Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quest for the best RICE PUTO

One of the dishes when we had our Halloween party over the weekend was Dinuguan ( blood stew ). It reminded me how much I enjoyed back home having Puto & Dinuguan for snack or even as a meal. Before I thought it seemed weird since Dinuguan to me was a main dish for a meal but that all changed.

But even before the snack combo became my favorite I was always a fan of puto. It was easier to enjoy it back home since you can buy it almost anywhere, I can say its a popular dessert or snack to Filipinos.I like the rice puto better than the flour version. And since its a favorite I will always miss eating it now that I am here in the US.

Being here made me a DIY person, and in order for me to have a taste of home in my new kitchen I had to whip up old favorites now on my own. I did attempt to make rice puto before probably twice ( 2 different recipes ) but they all ended up in the trash bin. And I stopped at attempt number 2. Then my taste buds were nostalgic when I tasted Dinuguan again. So I decided the give it another go, this time using Manang's recipe -

It was love at first bite. It was a best puto I ever, it definitely tasted like the ones I enjoy back home. The marriage of rice & coconut flavor was perfect, just the way I wanted. I made them in small silicone molds but I will be looking for bigger molds for bigger rice puto!

Friday, August 27, 2010

How to Plant Lemon Grass

Lemon grass is not really a staple in Filipino cooking but at home my mom would use it to stuff her chicken roast, stewed mung bean soup ( Monggo Soup ) & Filipino style Chicken Soup ( Chicken Tinola ). And when I cook these dishes now in my kitchen it would always seem that something is missing when I don't add lemon grass to it. I always buy some stalks but they would be expensive when I get it from my local grocery and getting it from my Asian grocer is not practical as well.

I would buy lemon grass in small amounts until a friend who is also a Filipina gave me some from her garden. I was curious how she got it. I was not able to ask her but my other friend said she buys hers from a nursery in the summer. It got me thinking that I should grow my own as well. I researched online and found out that you can grow the lemon grass from the stalks. Then last summer I decided to try it.

You will need the following to grow your lemongrass:

3 or more stalks of Lemon Grass
- this is mostly available in oriental groceries, choose a healthy fresh stalk
Glass with water

Place the stalks in in your glass of water and keep this in a sunny spot, I kept mine in my kitchen window. In about 2-3 weeks the roots will sprout and this will make it easier for you to replant it. Back home they would directly plant a fresh stalk and water the soil frequently to encourage sprouting but using the water-in-glass method is fool-proof for me so I use it each time. You can choose to separately plant each stalks when they're ready or plant them in in one spot.

This summer I have grown my lemon grass with less watering and still it was fine. I guess I only did once a week and even when there were times that temperature have gone up to the 90s. It's a great herb to grow considering it requires less maintenance.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Special Ensaymada

It's probably been more than a year since I made my first ensaymada. The recipe was handwritten in on my recipe notebook, sadly I cannot remember which website my recipe came from.

But there are a few modifications that I have added to the recipe. Instead of the regular melted butter & sugar topping I decided to use plain cream cheese and sugar sprinkles. I know it's not traditional but it's definitely worth trying.

*this gallery also showed the first ensaymada I made


1 packet of yeast
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 teaspoon of white sugar

1/2 cup diluted evap milk or undiluted fresh milk
(the more fat the better)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
3 egg yolks
2 1/2 - 3 cups unsifted AP flour

Philadelphia regular cream cheese (thawed & must be spreadable)

Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water & 1/2 tsp of white sugar. Mix, then set aside until bubbly/ foamy. This process will also let you know that your yeast is still good to go, if no changes have occurred repeat process with a new pack ( its also a good to have extra just in case ). Mix everything together until well incorporated & smooth. Transfer dough into a well greased bowl, let rise for 1 hour , then form into a log. Flatten & fill with cheese & butter ( or ube jam , sweet bean paste or custard etc. ) Form into snail shell shaped coils in a greased round pan. If making smaller ones divide dough into equal balls then form into smaller snail shells coils & place it in greased muffin or cupcake pans. Let the dough rest for another hour. Preheat oven at 300'F. Cook for 25mins. or until lightly brown. Cool completely then slather with cream cheese or butter. Add the sugar sprinkles on top as well.