Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easy Puto Maya ( Steamed Sticky Rice with coconut milk )


Ripe sweet mangos always remind me of the Philippines. And I must say when we claimed that we have the best mango in the world, hands down it's truly the best. But being away from home and craving for those heavenly luscious fruit is like a quest. I have tried several varieties and so far I can say that probably the closest is the Ataulfo variety. But sadly unlike those mango we have back home it can be a little tricky to know if it's truly ripe or not. Philippine mango has a very sweet aroma and it is the best determinant that it's ready to be consumed. 

Sweet mango also reminds me of a breakfast that I truly love. It's a simple one paired with sticky rice and sikwate - our own version of hot chocolate made from tablea ( Cocoa ground formed to coin sized tablets ). Every time I can enjoy this treat my taste buds just take me home.

After of course discovering the sweet mango, it was time to learn to cook Puto Maya. Native desserts like Puto Maya always intimidate me because they have no specific measurements when they do this at home. Correct me if I am wrong but everything done eyeballed. And that really throws me off. Fortunately after some research and a friend's advise  I finally have the recipe. Now I can finally have this wonderful breakfast at home granted they have lovely mangos in Costco and the pasalubong ( gifts you give after you travel ) of tablea from my in-laws is still around.

2 cups sticky rice
1/2 can (14oz) coconut milk 
Slices of ginger
1/4 cup or less sugar

1. Soak rice in water (overnight for best results)
2. In your steamer basket place ideally banana leaf ( or parchment paper to prevent sticking).
3. Drain sticky rice completely
4. Add about 2 tbsp. of sugar and few dashes of salt on the drained rice. Mix until completely incorporated.
5. Place seasoned rice on the steamer and start steaming covered for about 10mins.
6. After 10mins. Or more depending on your steamer water should start to boil. Add about 1/4 of the canned coconut milk + ginger. Mix well then cover again.
7. Once rice is half cooked add the other 1/4cup of coconut and mix well. Or just enough to cook the rice. Adding too much will make it soupy.
8. Check the taste for sweetness, if preferred you can add more sugar to your liking.
9. Cover again and check from time to time until rice is thoroughly cooked.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Easy and Garlicky Adobo

Who would not love adobo? Be it pork or chicken ( which is the common meat ) almost all pinoys love it.

What's not to love? Its easy but when you prepare it you can be sure its a crowd pleaser. Yet in the Philippines, there are a lot of versions of this dish.

Growing up my definition of adobo was pork sides (thicker cuts of pork belly cut into chunks like the ones used for bacon) deep fried to golden brown. It was tender but the skin ( which is the star of the meat, in my opinion ) is crispy. My grandfather sold this in his carinderia ( eatery ) and thus I always connect the word adobo to his dish.

But it was just later on that i discovered that adobo was to some typically meant meat, seasoned with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf and pepper corns. Then simmered until the meat is tender and usually would render fat, then would help brown the meat towards the end of the cooking process.

But there is no absolute rule to make adobo, some like it dry and some like the reduced liquid to remain at the end. And this also makes the perfect topping to your rice. Some even add coconut milk or cream to their dish which i have not tried.

So which one is my favorite? I would say it depends, just like any dish I have tried that are good and some just didn't cut it for me.

But this version I will share is the one i have discovered lately and is my current fave.

Pork sides - cut into half inch thick
Coarse Salt - adjust according to the amount of your meat
Vinegar - at least 1 tsp for 1 pound of pork
Ground pepper
2-3 pcs. of bay leaf
1-2 tbsp of oil
1 head of garlic crushed -if using 2 pounds of meat

Add all ingredients( except the garlic ) in a bowl or in a frying pan. Pour in water just enough to cover your meat. Cover and cook until meat is tender and thoroughly done. Remove the lid to let the water evaporate and meat will render fat. Once your meat is brown, add the garlic. If there's not enough oil you can add another tablespoon. Cook until desired crispiness or once golden brown. I prefer the pork skin and garlic to be crispy at the end. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cooking pinakbet in the US

Pinakbet is a vegetable dish in the philippines. I am not very familiar of the exact region it originated from but just like any pinoy dish it will be prepared differently depending on cook.

To me pinakbet would be defined as a dish with the following ingredients:

Onions, garlic and tomatoes sauteed
String beans
Ampalaya ( bitter melon/ gourd )
Red sweet peppers

My mom makes use raw shrimp shells and head to be used as the base of the stock for liquid added to the dish. Then almost all the time, she seasons the dish with shrimp paste.

I enjoy having this dish, and i find it very healthy if you add less sodium like minimizing the amount of shrimp paste or salt. But I add ginger and coconut milk each time I cook it, I wanted my own style.

To me there is no real way to cook it, so now that I am in the US I use substitutes to prep this dish. Back in the east coast, I discoved butternut squash to substitute the creaminess of the usual squash. And lately, if string beans are not yet in season I use my favorite snow peas.

I realized that when you try to be creative in your cooking, you will still be able to enjoy old time favorites when you substitute. You'll never know, it might even be more that what you hoped for.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Beauty Related

If I had to choose between being a food or beauty blogger/guru, I would choose food. I am more interested with food than beauty related things. But it doesn't mean that I don't care much for looking good and being more than presentable since I believe in the saying "Look good and feel good".

And that being said, I guess this makes my officially first beauty related post. What did I choose? It's Nail Water Decals! I have been curious since my sister started her nail art hobby.

So what are Nail Water Decals? They are nail designs that you can use to style your nails. You use water to slide off the design ( hence the name ). The process involves usually coloring your nails then cutting (to fit) then applying the desired design ( like the Monogram Louis Vuitton design on the photo ). See a tutorial video here on the how to's. There are a lot of designs you can choose from and the possibilities are endless. You can buy them at Amazon or Ebay but I got mine from a seller on Facebook ( located in the Philippines ) sent by my sister.

I just thought since Spring is officially here I should design my nails differently for unique set of fresh pedis. And would go perfectly with my flips flops or open toed sandals which I can wear for the season is getting warmer ( at least I hope ).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Spring Stir Fry

Spring is my favorite season, not only because its the most colorful season but because the produce is good too during this time. This is the time strawberries, asparagus and other vegetables are in season and they will be cheap.

And with all these wonderful produce I do take advantage of a good bargain. I like to make wonderful and easy stir fry with the veggies that's abundant in the market. These dishes are so good with meat dishes, I try to make veggie dishes as sides so I encourage healthy eating with DH & DS.

My Stir fry features a cool weather vegetable - Sugar Snap Peas. I just recently discovered that they are so good when eaten raw, but I do like to remove the rib part.

For my recipe ( good for 2-3 persons)
1 tbsp cooking oil
1/4 cup red onions
1/4 cup red bell peppers
2 tbps of leeks
1 cup of mung bean sprouts
1 cup of sugar snap peas
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 water or just enough to cook veggies
Pepper to taste

Heat oil then saute onions, leeks and peppers. Once fragrant, add the rest of the veggies. Mix everything then after 2-3mins, add the oyster sauce and water. Cover and cook until peas are bright green. Add pepper to taste. Do not overcook. Serve hot, its good as a rice topping.