Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pork & Bean Sprouts Sauté

Hello everyone. This is my first official post in Mangantayon. As I have mentioned in Bushido Calling I will be temporarily taking over  writing and sharing here what I have come up with in the kitchen. I am in no way a master in the culinary arts. I will even present a lot of guerilla dishes just to share my adventure. Please be kind with the comments whenever you had the chance to stumble upon one of my recipes. Mind you, Rya would be my first critic and be the one approving what to post. So, here we go.

pork (lean, cubed)
ginger (minced)
garlic (minced)
onion (minced)
bean sprouts (a handful)
carrots (thinly sliced)
cabbage (thinly sliced)
oyster sauce (about 2 tablespoon)
butterhead lettuce

1. Cook pork in small amount of water! Add ginger as the meat turns white (I like the taste of ginger on pork and this procedure sort of makes the meat sip that ginger flavor). Wait until water evaporates. Stir. Add butter. Then add garlic and onion. Stir until meat turns brown. 
2. In medium fire, add bean sprouts, carrots and cabbage (on a different variation you can add baby corn and ubod (heart of palm) to this combination). Jerk the pan! After all this is a sauté. Stir until the juice of the bean sprouts comes out. Add oyster sauce and a small amount of water. Stir. Add a pinch of salt. 
3. Turn of fire after a few minutes. Sprinkle basil, oregano and parsley.   

Ok this will be a first. I mean this presentation part. This is what I am most interested in. How to make a food more pleasing to the eyes. Given it is already pleasing in taste and in smell. This is my attempt.

Spread the fresh butterhead lettuce on the plate and the Pork & Bean Sprouts Sauté in the middle. Simple but not boring. Until next time. Don't forget to say grace. Mangantayon!  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Spareribs with Pineapple in Oyster Sauce

It has been a long time. My harddrive is already full of food pictures that are waiting to be published here. My baby is already 5 months old yesterday and since September, we have moved to a new apartment and I have started a new job. Our new place is nice. It is a place where everybody still says "Ohayou" (Good morning) to each other and also offer you produce from their gardens when harvest time comes. Although we are far from the conveniences that city living offers, we are loving every minute that we are here. My husband is particularly loving the fact that there is a supermarket nearby which sells big chunks of meat at a relatively cheaper price than the usual supermarkets. And thus as a comeback, let me share Rad's favorite meat: the spare ribs.

Tonight, I decided to experiment a little bit. It is weekend, and we decided to spend the whole day inside the apartment just taking it easy so the ingredients are the things that I can find in my refrigerator only.


spare ribs (4 cuts)
1 potato
1 green bell pepper
2 rings pineapple
half an onion
about 2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
lettuce (as garnish)

1. Sprinkle shio-kosho (a mixture of salt and fine pepper) on the ribs and fry in butter until brown.
2. Put in onion and potato and fry some more (use moderate heat).
3. Mix in oyster sauce and soy sauce until they are incorporated in the meat and potatoes. Sprinkle ground black pepper. Pour about 3/4 cup water and cover.
4. Mix in pineapple and mushroom.
5. Put in bell pepper when everything is cooked. The remaining heat is enough to cook the bell pepper and still have some crunch in it.

Usually, the meat that we buy are already so tender that we don't even need a pressure cooker or cook for a long time. I think the amount of water would depend on how tender or hard the meat is.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nuts over Nattou

It seems that my last venture in the kitchen making the natsu mikan marmalade was all it took to stimulate my labor pains. I got myself admitted to the hospital at 7AM and our baby girl was born 12 hours later. As I stayed for a week at the hospital, I thought that my next blog entry would be about hospital food but that would take a lot more energy so it would have to wait. One thing significant that happened to me while I was in the hospital was, I suddenly found myself liking, no, loving natto (fermented soybeans)!

And so, since I got back from the hospital, natto has been a regular on our breakfast table and I have also convinced Rad to eat it regularly too! I was more encouraged when I found out that Shizuoka Gourmet is having a series of recipes on natto in his blog. What a coincidence!

For this week though, we have been eating natto with its sauce and mustard topped with bonito flakes and some nori. Sometimes, with fresh raw egg. I can swear that despite the sleepless nights, I feel more energized everyday because of natto (or perhaps I have just really convinced myself of that!LOL)

So anyway, while Ken and I went to shop yesterday, I picked up a copy of QuiCooking and I found this recipe (小松菜と納豆のからししょうゆあえ or Komatsuna and Nattou with Mustard and Soysauce dressing) which I tried last night for dinner. The recipe called for komatsuna (Brassica rapa var. perviridis var. komatsuna) or Japanese mustard spinach, which is Rad`s favorite.

Komatsuna or Spinach (cut and boiled)
1 pack nattou
nattou sauce and mustard (usually included with the nattou)
soy sauce

Mix the spinach and nattou in a bowl. Then mix in the remaining ingredients.

So simple really. But I was glad my usual spinach salad got a bit livelier and healthier.

Friday, May 21, 2010

NatsuMikan (Summer Tangerine) Marmalade

Ok so Kaye is not coming yet. I didn't get the job I applied for, so there is no sense of hurrying things up. My baby can take her sweet time in my tummy. She has all my time now. The doc told me today that they will have to induce labor next Thursday if I still don't give birth by then. However, when I cam home from the hospital, I begin to feel that familiar pang and I have a feeling that she will come soon. It's 1AM and I slept the pains off from 7PM to 11PM. For lack of something to do, I decided to finally try making something out of the natsu mikan (summer tangerine) in our kitchen.

The tangerine trees at the back of our apartment are teeming with fruits at this time of the year. Every year, for almost every week that the mikan are in season, we would find a plastic bag full of tangerine at our doorstep, courtesy of our landlord. For the past years, I had no idea nor had any inclination to use the mikan for something else other than the usual so most of the time, they'd end up in the garbage.

Tonight, I experimented on making marmalade. I searched for a recipe online but couldn't find one and I really am not in the mood to search for recipes written in Japanese so, I made my own based on marmalade recipes of other types of oranges or tangerines.

Natsu mikan is much more bitter than the mikan or ponkan. However, I am quite satisfied with what I got.

1 big natsu mikan
1 cup sugar
yuzu rind

Since I have nothing better to do, I peeled the mikan and removed all the pulp and seeds by hand. This would have been so time-consuming if I had used like 5 mikans and I read in one blog that they just processed the sacs as they are. I opted to remove the sacs though and only used the pulp. I had leftover yuzu in the refrigerator so I removed its rind and mixed it in.

One big mikan with all its juice amounted to 1 cup so I used also 1 cup of white sugar. Since I don't have a food processor, I blended it for 2 or 3 seconds.

Then I boiled the mixture for about 13 minutes.

As you can see from the picture (my photographer is fast asleep so excuse the inartistic shot), it looks like marmalade. It tastes and feels like marmalade although a little bit bitter than the commercial one. Nevertheless, I think I will be making my own marmalade from now on. Maybe I'll add a more sugar next time but I think this one is just perfect for my orange marmalade French toast!

Now if only I have the energy to peel and pulp 10 more natsu mikan. . . . .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tambo-tambo or Padarusdus or Ginatan Bilo-bilo

There is a lot of name for this dessert and a lot of ways to cook it. We call it Padarusdus or Paradusdos in Ilocano. Correct me if I am wrong but I think the name came from when the glutinous rice flour is shaped into balls and made to roll in dry flour and as the balls roll, especially if there are many who are making them, it would appear like there is a "scuffle" of mochi balls. Or at least that`s what I remember my aunt told me. That by the way is the meaning of "darusdos". Although it could have come from the Tagalog word "dausdos" which means "to slide". But etymology is the least of my concerns now.

So anyway, whenever I go home to Batac, I would just crave for it. Last October, the first thing I requested from Manang Perla was to buy a serving of padarusdus and she said that she'd better make it herself because it would be cheaper and that way everybody can eat. I am so glad she did! I watched her cook it so that next time I'll know how but like the great cook that she is, she never ever measured her ingredients but just boiled and tossed in every ingredient and lo and behold!

This is a dish so rich in carbohydrate as most of the ingredients are made of starch! The glutinous rice, sweet potato, sago or tapioca, and other root crops which one may want to add.

When I came back to Japan, first thing I did was to order some sago, tapioca and coconut milk from a Filipino store online. By the way, for those who are not aware, sago and tapioca are different in that, sago is made from the pith of sago palm stem (Metroxylon sagu) while tapioca is from the root crop Manihot esculenta or cassava. Both are made of starch though and can be used in the same way.

Here is what I did, crudely, but, it worked and it satisfied my palate.

1 can coconut milk
1/2 - 1 cup brown sugar
sago (cooked)
sweet potato (cut in bite size)
glutinous rice balls (I used mochi powder, well they are the same)


*Glutinous rice balls are made by blending the glutinous rice flour with water and shaping them into balls.

Boil the coconut milk. Once the coconut milk is boiling, add the sugar. The amount of sugar depends on how sweet you want it. Put in the sweet potatoes. If you have cooked the sago beforehand, you can just add it after the sweet potatoes. Then the bananas. Right after that, drop in the mochi balls and cook till the balls float. Add vanilla for that aromatic flavor.

I only had sweet potatoes and bananas here but some would add yam, jackfruit and/or sweet corn.

Choco Chip Cookies and Brown Sugar Oatmeal Raisin Bread

It has been two months since my last post and our baby girl is supposedly due to come out today but it seems that she is taking her sweet time in my tummy. I have been busy preparing for her coming and of course nurturing myself out of boredom, irritation, hormonal imbalance and what-have-yous of pregnancy. So instead of getting more anxious when the labor pains would come, I have decided to write another post just to channel the extra energy and sleeplessness I have been suffering the past days.

My sister arrived in Japan last April and she just came and stayed with us for 5 days during the Golden Week (that`s Japan`s week-long vacation). We had fun going from one store to another shopping with Grace (a Filipina friend, also studying in Gifudai). Anyway, when all was bought and my feet finally gave up, we decided to spend the rest of the vacation cooking, particularly baking. We had the muffin, quick bread, cookies and a whole wheat bread in our list.

The choco chip cookies recipe I got from my sis in UP Cells, Orange, who cooks a lot of amazing and delicious food for her family. I kinda wish she would also make a blog of all her recipes. I dunno what we did wrong but, although this is my second time to make these, they were still so thin. Nevertheless, they were so delicious that they were gone before we knew it and Ken has become the new Cookie Monster.

Before we mixed the cookie recipe, we already prepared the dough for the Brown Sugar Oatmeal Raisin Bread. It was fun to be back baking bread but I had to admit that I am glad my sister did all the mixing and kneading. My powers were not enough for bread making just yet. Ken had a great time sprinkling the cinnamon and playing little chef.

We followed the recipe from to the letter and we were aptly rewarded with two very delicious and tasty loaves which are indeed so perfect for breakfast!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Puto Pao

And so, after the leche flan adventure, I am left with a lot of leftover egg whites, and so is Manny. I hate to see the egg whites go down the drain so I looked for ways to use them. At first, I thought of making merengue but I thought, I would just end up eating everything again. I thought of chiffon cake but Rad doesn`t like it very much and I thought it would be too "mendokusai". And then I found out this website with pictures on how to make PUTO PAO! I followed their recipe changing a little bit in the the measurements.

Way back when I was still with DMMMSU, a colleague`s sister made this for us when we visited their house in Pangasinan and I remembered how yummy it was. This is not her recipe but at least, I have made another "breakthrough" in my cooking experiments!


for the dough:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups fresh milk (the original recipe used water)
7 egg whites (although there are times when I used up to 10 egg whites)
a dash of salt or a pinch of lemon juice (to stabilize the egg whites)

for the filling:
ground pork (I used about 250-300 g)
2 tbsp soysauce
1 tbsp mirin (optional)

1. Sift the APF, sugar and baking powder and mix.

2. Add the milk and mix well.

3. Mix the salt or lemon with the egg whites and beat until fluffy.

4. Fold the beaten egg whites into the first mixture.

5. Saute the ground pork with the filling.

6. Pour the dough about 1/4-1/3 into the baking pan or mold, put the filling then cover it again with the dough. Be sure not to fill the pan all the way though because the mixture will rise.

7. You can put cheese, or salted eggs as topping.

8. Steam or bake for 30-40 minutes at 180-200℃. Or, use the toothpick method to make sure that the dough is already cooked.

I do not have an electric mixer so I had to request Rad to beat the egg whites everytime I make puto pao. Using fresh milk made it tastier and indeed, the fluffier the egg whites are, the better is the dough. Using mirin in the filling is optional. I just couldn`t resist. I believe it tastes better if it has mirin though.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More Experiments! (Leche Flan)

I am, right now, in Miyazaki City, having just attended my perhaps last academic conference in Japan (till graduation that is) and so, with time in my hands, I finally got to update this blog after yet another hiatus.

More experiments! Yup in all aspects of my life at present.... At the lab, with my family and the kitchen.... Since I am not graduating this March, my professors deemed it better to add yet more experiments to my research thus, my time, till June will have to be spent again in the lab.

At home, after almost 2 years of being long-distance parents, we find ourselves adjusting to each other (Rad and I with Ken and vice versa). Life has suddenly been so busy getting to know Ken once again and establishing a routine for him and for Rad and I as well. Since we (Ken and I) came back from the Philippines, Rad and I have been trying out all sorts of food and drinks with Ken. Being in Japan suddenly made him suspicious of everything we put on his plate. Fortunately, though, lately, his appetite is back and he is liking everything already. Don`t you just love kids?

For a time, I found myself having no interest in cooking and even hating just being in the kitchen and the thought of making food. Rad was also baffled why the sudden change and that`s when we found out that we are infanticipating! Yes, my dears, Ken will have a sister by May. It is gonna be a big change for all of us but well, God is always there to see us through.

Now, in the kitchen, one of my cravings lately is for that sweet, creamy Filipino caramel custard called Leche Flan. I have always thought that making it would be very troublesome but thanks to Daisy (who has come all the way from Australia to spend Christmas in Japan) and Manny, for showing me how easy it is.

for the Custard:

10 egg yolks
1 can (300mL) condensed milk
300 mL fresh milk
lemon rind or vanilla

for Caramel topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water


1. For the custard, just mix everything well. Do not beat as this would leave air spaces and would affect the texture or appearance of the flan. If you use lemon rind, be sure to strain the mixture first before pouring into the mold.

2. For the caramel topping, mix the sugar and water and cook over medium fire until the sugar turns a little bit brown. Be careful not to over caramelize it as it would give a different taste to your flan.

3. Pour the caramelized sugar into the mold then the flan mixture.

4. Steam for 20-40 minutes or better yet, use the toothpick method to make sure that the flan is already cooked. I did mine in an oven though, at 180��, for 35 minutes using a baking pan half-filled with water.

I have done this several times and came up with a ratio that I liked but I loved the result too much that we ate the flan right away and I forgot to take down notes. However, I have stopped making leche flan lately because it came to a point that I would eat one whole flan in just one day! That`s 8-10 egg yolks! Rad had to do the buying for supplies because if I do it, I`d always end up buying more eggs and more milk than we can ever eat and I would go back to making leche flan again.

Now, the egg whites is another story. I`ll reserve it for tomorrow`s post.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sinigang na Tilapia (Ilocano Style)

Today, I finished my presentation (my second mid-term presentation, actually). This is one of the reasons why I have ignored blogging and the kitchen for quite a while. I needed to meet my deadlines for my dissertation. However, as it turned out, no matter how on time I was or I am, some things just don`t ever turn out the way others expect them to be. To make a long story short, I won`t be graduating till September. But I am glad that today`s presentation is over. I went home with a big headache and a growling stomach and immediately made macaroni fruit salad and gobbled left over tocino. To further "celebrate" this event, is a blog post.

When I went home (Philippines) last October, a Tilapia vendor would always drop by our house every other day to entice us with his freshly caught tilapia or mudfish. We would almost always buy thus our refrigerator or our dining table is never without a tilapia. At 100 pesos per kilo (about 4-6 pieces), compared to the 100 pesos a piece here in Japan, I didn`t mind seeing tilapia everyday.

There was a week however, when we had a steady supply of the fish from Solsona, my mother`s hometown and my birthplace. My cousins built a fishpond, let the rain and clean stream ran through it and filled it with a lot of tilapia fingerlings. There were so many fish that even with a simple stick and a tiny bait, in less than a blink and voila, you`ve got yourself a meal!

There are a lot of ways to cook tilapia so you won`t ever get tired of seeing it always on your plate, but I won`t go into all the 101 ways. I would just like to share the way the Ilocanos (or at least, my side of the family) cook their "tilapia sinigang" . Sinigang is the Filipino sour soup or stew. Usually, tamarind is used to come up with that distinct sourness, although some other fruits such as guava, calamansi or kamias (Averrhoa bilimbi) may also be used.

Here though, the only ingredients used were tomatoes, onion, and salt. It is a very simple dish really. It only takes boiling water, dropping the tomatoes (sliced, of course) and onion and then the fish and add some salt and/pepper to taste. The broth is not as sour as the normal sinigang but it has the delicious taste of fish in it, especially if the fish is fresh. With this way of cooking tilapia, one can easily tell whether the fish used in the dish is fresh or frozen.Mangantayon!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Twas` a Hiatus (Inihaw, Inabraw and Kamote Leaf-Banana Salad)

For so many reasons (which, I will slowly disclose with every post from hereon), I let my blog go on a hiatus. Well, let me correct that, for a time ( more or less, 3 months), I didn't even want to stay in the kitchen, nor cook anything. My hard drive though, is full of food pictures. So as a comeback, I will be sharing some of the foods that I got to enjoy when I went home to the Philippines for a short vacation. Yep, that is one of the reasons. Went home and put food-blogging at the back of my mind (writing that is, not the food).

First feature is that sumptuous lunch prepared by Manang Perla, my brother-in-law Boyet and my sister Peng. We were supposed to go to the beach that day but there was no available transportation and the weather didn't look so promising, so instead, Boyet cooked one of his specialties (the one he always cooks whenever we go home for vacation), Inihaw Galore!

The Ihaw (grill) part is not a very hard thing to do but when the fishes and sea food came together with the side dishes which were grilled eggplant (torta) and green mangoes with tomatoes and fresh spring onions with a bit of fish sauce, my, my, it is one mouth-watering dish!

We ate outside at Mama`s garden and Manang Perla came out with her delicious Inabraw which consisted of string beans, squash flowers and malunggay (horseradish tree) leaves.

In addition, she and my sister made a combination of banana flower (or heart, we call it "puso ng saging") and sweet potato leaves salad. This one is not a mystery either. Just boil the leaves and add minced ginger and tomatoes in fish sauce. The banana flowers and potato leaves were boiled separately though. We usually rub salt to the banana flowers before boiling to remove some bitterness that come from its juice and then you have to squeeze the flowers after boiling too.

Now, that, plus eating with your hands plus a glass of cold soda on a not-so-hot day with your family is what I call a real good time!

So what made me decide to write a blog today despite the things waiting to be done on my to-do list? It is freaking cold! I need something to remind me of summer.