How to cook: Rice, biryani style

If I had saffron water to drizzle over the rice after cooking, and if I had used cashew nuts instead of peanuts, this would be a more authentic biryani. Well, whatever “authentic” means considering that biryani is found in the cuisines of more than a dozen countries, including the Philippines, and none is exactly the same as another. But I didn’t have saffron and cashew nuts so I had to content myself with calling this dish a biryani-style rice. At any rate, a lot of the traditional spices that go into cooking biryani went into this dish.

The idea and procedure I got from Malaysian cook Sherson Lian who hosts 5 Rencah 5 Rasa on Asian Food Channel. I liked the way he sauteed everything in a pan then transferred all the ingredients to the rice cooker. Modern and practical cook, I thought. That’s exactly how I did my arroz blanco and arroz amarillo — never mind purists screaming that you have to do it in a pot over burning wood or something. What the heck, eh? It is 2012, after all. »

Japanese-style spicy soba noodles with edamame

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Got shelled edamame? Here's a fast and easy noodle dish that you can use the beans with. No real cooking involved -- just boiling soba. All the flavors come from a sauce made with grated ginger, grated garlic, light soy sauce, lemon juice and … »

Sweet and spicy rice sticks (bihon) with pork and pineapple

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I admire the Italians for their ability to turn basic pasta dough into so many shapes and sizes, then combine the noodles with all kinds of meat, seafood, sauces, vegetables and herbs to create endless dishes that taste, smell and look different from … »

Tuna and tofu spring rolls

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There is so much that needs to be said about these tuna and tofu spring rolls recipe. First, it is possible to generously feed four people using a 180-gram can of tuna. Second, tofu is a great extender. Third, San Marino tuna fillet in water is not … »

How to cook: Lemongrass and chili stuffed tofu

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And so we take a break from the sweets and the meats and all those rich dishes that seem to be the benchmark of the holiday season. The girls are back in the condo, and Speedy and I thought we'd live on scraps and leftovers for the next couple of … »

How to cook: Crisp tofu in tomato chili sauce

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When Speedy tried to cook a Luke Nguyen tofu dish several weeks ago, he tried to fry silken tofu since that was what the recipe called for. But he got the same result that I did every time I tried to fry silken tofu -- a terrible mess. So, he … »

Banana and chunky peanut butter spring rolls

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I don't eat peanut butter and banana sandwich but I can eat banana slices smothered with smooth peanut butter as a dessert. I can also dip my crispy turon (banana spring rolls) in toffee and peanut butter sauce. But that's as far as I'd go with the … »