Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sariling atin: Filipino brown sugar-vanilla bread or "Kababayan"

'Kababayan' translates to "countryman" or "compatriot". No doubt this muffin should be called kababayan: it is a readily accessible snack found in any corner bakery-may it be a small local rural panaderia (bakery) or in a big, franchisee corporate bakeries in the big city. It's just like your trusted compatriot.

I grew up buying and eating these little guys. Great with a cup of extra hot, barako coffee with milk or soda and hot or iced tea. This is greatly enjoyed by itself instead of smothering them with frostings or glazes. But go ahead, dress them up with powdered sugar or streusel too!

Makes 12 cupcake size "Kababayan".



2 ½ c AP flour
1 c brown sugar
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt


2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 c fresh milk, at room temperature (If you do not have fresh milk, add 3 T of water to a measuring cup. Add evaporated milk to make 3/4 c)
4 t vanilla extract
3/4 c cooking oil (coconut or vegetable)

Optional: 2/3 c chopped nuts of choice


Lightly brush or rub cooking oil or melted butter to your cupcake pan. Set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients (first 4) in a large bowl. Set aside. In another bowl whisk the wet ingredients (last 4). Add wet ingredients ot the dry ingredients and stir well to a smooth consistency. (At least 45 seconds. Fold in chopped nuts-if using.

Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, preheat oven to 450° F. While preheating: use a 1/2 measuring cup to scoop and pour the batter to the prepared cupcake pan. At least almost reaching the rim of each receptacle.

Place in the oven and immediately lower heat to 375° F. Bake for 15-25 minutes, depending upon your altitude. Check at 15 minutes: top should be domed and cracked, slightly brown and not squishy (it should bounce back.) If not, return to oven to achieve that goal.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Substitute for bakchoy (pechay): romaine lettuce

This can be eaten with rice alone or with a side of chicken or pork or any kind of seafood. Here, I used it as a 'bed' and side dish for "Tuna Rolled Potstickers".  The original recipe called for "bakchoy" (pechay). I used Romaine lettuce instead.

  Sauteed Romaine in garlic and onion (Ginisang romaine litsugas sa bawang at sibuyas)


1 bunch romaine
4 cloves garlic, minced
half of an onion
3 T cooking oil of choice
1/2 t salt 
Pinch of cracked black pepper
Low sodium soy sauce for dipping (optional) 


Wash romaine lettuce well. I usually soak it in water for 20 minutes. Remove excess water and chop in half crosswise. Exclude the 1inch bottom part of the plant (root). 

Preheat skillet or frying pan until smoky. Add cooking oil and garlic. Saute until light brown. Add onion and romaine, stirring and flipping leaves constantly for 1 minute or until oil and garlic has coated the leaves. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. 

Uncover and season with salt and pepper. Stir and flip for 1 more minute then remove from heat. If you want it more wilted, cook for additional 2 minutes or until desired texture is achieved. 

Splash with soy sauce on or before serving.

Derivative 'bed' for chef John Sarran's "Ahi Tuna Pot Stickers" of Bubba's Diner of San Anselmo, CA.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

jalapeno (cole)slaw atchara

Inspired by a "Jalapeno Slaw" as a side for fish and chips by a brewery-restaurant. They make this  Southwest-style coleslaw, sweet-(lime)sour, no mayonnaise and added with jalapeno for some hot attitude.

When I first had it-I thought it tasted 100% like Atchara: a Filipino sweet-sour-garlicy condiment made of green (unripened) papaya. So I thought I'll make Atchara with cabbage, sayote (chayote) and singkamas (jicama). No green papaya where I live and honestly, it's a good new idea to use other ingredients.

For MOST Filipinos, my version below of this condiment is a big no-no even if they haven't tried it before: and for some reason if they can not be convinced it's okay and that it actually works, my reaction would be: "It's the 21st century. Take it or I don't give a crap what you think!"

I wish I can say this is "inspired by my mom's recipe" or that "this is her recipe". This is not one of those stories but I wish she wrote down her own recipe for her (green papaya) atchara. Lately, when I call her overseas, she's too old and weak to remember any of the past let alone a recipe for something she used to make everyday for a year or two and sell as a sideline income. 

Makes 8 cups:



2 cups clear vinegar (preferably coconut water or apple cider)
1½ c granulated sugar
2" ginger; washed, peeled and thinly sliced
11 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed well
1 T whole peppercorns

Atchara-Jalapeno Coleslaw mix.

1 small cabbage, finely chopped = or at 6 cups
1 large chayote (sayote), finely shredded
1 large carrot, julienned
1 small jicama (singkamas), julienned = or at least 2/3 cup
1/2 c black raisins
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red onion, remove skin and sliced lengthwise
3 green hot chili pepper, whole
2 t Iodized sea salt

1. Wash vegetables well (except garlic & onion). Let them sit in a sink or basin of cold water for at least 30 minutes. Rinse, drain and dry well.

2. Chop, grate or shred and slice vegetables accordingly. Set aside in individual containers/bowls. Make sure to drain any water sitting at the bottom of the each vegetable.

3. Let the first 5 ingredients boil in a medium sauce pot. When it starts to boil, lower heat to simmer for at least 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature.

4. Place all the prepared vegetables, raisins, red onion, hot green peppers and salt in a large mixing bowl. Combine well.

5. Pour the liquid mixture on the vegetable mixture. Mix well. Set aside and cover with a lid, plastic wrap or tin foil (anything airtight). Let it sit for 2 hours before transferring in an airtight jar or container. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Enjoy as a condiment for your deep fried or grilled fish, chicken, pork, beef, etc. Great in a bun with meat or as a dressing for a salad!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Asian salad

Salad with atchara, honey mustard dressing-and some other good stuff! This is a regular in the house-for lunch or dinner. We eat it with or without chicken. If I don't have the atchara condiment, I just mix in finely chopped red cabbage and Napa cabbage, julienned or shredded carrot and chopped green onion.

Makes 2 plates:


3 T honey
1 t Dijon mustard
2 T rice vinegar
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 t soybean (vegetable) oil

Stir all ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.


3 frozen crunchy chicken breast fritters, cooked according to package instruction.
1/2 c jalapeno slaw atchara drain well, set aside.
3 cups chopped romaine, compact
4 T sliced almonds
4 T crunchy chow mein
Sliced avocado (optional)
  1. Wash vegetables well, drain well.
  2. Slice cooked chicken in diagonal pieces. Set aside.
  3. Mix atchara and chopped romaine. Add enough or less of the dressing and mix. Using a salad tong or your hands, grab a handful of the veggie-dressing mix and place on your plate. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and crunchy chow mein. Topped with sliced chicken fritters. drizzle more or not with the dressing.
  4. Repeat on the other plate.