Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I was introduced to Japanese food about 20 years ago when my Papa took me for dinner in a small (and slightly hidden) Japanese resto in Cartimar market. There, I got my first taste of tempura. Later, we discovered other restos, tried out new dishes (and realized I can somehow eat sashimi, as well as realized that it's not all about tempura *lol*)

Despite my love for cooking, I never thought of cooking Japanese - until recently. Archie and I like to dine at Omakase and savor each and every dish we order. Tonkatsu is one of our favorites.
As we know, Japanese food has special ingredients, and somehow can't be really substituted by a regular pantry staple. Thank God again for asian condiments at the supermarket! Last week, while doing my grocery I paid a visit again to the imported section lane. I felt like I was dumbfounded looking at all the stuff there. As usual, after having my second, third and fourth thoughts, my own free will let my hands take hold of a bottle of each: Rice Wine, Mirin and an all-around stir fry sauce. Pricey indeed, but then again they will be so useful anyway! Since husband likes Tonkatsu, I say why not give it a try? First, I searched for recipes online to get inspiration. So my friends, here's my first attempt on Tonkatsu:

Breaded Pork

500 grams pork tenderloin
salt and pepper
2 small eggs
2 tablespoons milk
japanese bread crumbs
vegetable oil for frying

Tonkatsu sauce

1/4 cup ketchup
4 teaspoons mirin
4 teaspoons rice wine
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 and 1/2 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Heat Oil in a medium to low heat (giving you just enough time for it to be deep-fry ready, while you are coating all the pork)

For the pork, beat eggs and milk in a bowl, set aside. Place flour and japanese bread crumbs on separate plates.

Season the flour with salt and pepper.

Dredge pork first into flour, dip in egg mixture, and lastly, bread crumbs. Repeat process until all pork pieces have been coated. I learned from cooking shows to use one hand for the dry ingredients, and one for the wet. It works :D

Fry pieces until golden brown, drain-drain-drain on paper towels, cut in serving pieces.

For the sauce, mix all ingredients together until you achieve a smooth consistency. You can serve it on a smaller sauce plate or drizzle on top of the pork. Serve on top of steamed rice (preferable Japanese, of course!) and steamed veggies or shredded cabbage
on the side!

For my next project, I shall search for dashi stock for my first attempt on Katsudon! Wish me luck! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Baked Salmon a la Conti's

I am definitely not one of the most updated people when it comes to the newest things in the universe: gadgets, movies, restos and famous resto foods. Name it.

So... new restos, food craze... I do have a wish list though ;)

It was just recently that I got to try Conti's baked salmon. Ok, I know you are just about to laugh or maybe you are now - hehehe that's ok! :)

I have been there waaaaay way back. I have heard of that baked salmon a couple of times from friends raving about how good and tasty it is and all that jazz. Fine. I just don't know why I didn't get to try it before.

so anyway, better late than never! Archie took me there for brunch just recently and finally, in my own taste buds, I'm already able to relate to my raving friends.

Sabi nga ni Kris Aquino once upon a time in a cooking segment in one of her talk shows--- ang sarrrrrrrrraaahhhhhhp!


At bilang nagustuhan ko siya, of course, I definitely had plans of re-creating it at home. Just to add a little personal touch, I put some breadcrumbs on top of the cheesy mixture.

Here goes the experiment:

1 salmon fillet
salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon

Cheese Garlic-Mayo topping

½ block cream cheese - softened
About 3 tbsp mayo
1 to 1 and a half tbsp garlic chopped finely (if you want it more garlicky, just add a bit more)
About 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup for the cream mixture and 1/4 for the topping)
Salt and pepper to taste
Breadcrumbs (optional. I like it w/ breadcrumbs, but the one served at Conti's does not have this)

Garnish - Buttered Vegetables:

Mixed vegetables
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste


Rub salmon fillet with salt and pepper, then lemon juice for about 20 minutes

While salmon is marinating, mix thoroughly the cream cheese, mayo, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. set aside.

Pan fry salmon about 2 to 3 mins on both sides

Pre-heat toaster/turbo. Assemble the fried fish on baking tray, then top w/ cheese garlic mayo mixture, sprinkle w/ remaining parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, bake in toaster/turbo for about 10 to 15 mins at 175C

Microwave mixed vegetables w/ 2 tbsp butter for about 20 to 30 seconds until butter is melted, season with salt and pepper.

Put out the baking tray and surround the baked salmon with butter vegetables. You can actually use other veggies like brocolli, cauliflower, baguio beans, sayote, carrots strips if desired.

It came out pretty much ok, and tastes fairly the same, less the paella rice as it is served in the resto.

If Salmon isn't too expensive, this can be a regular on my monthly menu! You might also want to try it if you are a Salmon lover! Hope you like it! :)

Now back to my resto-wanna-go-wish-list. By the way, Happy second birthday, Happy Tummy bloggy! :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Happy Mother's Day to all drop dead gorgeous fabulous rockin' super mommies out there and that means all of us moms and moms at heart (kapal? sinali ko talaga sarili ko?!)

As a tribute to my Mommy Tess, I would like to feature a meal I learned from her. Almondigas (some call it Albondigas) Actually, pina sosyal ko lang! We just call it Miswa at Meatballs. Hehehe!

Mommy prepares this at home back in my childhood days. Sometimes I volunteer to help when it's time to form the ground pork into balls. I remember I had so much fun getting messy with my hands while forming the meatballs! This is one of my comfort foods aside from Adobo. Whether it's summertime or the rainy season you can't go wrong with this. My mom's recipe even has chopped singkamas to add crunch in the meatballs (but I have no time to add them in my recipe anymore! :P )

the recipe here at home is easy to prepare, here goes:


1/2 kilo ground pork

1 small onion, chopped finely (you can use half the onion and just keep the other half in the fridge if you don't want a strong onion flavor)

1 small carrot grated (this adds color and a little bit of sweetness)

Salt and Pepper to taste

About 2 teaspoons of cornstarch or flour as binder (sometimes I don't use this anymore and they still hold together w/o it)

Vegetable Oil for frying

For the miswa soup:

about 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, minced

2 small tomatoes, sliced

4 to 5 cups water

1 piece Chicken or Beef Bouillon Cube

about 100 g miswa noodles

Fish sauce to taste

Pepper to taste


a few pieces of spring onions, chopped

Mix the ingredients for the meatballs. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 mins. From experience, it's actually easier to form them when they are chilled. After the chilling process, form the mixture into 1 inch balls (or bigger if you want) and fry until cooked well. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

For the miswa soup:

sauté onion, garlic and tomatoes. Add water and bouillon cube and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then add the miswa noodles and simmer until cooked. Season with fish sauce and pepper to taste.

I like to put in the meatballs in a bowl of miswa soup and garnish it with spring onions. I also like to put some toasted garlic if it's available at home. yummy itey! :)

Mommy Tess has always been my idol and to her I owe a lot of my cooking know-hows. But that's not all! She became my instant Mom when my Mama went to heaven (she’s my Mama’s eldest sister). My Papa was very busy working to be able to provide for me that he couldn't really take care of me 24/7, as much as he wanted to, so for the first years of my life, he entrusted me to Mommy Tess and she worked together with Daddy Ed (her husband), my Lola (Nanay Floring) and my Yaya (my Mama’s Yaya too!), My Ate R and Kuyas J and O tagged along in the process. Boy, it took so many of them to raise the little me!

Wish I could tell you more about this part of my life but I don't want to take so much of your time! ;)

So anyway, this is for you, Mommy Tess! Thank you so much! I know you still cook miswa at meatballs there in California sometimes. I assume though you are now using ground chicken! ;)

To my Mama, thank you for your love and guidance, I know you are happy up there watching us. I know if WE had a choice, YOU are still here with us. Papa and I love you very much :)

Once again to all drop dead gorgeous fabulous rockin' super mommies… Happy Mother’s Day! ;)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chicken In Pandan Leaves

I think this is the most real time entry I have ever made in my almost 2 years of (inconsistent) blogging :)

We had this for lunch last Monday and the little boy liked it that he ate it again the following day (there were some leftovers hihi.)

I was introduced to Thai restos back in college. I used to eat with my dad in Dusit Thani and my cousins in SukoThai. My all time favorite in the menu of both restos are the chicken pandan and bagoong rice. I would very much like to make my bagoong rice soon as it is a great pair for the chicken!

Since the sesame sauce needs tamarind paste, I wasn't able to try it yet a few years ago. There were limited to no Asian ingredients available in groceries back then and they are only available in specialty stores. Now I am happy to say that both supermarkets of SM and Robinson's near our place already offer Asian ingredients (yey!) Sheila and I spotted the Tamarind paste while we were doing our grocery and of course we grabbed it right away. :)

This came from my ever reliable Yummy Mag from the May 2009 ish. It can also be found online. The original recipe used chicken breasts fillets, but I used thigh fillets instead since I like it that it absorbs more flavor than white meat. Maybe that's why the little boy liked it as it's so tasty! Of course, I liked it just as much! :)

For the chicken you will need:

1/2 kilo chicken thigh fillets cut into squares (2X2 inches)
Pandan leaves for wrapping chicken, washed and towel dried
vegetable oil for frying

For the marinade:

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

For the sesame sauce:

3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup tamarind paste
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds


In a bowl, combine ingredients for the marinade. Add chicken and marinate for at least 20 minutes or overnight. (I marinated it for about 2 hours and it was really tasty, maybe because of chicken thighs?)

While the chicken is marinating, I already prepared the sauce: In a small saucepan, pour warm water over tamarind paste and let it sit for 5 minutes and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve on the side.

After the marinating process, wrap the marinated chicken in pandan leaves. It's actually good to use long pandan leaves so you can tie both ends to lock it. Deep-fry in medium hot oil until golden brown.

I loved the smell of the kitchen while i was frying the chickies. The sweet smell of pandan really rocks!

Best served with hot rice... better yet, bagoong rice! :) Enjoy!