Sunday, February 26, 2017

siopao. see-yoh-pao. chicken filled, steamed buns.

A Siopao is a filled, steam bun. It is considered a "dumpling"-a big one. Famous in the Philippines as a snack or lunch food, it is originally a Chinese invention eaten for breakfast.

Thru Chinese trading from all parts of Asia, different versions of these steamed, filled buns popped up all over Asia like the mashed adzuki (sweet red) beans or mashed sweet potato. In China, Hong Kong, Taiwan-it is more called a 'Zhūròu xiàn xiǎo yuán miànbāo' which means "pork-filled buns".

Here I used chicken adobo as filling with added grated ginger, shallots, hoisin sauce and oyster sauce to make the original restaurant-style filling called "siopao asado". The Filipino-style Siopao USUALLY  has a small (or half of a large) hard boil egg inside which is what sets it apart from all the other filled steam buns of Asia. Some uses hard-boiled quail eggs. You can incorporate them if you wish. I just omitted it altogether since I did not have eggs at the time.

Filled buns can be found all over the world: the BAKED ones are considered a "pastry" like the 'bierocks' from Germany and 'runza' of Russia. There's also the 'klobasnek' of Czechoslovakia and the list goes on. I haven't had them but the Filipino siopao for me is the best. It's a birthplace food thing.

Special equipment:

Pieces of clean square paper, 2" x 2"


1 cup warm water (100° F or 38° C)
¼ cup & 1 Tbsp sugar
1 pouch active dry yeast
2½ c all-purpose flour
½ Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp lard or veg. oil)
1 tsp vegetable oil
Chicken Asado Filling


Make your Chicken Asado filling using your favorite adobo recipe but omitting the salt and added with:

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger and
1 finely chopped shallot or 1 bunch of finely chopped green onion-white bottom included
3 T Hoisin sauce
3 T oyster sauce

Remove from heat to cool at room temperature. Mince or chop at least 2 cups of it. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the warm water, 1 Tbsp of sugar and yeast. Cover and let it seat in a warm place or area of your house. I made this last month and was still winter. So I boiled a kettle of water and place it in the oven together with the covered yeast mixture until ready to use and when I mean "ready to use" like within the next 10 minutes.

In a big bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar and baking powder. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and the 3 Tbsp lard or oil. Mix well until a dough forms.

Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Form into a big ball and lightly rub the dough with oil and place in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an hour or until it doubled in size. I placed it in the oven with the same boiled water in a kettle earlier.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead for at least 30 seconds if the dough feels 'wet and limp'.

Roll into a log and divide into 8-10 equal portions.

Don't forget to have a clean, damp kitchen towel to always cover the balls of dough.

Form one into a ball and then using hand of rolling pin flatten it into about 4-5 inch circle leaving a small bulge in the middle.

Scoop a tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of filling and place it in the middle.

Gather the ends towards the middle from one side until you reach the other end closing the filling in. Pinch and twist to seal the ends together. Place the filled dough on the prepared sheet of paper with the twisted ends side down. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes.

Place the buns in the steamer 1" apart to avoid sticking together when they start to heat up, rise and spread. Steam for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stay closed for 5 minutes before removing the cover.

Let it cool to warm before eating.

Dough recipe adapted from a Filipino food blogger in Germany:

Embutido Scotch Eggs

How to make individualized Filipino embutido, the English way: scotch eggs style!


Large, deep pot or pan for deep frying. NOT non-stick.
paper towels

Recipe. Makes 6 individual embutido scotch eggs

Make the embutido sausage first.


1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 c liver paste
1 tsp granulated garlic
2 t granulated onion
1 t cracked black pepper
1 t salt
2 T soy sauce
2 T black raisins
1/4 of a red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
half of a ripe plantain banana, sliced

6 large eggs


1 cup flour with 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t cracked black pepper, pinch each of granulated garlic and onion
2 beaten eggs
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Combine well the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside

Using a food processor, 'chop' the last 4 ingredients until almost like a paste; do not over process.

Add the processed ingredients to the meat mixture and mix well with your hands. Set aside

Cook the eggs: boil at least 6 cups of water. Place each egg on a slotted spoon and carefully drop on the boiling water. Remove pot from heat after 15 minutes. This is Embutido style scotch eggs: eggs are boiled to well. Yes, you can par-boil the eggs if you want it runny; 4.5 minutes.

Carefully pour out boiling water and replace with running cold water. Remove shells from eggs immediately. Set aside.

Coating: Prepare seasoned flour, beaten eggs and panko bread crumbs each in different bowls.

Measure enough meat on your left (or right hand) just to cover the whole egg-not too thick. Evenly wrap it around the egg and place on the seasoned flour to coat. Remove from flour and transfer to the beaten eggs to wet. Transfer onto the bread crumbs to coat one last time. Place on a dry plate. Repeat procedure until all the hard-boiled eggs have been wrapped in meat mixture and coated.

Preheat at least 2 inches of neutral oil until smoky. Carefully place each egg in the pot and deep fry until outside is lightly brown. You just want to cook the meat; egg is already cooked.

Set on a paper towel lined plate.

Eat by itself with banana catsup or liver sauce or any other dipping sauce you fancy.

Embutido scotch eggs on a bed of Caesar salad

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ube (purple yam) Ice cream recipe #2: the BEST!

I have to attend this block party 4 days ago. The following days after the invite, I contemplated on what to bring. I was told by the invitee/planner of the event (great couple hands down) "any finger foods will do" but Filipino in origin "would be great!"(but not compulsory). Well, if everybody was told to bring finger foods-I am sure everybody will bring finger foods. So I thought I'll bring something to eat with a spoon and bring the cutlery myself as I do not want the hosts to bother in producing spoons or forks.

Since I just bought 2 large "purple yams" (ube pronounced as ooh-beh or "purple sweet potato") at the only grocery store that sells it. (Actually I told them 2 years ago: "if you try selling it-I'll help you sell it"! Took almost a year but finally, Filipino-Americans in this town and Americans that know how to use it will finally have them on hand like any other produce they regularly buy in the store. Well what better way to introduce an ingredient to a predominantly white and Hispanic street but thru a block party in a form of an ice cream!

THIS is actually my 2nd recipe for ube ice cream and if it's not better-then it's the BEST! I highly recommend this recipe below than the other one I made last month. If you are just trying this recipe for the first time, the ube extract and gel-based food color is optional. Both has a deep purple tint.  The flavor and color of your ice cream without the extract and food color will be as natural as you get: just from the ube jam that you made.

I'm sorry to tell you if you will use ube jam in the jar without the ube extract, you will be disappointed with your ice cream. But to be able to achieve what I am talking about, you NEED to make your own ube jam instead of buying ready made ones in jars found in Filipino stores/Asian market. I only recommend this if purple yams are being sold in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTE: you can cut the ice cream recipe in half IF YOU WISH.

THIS WAS A HIT at the block party! Trust me-you don't need to get the branded ones in the Filipino/Asian markets laden with preservatives and difficult to pronounce ingredients.


Refrigerate heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk for 3 hours or more. Freeze the metal or wire whisk used for your electric mixer. Chill the bowls but optional.

Ube Jam


2 large ube/purple yam
1/2 cup or 1 stick plus 4 T of unsalted butter; at room temperature
1/2 t salt
1 can of chilled condensed milk


Wrap each ube in tin foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350° F. It will turn out to be deep, jewel tone purple and would stain anything that comes in contact with including your fingers/hands. Don't worry-it's EASY to remove. 

Cool completely at room temperature.

Peel the skin; careful with the 'ink juice'. Chop into cubes 1/2" x 1/2" and place in the food processor, together with the condensed milk, butter, and salt. Blitz until very smooth. The color is a sight to behold!

Transfer in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; set aside in the refrigerator to chill (optional). 

ube jam pudding

Ice Cream

3 cups ube jam
4 cups chilled heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
1 can chilled evaporated milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
2 teaspoons ube/purple yam extract (McCormick Philippines® brand; Filipino and Asian grocery stores/market,, eBay)
1/2 teaspoon gel-based food coloring in purple


In a large bowl (preferably metal material, heat-proof glass like Pyrex or similar brand; hard plastic like Tupperware or similar quality/brand), beat ube jam, evaporated milk and sugar on low speed for 2 minutes; set aside.

Rinse the whisk in cold, running water. Dry thoroughly.

In another large bowl of the same materiel mentioned above, place heavy cream or heavy whipping cream in it. Attach the metal or wire whisk to your electric mixer and beat the cream until soft peaks form. 

With a rubber spatula, fold the cream onto the ube-evaporated milk-sugar mixture; using the electric mixer on very low alternately folding and beating, 1 minute until very smooth and color is evenly distributed.  

Transfer in a deep, 9-12 cup container with airtight lid. Place in freezer.

Wash and dry metal or wire whisk and freeze again.

After 2 hours, remove ice cream from freezer and beat thoroughly on low with electric mixer. Since it has already started setting, give yourself 1 minute to beat the whole tub of ice cream. Place back in the freezer to finally set/harden. 

Serve after 6 to12 hours.