"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Please use this search engine or the labels at the lower left side to look for a recipe. Thanks!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reader's Gallery Photo Gallery #3

This set of photos of buttery ensaymada in the making came from OS. Thanks for sharing your photos and tips in the email below that you sent to me!

Hi Manang,

It's me again. This time I'm sharing my experience using your Buttery Ensaymada recipe. I have lots of pix. I divided the dough into 3. The instructions in your buttery e. said to follow the rolling and shaping of the previous (supersoft e.) and so I wasn't sure if I needed to slather the rolled dough with softened butter since this recipe has a generous amount already. I still brushed it with melted butter anyway. Batch 1&2 I sprinkled with sugar in the middle (just wanna try if it will add a little sweet taste in the dough, minus topping). Batch 3, brushed with butter but no sugar. And comparison was...nothing. The taste was just the same. I opted to sprinkle sugar coz when I made the SSE, the dough was not as sweet. But you know what, If I make the buttery again, I will not fill it with sugar anymore, it is just flavorful plus I changed the way I put the topping.

I also tried baking a batch and just made use of a lined baking sheet and see what happens. Uhm, I did not like the result (presentation-wise as seen on the photos). And so 2 batches I made use of the tins. I may get the next bigger size of tins next time coz I wanna see if the dough will super rise since it will have more room to expand. The reason why I said this is when the cut dough that has risen on the baking sheet had 3pled in size and the ones in the tins doubled, but I think it did not rise to the fullest. So the result was it is a bit dense which is not a bad thing coz the dough was still tender to the bite. I meant to ask if yours were not dense (red ribbon and goldies are airy/fluffy) or was it just my way of making them? Any suggestions? I wish I can improve them next time, they're a little bit heavy for me. But no matter what, the husband still loves 'em! (Actually, these Buttery Es are treats for him and a surprise waiting for him on the table when he comes back home tonight here in Southern CA 5.25.09, he flew to Nashville,TN for a few days)
I also used sharp and mild cheddar cheese to compare- I liked the mild one. I also wish to share a couple of things. It may not be new to you or with some of your readers but I would still mention it anyway.

You may notice in the photos that I used a pastry mat for rolling and shaping. The light bulb just went on a few months back, haha! Others might only use it when they make pastries and pies diba? The only main reason was dealing with a sloppy work surface. Atleast with this one, It was so convenient to dust with flour and roll and....most of the time when i roll my dough, naliligaw ng landas kung saan saang direksyon napupunta kaya I just rotate the mat towards me and I conveniently work on it again. And you just pick it up and no sticky mess left on the surface.

And for those, or even you that haven't tried using "I can't believe it's not butter" brand (which I call FAKE butter, ang haba kaya ng name nya) I would say give it a try, it does replicate the taste of regular butters. And it is a little healthier, plus it is way faster when it comes to softening.

Before making your SSE, I searched some ensaymada pictures online and found a local bakery that was featured on flickr (i think) and they had a bowl filled with "buttercream frosting" and the Es were frosted. So I did it the same way instead of separating butter from sugar. I handwhipped it together and it was easy to spread and then dunk it again in plain sugar and pat the cheese that it helped it stick on the top.

Another important thing that is helpful with my cooking is keeping a log/notes of every observations and comparisons that I can possibly put critique on my dish down to my kitchen arsenal. And adding notes to what to try for next time. And it is always cool to ask. In my case, my family. I call them 'my guinea pigs". I always ask for their comments and suggestions to help improve, if not, enhance the flavor and if I should make it again or not. If it's not a hit then why bother? Or if I liked it, I only make it for myself and make some alterations.

I know these are so stereotype, but I just thought I would share anyways. Afterall, cooking is a never-ending learning....and never-ending boo boos (see i have gained so many scars from cuts and burns too, bad trip!) Yeah I cut myself with the tin while washing 'em, no fun! Lalo na when i make "SISIG" non-stop chopping. But it's all worth it!

Manang, gising ka pa ba? Haha! I apologize for this long e-mail. It is just my way of therapy kase.

Pan-Fried Pork Chops


No embellishments except for salt and pepper to taste, and the olive oil used to grease the pan for frying. Although hubby likes pork tocino, he also loves the pure pork taste, ONLY when it is home-raised pork. He never likes the ones coming from the grocery store except when it is the smoked pork chops.

Easy to prepare, I sprinkled the salt and pepper to both sides of the pork chops, let them sit on a plate while I heated the pan up.

I heated the griddle on medium (#6) for about 5 minutes then sprayed with olive oil and placed the chops. I cooked one side for 2 minutes, flipped, turned heat to medium low (#4), covered the chops and cooked for 3-4 minutes more (or until juices run clear).

I served them to hubby with boiled potatoes and broccoli. He savored every bite with his eyes closed.

I ate mine with fried rice, and dipped in vinegar with garlic and jalapeno pepper. (drool!)
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I was looking at the searches made by readers of this foodblog, and one of them is hamburger. I did not realize until then that I have not posted a recipe here for hamburgers, and I have been serving hamburgers to my family (and my kids' friends when they come over) every summer, whether they are grilled indoors or outdoors. Indoors, sometimes I use George Foreman grill (cooks for 4-5 minutes each) for very informal one-at-a-time serving (sometimes I ask them to cook and assemble their own). Or I might make use of the big cast-iron grill/griddle to use on stovetop (cooks for 8-10 minutes total). Outdoors, I use a cheapo charcoal grill (much like when we made barbecues back in the Philippines).

These hamburgers I made on a rainy gloomy day, because the previous hot and sunny day I was working, and was too lazy tired to cook when I came home. Hence, the use of indoor grill. I guess it is too early to conclude that summer is here.

Tips: The use of plastic (these are open type sandwich bags) facilitates ease of removing the patties, plus you don't have to wash the press after use. The milk and breadcrumbs help retain moisture and hold the patty together. Also, if you don't have grill/griddle yet and plan to get one, the Lodge cast-iron one has very good reviews on amazon. I personally have Nordic ware, which has never been nonstick despite its claim, plus it warps even on medium heat. After about 5 years, I am ready to ditch it and do myself a favor by getting Lodge.

UPDATE as of 6-11-09:
I made hamburgers (and I also prepped hotdogs) for Patrick's graduation party held at home (other parents dropped off cakes, sodas and chips, cut up fruits and veggies, dips and salsas). Two of the parents stayed for a while for chaperoning (kids dipped in the cold swimming pool for a while then played outdoors before finally coming in the house to play video games/wii music). One of the two mothers said, "These are the best tasting hamburgers I have ever had!" seconded by the other. I was beaming...hehe! I just went by my taste buds in trying this recipe, and it has been received well in my family, including my husband. When I told my sister about it, she asked if I had done something special with it. None really...but as an afterthought, maybe it was the grass-fed beef that made the difference.

Ingredients: (amounts of seasonings approximate)
2 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsbp milk
1/8 cup ketchup
1/8 cup A1 steak sauce
2 tsp mustard
(optional) 1 tsp (or few drops) worcesterchire sauce (L&P classic thick)
hamburger buns

pickle relish
sliced cheese
thinly sliced vidalia onions
sliced tomatoes
bread n butter pickles (homemade)


Mix everything together. Form into patties. Let stand for at least 10 minutes for flavors to be absorbed.

At the same time, heat up stovetop grill on med low (#4 to #5) for about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the vidalia onions and tomatoes. Have the pre-washed lettuce ready (I buy a whole head, that way, it remains fresh longer in the fridge, compared to already shredded lettuce that comes in a bag). Bring these and everything else to the table.

Once grill is ready, spray with olive oil. Place patties and cook uncovered for 4 minutes. Turn over and cover. Turn heat to low (#2-3) and cook an additional 4-6 minutes. Check if juices run clear (this sometimes pool on top of patties if there are dips). If juices run clear, they are done.

Remove patties and transfer to plate (optional to top them with sliced cheese so that cheese melts with the heat). Keep warm. Warm up the buns on the grill for about 1-2 minutes. Enjoy your hamburger with your fave add-ons (everything for me and my boys; hubby likes only with cheese and ketchup). Hubby said, "It was delicious!" There were 4 of us eating at the time (my stepd was not with us). My younger boy had a second helping.

Friday, May 29, 2009

[Chicken] Potato Dill Salad (2nd recipe)

This is a combination of my MIL's recipe for potato dill salad, and Hellman's "Original Potato Salad." Hubby loves the dill flavor and sliced eggs from his mom's recipe and the celery in the Hellman's recipe. He gives this recipe a thumbs up, and always requests it during summer when "it is too hot". I had a portion with some shredded chicken (from roast chicken I recently prepared) because I grew up knowing potato salad as one with shredded chicken meat. Hubby likes his without chicken.

Boiling the potatoes is kinda critical for me. I have to cook it enough so hubby eats it, but I should not overcook that it crumbles once cut and mixed in with the rest of the ingredients. So I cook for about 20 minutes counting the boiling time, then check with fork for doneness. I cook the eggs at the same time, boiling for 12 minutes.

For the onion, I chopped about 1 tbsp then placed in cheesecloth then extracted the juice. Hubby likes just a hint of onion flavor and does not like munching on onions.

2 lbs potatoes (5-6 medium), boiled, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch thick chunks
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp vinegar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced celery
extracted juice from 1 tbsp chopped onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped (optional)


1. In 4-qt saucepot, cover potatoes with water; sprinkle some salt and boil over medium high heat for 20 minutes or until done. Drain and cool slightly before peeling and cutting into chunks.

2. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery, onion extract, eggs and pepper. Add potatoes and sprinkle dill. Toss gently. Chill for at least 8 hours before serving.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homemade Mayonnaise

The past week I had too many unused egg yolks because I was in a recent frenzy to make sans rival. I made one for MIL's birthday, and again for my friend Anna's birthday. Recently I made one to bring to work for a farewell party for a co-worker. At the end of all these, I was left with 15 egg yolks. Made some cinnamon rolls, some spanish bread...and I looked for other ways to use them.

I was gonna make potato dill salad (not related to yolk use), when I chanced upon a blog post about homemade mayonnaise. Hmmmm....maybe I should make some mayonnaise too...it would be nice to know how to. Hubby has never had homemade mayo. So I made one using two recipes. I tried one by chichajo of 80breakfasts. I think using the blade of my food processor did not give me the same consistency she got with her emulsifying disc. Mine came out very thick. I also used two egg yolks instead of one whole egg, so that probably also accounted for the thick consistency. The other recipe I used was from Kitchen Aid "Great Baking and More" recipe book, and the consistency was much better, and got approval from hubby. I do not really detect much difference in the taste. However, for the KA recipe, I used 1 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1 cup vegetable oil. I am posting here KA's recipe. Please refer to chichajo's blog post for hers. I asked my hubby to try both, and he preferred the KA recipe better.

I really could not appreciate the homemade mayonnaise plain. I mean, I don't even enjoy regular store-bought mayonnaise as is. So as soon as done, I went ahead with the potato dill salad. When I made the salad, I tried tasting the whole ensemble, and I had to agree...homemade is much better.

Potato dill salad coming up in my next post (this is different from the one I posted years ago).

3 egg yolks
2 cups oil (vege oil plus extra virgin)
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar


Place egg yolks in a mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 10 and whip about 3 minutes, or until yolks are stiff and pale yellow.

Reduce to speed 8 and slowly add 1 cup oil, a teaspoon at a time, in a thin stream. If mixture becomes too thick, thin with a little lemon juice. Carefully add remaining oil in a slow, steady stream until completely absorbed.

Reduce to Speed 6, add lemon juice, salt, dry mustard, and vinegar, and whip just until blended. Store mayonnaise in refrigerator.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pancit Palabok

Another ubiquitous recipe on the net, pancit palabok is one form of pancit that has a distinct seafood flavor, especially shrimp. Some add tinapa flakes. I have prepared this before as simply as only having shrimps, eggs and crushed chicharon as toppings, using sotanghon. But what I like using best for noodles is the thicker pancit luglog. I could not find that during my last trip to the Asian store, so I got what came close: banh pho (16-oz). Luglog is thick and round. Banh pho is thick and flat. Both are made from rice. This was my first time cooking banh pho, and I liked it for palabok.

I had some frozen cuttlefish that I thought would go well with palabok in lieu of squids. That was a good idea, I found out minutes later. My sons and I loved eating this, even brought to school/work for lunch. Hubby is never interested in any pancit I cook, more so if it had a fishy smell like this. But he does not voice any complaint during meal time, I am glad!

sauce --
1 packet Mama Sita's Palabok flavoring
2 cups lobster broth (I had frozen ones) or water

everything else --
16-oz banh pho noodles (rice sticks)
water to cook noodles in
3 cloves garlic
(amount below depends on how much you want)
squids/cuttlefish (I used 8-10 pcs of cuttlefish)
shrimps (deveined and decapitated, shelled; 1 lb)
eggs (4)
crushed chicharon (1 cup)
chives or spring onions, snipped
calamansi (if you have them; I don't)


Cook the sauce according to package instructions. Use more liquid if too thick.

Boil water in a big pot. Slice the squids or cuttlefish into rings (run hot water for several seconds if frozen and too hard to slice). Poach for about 1 minute and set aside. Place the eggs carefully into the water (to cook for about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, poach the shrimps for 2 minutes (or when they turn pink completely). Set aside. Place the noodles and stir from time to time to keep from sticking together. cook for about 7-8 minutes (keep munching on some to check for doneness; should be al dente). Strain eggs and noodles and rinse with cold water until you are sure noodles do not stick together. Then warm up again by rinsing with hot tap water.

Assemble by placing the noodles at the base. Pour sauce over noodles. Sprinkle shrimps and cuttlefish/squid, crushed chicharon, and chives/spring onions. Add sliced eggs. Enjoy with calamansi if you have them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reader's Photo Gallery #2

Here are my latest photo submissions. Since they submitted a lot, I decided to make individual slideshows for their creations. I can tell that they have also started to venture more into baking. They have also started to experiment (I know I have a lot other readers who, upon getting their hands on baking for the first time, got encouraged and experimented more, using different doughs, fillings, shapes, glazes, etc.). That is exactly the kind of spirit I wanted to stir in my readers. I was once afraid to bake, too, but after overcoming fear, I now just play with dough. With the many Filipinos who grew up around bakeries in the Philippines, baking skills has become elusive to many households; hence a lot of Pinoys uprooted suddenly find themselves missing pan de sal, monay, and all those wonderful yeast rolls that we tended to take for granted because we had them all the time everyday in a neighborhood bakery while we were in PI. My very own attempts at making them was a means to empower us who are so far removed now from that Pilipino neighborhood bakeries, and I am glad that I have inspired many.

From Ohverly Sweet:

Hi Manang,

Some pictures from my kusina to yours. I thought I lost the photos I took when I made your supersoft ensaymada. With the rest of the dough I made some glazed cinnamon rolls. Also, I made use of the Parker House Rolls recipe which you mentioned on your site. Actually it was the very first recipe that I tried from your recommendations. And I was so happy dahil I thought I accomplished so much kase I've been scared dealing with yeast. And just to see the dough doubled in size, I was amazed coz I wasn't so successful with my baking adventure. The rolls might not look perfect but they were so good, soft and moist. Half of the recipe I made ham and cheese rolls, out of curiosity lang. And so I decided to make your supersoft ensaymada, again I was delighted, even my husband did! I still have to try the other version (buttery and eggyolky) next time.
I also made an inspiraton of your beef pares and used another recipe and fused them together, too bad I did not get to take pictures kahit 2x kona naluto (maybe next time).
Thanks for sharing all these great and useful ideas. I have to always get motivated with baking (tamad kasi ako maghugas at maglinis ng kalat :) ) ikaw na bahala which photos to use.

From Bobong:
(The slideshow includes pineapple upside down cake which I have never baked mainly because my hubby expressed disinterest in it. Maybe Bobong can share his recipe here...)

Hello Manang,

Bobong here., I am sending herewith photos of the bread I got from your blogspot.
Thank you so much for the inspiration and really appreciate for your tireless effort in sharing your recipes.
Apologize, that I have to make my mail short and quick because my family is about to go for a long weekend spree in Vegas..LOL...

Best Regards.

PS. I really don't know how to label my attached photos. But it consists of my Pastel Bread with Yema filling.. Pan de Leche, Monay, Cinnamon Rolls, ensaymada and yours truly. hehe...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ginataang Mais (Corn and Sticky Rice with Coconut)

Ginataang mais was something I used to buy from a vendor in the neighborhood for merienda. Whether the weather was hot or cold, ginataang mais is so comforting. My kids like it, although they vaguely recall having had this in the Philippines.

sweet corn kernels and cream from 4 cobs (or use 11-oz canned sweet corn kernels plus 1 small can of creamed corn)
6 cups water
1 cup sweet sticky rice
1 cup sugar
1 can coconut milk (Premium)
milk and sugar as desired


Boil rice, sugar and water then turn heat down to simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the kernels off the cob and scrape the cream. Add the corn and coconut cream to the mixture and cook for 10 minutes more or until corn is done. Ladle into bowls and add milk (or cream) and additional sugar as desired.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

White Bread

I once asked my hubby (knowing how he loves having "traditions" in the family) that if he would have to choose what bread to have for a meal, what would it be. "Give me either whole wheat bread or white bread and I'll be happy."

Well, I have not really made white bread (thinking it was too boring and basic), and I personally preferred basic egg bread and buttery sweet bread over white bread. White bread would be the equivalent of pan de americana (or what we referred to as "Tasty" bread in the Philippines) so I have somehow subconsciously equated it to the commercial white bread that I never considered making it at home...until that conversation with hubby. We all liked it, and despite it being baked in the bread machine itself, it had a nice crunchy yet soft crust.

Ingredients: from breadworld.com

2/3 cup
4 tsp
3/4 tsp
2 cups
3 tbsp
1 tbsp
1-1/2 tsp
butter or margarine
bread flour
nonfat dry milk powder
bread machine yeast
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp
2 tbsp
1 tsp
3 cups
1/4 cup
4 tsp
2 tsp


Add ingredients to bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer.

Recommended cycle: Basic/white bread cycle; medium/normal color setting. Timed-bake feature can be used.

Nutritional Information:
Per Serving:
Serving size: 1 slice (1 / 12 of recipe)
Serving weight: 2 ounces (58 grams0
Calories 150; Total fat 2.5 g; Saturated fat 1.5 g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 220 mg; Carbohydrates 27 g; Dietary fiber less than 1 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 5 g


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reader's Photo Gallery #1

Here is a compilation of photos submitted/shared in the past up to today by readers of my kusina.

If there will be more photos to add, I will feature them next Sunday. I repeat, you may have come up with your own recipe basing on what I have (usually in trying to use what you have in your pantry, or what is available in your area).

I will also welcome guest bloggers who would like to share their recipes and photos but do not have a blog of their own, especially if you have a recipe which you know might help out someone who has a certain craving somewhere (example: your version of taho in New Zealand or Japan or wherever -- how do you prepare, or where do you get your ingredients?). [Calling maloy who gave me the pannetone recipe. If you have a photo of it, I will gladly upload the photo along with your recipe.]

Thanks for the trust in my recipes, and thanks for believing that you can do it too (well, you can very well see that I am more inclined to address the newbie bakers and cooks who read my blog; a lot of veterans probably will not be thrilled at my recipes here at all, but I am happy enough to be of help to the readers of this foodblog, however little help that may be).


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pancit Canton-Sotanghon

I really did not feel like posting about this, since the recipe for Pancit is now ubiquitous. This recipe is not at all special over the others, I am sure. However, some co-workers were very interested after having a taste (despite some of them hesitating at first to taste pancit then became converted). Plus, keeping in mind that my kids might someday want to cook this and will have to refer to my online kusina for guidance, I am now compelled to post my recipe here, the way I prepare pancit.

For noodles, I either use bihon or sotanghon, with or without canton. The rest of ingredients and the method are practically the same for all these types of noodles. For my non-Filipino audience, the sotanghon (bean vermicelli) is probably the most accessible, even available at Hannaford (sometimes, a Japanese version is available, although more expensive). I get mine from Spice of Life. The bihon and canton are noodles I get only from the Asian stores in Portland.

For the stock, I use a combination of chicken and lobster, which I prepare (usually with minimal salt) ahead of time and freeze for future use.

Meat can be chicken (I use leftover roasted chicken) and/or pork, and I love combining with shrimps.

For veggies, I like using garlic, onion, and tomatoes as basic for sauteeing. The rest of the veggies may be a combination of carrots, sugar snap or snow peas (alternative is green beans), bell peppers, and either napa cabbage (I prefer this) or regular cabbage.

Ingredients: (approximate)
3 tbsp oil
6 cups chicken stock (with or without lobster; if using, may use half of each); have extra on hand in case you will need more)
1 pkg (500 g) bean vermicelli (sotanghon)
1 pkg (16 oz) pancit canton
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
1-2 cups cooked chicken (or you may want to sautee this first before the above veggies)
1 lb shelled shrimps
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1 cup sliced bell peppers
2 cups (or 1 small pk) snap peas or green beans
1 napa cabbage, cut crosswise in strips
6 tbsp oyster sauce (I got the idea from MaMely)
soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sesame oil

green onions, sliced, for garnishing
kalamansi and patis or toyo for further taste adjustment (mainly for Filipino eaters; I would if I were in the Philippines; I do not have access to kalamansi here.)


Soak the bean vermicelli in very hot tap water for about 25 minutes then drain.

Heat oil and sautee garlic until fragrant, then onions until translucent, then tomatoes until they caramelize. Add carrots, snap peas/beans, and bell peppers and stir fry 1 minute. Add chicken/lobster stock and let boil 1 minute. Add shrimps and cook 1 minute, then add napa cabbage and cook another 2 minutes (or until shrimps are cooked). Dish out the veggies/meat. Adjust taste of stock by adding oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Making sure stock is in brisk boil, add pancit canton followed by sotanghon and cook for about 2 minutes (or until noodles are cooked), stirring constantly. Do not overcook. Drizzle the sesame oil and transfer to a plate. Arrange the meat/veggies as topping. May add green onions as topping.

Note: I made this when I thought my son's classmate (of Filipino parents) would be staying for lunch (they were supposed to work on their science fair project). Just as I placed the noodles, the foster parent came to get the classmate, and I sort of overcooked the noodles because of the distraction. It still turned out great, apparently. I packed some and asked my kids to bring to my in-laws. They loved it. I brought the leftover to work that night (because a co-worker wanted the recipe, but she was not working that night, sorry for her), and my co-workers that night loved it. One could not stop saying how good it was. The others were not too open to new dishes (like my husband) so they tasted just the noodles (not into veggie/meat/shrimp mix, apparently) and loved the taste nevertheless.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cheez-It Shrimps

Once upon a time I brought some Cheez-It crackers and the kids loved them, so I bought some more boxes the next time I went grocery shopping. Well guess what? The boxes remained untouched for several weeks now. I think the novelty wore off already. So, I did what I usually do to crackers that have been staying too long in my pantry: use as crumbs for deep frying (or even for meatballs or meatloaf purposes).

Enough Cheez-It, crumbled (probably about 2 cups)
salt, pepper, and curry powder to taste
egg whites (I had some after making supersoft ensaymada) for dipping (can use whole egg)
1 cup flour plus 1 tbsp cornstarch
1 lb shelled shrimps
Oil for deep-frying

While oil is heating up to 375 deg F, individually dip shrimps in this sequence: egg whites, flour/starch, egg whites, crumbs.
Deep fry about 5-7 pieces each (just enough so they do not lower the temp of the oil too much, and that each has enough space around for oil to cook it) for about 2-3 minutes.
Drain well and let paper towel absorb excess oil.
Serve on a bed of iceberg salad greens, or even enjoy as tortilla wrap (we used ranch dressing).

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Baking Videos of How-To's

Since there have been readers who ask me to teach how to do this and that, and to make vids especially in relation to baking, I decided to compile good vids here of the most common how-to's asked. I am bad at making vids, and since baking can be a long process (from proofing to kneading to final rising), it would take tremendous amount of time to just edit and make a short non-boring vid of one recipe (let's say pan de sal). I think the only one missing is the proper way of cutting pan de sal. I would like to have the time to make a video of that, then I will add to this collection (the one I saw on youtube just was not the way I know how pan de sal is cut so I did not embed that here). If you would like to suggest additional how-to videos please do so and leave me a comment. Thanks!


Shaping dough rolls

Slashing the dough (see 4:15)


Folding egg whites into batter

Creaming Butter (or Shortening) and Sugar

Rolling a Cake/Jelly Roll

KNB: Sizzling Platter


Another purchase from my second foodbuzz earning.

I remember when I was in the Philippines, there was this sizzling steaks stall in SM City Foodcourt, and I just loved eating my hot salisbury steak off of that platter.

I thought it would be cool to re-live and experience that again, using these sizzling platters I got from amazon. I plan to use them on a bbq day, with the grill by the pool (as I envision it, since we are planning to have the pool built this May-June), let the steaks cook on these plates placed on a grill. The ribbed design makes it easy to pour off fat drippings (if desired). Each platter comes with its own holder.

Can't wait for summer!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Dulce de Leche (Caramelized Condensed Milk) - a Prelude to Yema

Dulce de Leche is the moist version of Yema
I vaguely remember a time when I was a child when my Nanay cooked ONE whole unopened can of condensed milk in boiling water for HOURS...I asked her, "What are you making?" and she answered, quite excitedly with a twinkle in her eyes, "Yema." So I waited eagerly....for a loooooong time. Then finally, the cooking was done. My Nanay opened the can of brown "yema" then she poured the contents off into a bowl. My initial (unspoken) reaction was,"Why was it runny?" because I knew yema was solid but chewy soft enough...like soft candy...so what was this brown syrup? But not wanting to displease my Nanay, who so eagerly placed some into a sliced pandesal, and onto a spoon, and handed to me for tasting, I feigned excitement and tasted the 'treat'...and was I so delightfully surprised...YEMA nga!!!! at least in taste. Mmmmm...I ate a lot!

My Nanay only made it once, probably she was also just experimenting based on a friend's directions, then probably got disappointed with the long cooking time that she never made it again, but I would never forget that time.

Only lately did I learn that the proper term for this runny form of yema was DULCE DE LECHE. My Venezuelan co-worker, knowing I enjoy cooking, asked if I like condensed milk-based desserts, and she mentioned dulce de leche, which I asked her to describe how it was prepared...and I could imagine my Nanay back on that particular day...So now, not having the time to spare (and not really eager to spend that much energy on long cooking in these days of aiming for sustainable living by using less fossil fuels), I searched for the recipe online, and for tips/methods to prepare this in the most efficient, energy-saving, and greenest (as in earth-friendly) way I could. I thought it best to do the pressure cooking for at least 5 cans per batch. (And as I mentioned in the past post on yema, I could use the microwave for preparing one can of condensed milk into yellowish yema).

What you need:
condensed milk
pressure cooker or microwave


Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Method:
Place 1 cup water in the inner pot. Place trivet in. Put the cans (or jars) of condensed milk on top of the trivet. Close and seal the lid. Set Manual on High for 40 mins. When done, allow natural release. I like to leave it alone overnight, that way, I will be very sure that even the pressure inside the can/jar has equalized with the outside pressure, that way, if I open it, I will be sure it will not suddenly explode on me.

Regular Pressure-Cooker Method:
How many cans you want to prepare depends on you and the capacity of your pressure cooker.
Peal the label off the can of sweetened condensed milk. Put in a pressure cooker with enough water to come 2/3 up the can ( or cans ) of condensed milk. DO NOT OPEN THE CAN(S) at all. Seal on the lid and pressure cook for 45-60 minutes (depending on how runny or gel-like you want it), longer for darker and thicker dulce. The pressure in and out of the cans is equalized by the pressure cooker. Release pressure and let cool COMPLETELY before attempting to open one can (the pressure you released was that of the water and air inside the pan, not inside the can. If you take out a hot can and open it right away, the content might suddenly explode because of higher pressure compared to the cool air, much in the same way air and steam escapes quickly when you open the release valve of pressure cooker. You now have SEALED cans of dulce de leche that will keep as long as the original cans uncooked. You may want to eat this as is, or as filling for rolls, or (if runny) as topping for pies or ice cream. Make it thicker (using microwave or by longer pressure cooking time) and you come up with YEMA that is brown in color (optional to add butter and or sugar), the yema that I knew from childhood, wrapped into pyramids with a cellophane. My sons love it, plain or as palaman. (Come ice cream season, I will make a runny batch for topping.)

Microwave Method (ideal for making only one can)
Place in a big microwavable bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then stir. Microwave for 30 sec to 1 minute or until you see it start to bubble and rise, then stir. Microwave in increments of 30 seconds or less, and stir before it bubbles over the bowl. Repeatedly do the same until you get a good consistency although it may still be yellowish (or light brown). Use oven mitts to protect your hands from heat!
Let cool before you eat.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ube & Yema Ensaymada (aka Pan de Pastel), and Chocolate Ensaymada

Bobong gave me the idea to try using yema as filling for the supersoft ensaymada. So I made a whole batch of ensaymada into ube ensaymada and yema ensaymada. Bobong said the yema-filled ensaymada is called pan de pastel in Camiguin and looks like pan de coco. I just don't know if it is also topped with butter, sugar and cheese, but I did it anyway.

I have no recipe really to share for these. Just use the supersoft ensaymada dough, have yema and ube fillings ready, and see the slideshow below. Work with everything cold already so handling the dough and fillings will be easier. The results of yema-filled ensaymada was so good, thanks to Bobong! Ube, needless to say, is as good as ever for ensaymada.

I had extra dough to make 6 pieces, which I filled with chocolate chips, both milk choco and white choco. I shaped the dough as if they were hopiang baboy. Without toppings, I let my husband have a taste of it (I baked them in my Nu Wave and turned out perfect). Husband liked them so much! My sons did too!

supersoft ensaymada dough
ube haleya
chocolate chips (milk and white)
topping (butter and sugar to taste, creamed; grated cheese)


Prepare the dough day before. Prepare yema and ube day/s before. Work when these are completely cold.
Grease pan.
Place dough on surface generously sprinkled with flour.
Cut dough into pieces about 2 ounces each (up to you, really). Flatten with the heel of your palm.
Place filling at the center. Gather the edges and seal.
Place on greased pan seam side down. Flatten a bit (or you can leave them rounded like balls). (If you are going to bake right away, you may opt to use muffin pans or brioche molds.)
Optional: Freeze covered with cling wrap for 3 hours at least, then transfer to bags (this is for those who want a good stock of these but want them freshly baked, a little at a time, like I want them.)
Let rise in warm, draft-free environment until double in size.
Bake in 350 deg F oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown (please use aluminum pan to avoid overbrowning of bottom). [I baked mine (few pieces at a time) in Nu Wave for 10 minutes without the need to preheat.]
Let cool completely and place in plastic bags if you are not going to eat right away.
Otherwise, cream butter and sugar. Apply to ensaymadas. Top with grated cheese (not necessary for chocolate, but it is up to you if you want to play with flavors).

UPDATE 6-15-09: You may want to use the dulce de leche as filling to make the pan de pastel. If you review Bobong's pan de pastel photos in the photo gallery, it is pretty much like pan de coco with dulce de leche filling. As shown on the photo on the right, I put the dulce de leche in a ziploc and piped out about a tbsp onto a dough piece, then proceeded to wrap it like how I wrap pan de coco. You may then enjoy plainly or with topping.

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