Category Archives: Filipino Recipes

Heritage recipe: Mechado ni Lola Asiang

Every family has their own heritage recipe passed down from generation to generation. The women of the Reyes culinary clan shared some of their heritage recipes at The Maya Kitchen recently. Nancy Reyes Lumen, a well known chef, author and TV personality showed how to cook ‘Mechado’ the Lola Asiang way with tons of over ripe tomatoes and shallots.

Mechado ni Lola Asiang

Mechado follows the traditional method of “threading strips of pork back-fat through thick pieces of cheaper lean beef to render them more tender and less dry.” It is for that reason that the word mechado from the Spanish mecha meaning wick.

The larded pieces of beef are then marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi juice, crushed garlic, black pepper and bay leaf, browned quickly on all sides in hot oil or lard, and then slowly braised in its marinade with the addition of soup stock, onion slices, and tomato sauce until tender and the liquid is reduced to a thick flavorful gravy.

The method of cooking Mechado below is different from the Spanish practice but is just as delicious. Try it in your kitchen.

1 kilo kampto (flank), cubed
1 tablespoon each of patis, toyo and vinegar
olive oil, as much as needed (usually 500ml bottle)
½ pack achuete powder
1 ½ kilo shallots, chopped
3 kilos or more of over ripe tomatoes, seeded
500 grams garlic, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 finger panocha

Only if needed (depending on how much fat is in the beef):
1-2 cups beef or chicken broth

It is best to use two big pans in cooking this dish.

1. Marinate the beef in patis, toyo and vinegar.
2. Marinate for 4-6 hours.
3. Heat some olive oil and achuete powder to become orange in color.
4. Braise the beef in the oil until dark brown on all sides.

5. In another pan, heat olive oil and achuete powder. Sauté the shallots until very soft.
6. Meanwhile, crush the tomatoes by hand to release juices and skins.
7. Add in the tomatoes and cook until almost like paste and the skins curl.
8. Add the garlic and cook another 10 minutes.
9. Season according to taste.

10. Add tomato paste and beef and the juices.
11.Cook on high until boiling, and then use the smallest flame possible.
12. Cook covered until beef is very tender.
13. Taste and adjust seasonings again: salt and peppercorn.
14. Add in panocha and cover again.
15. Simmer until tender.

*If you want a less thick sauce, add more olive oil or a little broth while cooking.
*Use only very very ripe tomatoes that you can easily crush with your hands. This is what will make it sweet.
*If the tomatoes are not so ripe and soft, and may be a bit acidic, then use the panocha to balance the taste.
*canned tomatoes can be used
*you can cook large batches of sofrito then freeze for future use

For more information, log on to www.themayakitchen.com or [email protected]

Lapu-Lapu (Grouper) Escabeche (Sweet and Sour Sauce)


The lapu-lapu is always a special dish. Childhood memories of our family dinner involves a feast of lapu-lapu topped with sweet and sour sauce known escabeche. Escabeche has a slight ginger taste to it unlike the Chinese version of sweet and sour sauce. I am not sure if this is a Cebuano version of the sweet and sour sauce because I have not tasted it here in Manila.

Here is how I prepare it:

1. Clean the Lapu-lapu (around 1 kilo), slice diagonally along the fish, then rub salt on it and inside the fish cavity

2. Deep fat fry. (An alternative cooking method is to rub olive oil around the fish, then wrap with foil to grill it ) . Drain in paper towels. Set aside.

3. Prepare the sweet and sour sauce.

1 cup water
3 tablespoons vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
a slice of ginger, julienne

1/2 head garlic, minced
2 medium-sized onions, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
1 carrot, julienne
1 red pepper, julienne
4 green onions, sliced (leave some for garnishing)
2 tomatoes, cut in wedges
2 tablespoons cornstarch, diluted with 2-3 tablespoons water

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients.
2. Thicken with cornstarch mixture (2 tablespoons cornstarch, diluted with 2-3 tablespoons water)
3. Add tomatoes, onions, carrot, tomatoes, garlic, red pepper and the other ingredients. Place pineapple tidbits last
4. Boil once. Make sure the sauce is slightly thickened and not runny.
5. Pour the sauce on fried lapu-lapu (prepared in number 1) and serve immediately. Don’t pour the sauce on the fish if you are not ready to eat it. The crispiness of the fish will be gone. You can always set aside the sauce and serve it once everyone is ready to eat.

6. Garnish with green onions.

Kiam Pung: Chinese traditional salted rice with mustard

kiam-pung9
If you like to cook paella, you will love Kiam Pung. The Kiam Pung looks interesting to me because of its similarity to Paella which I love to prepare. The green mustard leaves adds color to the otherwise drab brown colors of the adobo-looking mixture. The Japanese rice is much better than the malagkit rice that some recipes call for in paella.

Remember, the quantity of the ingredients should suit your personal preference and taste.

Here are the ingredients:

1 kilo pork liempo cut to cubes
1 kiko chicken cut to cubes
10 shitake mushrooms, dried (wash and soak in water, remove stems and cut into half)

1/4 cup sugar (to caramelize)

2 tablespoons large dried shirmps (hebe) soaked in warm water

1/4 cup or so Shallots (tagalog sibuyas)

Garlic

1/4 cup soy sauce

Japanese rice -soaked at least for 3 hours

Mustard leaves

Chinese sausages

Procedure

1. Heat oil in a pan. Caramelize 1/4 cup sugar. Stir until sugar turns into caramel color and becomes dark and bubbling. Turn heat to low.

2. add garlic, pork liempo, chicken and shitake mushrooms.

3. Pour in soy sauce. Add water until the level is a few inches above the pork and chicken. Cook over high heat till boiling. Cook for about an hour.

4. Remove from pan and remove the pork, chicken and mushrooms in another bowl. Separate sauce.

5. In a big wok, heat 1/2 cup oil. Saute the shallots till golden brown, followed by the hebe.

6. Add the Japanese rice and fry for a while. Pour in the sauce left from Step 4, with a proportion of 1:2 /1 cup of rice to 2 cups of liquid water and caramelized sauce. Mix well. Remove and to let cool.

7. Add in mustard. Cook till the rice is done.

Now that wasn’t hard, right? It also reminds me of adobo rice. The Kiam Pung is really tasty as the rice absorbed the seasonings of the sauce.

Hainanese Chicken Rice (Singapore variation)

A Singaporean describes it this way: Part of the whole ritual in eating this dish is smothering your cream-coloured chicken fat laced rice with ribbons of sweet dark soy sauce, chilli sauce and pounded ginger and to mix it all together, matching flavour for flavour.

hainanese-chicken-rice
Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of the primary specialties of Singapore and is often considered the country’s national dish. Filipinos love it for its flavorful, uncomplicated taste. Every time I am in Singapore, I always order Hainanese Chicken Rice. Mixing the chicken meat with the dip with the rice was just so heavenly. It must be the ginger and garlic flavors that brings out the flavors.

hainanese-chicken-rice1
Let me share this simple recipe which I am sure you will enjoy cooking. It is simple.

Ingredients:


For chicken:

12 cups water

4 fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon salt

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 whole chicken

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

For rice:

2-3 cups Jasmine rice

Vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

6 cups reserved stock from boiling chicken

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tomatoes, sliced

2 cucumbers, sliced

Procedure:

For chicken:
1. Bring 12 cups of water with ginger, salt and garlic to a boil in a large pot.
2. Put chicken in the boiling water and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the chicken cool for 20 minutes.
4. Repeat the boiling and cooling process one more time.
5. Set chicken aside when cooked and tender.
6. Remember to reserve the chicken stock for the rice.
7. Plunge the chicken into ice-cold water for 5 minutes to prevent over cooking and to tighten its skin.
8. Brush on a mixture of sesame oil and soy sauce on the chicken, then let it cool at room temperature.

For rice:
1. Wash rice thoroughly and drain.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a pot and fry garlic and ginger until golden brown.
3.Add the drained rice and fry for 3 to 4 minutes before pouring in 6 cups of chicken stock and adding sesame oil and salt.
4. Cook the rice uncovered until the broth is absorbed.
5. Finally, cover the pot tightly and reduce the temperature until the rice is cooked.
6. Cut the chicken into pieces, then serve over the rice and garnish with tomatoes and cucumbers.
7. Add chili sauce or other spices to taste.

The Satay and Hainanese Chicken Rice recipes are just simple tastebud teasers to give food lovers an idea of what the annual food festival has to offer. After savoring a preview of what Chinese cuisine-infused Singaporean food is all about, expect a bigger culinary feast in next year’s Singapore Food Festival.

Log on to www.YourSingapore.com for more information.