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.

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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 #43: BANANA TURON (Valencia)

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 Recipe

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 #41: GINATAANG HALO-HALO (ALFAJOR)

Ginataang Halo-Halo is another favorite Filipino merienda or minandal which is usually served as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. In my hometown, this delectable dish is popularly known as Alfajor. A warm bowl of this sweet delicacy can be enjoyed at a nearby carenderia, usually being served along side lugaw and other kakanin.

Root crops are the key ingredients of Ginataang Halo-Halo which easily fill your stomach and give you enough energy for a day’s work. Saba bananas and ripe jackfruit add an extra sweetness, and the sago and glutinous rice balls (bilo-bilo) provide a chewy texture.

Just an additional note, I personally find it challenging to prepare Ginataang Halo-Halo because I get allergic reaction while peeling taro roots (gabi). It gives me an itch that lasts for several days. Gabi is naturally toxic when raw, but its toxicity diminishes when cooked. What I do is I wear a plastic bag or hand gloves whenever I prepare the root crop. So, take extra precautionary measures as you might also experience the same discomfort.

Meanwhile, the glutinous rice (malagkit) dough is the same ingredient that we use in making Palitaw. Check out my Palitaw recipe to learn how to make the dough at home. When you shape it into small balls, it is locally known as bilo-bilo, which perhaps came from the Tagalog word bilog which means round in shape.

Just like many of Filipino dishes, Ginataang Halo-Halo can be prepared without one or two of the ingredients especially when they are not available in the place where you live. Check out Filipino stores in your area for canned varieties if you can’t find fresh produce.

Ginataang Halo-Halo

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