Flavours of Filipino food

 Flavours of Filipino food

It is said that around the 16th century, Chinese traders & immigrants landed up in Philippines not only with their silks and ceramics but also bringing their Cantonese specialities & Chinese cooking traditions like stir frying and steaming methods of cooking and since then it has been having a very close connect with the influence of its adaptations into Filipino cooking. Besides this it has also been linked to Spanish and a bit of American flavors which have been slowly incorporated and seen this cuisine develop over the years. The Filipinos are very jovial, sociable people who love to enjoy life, party and their food is often at the center of attention at many celebrations & moments to cherish.

Some basic condiments and flavours in this cuisine:
Soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, cream style shrimp paste, variety of herbs, garlic, Bayleaf, peppercorns, onions, tomato, cilantro and not to forget the lime called as Kalamansi, these bring out the basic taste in these foods to level next. A variety of dipping sauces go along with the meals as well especially with roast dishes etc.
Here are a few of my all-time favorite tasty and yummy Filipino recipes for all of you to try and enjoy!

Chicken Adobo with Rice

500 g chicken legs/thighs/drumsticks, cut into medium pieces.
For the marination
4-5 -Garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp white vinegar
2-3 bay leaves
8-10 black peppercorns
For cooking
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 onion, medium sized chopped
500-700 ml water/ stock
1 tsp sugar/ brown sugar
½ tsp black pepper powder
Marinate chicken for around 30 mins. Heat oil in a pan, add in the chicken pieces and place in the pan, fry them both sides until lightly browned, remove and keep aside. Heat some more oil in the same pan, add garlic and onions, saute for a minute add in the marination, water, sugar, pepper and water or stock. Bring to a boil, simmer add in the chicken pieces let them cook well around 20 mins. The sauce needs to reduce to a semi-thick texture while the chicken is cooking, add a little corn-starch if desired to thicken up and serve this on a bed of white rice or stir fried rice, serve hot.


Filipino Pancit Noodles

1 packet Pancit noodles/ rice/ glass noodles
2 tbsp cooking oil
8-10 garlic cloves
3-4 sliced spring onions
½ cup shredded carrots
1 shredded capsicum
½ cup shredded cabbage
8-10 sliced French beans
Salt and pepper to taste
500-600 ml hot water/stock
2-3 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp tabasco sauce/ hot sauce
¼ cup spring onion greens chopped
For non-veg: add cooked chicken/roast meat/pork chops etc.

Prepare all the ingredients for the Pancit noodles, Heat oil in a pan, add in the sliced or whole peeled cloves of garlic, add in the onions saute for 1 min. Add in the vegetables and saute, salt, pepper, and the cut glass noodles, mix well, add in hot water or stock and little soy sauce and allow to simmer, cover and cook on a low flame for 10-12 mins, stir and check for moisture. Add in the vinegar, lime, greens, non-veg etc towards the end once the noodles are cooked. Serve hot.


Lumpia – Filipino Style Spring Rolls

12-15 spring roll wrappers
For the filling
Authentically they use pork mince with soy, egg, cabbage and seasonings, ginger, garlic. Here we are using chicken mince.
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chicken mince
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp spring onion greens, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger, chopped
1 tsp white vinegar
¼ cup boiled mashed potato if desired for binding the mince
¼ cup shredded white cabbage
2 scrambled eggs optional
Oil to deep fry
Dipping sauces – soy, chilli vinegar, tomato sauce, sweet chili dip.
Heat oil in a pan, add in the ginger, garlic, onions and saute for a minute, add in the chicken mince, salt, pepper saute on a medium flame for 2 min. Add a little water or stock and allow the mince to cook on a low flame for 12-15 mins, dry up the water content, add in the soy, vinegar, greens, potato, cabbage/egg if desired mix well turn off the flame allow the filling to cool down. Arrange the wrappers on a work table, portion the filling evenly on all the wrappers, apply little maida-water paste on the edges and roll it up like a spring roll concept ensure the sides are well secured. Heat oil for deep frying and fry the lumpia until golden browned on all sides, remove on a kitchen paper, and then arrange on a serving platter with dips and serve hot as a starter.


Filipino Style Sweet-N-Sour Fish

500 g boneless round fleshy fish of your choice/ Bassa fish cut into medium sized cubes
For the marination of the fish
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp white wine optional
1 tsp white vinegar
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
Add on egg plus maida plus cornflour as needed into the marinated fish and drop it in medium hot oil and deep fry until light golden remove and keep aside. Same way we can make boneless chicken and even prawns or tofu as well.
For the Sweet- N-Sour Sauce mix:
2 cups water or stock
1 tbsp white vinegar
2-3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tbsp cornflour and water to thicken the sauce
To cook the sauce:
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 tbsp celery, chopped
1 small onion, cubes
1 green capsicum, cubes
1 cup pineapple cubes-fresh or tinned.
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp spring onion greens, garnish
Prepare the fish, fry and keep aside. Prepare the sauce mix in a bowl and keep ready. Heat oil and saute the ingredients for a minute add in the sauce mix and bring to a boil, simmer for 2-3 mins and once the gravy starts getting thick add in the fried fish cubes into the sauce and cook for a minute, add pineapple cubes if desired and serve hot garnish with spring onion greens, serve with steamed white rice.


Filipino Chicken Salad

For the base of the salad
1 bunch of iceberg lettuce
For the body of the salad

1 cup boiled chicken cubes
2 hard-boiled eggs
½ cup pineapple, cubes
1 boiled potato, cubes
½ cup boiled macaroni
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp lime juice
For the dressing of the salad
½ cup mayonnaise sauce
For the garnish of the salad

Parsley/ cherry tomatoes.
Prepare all the parts of the salad. In a mixing bowl combine together the body and dressing and mix well. Prepare the base of the salad on a serving plate or bowl. Portion the salad, garnish and serve chilled, add a dash of tabasco sauce before eating it. Add more assortment of veggies/ non-veg ingredients as desired to make this salad with more variations as well.


Buko Salad – Filipino Coconut- Fruit Salad

¼ cup fresh coconut flesh/malai
½ cup coconut cream or sweet cream
½ cup condensed milk
2 tbsp litchi crush – optional
1 cup assorted fruit cocktail tinned fruits
½ cup fresh tropical/citrus fruits- strawberry/kiwi/lychees
½ cup tinned cherries
½ cup tinned pineapple cubes
Pomegranate/cherries/mint for garnish
Prepare all the ingredients for the coconut fruit salad. In a mixing bowl combine together the ingredients for the dressing of the salad, mix well and add in the tinned and fresh fruits, mix and chill. Serve the chilled salad on a bed of crushed ice in a coconut shell and garnish as desired. A must try yummy Filipino style dessert.

On a concluding note: Filipino Cooking is one which anyone of us can easily try and indulge into and the results are bound to be positive for the simple fact that a little bit of awareness, ease of preparation, sharing of concepts and information can go a long way making this food well accepted by us. An attempt to impart the outline and basic structure of this cuisine can help many students of culinary arts & foodies to add this to their favorite lists and it gives me a sense of contentment doing this little bit from my end!


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