Recipe #46: THAI CHICKEN SATAY with PEANUT SAUCE & CUCUMBER RELISH

Perhaps, one of my biggest regrets while living in Thailand was not being able to blog about my life there. But then again, I also wanted to detach myself from the usual things that I did before I left Manila. I wanted to experience living in another country with a certain level of immersion into a culture that is similar yet so different from my own, away from the familiar crowd and scenes. Besides, that’s one of the many reasons I decided to take refuge in the the land of smiles anyway.

So, yeah, why regret.

Now that I’m back, and while I can still remember snippets of my life in Thailand, I’ll probably share one or two Thai recipes that I really enjoyed (and definitely going to miss) while I was there. Let’s start with one of my favorite street foods — Thai Chicken Satay.

Thai Satay 1

Here’s the thing — satay or sate (pronounced as sa-té) is not originally from Thailand. Its country of origin is in fact Indonesia, historically akin to the Indian kebabs. But because Thailand’s cuisine is more popular than its neighbors, satay became more associated with Thailand.

A photo posted by GJ Coleco (@gjcoleco) on

Thai Pork Satay sold as a street food in Thailand

Aside from Thailand and Indonesia, satay is also a well-known street food in Malaysia and many parts of Southeast Asia. Yes, it can also be found in the Philippines, in the south where it is known as satti.

Just like in any culinary adaptations, ingredients and preparations vary from one region to another. In Thailand, chicken and pork satay are common where it’s served with peanut sauce and cucumber relish. But in Islamic countries, chicken and beef are more preferred, although pork may also be found in non-halal food establishments. 

Try the recipe below and let me know what you think:

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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 #42: GINISANG MUNGGO (Mung Bean Soup)

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 I 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 pork 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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