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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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 #40: MINATAMIS NA SAGING (Kusilbang Saging)

 

On today’s recipe, we have Minatamis na Saging or Kusilbang Saging. If the word kusilba is alien to you, it’s the Tagalog word for preserves, as in fruit preserves, such as jams and marmalades.

Minatamis na Saging is mouth-watering and very easy to prepare. You will need this recipe to make Saging con Yelo. This is also one of the ingredients of our favorite Halo-halo. Personally, I like Minatamis na Saging served as it is.

Pro Tip: Make sure the saba bananas are super ripe, which means that most of the skin has already blackened. This is the best way to use saba bananas because they easily absorb the sweetness of sugar and the final product has a soft, yummy texture.

So, to make this sweet, simple, and short, check out the recipe below for Minatamis na Saging.

Minatamis na Saging / Kusilbang Saging

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