Goto (congee with beef tripe) with coconut milk. Winner!


Lugaw (congee; rice porridge) is ubiquitous in Asia and there are so many ways to enjoy it. Mostly, it's the toppings and accompaniments that vary and give the plain lugaw a unique flavor and look each time. But what if it's the lugaw itself that's given a new twist?On a whim, I added coconut milk to my goto (beef tripe … [Read more...]

Bibingkang malagkit (sticky rice cake)


It's like biko but better. Cook the glutinous rice in coconut milk. Spread in a greased baking dish, top with salted caramel, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and bake. It's so good. But to really do this sweet dish right, it's best to soak the rice for several hours prior to cooking. And you have to make the caramel using … [Read more...]

How to make: Pearl balls


If you've never seen nor heard of pearl balls, they are meat balls rolled in soaked glutinous rice and steamed until the rice grains puff and create a sticky crust. Pearl balls, like most dim sum food, are sized to be eaten in one go. Lift one up with chopsticks, dip lightly in the spicy, sweet, salty sauce, pop into your … [Read more...]

Is machang, lo mai gai or zongzi?


It's sticky rice filled with chicken (or pork) and black mushrooms, sometimes with peanuts or chestnuts or both, wrapped in leaf then steamed. In the Philippines, it is known as machang and it is often listed under the dimsum items in Chinese restaurant menus. That the dish is Chinese in origin, there is no doubt. But is it … [Read more...]

How to cook: Suman (rice cake in a tube) in three flavors


To say that the English translation for suman is rice cake is a bit confusing since the term "rice cake" encompasses more than suman. When cooked in a tray or dish, rice cake is called bibingka, kakanin or kalamay. If cooked to achieve a bread-like texture, it is called puto. But, the thing is, a traditional Christmas fare, … [Read more...]

How to prepare: Nian Gao (tikoy), a Chinese New Year tradition


Known as tikoy in the Philippines, nian gao is a traditional Chinese New Year dish. Why it is so has many aspects. One account has it that it is an offering to bribe the Kitchen God (a reference in Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife) who reports everyone's behavior to the Jade Emperor. Another interpretation is that "nian gao … [Read more...]

Champorado, chocolate risotto and Thai black sticky rice


A story goes that, in an attempt to turn his bowl of day-old rice into something more appetizing, a very young Jose Rizal poured a cup of chocolate into the bowl and invented the dish that would become popularly known as champorado. It may or may not have happened though it's a nice twist to totally Filipinize the chocolate … [Read more...]

Dolor’s kakanin, revisited


I've written about Dolor's Kakanin in 2006 (sorry, old photo missing) and I had nothing but praises for the assorted rice cakes that we used to drive all the way to Malabon for. We have two boxes of Dolor's Kakanin in the house right now, and one has been opened. I thought I was the only one who noticed -- the kakanin are … [Read more...]

Guinataang Halo-halo

Guinataang Halo-halo

Guinataan means cooked with gata or coconut cream (or milk); halo-halo literally means mix-mix. Guinataang halo-halo is a sweet snack or dessert made with chunks of saba bananas, kamote (sweet potatoes), gabi (taro), sago (tapioca balls) and bilo-bilo (sticky rice balls) cooked in sweetened coconut milk.This is a treat … [Read more...]