Friday, January 28, 2011

Kare Kare - KCC January Theme

I joined Kulinarya Cooking Club October or November of last year and I've been meaning to joinfellow KCC members in their monthly kitchen adventures but life and work and the daily commute got in the way. Not to mention that I am, yet again, late in posting. But hey, better late than never!

This month's theme is "What Filipino Dish (savoury or sweet) would you like to have on your birthday?"

I celebrated my birthday in the earlier part of January and we had all you can eat Korean Barbecue but if I had my way, I'd ask my dad to cook my ultimate comfort food, Beef Pinapaitan or have my mom make her Pinoy Spaghetti . However, I've already posted those two dishes on my blog, so I decided on another favorite of mine, Kare Kare.

Kare Kare or oxtail and peanut stew is something that I learned to cook when I moved to this city. I learned by watching my uncle cook it for dinner and then added a couple of things I learned from my mom.

My version of kare kare is nothing like the authentic version where you have to use roasted peanuts and annatto seeds. I simply don't have the time. I use a kare kare mix (boo!) but I use it mostly to impart color not flavor. I also don't put banana blossom or puso ng saging because, well, I don't know how to prep it. Sometimes I use the cut of beef meant for stewing because oxtails are pretty expensive. One thing I do know is that Ludy's peanut butter can tramp Skippy's anytime!

So here is my version of Kare Kare (as always, I don't measure when I cook so adjust the seasonings to suit your taste).

1 package oxtail ( pre-packed when i buy it in the groceries)
tripe (i'd say about 1 - 1 1/2 lbs i used the what they call "honeycomb")
1/2 of an onion, sliced
2 T garlic, minced
1 - 1 1/2 cup peanut butter, or one bottle of Ludy's peanut butter
salt & pepper to taste
sugar to taste ( i don't add sugar when I use Ludy's PB)
1 pack Kare Kare mix ( i use mama sita)
2 chinese eggplants, sliced diagonally
green beans or string beans
pechay or bok choy

Wash the tripe and oxtail thoroughly. In a pot, combine the tripe and oxtail and cover with water. Bring water to a boil. Boil for a few minutes then drain and rinse oxtail and tripe in cold water.
Place oxtail and tripe in a pressure cooker and cover with water. Pressure cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until oxtail and tripe are tender. (if the tripe is still tough, you can transfer the oxtail to another bowl and set those aside.) Once the tripe is tender, drain and cut into serving portions. Reserve the broth. You can dissolve the kare kare mix in it.

In a pan, saute onions and garlic. Add oxtail and tripe. Season SPARINGLY with salt and pepper.
Add the dissolved kare kare mix and the peanut butter. Adjust seasonings accordingly. Add sugar if you wish or more water if needed. Let it simmer.

In another pot, boil water. Add green beans and eggplants. When the eggplants are almost tender, add pechay or bok choy. Transfer vegetables to a bowl under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Then drain the vegetables and add to the stew.

Serve warm, with bagoong.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Steamed Fish Fillet with Garlic Ginger Sesame Soy Dressing

Do you love fish? Do you want the freshest catch and pay a fraction of the cost you are paying at the grocery stores? Is it okay for you to wake up early on a Saturday morning, say 3 AM and drive all the way to the Port of Los Angeles? If you answered yes to all the questions then grab your jacket and car keys because I'm pretty sure you'd want to be there on an early Saturday morning when the San Pedro fish markets are open to the public.
Inside the pink building located at the end of 22nd Street, you will see a crowd of shoppers picking through boxes of live crabs, shrimps, lobsters, squid and fish. At the market you can find a variety of fish from mackerel to red snapper to sole to salmon to tuna. Some have been filleted, while some you can buy whole. Prices are astonishing low too. Imagine 89 cents a pound for squid? We were able to purchase a huge fillet of salmon and sole fillets for $5.00 each. You can't get that good a deal in your neighborhood grocery store. There are also bins of crushed ice for shoppers to pack their loot in for the drive home.
Okay back to cooking. Originally, I wanted to pan fry the fillets of sole and serve it with a creamy butter sauce but eventually decided on steaming the fillets for a change.
Steaming gave the fillets, a tender, delicate, melt in your mouth texture and balanced the asian flavors brought about by the other ingredients in the dish. If you have a huge steamer, then you don't have to cut the fillets, but if you don't, you can always slice it in half. I served the steamed fillets over a bed of Chinese cabbage that I sauteed in garlic, onions, ginger and a dash or two of oyster sauce.

Check out the recipe below. As with my other recipes, please feel free to adjust seasonings to your liking. I don't measure when I cook.
Oh and before I forget, the San Pedro Fish Market is open to the public every Saturday from 3:30AM to 7:00AM.

Steamed Fish Fillet with Garlic Ginger Sesame Soy Dressing

For the Vegetable

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 of an onion, finely sliced
half a head of chinese cabbage or napa cabbage, washed and sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces
dash or two of oyster sauce
pepper to taste
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar

For the fillets
4 fish fillets, I used sole but you can use dory or any white fish fillets you have on hand. (Slice them in half if they wont fit in your steamer)
1/8 cup water
2 tablespoons rice wine or Chinese cooking wine (I used mirin because thats what I had on hand)
3 tablespoons ginger, julienned
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 stalk green onion, julienned
1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
cilantro for garnish

For the vegetable:

Heat oil in pan and add the ginger, onion and garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add the chopped cabbage then season with oyster sauce and pepper. Pour in water and cover pan for two to three minutes. Drain cabbage and transfer to a plate; Set aside.

For the fish:
Clean and wash the fish then pat dry. Arrange fillets on a plate that fits inside a steamer basket.
Add water, cooking wine and a tablespoon of soy sauce over fish and then top with half of the ginger. Place plate inside the steamer. Cook for about 8 mins or until fillets are tender and cooked properly.
Using a spatula, carefully remove the fillets from the steamer and place on top of the vegetable.
In a pan, heat oil and and saute ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add the remaining soy sauce, and any remaining liquid left on the plate where you steamed your fish in and sesame oil. Add the green onions. Check seasoning. Add sugar if needed. When the ginger, garlic oil is hot, pour over the fish. Serve hot.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Orange Chicken

For the longest time I've been meaning to drop by "THAT" restaurant that serves this particular dish but I keep fighting the urge to do so.
What? Am I dieting? Heavens no! (but I'm trying to eat smarter, though.) I'm trying my hardest to save up for a kitchen aid and upon checking the pantry and the fridge, I had all the ingredients to recreate the dish. (Yes stingy me is trying to save a buck or two.)
So off to the kitchen I went!
This is not exactly what you call "health food." I mean come on! It's fried chicken for crying out loud. Then it's drenched in a sweet, tangy, spicy sauce and served on a bed of white rice. No brown rice here. It's full carbs or nothing. So if you're looking for a healthy meal, I suggest you keep looking. I, on the other hand, will enjoy my dinner. If you want to give it a try, check out the recipe. (Please note that I do not measure the ingredients when I cook, so I kinda eyeballed the measurements in this dish.)

Orange Chicken

4 pcs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp ground pepper
6 to 7 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (i used brown sugar)
1/4 cup soy sauce ( i used low sodium)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp + 2 tsp cornstarch dispersed in
2 tbsp water

For the coating:

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tbsp water
1 cup cornstarch
cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
Canola oil for deep frying.

In a saucepan, combine ginger, garlic, orange zest, pepper and cayenne. Add chicken broth, orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Stir.
Measure out 3/4 cup of the marinade and put in a resealable bag and marinate chicken pieces 30 mins to 60 mins. (keep in fridge).
Heat remaining marinade until slightly thickened.
Add cornstarch mixture and continue to cook until sauce is translucent. Set aside.

Drain chicken pieces and pat dry.

In a bowl, combine cornstarch, cayenne, baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add water. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg mixture then dredge in cornstarch mixture.
Deep fry the chicken pieces and transfer onto plates lined with paper towel.
Reheat the sauce if necessary and toss with the cooked chicken pieces. Serve with rice.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


(photo via: thenotebookdoodles )

Yes, 2011. Please be good to me.

I've been so busy during the past six months that I totally stopped blogging.
I moved:

1. to a different time zone
2. to a different city.
3. far from my family.


The thing I like about the move apart from making new friends, is learning to be really independent and summing up the courage to learn new things and take on the adventure that is life.

However, I really, really miss my family. I miss their hugs and kisses and laughter. I miss being with them which was why I spent an ample amount of time in the kitchen, cooking. It's something we love to do as a family. We love gathering around the table, having a good time while partaking of the food we prepared. So yeah when I feel sad, or when a wave of homesickness hits me, I hie off to the kitchen and prepare food that we used to enjoy :)

And I will be posting some pictures of the food I've prepared pretty soon.

So yes, 2011, please be a good year not only for my family and I, but for everyone else as well!