Wednesday, February 29, 2012

BIKO (sticky rice pudding)

Biko is a traditional filipino snack usually served during special occasions or Fiestas. Mostly, we eat it like an afternoon snack or dessert.

I was curious at how to make it and when I finally did, I realized it was pretty easy!

My one mistake on my first try was not soaking the rice in water. I  just washed it and started cooking. It resulted in an unevenly cooked biko. (there were some rice granules that were not fully cooked) ~ apologies to my taste testers!

So for this you'll need:

coconut milk from two coconuts (first press) or
2 cans of coconut cream ( note: we need 3/4 cup of cream for the topping. reserve 3/4 cup and then dilute the rest with water to make 3 1/2 cups)

2 cups malagkit rice (sticky rice variety)
3 1/2 cup diluted coconut cream
3/4 cup sugar
50 grams of butter ( about 1/4 of 1 225gram butter stick)
1 egg

1 225 gram can condensed milk
3/4 cup coconut cream
2 tbsp flour or cornstarch

wash rice. soak the malagkit rice in water for 30 mins. drain.

pour the 3 1/2 cup coconut cream, rice and sugar into a pan and heat. Keep mixing till it becomes almost dry.  About 10-15 minutes.  (at this point, you'll see the coconut cream releasing oils in the bottom of the pan)- lower heat and mix in beaten egg and butter.

spread into a prepared baking dish. (a brownie pan works best). preheat oven to 350C or 175F

make topping.

combine topping ingredients in a saucepan in low heat and mix until thickened. Pour over biko in pan. Bake in the oven until browned about 15 minutes.

let cool and cut into squares.

To those who do not like very sweet desserts, the topping is pretty decadent. The only effort you need to make is to keep stirring the pot when cooking the rice. (it might stick to the bottom of the pan if you don't stir). After awhile, the aroma of the coconut just wafts through the kitchen like nothing else. YUMMO!!!!

if you don't want a caramel topping, and want to be adventurous, you can try making LATIK
 to top your biko. 

Maybe on my next try, I might do a pandan biko! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pandan Chicken - low carb

As I have indicated a few posts back, I am on Cohen. I tell you, sometimes it IS so challenging to come up with recipes that would satisfy my taste buds as well as adhere to the principles of the diet.

Thankfully, I found this recipe for pandan chicken which requires no soy sauce and oil for the marinade.

You'll need:

1/2 kg chicken breast
1-2 tsp tumeric
1 small shallot
salt and pepper
1 tsp splenda (or sugar)

pandan leaves (screw pine)

Cut the chicken breast into bite sized peices, put into a bowl and mix with all the spices and shallot. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes or ovenight.

When you are ready to cook, Wash the pandan leaves and roll 1 pc of chicken in the leaf and secure with a toothpick.

At this point, in a regular world, you would deep fry the pandan chicken in oil. However, I recently purchased an Philips Air Fryer (it fries your food without using oil) and tried this for my pandan chicken.

I lightly coated the chicken pandan with a spray of olive oil and put nin the basket. I let it cook at 180C for 15 minutes (checking at 10 minutes)

It turned out pretty good!

I paired this with curried cauliflower and it was so yummy and satisfying. *note, i was informed pandan is NOT allowed on Cohen... so if you on it, just pan fry the chicken without the pandan wrap.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fish head claypot

My husband really like hotpots. One sunday he bought a really big grouper at the wet market and got a bright idea to make a fish head claypot dish out of the head...

so here is what we made:

He even bought 1 kilo of LECHON (roast pig) to put in this. Although you can do this with just lean pork.

You'll need:
1/2 kg fish head
50g lean pork
4 chinese dried mushroom (reconstituted in hot water)
1 large firm bean curd
2 slices ginger root
2 scallions
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp rice wine or sherry
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup stock
oil for deep frying

Clean fish head and chop. Rub some salt inside and out. Coat with flour and deep fry in oil. Set aside

Cut the pork, mushrooms,bean curd and ginger into small slices. Heat a little oil in the pot and stir fry ginger and scallions till fragrant. put in the pork, mushrooms and bean curd. Sitr for awhile and add the rice wine, soy sauce, stock and fish head.

bring to a boil. add a little salt (taste it first) and reduce heat. Simmer for about 7 minutes.

Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve while hot.


My husband said it really came close to the restaurant version. Personally, I would have fried the bean curd before putting it in. I was reluctant to stir the pot because I might "break" the soft bean curd and it would crumble on me. The pork really adds flavor to this. I think you can use lechon kawali (deep fried prok belly) or come other crispy pork as the pork element.

I bought the claypot in ONGPIN (chinatown) and depending on the size, it would cost around 400-600 pesos (I gotta tell you, you have to haggle with the store owner.)- The good thing about this is you can go straight from the stove to the table using this pot.

I hope you try this and tell me what you think. Happy Eating!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beef with Cabbage in oyster sauce

Ok, so this is not a Cohen accredited dish. I am still trying to figure how to present the dishes so they would be more appetizing. So I guess, I'll have to get back to you on that.

One of the ancient chinese cookbooks I "inherited" from my mom is Weichuan's chinese Cuisine. Its a bit battered and the binding is kind of loose, but the dishes inside are worth trying. One of them is this one.

you'll need:
1/2 lb beef tenderloin
1/2 tbsp cooking wine
3/4 tbsp. soy sauce
3/4 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup oil for frying
2/3 lb cabbage cut into pcs
1 green onion
6 slices ginger

sauce: (mix together in bowl)
1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp cooking wine
2 tbsp water
dash of sugar, sesame oil, black pepper
1 tsp cornstarch

slice the beef and add cooking wine, soy sauce and cornstarch. set aside. (10 mins). before frying, add 1 tsp oil to the beef so that the slices of beef will not stick.

Heat the wok and add 3 tbsp oil, stir fry the cabbage with a little salt until it becaome limp. Remove and drain, Arrange slices in a serving dish.

Heat wok and add oil. stir fry the meat slices until almost cooked. remove. Remove the oil and reheat wok. Add 2 tbsp oil, stir fry the green oinion, ginger until fragrant. Add beef and sauce ingredients. Turn the heat up and stir to mix. Remove and place on top of cabbage. Serve.

Hubby enjoyed this dish. It was not too salty at all and it really went well with rice. Added bonus, you can reheat leftovers for "baon" the next day!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baked chicken with pineapple and peaches

For those of us who are tired of cooking fried chicken all the time... here is something to try!!

I have made this dish a few times already and the kids really love it. It looks hard but actually, it's very easy to make.

You'll need:

4 chicken legs (you can use other parts)
1/4 tsp thyme 
Salt and pepper


1 small can of pineapple tidbits (about 1 cup)
1 cup sliced (canned peaches)
1/2 cup pineapple syrup ( from can)
1/4 cup peach syrup (from can)
1/2 tsp salt
1 bayleaf
2 tbsp ginger juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. vinegar
black pepper
2 cloves garlic minced

preheat oven to 380C (190F)

Rub the chicken with salt pepper and thyme. let stand 10 minutes. Combine the ingredients of the glaze in a pan and simmer until it thickens (about 10-15 mins). Remove from heat.

Heat a pan till smoking, add oil and sear both sides of the chicken well. Transfer to a baking dish and pour glaze over.

Bake for 30 mins. Serve.

I have to tell you. this is finger licking good! If you don't like it too sweet, you can omit the brown sugar and just stick with the canned juices. 

It works best over rice.. HMMM (this is when I was STILL eating rice...) now, I only get to cook this for my family. =(

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dinner in the Dark

What is dining in the dark? This idea originally came from a restaurant in Cologne, Germany named Unsicht-Bar where people literally dine in complete darkness. What is also unique about the bar is that other than the place being pitch-dark, the waiters are either visually impaired or completely blind.

The concept of the restaurant is not only to let people experience what it is like to be blind, like the waiters; but also for you to experience the heightening of your other senses if you don't use your sense of vision. Ordinary food like carrots can taste so much more when you don't see it, and you use the rest of your senses to feel the texture. You may also need your hearing to place where your companions are in the room, where the voices are coming from; slowly feel where your utensils and glasses are while eating. It is a whole different kind of experience.

Since this bar opened, many has opened restaurants with similar concept. Instead of having blind servers they rely on technology to hire seeing people to guide people to their seat and serve their food to them.

This year JCI Manila partnered up with Best Western F1 Hotel in cooperation with Enderun Colleges organized an event called Dinner in the Dark last February 10, 2012. This event was a fund raising event for the Parents Advocates for Visually Impaired Children and for the Blind Olympics.

Since this is just an event and isn't an actual restaurant, they did not invest in pricey night vision goggles and instead we were given blind folds before we entered the function room. We were asked to line up, like kids in kindergarten, and hold the shoulder of the one in front of you and the guide lead us all to our table and respective seats.

The event actually started late, since the dinner was a 3-course meal and could not start if not everyone was around. It was not until 8:30PM before we actually had our dinner.

The first thing we had was bread with butter. It was such a challenge because you wouldn't think eating bread would require a good amount of vision to actually do it right. haha. I was spreading butter on my finger instead of on the roll. Of course putting food into the mouth isn't any problem since we have Kinesthetic sense, provides the parietal cortex of the brain with information on the relative positions of the parts of the body.  So we will always know where our mouth (or other body part) is.

First course was the soup, we were asked to put our hands on our lap whenever they were gonna serve the food.  Even though the place was not completely out of light, it is still a challenge for the servers to make sure that we won't bump into them while they are putting the hot soup on the table.  It was mushroom soup, it smelled really good an delicious and I could bite the bits of diced mushrooms in it.

What's funny about dinner in the dark is that you don't need to worry much about etiquette! haha whether or not you're using the right spoon or should or should you not hold up the cup of soup.  I just put the cup close to my mouth and slowly scooped a few spoonful at a time.

The main course was very interesting.  This is really the first time to eat something I have never seen before.  I guess my (bad) habit of smelling the food before I eat came in really handy that night.  I randomly stabbed my fork onto the plate and just ate whatever was skewered.  Our table concluded that there were definitely 2 kinds of fish on the plate which were salmon and dory fish.  There was also a hearty serving of mashed potatoes; some sort of enchilada that had bell pepper in it, was definitely sweetened by mango bits, and also had super delicious cilantro on it.  I really loved it.  The plate made us all VERY full since the serving size was a big one.  This was also served with a glass of red wine.

On the third plate, the dessert, when the plate was served, the host asked us count down with them from 10.  3,2,1.... we were asked to remove our blindfolds while the they simultaneously turned on the light and colored poppers were released into the air and everyone clapped and appreciated the chocolate mousse in front of us, beautifully arranged on a plate with strawberry sauce and drizzles of chocolate.

The event definitely gave you a sort of slice-of-life experience of being blind.  Of course they wouldn't be as clumsy as we were, as they are accustomed to darkness, but how the rest of your senses work better if you don't rely solely on your eyes to function.  It is actually ironic how being "blind" is an eye-opening experience.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vigan Longganisa

My husband really like ilocos longganisa (a regional sausage from the north of the Philippines).. it has a garlicky and very distinct vinegar taste that really brin gs him back to his roots (his grandfather is from ilocos) After eating some very disaapointing longganisa (it was too fatty) I decided to try making my own.

This would be my last post in the "fatty" category.


Well, since the start of this year, I am trying to do a medical plan. eat healthier and lose some of the weight I gained since starting this blog. (don't ask how many pounds-- =(

So, as a farewell... here's ... drum roll please... VIGAN LONGGANISA!!

1 kg ground pork (it would taste better if it's a little more fatty)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2- 2 heads garlic chopped (more garlic is better)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup cider vinegar (or better yet, vinegar from ilocos- sukang ILOKO)--
2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. cornstarch

Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour or more. (for better flavor, marinate overnight). shape into small sausages and if cooking right away, fry in a non stick pan (no need for oil) till its browned. If you want to keep in freezer, cut pcs of wax paper and you can roll each suasage between theses and freeze for later use. If using with casing, (w/c I didn't have)- omit cornstarch
the black is the ilocos cane vinegar. it has a very distinctive taste

tips: you can add cubes of fat with the ground meat. I used pure lean ground meat and it wasn't as YUMMY as when you have a bit more fat in it.

The "long" method is they cure the sausages in the fridge for 3-5 days. If you can wait that long, I think the taste would be better.  (I only marinated mine overnight)

You can shape it like burger patties (like what my maid did, but it kindda misses when it doesn't look like a sausage.. don't you think?)

Best to serve with garlic fried rice chopped tomato and salted egg. happy eating!

P.S. - next blog posts from me will be "healthier eating"... if you want to know what I'm on, click HERE

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guest Post: Thai Basil Chicken

It makes me wonder if there is a correlation between fashion people and food, aside from both starting with the letter F.

I have known Che Bool- Ilarde since she was designing for a large clothing company in EDSA. She is currently living in Singapore with her husband and are often mistaken for Piolo Pascual and Angel Locsin. (hahaha)

Aside from the business connection, she also got me as her Godmother during her wedding (ok, don't ask me, I was expecting her to ask me to be Ninang to her child, not her wedding.! )

This is her first blog post.  THAI BASIL CHICKEN

So I woke up one morning and realized I had this chicken fillet in the
freezer sitting for almost 2 weeks now.  I must find something to use it for, but what recipe? I dare not attempt another chicken alfredo linguine. (my go-to recipe of all time)

And then I remembered my LOVE for Basil Chicken Rice.  I usually get to have it only once a month when I venture out of my cave/office and try the hawker food stalls in Lau pa Sat and Suntec.  It is only there whereI can find the perfect Basil Chicken Rice. It has just the right blend of spicy Chicken stir-fried with the aromatic fresh basil leavesslathered on (guilt-free) brown rice :)    What better opportunity to try to cook it at home than on the weekend, and use my half month old chicken to boot!

When I googled for the recipe, they had tons of variations but it was
very simple to do and the ingredients are very basic.  I think
preparation and cooking time will be 20 mins tops.


1/4 kg chicken fillet, chopped into small baby bite size pieces.
1 tbsp garlic (finely chopped)
1 1/4 tbsps fish sauce/patis  (can reduce to 1 tbsp)
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce (see photo for the singaporean soy sauce I used)
1 big bunch of fresh basil leaves (stems removed)
1 pc siling labuyo (small bird' eye chili) or  1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
ground white pepper (to taste)
3 tbsp olive oil

In a small cup, mix together the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar.  Set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and fry garlic till light brown.
Add the chicken meat into the pan.  Stir around until chicken meat
changes color.  Sprinkle in the Chili and Patis/Soy Sauce, Sugar
mixture and continue frying.  Once chicken is cooked and golden brown,
toss in the basil leaves until the leaves are slightly wilted and you
can smell the fragrance of the basil.

Add a dash or two of ground white pepper.
Serve immediately on top of white or brown rice.
The portions I listed here will be 2-3 servings.  I was hoping therewould be some left over for my husband's later meal (ergo, round 2) but, alas, he finished all even if I barely ate one serving.  He did say it was a tad salty so anybody trying this may want to tweak the fish sauce and soy sauce portions a bit. And if you like your food spicy, feel free to put in more chili :)