There must be some truth to the belief that even hot soup can refresh the body on summer days. I cooked and published the recipe for this pot of chicken tinola exactly five years ago on a day which, in the tradition of Philippine summers, must have been as terribly hot as it was today. So, I am republishing this post — we can all use a respite from the heat by enjoying a light delicious soup. … Continue reading »
We’ve been to Bulawan before. The last time, Speedy and I had lunch there on a weekday, on a whim, and the experience was just so relaxing and peaceful, and the food so good that, right there and then, I decided I’d write a story. The story was published as a feature article in Manila Standard Today and I was so happy to give Bulawan the exposure that it so deserved. Strangely enough, we wouldn’t go back to Bulawan for six and a half years. It’s the distance. The town of Pililia is not exactly a stone’s throw away from Antipolo.
Yesterday, however, we finally returned to Bulawan. The food was as good as it was the last time we were there. And the ambience was just as laid-back and unhurried. We love it there. … Continue reading »
It’s meatless but not exactly vegetarian because dashi, the base for miso soup, is a stock cooked by simmering bonito flakes and kombu. Bonito flakes, or katsuobushi in Japanese, are shaved skipjack tuna that had been dried, fermented and smoked.
To make this dish, I first cooked the mushroom balls and vegetables in boiling water. After scooping them out, I made the miso soup in the same water where the mushroom balls, cabbage and carrot slices were cooked. That’s flavorful water, so, why not? Besides, if some of the nutrients from the vegetables went into the water during cooking, why let them go to waste? … Continue reading »
The fastest and easiest way to ruin any seafood dish is by overcooking. Unlike meat, seafood turns chewy and rubbery with overcooking. And they shrink like anything.
Most people make mussel soup by adding the mussels to the pan before pouring in the water. I don’t. I let the water boil first BEFORE adding the mussels. This way, I don’t overcook the mussels. After the water boils again, it only takes two to three minutes for the mussels to cook completely. … Continue reading »
The fish balls are homemade. With a food processor. The authentic way to make them is to mince the fish with a cleaver, mix it with binders and vegetables then knead and throw handfuls of the mixture against the inside of a bowl to achieve the perfect texture. While I’m sure that there is a huge amount of satisfaction in making fish balls the traditional way, I have neither the time nor the skill. So, I used a food processor.
The best fish for making fish balls is a firm and fleshy variety — snapper, grouper, trevally and surgeonfish are good choices. And the fish must be fresh. I used cream dory which had been frozen and thawed, and my fish balls were softer than I would have wanted. On hindsight, I should have used a freshly filleted fish that had not seen the inside of a freezer. … Continue reading »
Whether you call it pancit molo or molo soup, it is the same basic Filipino soup dish — pork dumpling or wonton soup often with bits of cooked chicken in the broth. I’ve always wondered why it goes with a pancit (noodles) label when there are no noodles in the soup. Then, I read somewhere, I don’t anymore remember where, that because the dumpling (wonton) wrappers are made with basic noodle ingredients (i.e., flour, salt and water), the presence of the wrappers in the soup somehow qualifies it as a noodle soup.
The “Molo” part of the soup’s name is really descriptive of its history. Today, Molo is a district in the city if Iloilo. It was a town during the Spanish colonial period. And, before that, a place where the locals traded with the Chinese. Many of the Chinese traders stayed and settled permanently in the place and it already had a large Chinese population by the time the Spaniards arrived. Hence, its old name, Pari-an or Chinatown.
Today, the descendants of these early Chinese settlers can be found in such names as Consing, Ditching, Lacson, Layson, Locsin, Yulo and Yusay… [Read more: Molo, Iloilo: Its prominent place in history]
When the town’s name became Molo, I am not sure. But it was already known as Molo by the time that someone sold the first bowl of Pancit Molo or Molo soup. Clearly, it was a local version of the Chinese wonton soup. Considering how Molo used to be known as Chinatown, we can safely deduce that the Chinese wonton soup is indeed the ancestor of the Pancit Molo or Molo soup. … Continue reading »
Sotanghon (vermicelli), shredded chicken, chopped black fungus and vegetables are traditionally cooked together in the Philippines as a dry noodle dish. But my daughter, Sam, ever the soup lover (she takes after her father), prefers the soup version. As with the dry version, annatto seeds are used to add a golden red hue to this soup.
Wood ears can be substituted for black fungus. If using dried, they will need to be soaked first to rehydrate them. Then, trim them as you would fresh black fungus by cutting off the tough woody parts. … Continue reading »
Every culture has its version of boiled meat and vegetables. So I said in my Dublin coddle post. In the Philippines, the generic nilaga (literally, boiled) can refer to boiled beef and vegetables, boiled chicken and vegetables or boiled pork and vegetables. What the vegetables are vary. But, almost always, there is a combination of leafy and non-leafy vegetables.
But a foreword, however. Don’t ever think that you’ll be able to come up with a good broth if you boil meat with no bones. Truth be told, it is the bones that flavor the broth and give it a richness that no amount of meat-only boiling will yield. When I cook nilagang baboy, I often choose the ribs. Not spare ribs but the chunkier cut with the larger bones. If you’re on good terms with your butcher, the ribs can be very, very meaty.
You can use whatever combination of vegetables you like. This recipe uses white cabbage, potatoes and carrots. … Continue reading »