Apr 29, 2011

Sinampalukang Kambing (Goat Meat in Tamarind Soup)

It's my post for Kulinarya Cooking Club's April theme, and it's kind of my first post for the club since I got invited to join the group about two months ago. All I did was read and drool over the other posts while trying to find time to make mine, and finally I did, just in time for this month's theme: Decadence.
I must admit that when I first read it, I thought it had something to do about desserts or sweets because I usually associate the term with cakes and pastries. But further reading down the month's theme post and I found that I can post anything, as long as it is something special. 

My dad hardly buys goat meat because he says it's not widely available yet, and to buy it means to go directly to the makeshift goat farms in the metro and get the meat (or a live animal!) for a higher price compared to other meat, but he does take the chance whenever we pass by the small goat farm near the Las Pinas-Bacoor junction. This time, he bought knuckles and goat pata (hocks), and told us that we would be making sinampalukang kambing. Yippee!

This recipe is exactly how we cooked it, so please don't just copy and paste it in any other blog or website. This version isn't too sour as compared with the usual sinigang, but with just enough tartness to enhance your appetite and make you eat more, so beware to those on a diet! :)

Sinampalukang Kambing Recipe

  • 1 kilo goat knuckles and pata
  • 250 g tamarind fruit
  • 2 medium onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 large ginger, about three thumbs in size
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2tsp ground black pepper
  1. Cut the onions in half.
  2. Peel the ginger and crush lightly with the blade of a knife. Do the same with the garlic cloves.
  3. Peel the tamarind fruit and lightly pound with a kitchen mallet, to enable the fruit juices to seep into the broth well.
  4. Place the goat meat in a pressure cooker together with the onions, garlic, and ginger, and pour enough water to cover an additional 1 inch above the ingredients.
  5. Cook for thirty minutes to tenderize the meat.
  6. Remove onions and ginger. Transfer to a deep saucepan and add salt and pepper.
  7. Simmer for five more minutes then serve hot.

An entry for:

    Apr 27, 2011

    Kiddie Mini Pizza Squares

    It's one of those days when my brothers kept dropping hints that they want an afternoon snack that's different from the usual sandwich or chips. Throughout the afternoon they have been consistently opening the fridge, browsing the pantry, and yet they look so defeated despite the many options available to them. So I made some kiddie pizza squares the way my sis and I used to toast inside the oven toaster. We literally just put everything we thought was fit to go with tomato sauce and cheese, and then fired up the small toaster, waiting for the cheese to melt.

    But that was a long time ago, then came the bigger oven. It was just sad that we don't have any real cheese, so I had to settle for Eden cheese, which, by the way, does not melt in the oven. Nope, not one bit. It just stays the same throughout the baking process no matter how long you leave it there. Trust me, I tried it before and I got really upset. 

    Technically, all you have to do here is to actually flatten bread slices, top with tomato sauce, cheese, and every topping you want. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and pizza herbs, then pop it in the oven and wait for the bread to brown and crisp a bit. Yum!
    Apr 26, 2011

    Brooklyn Pizza in Midtown

    Before graduation, we were in Robinsons Ermita. I totally forgot about this, so it's a backpost. After spending around two hours playing games and singing our lungs off over at Timezone and Tom's World in Midtown, we found ourselves hungry and scouring for food. But Almon Marina is full, and I can't even get close to my favorite Norwegian salmon, so we decided to just have a late afternoon snack at the first restaurant that isn't packed full. We passed by Brooklyn Pizza, and seeing that they have not a single customer, we went in and took a seat.

    Really, for a place with no current customers and six waiters and waitresses lounging around, it surely took them long enough to hand us the menu. We got a plate of Oil Based Pesto with Chicken Parmigiana, and a slice each of Pepperoni and Deluxe Pizzas, which are the only two available flavors at the moment. It was really disappointing, considering that it is a pizzeria, but what the heck.

    So the Pesto on the top photo was nothing but bland, and dry. Oily enough in some parts but Alex and I both agreed on it being too dry to finish up, and we both are addicted to pesto! What I like about it at first sight was that it was a serving for two people already, and they didn't skimp on the breaded chicken, which was also so bland and tough, that I didn't touch it again.

    It's a good thing their pizza tastes good. I really liked the Deluxe Pizza, which is full of flavor atop its chewy crust. I'm not a fan of pepperoni but it's not bad either. Let's just say that we won't be going back there again. It would have made a difference if the staff was a bit friendly, but we never saw a smile, not even a fake one. But we managed to just shake it off and smile for a quick shot.

    Apr 25, 2011

    Chicken and Ham Pinwheel Bites

    I saw these really cute pinwheel cookies today at a local bakery, and I got inspired to bake some at home, only to find out that we're out of flour. I didn't want to go out into the terrible summer heat again, so I looked at our fridge and decided to make these instead. Aren't they so cute? I bet kids would love to have this for their baon. I know I would! Oh, I forgot, I just graduated. *sigh*

    Anyway, making these goodies is quite easy. I didn't really have a recipe when I made this, I just estimated everything then forgot about it so..I'll just give you a quick overview of what I did.

    I pounded chicken breasts with a kitchen mallet until they are only half an inch think. Then I brined them in a mixture of 1 tbsp rock salt in a cup of water for 10 minutes. I spread the flattened chicken onto a chopping board (anything flat will do), then placed sliced sweet ham on top, sprinkled with dried basil and ground black pepper, and rolled as tight as I could. Just like making sushi rolls! 

    What you need to remember is that when cooking this, the chicken would change shape, so the best way to keep their pinwheel shape is to secure all the ends of the rolls with toothpick, or kitchen twine. I'm sorry for not having photos, I just can't find some help while I'm cooking.

    Deep fry the rolls, then cut them up with a sharp knife. That's it! Pretty easy, and delicious!

    Apr 24, 2011

    Homemade Chicken Nuggets

    While I would love to save myself the hard work of cooking by just buying store-bought chicken nuggets, I can't help but wonder what exactly is in that stuff. Many would you might just roll your eyes and say, "chicken, silly!" but what I'm getting at is the nutritional value of those processed chicken nuggets, and how they were made exactly.

    I remember a friend of mine telling me that store-bought chicken nuggets are made of the leftover chicken meat they get from processing other chicken products. How credible that statement is, I really have no idea. It's like hearing people say that burgers are made of earthworms and that KFC's genetically modified chicken parts moves even when cut. And I know that's pure fiction.

    While thinking of these things I went on and made chicken nuggets anyway. The best part you can make these out of are chicken thigh fillets, for that juicy, flavorful bite. But if you're on a health pledge, then you can use brined chicken breast fillets instead.

    Homemade Chicken Nuggets

    • 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 1" cubes
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup powdered milk
    • 2 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp pepper
    • 1 1/2 cup Japanese breadcrumbs
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • oil for frying
    • barbecue sauce
    • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, milk, salt and pepper.
    • Coat chicken pieces in the flour mixture.
    • Dip coated chicken pieces in egg. 
    • Coat evenly with Japanese breadcrumbs.
    • Deep fry until golden brown.
    • Serve with barbecue sauce. I served mine with barbecue rib sauce, yum!
    Apr 23, 2011

    Vanilla Hearts Pudding

    I have always loved vanilla pudding in its creamy, milky goodness. It's one dessert that never fails to pick me up even in the bluest days and worst moods I'm in, and right now I could use some comfort food to drive me from insanity with this terrible summer heat. It's easy, it's a real comfort food, and it's best served when chilled. What's even better is that Alex is coming over to share this dessert with me.

    I'm keeping this post short to help reduce my blog's carbon emissions in time for Earth Day. Yes, this is a scheduled post, since I will be away for the rest of the weekend. Have a great weekend everyone!

    • 2 tablespoons white sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup evaporated milk
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

    1. In a bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Mix well.
    2. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat for five minutes while adding the sugar mixture gradually.
    3. In a bowl, pour a little of the mixture over the egg yolk to temper it, beat lightly, and return to the pan.
    4. Keep stirring until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
    5. Bring to a gentle boil and continue cooking over low heat while stirring for three minutes.
    6. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and nutmeg (optional).
    7. Pour into ramekins or dessert glasses. 
    8. Cool to room temperature then chill.
    Apr 21, 2011

    A Simple Graduation Dinner

    Alex and I both had our hair cut really short because of our school policy for our graduation. We don't want to have our hair cut on the spot by our clinical instructors now, do we? :) I am so happy I can't help but share this with you guys right now. We finally made it past college, and we are gearing up to face the real world! I hope you guys can welcome us there! :)

    Anyway, we had a simple dinner because my head was throbbing like crazy after the long graduation. My cap was so tight that I thought it was trying to squeeze my brains out, and the commencement exercises was soooo darn long. My sister chose Hap Chan because it's the only place then that wasn't packed full of people celebrating our graduation day. Since we were all tired, my sis just ordered two of each dish I will mention below.

    I'm so glad we were served their complimentary tea to calm myself down and lessen the headache. Even without honey, their tea was good, just like how mom makes it at home.

    I didn't catch the name of this noodle but it was really so good, that I was craving for it on our way home. It has a thick soup, quail eggs, meat and vegetables. I think it's the best we ate altogether. It's what I can really call comfort food. :)

    These are Fried Squid with Salt and Pepper. It's light, it's crunchy, and it is perfectly cooked. I don't actually eat fried squid unless it's cooked right: crisp breading, soft and NOT chewy and definitely NOT rubbery squid, which is best cooked under a minute.

    This Fried Chicken with Lemon Sauce surprised me the most. My youngest brother was a really, really picky eater, but he finished almost the whole plate even before the second plate arrived. Never thought he likes anything other than the usual fried chicken, so I went on and gave it a try. It was yummy, but I tasted better lemon chicken dishes before. I forgot to take a photo of the Yang Chow Fried Rice, but we always have that in every Asian restaurant we go to anyway.

    Overall, I guess I can't really judge Hap Chan considering how altered a person's mental status is when he has a severe, throbbing headache. But it was all good, and I might just ask Alex to eat here sometime. I'm just so glad I'm through with college now! :)

    An entry for:

    The Free San Marino Healthy Recipe Book

    I took the photo above while browsing the online recipe book of San Marino as a promotional tactic for their outstanding product, San Marino Corned Tuna. No, I am not a fan of the product. In fact, while my sister can eat San Marino all day long, I actually prefer Century Tuna over them. But I tasted their tuna paella and oh, I am almost tempted to do the switch!

    Anyway, I really, really love this recipe collection. Although my sister and I have been cooking the meals in the recipe book long before San Marino skyrocketed to fame, some of the recipes I have yet to try. And just in time for Lent! Why don't you scoot over to the recipe book over here, and give the healthy dishes a try. I would, as soon as I buy tuna from the market. I prefer chunks anyway. Happy Lenten Season everyone!
    Apr 20, 2011

    Layered Beef and Potato Bake

    Very much inspired by Pinoy Cook's turkey, duck, and potato bake, I went on to cook this extremely heavenly baked dish composed of potatoes and beef. I actually only adapted the idea of layering potatoes with leftovers, and from what I can see, we have a totally different recipe. As far as I know, my version was a spicy, beefy goodness that you can compare to a generously stuffed lasagna, and is quite heavy on the tummy. Alex loved it, and so did everyone else. The crisp cheese-crusted potatoes goes really well with the creamy spicy goodness of the beef filling. 

    Layered Beef and Potato Bake

    • 3 or 4 large potatoes
    • 4 cups ground beef
    • 3 medium sized white onions, chopped finely
    • 8 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    • 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
    • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper 
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    • 1 cup all-purpose cream
    • dried basil
    • cheese
    • oil for sauteing
    • butter for greasing
    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Mix ground pork or beef, onions, garlic, soy sauce, parsley, ground pepper and salt.
    3. Mix and cook in a non-stick pan without oil until browned and dry (no more visible liquid). Set aside.
    4. While the beef is cooking, scrub the potatoes and slice thinly. I recommend using a mandolin slicer to have even slices.
    5. Grease a baking dish with butter.
    6. Line the bottom of the dish with potato slices, slightly overlapping the edges to make an even base.
    7. Spread half of the beef mixture on the potatoes, then top with another layer of sliced potatoes.
    8. Spread the remaining filling, top evenly with potatoes.
    9. Pour cream over the top layer, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dried basil.
    10. Spread grated cheese on top.
    11. Baked for 30 to 40 minutes.
    12. Serve warm.
    Apr 19, 2011

    Play for Free and Give Rice to the Poor

    It's the season of Lent, and what best way to spend this time than to give back to others. With the war that's been going on, and the calamities and disasters that God has brought upon us for our sins, many people have lost their homes, their jobs, and their loved ones. In this state, the only thing that can save them is a prayer from all of us.

    But we can do even better by giving them food and donations. If you can't afford to shell out money to donate for the affected population, then this is a perfect way for you to give back. FreeRice.com is donating 10 grains (about 10 grams) of rice for each correct answer you give for the questions in their web site. In my first try, I have gone up to only 350 grains of rice, but I'll give it another try.

    If you don't have the time, but can afford spending even the smallest amount of money, go to World Food Programme and donate to the ones who need them the most. I posted about World Food Programme a while back but I guess it didn't get much attention since we have a national crisis back then.
    Apr 18, 2011

    Tuna-Cucumber Sushi Roll

    These tuna rolls turned out to be a favorite afternoon snack by my brother. Though I prefer using fresh tuna over canned ones, my dad very seldom buys fish so I have to make do with these. After all, I still have leftover nori sheets from making the tamago nigiri last week, and I don't want them to go to waste.

    The tuna filling has a spicy and herby flavor which complements the crisp cucumber slices well. Combined with the sweet tartness of the sushi rice which I always make with these rolls, it's a light and nutritious midday snack that I can eat all day. And Alex can't get enough of them, that I had to make two batches.

    I opened two flat cans of Century Tuna flakes in oil and drained them well. Then I mixed the tuna flakes with a tablespoon of classic mayonnaise, a teaspoon of dried basil, and two teaspoons of ground black pepper.

    Then I laid out a nori sheet and placed the tuna filling along the edge together with cucumber strips, and rolled them. Laid another nori sheet and spread sushi rice on top, then placed the rolled filling and formed into a large sushi roll.

    I repeated this until I used up all the ingredients, and cut them into rings. I can't really tell how many I made since Alex and my brother were eating them as I make them.
    Apr 16, 2011

    Barbecue Garlic Chicken Wings

    When I make barbecue chicken, I often do it on the stovetop instead of over hot coals. But even stovetop barbecue can be as good as their grilled counterparts when you let the sauce thicken and char a bit. The result: thick sauce clinging to crisp chicken wings in its sweet saucy goodness. Here's what it looks like before the sticky sauce, slightly charred, golden brown goodness:

    Barbecue Garlic Chicken Wings Recipe

    For the marinade:

    1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
    2 tsp garlic powder dissolved in 1 tsp water
    3 tbsp sugar

    For the sauce:

    1 tbsp garlic powder
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp cornstarch
    2 tsp ground black pepper
    1 tsp hot sauce
    2 tsp mustard
    2 tbsp cane vinegar
    5 tbsp soy sauce
    3 tbsp + 2 tsp honey
    1/4 cup melted butter

    1. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the chicken wings for 30 minutes. Set aside.
    2. Combine all dry ingredients for the sauce and mix well. In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.
    3. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, making sure there are no lumps.
    4. Drain the chicken well.
    5. Heat some oil in a nonstick pan and cook the chicken over low heat, allowing the skin to char a bit. Pierce the chicken with a fork several times during cooking to ensure that the insides are cooked. Set aside.
    6. Remove the oil from the pan and pour the sauce mixture. 
    7. Simmer over low heat until thickened. 
    8. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Let simmer over medium heat until sauce is very thick and slightly charred.

    Apr 14, 2011

    Overstuffed Tamago Nigiri

    It's one of those days when I get so bored that I tend to play with food. No, it's not the bastardizing kind, but the one where I deviate from the traditional way of preparing food and play dress-up like a little girl. ♥ I must tell you that the green chili strips you see in the photos are finger chilis. They're not too spicy but provide just enough spice to perk up your taste buds.

    Tamago nigiri is prepared by forming rice nuggets out of sushi rice, topping it with tamago, and wrapping it with a strip of nori. The tamago is prepared by beating eggs, dashi, and sugar together and cooking it in a pan until fully set, then cut into strips. At least that's what I have been doing for some time now. Oh, and when you get used to the sweet tartness of the sushi rice, you won't need your light soy sauce for sushi anymore. And there's no need to be strict with what you put in your nigiri, as long as it holds its shape, then you're perfectly safe.

    I also made sushi rolls with cucumber, tamago, and kani so that Alex can have his cucumber fix for the day. They look so cute inside the lunchbox.

    So far, I really liked how the colors turned out. It reminds me of Rastafari colors, which means..
    The red is for the blood of all living things in the world. The gold is for all of the treasures in the world that people cherish. The green is for the earth that people walk on, to which Rastas feel a special connection.
    Sushi Rice 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.

    • 1/3 cup rice vinegar or shin mirin
    • 3 cups cooked rice (you can use regular short grain)
    • 2 tbsp refined sugar
    • 1 tsp sea salt (coarse salt)
    1. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the rice vinegar. Heat in a saucepan until everything is dissolved. Do noit boil mixture.
    2. Let the mixture cool. Spread the cooked rice gently on a large bowl, then pour the cooled vinegar mixture on the rice. 
    3. Quickly mix and fold the rice until the rice is coated with the mixture well. Make sure that you are not squishing the rice so it won't look like paste.
    An entry for:

    Apr 13, 2011

    Choco Lava Cupcakes

    After the fudge brownies, I was back in the mood to bake, and accompanied by my sous-chef Alex, we baked a batch of choco lava cupcakes with candy sprinkles! If you're wondering why they're called choco lava cupcakes, it's because the center is filled with a large chocolate chunk which leads to the sunken cupcake centers.

    I got the idea from my sister when she baked a batch of dulce de leche cupcakes with custard center. I though, why not make a chocolate version? The result: extremely addictive melt-in-your-mouth cupcakes.

    Choco Lava Cupcakes Recipe

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3 tbsp cocoa powder
    3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 egg
    1/2 cup evaporated milk
    1 tsp of baking powder
    8 oz dark chocolate bar, chopped


    1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
    2. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
    3. Combine the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder.
    4. Beat the sugar, oil and egg together. Add the flour mixture and milk. Mix well.
    5. Pour batter into 1/3 of each cupcake liner, then place chocolate chunks at the center.
    6. Pour remaining batter up to 3/4 of each cupcake liner.
    7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
    8. Remove from oven and cool.
    Apr 11, 2011

    Soft Fudge Brownies

    There are times when Alex brings about his surprisingly sweet sweetness♥. I wasn't feeling well for a couple of days already, and I have been craving for something decadent but I can't tell him what it is exactly. I can't bake either, because the heat of the oven will drive me further into sickness, so he offered to do most of the baking. 

    I have a written down recipe of brownies which I found months after writing it, so I thought, If I wrote it down, it must have been really tempting. My most gracious thanks and apologies to the author, for the softest yet fudgiest chocolate treat that ever made its way into my mouth. It was not chewy, and it's not spongy like  a chiffon cake, but it melts in your mouth. It was just heavenly.

    Soft Fudge Brownies Recipe

    8 oz. dark chocolate
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3 tbsp flour
    1 3/4 sticks butter
    4 eggs

    1. Preheat oven to 180C.
    2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a double broiler or in the microwave.
    3. Line a baking pan with non-stick baking paper.
    4. Add the sugar, eggs, and flour and mix well.
    5. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until center is set.
    6. Turn off the oven and leave there to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
    Apr 7, 2011

    Tender Pork Teriyaki Don

    My dad bought a ton of pork tenderloin from the market yesterday, and I thought I just had to cook some for our packed lunch today. So far the school cafeteria still serves greasy and really salty food and I don't want us to touch those food in any way. And what's better is that I found this recipe in a Yummy Magazine issue Alex bought for me.

    If you don't have pork tenderloin, here's a trick I always do when I need tender meat but don't have the time to go to the market to buy some. Rub the pork tenderloin with baking soda and leave for about 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Alternatively, I tried using papaya juice from a green papaya I have back then, and it works well in tenderizing the pork. A warning, though, don't leave your pork soaked in papaya juice for more than 10 minutes, because the acid pepsin found in papaya juice (and produced by our bodies for digestion!) can really make the meat so mushy. Make sure you rinse completely after.

    Pork Teriyaki Don Recipe

    1/2 cup soy sauce
    1/2 cup mirin (I used Japanese brown rice vinegar instead)
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
    350 grams pork tenderloin, cut into strips
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
    1 bell pepper,diced

    1. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and grated ginger. 
    2. Add pork strips to marinade and toss to coat. 
    3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Remove pork from marinade and reserve liquid. 
    4. Heat oil in a pan and stir-fry pork in high heat for about two minutes. Set aside.
    5. Pour sesame oil into the pan and stir fry the bell peppers in high heat for two minutes.
    6. Add the sauce and reserved marinade, and saute for another two minutes in medium heat.
    7. Garnish with sliced spring onions, if desired.
    8. Serve with rice.

    An entry for Food Trip Friday :)