Jul 28, 2010

Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce

sweet chili sauce recipe

It's just like the sweet chili sauce you buy from the grocery store. Orange, slightly thick, with the right amount of spicy tang and sweetness that complements pork and fish dishes perfectly. The ingredients are quite easy to find, and I buy them from SM Hypermarket mainly because it carries many ingredients that other grocers don't have.

I made this and served it together with the Trevally (talakitok) fish steaks that Alex and I had for lunch the other day. That should perk up our recent diet consisting of meat, meat and more meat. The sweet spicy sauce blends well with the slightly salty fish steaks that were pan-fried until golden brown and crisp on the outside. And the best part is, I can be sure that the ingredients don't contain preservatives. Nothing beats homemade sauce, right?

I also left some fish steaks and the sweet chili sauce for my dad at home, and he told me that it was really delicious and tasty. A lot of sauce was left ( I accidentally made two cups of sweet chili sauce), and the next morning we used the leftover sauce for the meatballs made of ground pork for brunch. The result: absolutely perfect!

Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce


Ingredients:


1/4 cup of white vinegar
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp of chili flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tsp water

Procedure:

1. In a saucepan, combine together the water, vinegar and sugar.
2. Mix together until well blended. Bring to a boil without stirring until the sugar has been dissolved.
3. Add the chili flakes and salt, and boil for 1 minute.
4. Add the cornstarch and boil until syrupy.
5. Let cool.

Jul 27, 2010

Trevally Steaks in Sweet Chili Sauce (Talakitok)

talakitok in sweet chili sauce recipe

My brothers have been going on and on about their week-long homework regarding Nutrition Week. They have to bring packed lunches featuring healthy, balanced meals every day to school. Alex, on the other hand, is complaining of not getting to eat healthier foods, which he refers to as vegetables. I can't cook vegetables for our lunch mainly for the reason that my dad is the one doing the grocery shopping, which leaves me absolutely helpless when I see the kilos of red meat and poultry in the refrigerator, and small amounts of vegetables that can hardly be put together in the same dish.

It was quite a surprise, really, when I saw that he bought at least five kilos of fish for this weeks consumption. I happily prepared the giant trevally steaks, also known locally as talakitok to be cooked and served with my homemade sweet chili sauce. The sweet spicy bite of the sauce blended nicely with the moist and flaky fish steaks.

Trevally Steaks in Sweet Chili Sauce

Note: I use measuring spoons and measuring cups for my recipes, so if you're using normal utensils the measurements would not be accurate and much less than indicated

Ingredients:

6 trevally steaks
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup carrot slices
vegetable oil for pan-frying
1/2 cup homemade sweet chili sauce (recipe)

Procedure:
  1. Clean the fish steaks thoroughly and place them in a bowl.
  2. Rub the steaks with salt and pepper, evenly coating all surfaces. Let sit in room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a shallow, flat non-stick pan and wait until it has just started smoking.
  4. Lower the heat to medium high.
  5. Pan-fry the fish steaks until golden brown on both sides and meat is thoroughly cooked. Fry the fish in batches, depending on how big your pan is. Do not overcrowd the pan.
  6. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a new plate if necessary. Keep warm.
  7. On the same pan, saute minced garlic and carrot slices. Pour sweet chili sauce into the pan and simmer for five minutes.
  8. Pour heated sweet chili sauce over the fish steaks.
Jul 23, 2010

Chicken Spring Rolls (Lumpia)

chicken spring rolls lumpia recipe

When you're always eating red meat, chances are you intake a lot of fat in your diet unless you only buy at least 85% lean meat from your local grocer. In our home, my carnivorous brothers can devour a lot of fatty slabs of pork no matter how it is cooked. I remember my dad, in his younger years, deep frying big slabs of the well known heart attack-inducing crispy pata (deep fried to crisp perfection pork legs). Right now, we all know how too much meat in our case would not be healthy, so I try to find alternatives to red meat but still serve great meals.

The photo of the lumpia above, also known as spring roll, has been lost in the hundreds of photos in my cluttered file system for months. It has been that long since I made these yummy crisp spring rolls, and I think the best way to give the chicken lumpia above some justice is to post the recipe that I have been using ever since. It actually took me a lot of tries before I got the perfect taste, which is, of course subjective. But then again, I won't deny the fact that these spring rolls are very well-received and vanishes within minutes.

Chicken Lumpia Recipe

Note: I use measuring spoons and measuring cups for my recipes, so if you're using normal utensils the measurements would not be accurate and much less than indicated

Ingredients :

3 cups ground chicken meat (how to grind chicken meat)
1/3 cup of finely chopped white onions
1/3 cup of finely chopped carrots
2 tsp finely chopped
kinchay (parsley)
1 medium sized egg

1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp soy sauce
15 sheets lumpia wrapper
cooking oil for deep frying




Procedure :
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, onions, carrots, parsley, egg, soy sauce, salt and pepper.
  2. Lay down the sheets of lumpia wrapper together. Using a sharp knife cut 1/2 inch strip of the wrapper on both top and and bottom sides to seal the lumpia better.
  3. Separate the lumpia wrappers. 
  4. On a flat, clean and dry surface, lay out a single sheet of lumpia wrapper. Be sure to cover the remaining wrappers with plastic to prevent drying out and hardening.
  5. Place a tablespoonful of the chicken mixture at the center and roll the edge of the lumpia nearest you for two turns, then tuck the sides towards towards the center. 
  6. Continue rolling all the way to the end and seal the edges with a little water., tucking in the sides as you do. Wet the edges with a little water to seal completely. 
  7. Heat the cooking oil in a deep frying pan.
  8. When  the oil starts to smoke, drop five pieces of the lumpia per batch to ensure even browning. Do not overcrowd the pan to avoid soggy and oily spring rolls.
  9. Drain on paper towels. Serve while hot.

How to make ground chicken meat


ground chicken meat

While I can't provide you with photos of how I grind the chicken meat I use for my meatballs, lumpia, and chicken longganisa, I'm pretty sure my directions are very simple and anyone with a blender should have known this by now. It's hard to shoot with a camera all by yourself when your hands are not for camera handling. =)

  1. First, I take a kilo of chicken breast fillets, wash them, discard the skins and fats (they stuck up around the blades and make the whole process a lot slower.
  2. After washing, I dice them up into small cubes. Chicken thigh fillets can also be used if you prefer the softer texture. 
  3. Then I place them in the blender and break an egg directly on the meat if the recipe calls for it so I won't have to clean up another bowl that I would otherwise use for the raw egg. Chicken Lumpia Recipe
  4. I pulse them at short intervals of two to three seconds, mix them up with a spoon (the ground chicken meat at the bottom can be very sticky and won't mix with the remaining whole cubes above them).
  5. I repeat that until I get the consistency of the ground chicken meat that I want, preferably no whole cubes of chicken left.
  6. Use as needed for the recipe.

Jul 20, 2010

Sassy's Special Spicy Chicken Sisig


spicy chicken sisig recipe

Recently I went into a state of mental mayhem. My mind was so messed up that I can commit the same mistake three times in a row without realizing that I should have avoided the same mistake all over again. It's a relief, though, that I didn't make any mistakes in providing nursing care as it would be very much as life-threatening as cancer, or so we have been taught. It may have been the lack of adequate sleep that's causing short circuits in my nervous system (and here I am sounding even geekier than usual..). Due to this, I can't come up with a new recipe to cook for our lunch today.

spicy chicken sisig recipe

So how was I able to cook the juicy and savory chicken sisig in the photo above? I was looking at the partially thawed chicken breast fillets at the freezer when I remembered our school cafeteria's chicken sisig, which was tasteless and downright unappetizing. Then I decided that I will cook chicken sisig that would make Alex decide not to buy their chicken sisig dish again. I'm glad that he loved it, and ate it gratefully in the dark while watching Leonardo DiCaprio's Inception.

Spicy Chicken Sisig Recipe

Note: I use measuring spoons and measuring cups for my recipes, so if you're using normal utensils the measurements would not be accurate and much less than indicated
  • 1/2 kg chicken fillet
  • 4 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 cube chicken bouillon 
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 30 ml water
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • cooking oil
  • salt and pepper
Procedure:

  1. Wash and soak chicken fillets in brine (1 cup of water + 1 tbsp of salt) for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain well and rub with ground black pepper afterwards.
  3. Pan fry or grill the chicken until uniformly golden brown.
  4. Chop the chicken fillet into small cubes.
  5. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok and cook the chopped onions until caramelized and almost clear. Set aside.
  6. Stir fry the chicken and onions in the oil for 10 minutes at high heat.
  7. Add in  the water, chili garlic sauce, chicken cube, vinegar, soy sauce and thyme.Stir while cooking.
  8. Stir while cooking until all liquid has evaporated.
  9. Add a dash of oil and stir fry the cooked ingredients.
  10. Serve hot.
Jul 19, 2010

New Look, New Home


A little about the fab Filipina at WAHMaholic:


I am an ebook reader, a John Mayer lover, a romance/sex comedy flick addict, and an indecisive soul. I am a moron magnet so if you are inexplicably drawn to me, then there is a high probability that you are a moron.

My name is Kaye Mendez. Born and bred in the Philippines, I live together with my best friend and hubby Paulie and our piglet Svetlana in the beautiful city of Baguio. I am a freelance writer and Blogger/WordPress blog designer.


I have just started blogging last April, and so far my recipe blog, Summers In Love, has an average steady stream of 120+ unique visitors per day and 25 followers. It may seem very small for you but for a noob like me, those numbers seem pretty good. =)

A few days ago, last Sunday to be exact, I moved the recipes and food reviews to a new home and named it My Sassy Chef, to match the really nice template made only for me by none other than WAHMaholic's Kaye from my very own country, the Philippines.

I can't believe how lucky I am to actually win a makeover giveaway by WAHMaholic. My blog is reeking of random and ordinary, just until the new template was installed. So if you're looking for a really great template that you can call your very own, then the most affordable and fabulous makeover you can get is from WAHMaholic Designs. You can't go wrong with!


Jul 18, 2010

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Mochi

strawberry mochi

I have been away from blogging for a while since this semester's schedule has started becoming more and more demanding. With our Emergency and Disaster Nursing course taking away 13 hours for 6 days in the past two weeks, not including travel time, I barely have the time and energy for blogging. Who knew a simulation emergency situation would be so much fun, and so darn tiring as well?

Even in the weekends I can't get time to cook, not to mention blog about anything at all, because I had to prioritize our thesis, and study for the prelim examinations. And yes, I overslept and I didn't have the time to even peek at my notes for my first exam because we were already late. I'm just having full hopes that my stocked knowledge would be enough to help me get great grades. Haha!

So Alex and I were just thriving on fast food chains and restaurants for the past two weeks, munching on junk food and sweets that made our waists seem a lot flabbier. Right now I am currently devouring Piknik shoe string potato fries, trying to count them one by one to measure how much sodium I am taking in. Yes, I'm a geek, aren't I?Then maybe later I can devour the pack of bite sized Loacker wafers with hazelnut filling that Alex gave me, if I can even get out of bed. Feeding my brain with junk food made me feel and act like a real bum.

Anyway, I almost forgot that I was actually blogging about the Chocolate Mochi Balls I found at the Imported Section of SM Hypermarket. The packaging was so nice that I was skeptical about buying it when I saw that it's only Php 54 for a pack of four pieces. Good packaging and cheap prices usually mean that the content does not look as good as the picture. I guess I was wrong.


The Mochi balls were soft and the subtle taste blends nicely with the chewy marshmallow and strawberry filling. It was actually nice, and it looks like the picture on the box! That's a big plus for me. When I pass by SM Hypermarket, I'll buy the peanut flavored mochi next. Or maybe I would make some and post the recipe on this blog. :)

Jul 10, 2010

Free VIP Membership for Chooks to Go!


Have you tried Chooks to Go already? They have the juiciest roast chickens at a very affordable price. My sister came home with some roast chicken from Chooks to Go!, and they were so good! 

Anyway, I am here to offer you a free VIP membership to Chooks to Go! This entitles you to join their promos, and earn points which you can redeem for Liempo and Roast Chicken! Aren't you excited? What's even better is that you can also earn points by referring others to become a member! There are many ways to earn points, so hurry up and join now before they close their membership openings. =)


Jul 8, 2010

Shakey's Mojos and a Recipe

shakeys mojos recipe

I love eating at Shakey's. They have been around for as long as I can remember, and as a child I remember going to one of their kiddie programs where we can make our own pizza using our choice of ingredients. And the pizza would always come with an ordered basket of mojos, which are potato wedges deep fried to moist perfection.

The mojos back then were a bit more tastier than the mojos I eat nowadays. While Alex would never have noticed the difference, as he can gulp down two baskets of these wedges in one go, I like the thicker and tastier mojos I knew when I was still a child. They are so fantastic even without the tartar sauce or ranch dressing. Don't get me wrong, I still love the ones they serve now, and whenever we eat out at Shakey's, it's never a complete and satisfying meal without a big basket or two of these mojos.


When I made these, I would have used bigger potatoes, but for some reason my dad and brother went on a radical shopping spree on five kilos of marble potatoes. And so to avoid the untoward throwing away of the poor vegetables, I used them instead. The recipe below is what I use for regular potatoes.

Shakey's Mojo Potatoes Recipe

Note: I use measuring spoons and measuring cups for my recipes, so if you're using normal utensils the measurements would not be accurate and much less than indicated

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp crushed dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 medium potatoes, unpeeled but scrubbed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp evaporated milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Ranch dressing 
Procedure
  1. Place egg in bowl. Add milk, salt and butter while beating, and mix well.
  2. Mix flour, cornstarch, cayenne, thyme, and black pepper in a separate bowl.
  3. Cut each potato into (1/3-inch) wedges.
  4. Place wedges in egg mixture.
  5. Dredge in the flour mixture, and let sit on a wax paper until the flour covering each potato is a bit moist.
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan until just smoking.
  7. Gently drop each wedge into the hot oil.
  8. Make sure oil covers the wedges completely.
  9. Cook until golden brown, and drain on paper towels.
  10. Serve with ranch dressing or any dip of your choice.
Jul 3, 2010

Chicken and Shiitake Mushroom Stir-fry

chicken shiitake mushroom stir fry

Shiitake mushrooms are among the expensive and prized mushrooms for cooking Asian dishes. They are rather large and have an aromatic bread-like smell when dried. I have been fond of most kinds of mushrooms that my mom used to cook back then, but my favorite was this one along with the oyster mushrooms. They go really well with stir fry and risotto dishes, as well as soups when combined with the proper Asian ingredients.

chicken shiitake mushroom stir fry

The dish is great even just by using only chicken and shiitake mushrooms, but if you want to add texture, color, and variety, you can add broccoli, snow peas, baby corn and bok choy, also known locally as Chinese cabbage. I would have done that, but this dish was made without prior planning, so the stir fry vegetables were not available in my pantry.

Chicken and Mushrooms Stir Fry Recipe

Note: I use measuring spoons and measuring cups for my recipes, so if you're using normal utensils the measurements would not be accurate and much less than indicated

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


  • 2 teaspoons sugar



  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


  • 2 teaspoons sugar


    • 1 ½ lbs chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch strips
    • 2 cups fresh or soaked shiitake mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
    • 1 tsp minced garlic
    • 6 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
    • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tsp brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
    • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tsp corn starch
    Procedure

    1. In a bowl, mix water,sugar, chili garlic sauce, vinegar, and soy sauce until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
    2. Heat a non-stick pan over high heat  and add 1 tbsp oil or butter, swirling pan to coat evenly. 
    3. Stir-fry onions and garlic until golden and caramelized.
    4. Add the chicken strips until just cooked. Do not brown. Transfer chicken and onions to a bowl.
    5. Add the remaining oil or butter to the pan and heat until smoking, then stir-fry mushrooms for three to four minutes. 
    6. Add the mixture from step number 1 to the pan over medium heat. Add cornstarch.
    7. Simmer and add chicken mixture and stir-fry until heated through and sauce thickens.
    8. Serve hot over cooked rice.

    Jul 2, 2010

    Chicken Meatballs

    chicken meatballs recipe
    If you love meatballs with your pasta or tomato-based dishes, then this is a great way to go healthy. I made these meatballs on the sworn promise that I would have to serve some well-loved food in a healthier way. I used ground chicken breasts, cubed and processed in the blender together with an egg. You can use thigh fillets if you find the breasts a little too dry for your taste.

    The great thing about these meatballs is that they can go great with any kind of sauce. I packed the chicken meatballs in our lunch bag together with the garlic mayo dip I made while frying these cute little things. I left some balls in the freezer so my brothers can bring some to school for their lunch on the next day. Theirs were served with sweet tomato-barbecue sauce. It can also be served with white sauce and pasta. You can never go wrong with the versatility of chicken.

    Chicken Meatballs

    Note: I use measuring spoons and measuring cups for my recipes, so if you're using normal utensils the measurements would not be accurate and much less than indicated

    Ingredients:


    500 g of ground chicken breast
    1 egg
    1 packet dry onion soup mix
    1 tbsp dry bread crumbs
    1/2 cup finely chopped onions
    1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
    1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
    2 tsp soy sauce
    1 1/4 tsp salt
    1 tsp ground black pepper
    1 tsp dried basil (optional)

    Procedure
    1. Cut chicken into cubes and place in a blender or food processor together with 1 egg.
    2. Pulse and mix until chicken is coarsely ground.
    3. Mix all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
    4. Form mixture into 1-inch balls. Let stand in the freezer for 15 minutes to set.
    5. Heat oil in frying pan until smoking hot. Place balls one by one into pan. Do not lower the heat as the cold balls will decrease the temperature of the oil immediately.
    6. Deep fry until golden brown.
    7. Serve with your favorite sauce or dip.
    Jul 1, 2010

    Korean Green Tea Latte


    Green tea was believed to have antioxidants and therapeutic components, and it is widely used in traditional Japanese herbal medicine. There were quite a few fads of drinks containing green tea, but I bet that these healthy drinks don't have enough green tea in their products for the antioxidants to even reach sufficient amounts to bypass liver excretion.

    I was never a fan of any tea made with dried herbs. My mom and sister would say unbelievable lies to force me into drinking the stuff. I'm not talking about the commercially prepared crushed tea in small bags that you just steep in hot water. I'm talking about brewing whole dried out parts of whatever plants they came from until the water is all nice and naturally sweet and herby. They specifically love Oolong tea, green tea, and some tea with white dried out flowers in it. And they sip with glee when they brew those things even in a terribly hot afternoon.

    I'm guessing that my sister gave me a box of green tea latte from Korea just to make me drink some. And I tried one, and it is not half as bad as the regular tea. A few more sips and I was happily drinking the stuff while eating nutty chocolate cupcakes for a mid-afternoon snack.