating a food blog (or any kind of blog, for that matter) and maintaining it are two completely different things — the former being easier that the latter. Keeping it active is not an easy task, especially for someone with a really busy schedule. However, there’s a sense of reward and fulfillment every time I hear (and read) really nice words from you. For that, I thank you.

Mga Luto ni Lola
The blog’s old logo with the original Blogspot URL.

And because of your constant support, I’m proud to share with you that Mga Luto ni Lola has consistently been one of the highest [Google] ranking food blogs in the country, sometimes even beating many of the really well-known food blogs. In fact, this blog is even more popular than the blogger behind it. And that’s okay, because it was never my intention to be popular anyway.

Mga Luto ni Lola also paved the way to so many doors for me — from social media management to job opportunities to even writing a book. I also had my own share of failures though, but at least I get to meet really amazing people who believe in me and in what I am capable of doing. And I guess that’s the best thing that happened to me more than anything else. Not to mention, all the sponsors and media companies who have supported me all the while. Continue reading “Blogged: On TV, Print, and Gratitude”

Blogged: Rekindling Memories of Philippine Kitchens

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“This is the book that I’ve always wanted to write.” I told Amy Besa, co-author of Memories of Philippine Kitchens, a book of Filipino stories and recipes gathered from all over the country.

Memories of Philippine Kitchens

“I get that a lot,” she replied with a sweet smile on her face. She was about to sign the book, so she asked, “What’s your name?”

“GJ,” I said. “I’m a food blogger. I blog about my lola’s recipes.”

“That’s great! You should write a book too!” she said. And that’s the same message that she scribbled as she signed her name on the title page.

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