Recipe #56: NILAGANG BABOY

Nilagang Baboy Recipe

I think Nilagang Baboy just saved my day. I have not been feeling well for the past days, and the fickle weather is not helping. A bowl of hot broth can solve all problems. I believe that food will save the world.

Nilaga Baboy is a Filipino pork stew, typically with vegetables such as cabbage and petsay or bok choy. Some people use potatoes, but I prefer kalabasa (a type of pumpkin) because that’s how it’s done in my hometown. It also adds a hint of sweetness to the broth that the potato lacks.

Nilaga literally means boiled, which is pretty much the only thing you’ll do to prepare this dish. It is a tad similar to how Pochero or Bulalo or even Sinigang is prepared, which may only differ in the type of meat and vegetables used. Nilagang Baboy is best served with calamansi and patis on the side as they add tartness and umami to the dish to balance the flavors.

Check out my Nilagang Baboy Recipe below:

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Recipe #53: CRISPY KANGKONG

Crispy Kangkong

When your family eats Sinigang almost every week, chances are, there’s always an abundant supply of kangkong lying around in your fridge’s vegetable compartment. Kangkong (or water spinach) is uber cheap and it’s available all year round. A bundle of kangkong costs about P15 (US$.30) at the grocery and, perhaps, even cheaper at the public market.

Aside from Sinigang, kangkong can also be cooked as adobo, topped with some crispy garlic and savory dark sauce, which can be a fantastic side dish to your fried or grilled seafood, chicken, or pork. But today, we’re making Crispy Kangkong.

Crispy Kangkong is also a tasty appetizer, typically served in restaurants (which may sometimes cost a little more than it should be). But now, you can simply make them at home. The kangkong leaves are coated in spiced batter before frying them in hot oil. Drain the excess oil on a paper towel and that’s it, ready to be served. Easy-peasy!

Check out the complete recipe below:

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Recipe #47: CHOP SUEY

Is chop suey Chinese? American? Nobody seems to know the answer.

Based on the name alone, chop suey (literally means assorted pieces) is most likely of Chinese origin or created by Chinese-American immigrants. Bits and pieces of leftover meat and vegetables are mixed together and stir-fried to avoid wastage, accidentally creating an iconic and versatile Asian dish.

Not to cause confusion, the American chop suey is not the same as the Asian chop suey — not even closely similar. The former is an American pasta dish which is influenced by Italian-American flavor. The name, however, was borrowed from China because it is sometimes prepared using a hodgepodge of meat and vegetables.

Asian countries, such as Thailand and India, have their own versions of chop suey. Some are sweet, some are spicy. In Indonesia, it’s called can cai which is quite similar to the Filipino version. The Filipino chop suey itself has so many ways to prepare. My lola’s version, called vianda (probably has a Spanish influence), contains chorizo de bilbao or Chinese chorizo which adds a lovely aromatic sweetness into the sauce.

Chop Suey Recipe

Chop Suey can be served as a main or as a side to your meat dishes. In Filipino fiestas and other special occasions, chop suey is served to add variety in a usually meat-centric buffet table. Enjoy it with steamed rice, or stir-fry it with your favorite noodles, such as canton or bihon, to make a beautifully delicious chow mein or pancit.

In this recipe, I’m using chicken meat, but you can also use thinly sliced pork, beef, or seafood. Shrimp is highly preferred. Some recipes may also call for tripes or chicken liver. Hard-boiled quail eggs are kids’ favorite. Go vegan by removing the meat or by replacing it with tofu or mushroom, minus the oyster sauce.

Aside from the ones listed below, there are other kinds of vegetables that you may or may not add, such as bell pepper, bean sprouts, patola (luffa), upo (bottle gourd), and green beans. The choice of vegetables is all up to you.

Ready? Warm up your wok and grab the recipe below:

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