This nursy plays dirty and does it with pain...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Filipino Palate

I am sure at some point you have asked, "how could he eat that?" Isn't it amazing what people eat? Through food we explore one's culture. What we consume, how we acquire it, who prepares it, who’s at the table, and who eats first is a form of communication that is rich with meaning. Food goes beyond nourishment alone. It symbolizes life. It reflects family. And portrays the culture. Food is a history in itself that enables us to see the evolution of culture through food and vise versa.

Philippines, a Southern Asian country, colonized two times and liberated two times, comprised of 7,170 islands is rich in food cultural history having the influences of both the East and the West. Rice continues to be the main food being eaten three times a day. Rice is always the main dish and the rest of the food on the table becomes the mere condiments.

Filipino cooking is simple. Food is cooked by roasting, steaming or boiling. Surrounded by bodies of water, fish and sea food are the main "condiments" eaten with rice. Filipinos prefer the sour and salty flavors which shows on the many dishes they prepare. And this is influenced by the tropical fruits and vegetables that are in abundance in the country which are largely of the citrus family. The salty part comes from the ethnic sauces such as the fish sauce (patis), shrimp paste (bagoong), and soy sauce (of Chinese influence).

When I am discovered to be a Filipino by new acquaintances, I am always asked about 3 dishes - ALWAYS!!! PANCIT, ADOBO and LUMPIA. LECHE FLAN at times. so here is a treat for the non- Filipino readers and visitors. The recipes for these sought after Filipino dishes... Enjoy!!!

PANCIT: One version...

Minced garlic
Minced onion
Cooking oil ((3-4 tbsp.)
Shredded cabbage
Sliced carrots
Sliced celery
Diced chicken (boneless breast)
Peeled and halved shrimp
Sliced mushrooms
Sliced water chestnuts
Rice Stick noodles (available in Chinese section)
1/2 c. soy sauce1 can chicken broth

Saute onion and garlic in oil until transparent. Add chicken and stir until brown. Add vegetables; saute 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp. Add soy sauce and broth; simmer 1 minute. Add rice stick noodles. Cover, simmer until noodles are not brittle, 3-4 minutes. If needed add more broth or soy sauce to taste.

LUMPIA (Filipinos' spring rolls)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup minced carrots
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
30 lumpia wrappers
2 cups vegetable oil for frying

Place a wok or large skillet over high heat, and pour in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Cook pork, stirring frequently, until no pink is showing. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan, leaving a thin coating. Cook garlic and onion in the same pan for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked pork, carrots, green onions, and cabbage. Season with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Remove from heat, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Place three heaping tablespoons of the filling diagonally near one corner of each wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2 inch space at both ends. Fold the side along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends, and roll neatly. Keep the roll tight as you assemble. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap to retain moisture.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add oil to 1/2 inch depth, and heat for 5 minutes. Slide 3 or 4 lumpia into the oil. Fry the rolls for 1 to 2 minutes, until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

ADOBO (CHICKEN - Filipino version)

1 whole chicken (cut into eighths)
1 whole garlic (chopped)olive oil or vegetable/corn oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 whole black pepper cloves
3 dried bay leaves
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup vinegar**7up/sprite**

Heat oil and add all of the garlic, and cook until garlic is lightly browned. Add chicken and saute until the chicken is beginning to tenderize. Add ground black pepper, whole black pepper cloves, soy sauce, and vinegar, and let simmer for 25-35 mins or until chicken is done. Make sure to add more vinegar or soy sauce until it suits your taste (should be a bit tangy). When chicken is tender, add some 7 up if you want a sweeter taste, and let simmer for 5 more mins.
Serve over rice.

LECHE FLAN (Filipino version)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water

12 egg yolks
1 can (13 oz.) evaporated
1 cancondensed sweetened milk
1 tbsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, combine all custard ingredients. Stir lightly when mixing to prevent bubbles or foam from forming. Strain slowly while pouring caramel lined flan mold. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover mold with tin foil. Put molds into a bigger tray filled with water. Bake in oven for one hour or until mixture is firm. cool before unmolding on a platter.

Put sugar and water in a saucepan. Caramelize in medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour into flan molds or custard cups, tilting the mold to make sure the whole surface (about less than 1 cm) is covered. The more caramel you pour into the molds the sweeter the leche flan.
Put molds in a bigger tray/ baking pan filled with water. Bake in oven for one hour or until mixture is firm. Cool before unmolding on a platter.


Belle TH said...

E, you just answered my wish. This morning as I was talking to a friend of mine at Wal-Mart, she suggested that we get together on July 4th and requested leche flan. I have never made leche plan in my whole entire life. I was hoping that someone was going to show me step by step on how to fix it. Low and behold, you posted the recipe. Thanks, my dear E.

I always look for pancit when I am in a gathering, which I prefer more over rice. But, I must admit fish is the next one I look for. Fried, steamed, grilled, however it is cooked, it makes up a good portion of my dinner plate. Then, I go for rather gourmet food such kare-kare, dinuguan, barbecue, afritada, etc.

I wonder when can we get together?

Elyani said...

Simply delicious! I think our foods are quite similar. I like the lumpia recipe!

NursyE said...

belle: When you make the leche flan, try putting lemon zes, it adds wondeful taste to the flan.

I hope that you will come by my place whenever you are on this side of the country.

elyani: I think we ladies if we get a chance to get together can just cook all day and eat all day... wouldn't that be so much fun???

MomInMiami said...

Oh my goodness! MsE!!!! I am salivating! Can you send some over here? I will not be able to enjoy my cooking in a week hehehe....Those pics are just killing me.

Thanks for sharing and the torture too :D