Oct 14, 2013

Protein Packed Meatless Veggie Burgers

I've always loved burgers - be it grilled, pan fried, or broiled over live charcoals on a warm sunny afternoon. It must have been the juicy, round pieces of meat smothered with sauce and stacked with veggies and bread that always drew me in, and I couldn't imagine eating burgers made without meat, that is until I've discovered veggie burgers. These are patties made with a mix of finely chopped vegetables, protein-rich grains, fiber, and generously flavoured with spices and herbs, all blended into satisfying your burger cravings without the guilt.

While they have been around for years, they haven't become mainstream until the past few years. They've been popular with vegetarians for a long time, but just recently getting the limelight as the search for healthier alternatives for processed food takes on new heights. For people who want to lose the bloated feeling from eating too much meat (we all do eat too much, actually), and those who wish to go on a diet but can't seem to give up food, this might just work for you.

Vegetable burgers also have a lot more nutrients than their beef and pork counterparts, and they're lower in calories. And contrary to popular belief, these meatless patties are packed with protein and B-vitamins, not to mention good cholesterol. The fact that these patties are made from vegetables and beans that expand int he stomach mean that they are a lot easier to digest and a smaller amount of food can make a person feel just as full as almost twice the amount of beef.

So the next time you come a cross a meatless veggie burger, go and have a bite. You might just get addicted like us. ;) We make them sometimes, and I'd love to share the recipe with you soon.

Oct 11, 2013

Squash Ukoy / Okoy with Pork Chicharon

I've cooked okoy before using grated sqaush and batter, but seeing the wonderfully crisp and almost charred okoy at the streets made with julienned squash made me want to cook some at home for a sunny afternoon snack. There's also a bag of chicharon (pork cracklings) with meat on them, one which I try my best to avoid but then again this time I failed.

The squash was cut into 1/4-inch thick strips, and though I'm pretty sure that they should be around 1/8 of an inch or so, the warm sunny day gives me that lazy vibe. The batter was made with strong shrimp stock, and the result was extremely delicious and perfect with that spicy garlic-vinegar dip.

Ukoy / Okoy Kalabasa (Squash Fritters) Recipe

  • 2 cups butternut squash, julienned
  • 1/2 cup chicharon / pork cracklings with meat on, cracked into pieces
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup shrimp stock
  • 1 egg white, beaten until frothy
  • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
Cooking Directions
  1. In a bowl, mix the egg white, fish sauce, pepper, garlic powder, and the baking powder.
  2. In another bowl, mix the cornstarch, flour, and shrimp stock. Add this mixture to the egg mixture.
  3. Add the squash and mix well.
  4. Heat some oil in a shallow pan. Spoon about a quarter cup of the batter into the oil and top with the pork cracklings.
  5. Flip and fry each side until crisp.
  6. Serve piping hot with you choice of a vinegar dip.

Oct 7, 2013

Asian Steamed Fish

What's real nice about steaming food is that there will be less mess, prep time is cut and if you have an electric steamer like me, just set the timer and you're good to go. That, and of course there's less fat than the usual fried fish.

Maya-maya steaks were laid on ginger leaves from our garden, then seasoned according to my taste. With a wonderful aroma and an infusion of flavors that melt with the creamy flesh, this dish is bound to hit the spot on lazy nights.

Asian Steamed Fish

  • 2 pcs fish steaks
  • A handful yellow ginger leaves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp calamansi juice (or any mild citrus juice)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • dash ground pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
Cooking Directions
  1. Lay the ginger leaves on the bottom of a steamer-proof container.
  2. Place the fish steaks on top, leaving space between each fish.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the sesame oil, soy sauce, citrus juice, salt, pepper, and onion powder.
  4. Pour the mixture over the fish.sprinkle the ginger and garlic on top of each fish.
  5. Cover the container tightly with foil and steam depending on your steamer's directions. (Mine took 30 minutes)
  6. Serve with hot white rice.
Oct 3, 2013

Shrimp and Prawn Stock

Shrimp and prawn heads are usually discarded during food preparation where they are shelled prior to cooking, but it's a shame as the best flavor of these shellfish lie mostly on these parts. One way to make the most out of this flavor is by making basic shrimp stock to be used on soups, broths, and batter (for okoy) among others.

As a kid, my mom taught me to take shrimp stock from the heads by smashing them with a mortar and pestle and let them steep for a few hours in salted warm water. Alternatively you can just process them in the blender or food processor and let them steep. Once the water turns a dark orange color (no artificial colorants there!) you can strain the shells and debris, and freeze the stock for up to two weeks.

Normally I'd use three cups of shrimp heads to one cup of water, but you can do your own experiments and find what works for you. ;)