Aug 30, 2010

Prawns in Tamarind Soup (Sinigang na Sugpo)

On cold and rainy nights when the warmth of the kitchen fire is so welcoming, a hot and steamy bowl of soup makes everything just right. Tamarind soup is used as a base for sinigang, a dish so popular in the Philippines that it is present in every little canteen that you come into. It has a lot of varieties, but my favorite one is large prawns (sugpo) and vegetables cooked in tamarind soup. Other variations call for pork, milkfish, and taro roots. Sometimes, they just make vegetable sinigang, where the only ingredients put in are water spinach, tomatoes, eggplants, and string beans. The broth is a bit salty with just the right sourness that is sure to hit the spot and increase your appetite even more.

Prawns in Tamarind Soup Recipe
(Sinigang na Sugpo)


500g large prawns
1 green finger chili
1 medium onion
2 tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of water spinach
2 small round eggplants
40g tamarind soup base
2 tsp cooking oil
1 1/2 tsp thai fish sauce or 1 1/2 tsp salt


1. Dice the onion into small, uniform pieces. Slice each tomato and eggplant into four.
2. Cut a lit along the length of the long green finger chili, and take out the core and seeds. Slice into two.
3. Wash the prawns and cut off the long antennae and two long pincers for the males.
4. In a large pan, heat the cooking oil and saute the garlic,onions, chili pepper and tomatoes. 
5. Saute over medium heat until the onions become clear. 
6. Add 5 cups of water and salt or fish sauce and bring to a boil. 
7. Add the eggplant and cover. 
8. Mix in the tamarind soup base and simmer for ten minutes. 
9. Add the water spinach leaves and tender stalks on top and cover
10. Simmer for 2 minutes then add the prawns.
11. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot.

Aug 27, 2010

Perfect Baked Potato Wedges

I don't know what characteristic potatoes have that my dad just can't resist buying bags of the stuff. Right after buying kilos of marbles potatoes and leaving half of them unused and beginning to rot, my dad brought home ten kilos of potatoes, but this time a lot bigger. It somehow gave me a false impression that he does this on purpose so the composting bin full of composting worms can have another stash of food supply, just in time that they finished the remaining wasted marble potatoes. Yup, worms. Unappetizing as it may sound, our home exercises green activities that help the environment such as segregating trash for recycling centers, and using composting worms to turn all our organic waste into fertilizers.

So here I am staring at all those potatoes and I told myself to at least bake some before they go bad. The funny thing is, my family always gobbles up everything whenever I cook potatoes, usually in front of the TV or movie. Battered, fried, baked or mashed, it doesn't really matter. They would always complain that I cook too few when in fact I have cooked too much. So I thought of sharing with you a recipe of mine for baked potato wedges.

Crisp edges, light and fluffy pulp. Perfect for snacks. Of course, perfect is a very subjective word.

Baked Potato Wedges Recipe


4 large potatoes
3 tbsp olive/canola oil
2 1/2 tbsp grated cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper


1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
2. Scrub potatoes and slice into 1/4" wedges.
2. Combine all remaining ingredients and brush liberally on both sides of the wedges.
3. Place in greased baking sheets and bake until crisp.
4. Serve with ranch dressing.
Aug 22, 2010

Five-Spice Meatballs in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Meatballs are really fun to eat most especially if they're accompanied with different kinds of sauces or dips, or perked up with herbs and spices that deliberately distinguishes your meatballs from the ordinary ones that we always find on top of our tables.

For this recipe, I used five-spice powder. It is a blend of five spices, namely star anise, cinnamon, ground pepper, ground cloves, and ground fennel seeds. The flavor is so aromatic and distinctively Asian that the meatballs were oozing with flavor, and the oriental taste perfectly blends with the sweet tartness of the sweet and sour sauce.

Five-Spice Meatballs Recipe with Sweet and Sour Sauce


500 g of ground pork or beef
1 large onion
1 small carrot
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of ground black pepper
1 tsp of five-spice powder
1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp flour


3/4 cup of white vinegar
1-1/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp of salt
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tsp water


1. For the sweet and sour sauce, pour the vinegar into a saucepan and mix the brown sugar with a spoon.
2. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
3. Add the salt and cornstarch solution and swirl the pan.
4. Cook until thick and syrupy.
5. For the meatballs, chop the onions finely.
6. Peel the carrot and grate.
7. Mix the onion and carrot with the rest of the ingredients for the meatballs.
8. Form into balls and chill in the freezer for five minutes.
9. Heat oil in a frying pan until just smoking.
10. Add the meatballs and brown the outside, cook for five to 7 minutes only.
11. Arrange onto platter and drizzle with sweet and sour sauce.
12. Garnish with sauteed carrot strips (optional)
Aug 20, 2010

The Unbirthday Giveaway!

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Aug 14, 2010

Gourmet Picks Appetizer

Oishi gourmet picks appetizer recipe

If you have unexpected guests, and you barely have the time to prepare something to eat, then entertain them with these dainty appetizers that make ordinary fridge staples into gourmet appetizers in no time. My sister's been eating a lot of Oishi Gourmet Picks lately, or junk food as I see it. She seems to be addicted to the sea salt flavor, and I proved it when she excitedly told me over breakfast that she's going to join a photo contest for the product. Minutes later and she was dressed up like she's going to the ball, deliberately blocking my way and pleading like crazy so I can take the photos and miss my first class on purpose.
Oishi gourmet picks appetizer recipe

With me having a not-so-valid excuse to skip the boring read-the-powerpoint-slide lecture, I took the bait and made the shots, all while trying not to eat the props we made. Needless to say, they disappeared almost immediately after the last shot was taken.

Gourmet Picks Appetizer Recipe


1 pack plain salted potato chips, preferably with ridges
cold cut sweet ham
ranch or thousand island dressing
baby mint leaves
hard boiled eggs 


1. Fry the ham and cut into squares.
2. Fry the meatballs and slice into three's.
3. Using an egg slicer, cut the eggs into thin discs.
4. Take a whole chip, and place an egg slice on top.
5. Then on top of the egg, place a slice of ham, a slice of meatball, and a dollop of dressing.
6. Top with baby mint leaves, or tear mint leaves into small pieces and place on top of the dressing.
7. Serve immediately.

Aug 7, 2010

Spicy Tuna Sisig

spicy tuna sisig recipe

A lot of times I really miss eating an authentic pork sisig. The sisig most restaurants serve nowadays, be it chicken, pork, or tuna, are nowhere near authentic. They taste like a lot of MSG went into them. Anyway, this is an update to my old recipe of making tuna sisig using canned tuna. Right now, that old recipe made me realize that it is salty, not for the tastebuds, but for the kidneys. For the recipe, I most definitely prefer Century Tuna over others. It shows the unfaltering trend of product quality that other brands seem to miss.

spicy tuna sisig recipe
 Spicy Tuna Sisig Recipe


2 flat cans of Century Tuna flakes in oil, drained
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce (adjust to taste)
3 tablespoons of vinegar (adjust to taste)
2 bird's eye chili or siling labuyo, seeded and finely chopped
a pinch of ground pepper
green pepper slices for garnish

  1. Put 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil in the pan. Add the onions and saute.
  2. When onions start to caramelize, add the tuna and saute well. 
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and let simmer at medium to high heat until liquid is almost gone. Stir from time to time to avoid scorching.
  4. Adjust the ingredients to taste. 
  5. Garnish with green pepper slices for the extra heat and color. Serve hot.

Aug 1, 2010

Lunch at Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria

joey pepperoni

While Joey Pepperoni may seem like a foreign restaurant to many, it was actually born right here in Metro Manila by a wonderful Milanese chef who has worked here for a long time. It serves Italian dishes New York style.I remember a few years ago I brought home four whole 12-inch pizzas from Joey Pepperoni through their buy one, take one pizza promo right after Alex and I tried out their eat all you can pasta.

I must say that the eat all you can pasta didn't really impress me. The pasta was not warm, the time in between servings were too long, and the meat and sauce on my spaghetti was too few. I overheard the woman on the table next to ours saying that the pasta she ordered tasted just like McDonald's. Even for a small price for an eat-all-you-can at Php 150, it wasn't really worth eating.

joey pepperoni
Just yesterday Alex and I had a late lunch at their branch in SM Center Las Pinas. With a tight budget after paying for all those expenses for our thesis paper, we decided to spend not more than Php 500 for our meal. We ordered their Php 99 deals, which includes Pesto with Bread Stick and Chicken Strips with Rice. We also availed their 2 8-inch pizzas for Php 199.

joey pepperoni

The Php 99 deals were so disappointing. The rice is only half a cup, and the chicken strips are so scant and measures more likely 2 tablespoons (the measuring spoon size). It's on the photo above, and it took me four shots to get the angle in which the servings doesn't look so small. The pesto pasta would only last three to four bites, even for the people who eat with exquisite table manners. If I were you, I would stay away from that promo.

joey pepperoni

It's a good thing we decided to try the pizzas. They were tasty and filling, with just the right amount of toppings, and warm enough that the cheese stretches for what seemed like ten inches before breaking. The pizzas included were Beef with Onions, and Pepperoni Mushroom. They were well worth the Php 199 price.