"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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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ham Lentil Potato Soup

Something I made to use up leftover boiled ham. I did not expect hubby to like this, and I was preparing a TV dinner for him and stepd. He tasted some (because the aroma of simmering soup had been enticing him), and he actually liked it! He said, "I should have this instead of the TV dinner. Next time you fix this, remind me that I liked it."

2 cups cubed ham (fat trimmed off)
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup dried lentil
1 cup cubed carrots (I used leftover from boiled ham, so I placed these in the pot toward the end of cooking)
5 cups water + 2 cups tomato juice* (or just use plain water)
1 cup leftover mashed potato (mix this well with some of the water before placing in the pot
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
dash of ground basil leaves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Dump everything (if using uncooked carrots) in a big pot and stir. Let boil then lower heat and simmer covered for 1-1/2 hrs, stirring occasionally. Enjoy with freshly baked bread (and rice for you Filipinos). (If you are using the bread machine, prepare your bread before you start fixing this soup.)

*Note: The tomato juice I used was from canned raw tomatoes, which I drained to use for lasagna. I always save the juice and use it for things like this, or for sweet and sour sauce of escabeche.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pinoy Cheese Cupcake

Pinoy Cheese Cupcake
Pinoy Cheese Cupcake

This is what the typical neighborhood type of Filipino bakeshops would tout as their "special"kababayan in the sense that it uses cheese. A closer look at the ingredients would indicate that this is basically a muffin topped with grated cheese. Contrary to how the Western cheesecake is, this does not have any form of cream cheese (or anything cheese) in its batter.

This was my favorite muffin in my Tatay's bakery, especially when fresh out of the oven with its crunchy top. Once cooled, I would wrap them individually in small clear plastic bags and seal using the candle (I got proficient at making the seal without actually touching the flame; just the heat, so that the plastic would not have any dark marking as it does when it touches the yellow flame).

Husband had a taste of the batter and thought it tasted like butter cookies. (Hmmmm....maybe I should try making some into drop cookies.) When it was done, I had hubby taste it. His reaction was..."Hmmm, that's good!" Kids' reaction? Same. (gaya-gaya, puto-maya...)

This recipe was adapted from Mrs. Daisy Alonzo's recipe.

1 bar (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cans (14 oz each) sweetened condensed milk
3-2/3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
cheddar cheese, finely grated, for topping

Line 2 muffin pans with paper cups.
Preheat oven to 350 ° F
Mix flour and baking powder well in a bowl.
Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed. Turn speed to slow and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually increase speed to medium and beat well.
Turn speed to slow and slowly add the condensed milk. Beat well on medium speed for about a minute.
Turn to slow again and add the dry ingredients. Increase speed to medium and add oil. Beat well for about another minute. Add vanilla and beat to blend.
Transfer batter to a piping bag and pipe into the muffin cups, leaving about 1/4 inch space at the top.
Top with grated cheese (preferably the orange-colored cheddar cheese).
Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pans for even baking. (If you want, you may add some more cheese at this point).Bake for another 10 minutes. Enjoy with maple syrup or condensed milk if desired.
Transfer to cooling rack and completely cool before storing in ziploc bags those that you will not be able to consume right away.

UPDATE: This was tried by My Expat Mommy who lives in Qatar and has now included this item in her baked goods that she sells. Her fb page is here.

The original recipe that I got from asiarecipe.com forum was as follows:
Pinoy Cheese Cupcake-Kababayan
(Pinoy Cheese Muffin)
Recipe courtesy of Mrs. Daisy Alonzo
1 bar butter
4 eggs
100 grams sugar
2 can of condensed milk
15 grams cooking oil
5 grams baking powder
500 grams. all-purpose flour
you will need:
cheese grater
2 ounce paper baking cups
cake mixer, mixing bowl and spatula
Paraan ng pagluluto:
Hiwa-hiwain muna ang butter para madali itong lummbot.
Ilagay ang butter sa isang mixing bowl, ihalo ang asukal at apat na itlog.
Haluin ang mga sangkap na ito sa cake mixer. Gamitin ang pinakamahinang
speed upang hindi tumapon ang butter mixture.
Idagdag na din sa mixture ang dalawang lata ng condensed milk.
Ihinto muna ang mixer.
Pagsamahin naman ang harina at baking powder at saka ihalo sa butter mixture.
Paandarin muli ang mixer sa pinakamahinang speed. Haluing mabuti hanggang sa
maging basa ang mga sangkap.
Ihalo ang 15 grm ng mantika.
Pabilisin ang mixer hanggang maging pino ang sangkap.
Patayin ang mixer, ito na ngayon ang cupcake mixture.
Ihanay ang paper baking cups. Magbuhos ng cupcake mixture sa bawat baking cups
Punuin hanggang ikatlong bahagi ng bawat cups
Lagyan ng grated cheese ang cupcake mixture.
Ipasok sa mainit na oven, ihurno ng mga 30 minuto.
Luto na ang cheese cupcake. Palamigin

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Last week I was emailed by a reader requesting for a post on Binangkal, which is popular in Cebu. I had no idea what it was, but I was intrigued enough, especially with some craving to make some munchies soon because I was not making any the past weeks due to the dust all over the house as my husband was working on our sunroom.

Plus, I needed a break too. Cooking/baking has always been therapeutic for me. So I tried this recipe I had been eyeing since last week. I wanted to decrease the ingredients but the list makes it hard to do that. So I followed the recipe. I had a lot of dough to start with, but since I had no idea what binangkal was, except that it was pretty much like doughnut in that it was fried dough, I thought it would be just fine as the first batches could be a learning phase for me.

True enough, pingpong-sized round dough dropped into the medium hot oil gave me darkly browned binangkal with uncooked middle dough. How could I come up with cooked middle without burning the outside? I came up with this solution: smaller dough, flattened somehow into discs. Rationale: Flatter dough means the heat will be close enough to the middle to cook that part well. The smaller dough ensures cooking the middle part without burning the outer.

I had the extra advantage of having the puffing up of the middle part as a visual cue that the middle is getting done. That was quite unexpected but very effective means of assessing the doneness (aside from brown color at the outside).

Kids approved it, and especially enjoyed these treats with maple syrup. Hubby tried it and said it was different, then got a can of Pepsi and had some more binangkal. So I guess he kinda liked it, although it was "different." It is wonderfully crunchy on the outside (Hey, Claire, you will not break your teeth with this one, I promise!)


5 Cups All Purpose Flour
5 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder (preferably Calumet)
1 Box Dark Brown Sugar GH (2 1/2 cups)
3 Whole Eggs
1 Small Can Evaporated Milk (2/3 cup) + 2 tbsp milk (whole milk or if you have extra evap milk)
1 tsp Vanilla


Mix dry ingredients thoroughly until fine (I used the food processor in pulses.)
Mix remaining ingredients: eggs, vanilla, milk.
Combine all dry and liquid ingredients by hand.
Add more milk if it is too dry until you obtain the correct consistency. The dough should
be stiff enough to mold into a ball. Don't make it too wet (read on and you will see why).
(Adjust to your preferred Binangkal size).
Lay the pinched dough on aluminum foil.
Get a cup of tap or filtered water as preferred (this is why you should not make the dough too wet in the first place).
Dip two fingers of your hand and wet the palm of the other hand for molding the dough.
Pick up each dough and roll between both palms of your hand to shape into balls.
Roll dough in a bowl of sesame seeds then press between fingers to make them flat (depressed more at the middle than at the sides). When done, you are ready to fry.
Heat your frying pan in high heat then lower to Medium-LOW when you begin frying because the pan must be very hot to start. You can try one first to gauge your own stove and adjust in the next batches. Start with few, try to open some and see if you already like what you have before going full blast with more per batch.
Place only about 6-8 pieces per batch. Once all have floated, wait until the top parts puff up and crack, then tip over to cook the other side. Count about 30 seconds once you have tipped over all pieces. Take note of which ones are the first, as they are the ones to get out first. Check to see doneness of the underside (should be uniformly browned, not whitish in the cracks. (My video below is quite different at I tipped too soon just by counting. It will be more reliable to wait for puffing up of the middle before tipping over.)
Prepare a cooling wire rack over a cookie sheet to hold cooked Binangkal for cooling purposes and to let excess oil drip.
Line your storage container with paper towel. Store in airtight container when completely cool.
The Binangkal will keep for a week (according to recipe source).

To Mercie, I hope you will like this!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kababayan (Filipino Muffins)

Note: I myself have not tried this recipe. I did not like it even when I was still a child growing up selling these in our tindahan/bakery, because I did not like the consistency. There was nothing special I found in it, but there were customers who continued to buy and eat them for some reason. So, for the sake of those who might be missing these and are interested to try and to see whether it was the same kababayan you used to like back in the Philippines, I am posting it here, as shared by a fb friend. Please be forewarned that there were those who tried this recipe and commented below, with poor feedback. I do not know when I will try this recipe. For those who have tried and did not like this, I hope you will experiment and troubleshoot what could be missing, and share your own corrected recipe. Thanks!

This recipe and photo above were shared by my fb friend Aileen Nopuente. Thanks for your generosity, Aileen!

1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup softened butter( room temperature)
2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
1 Tbs. baking powder 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 cup warm water
yellow food colouring,as needed for colour
28 ounces,sweetened condensed milk (2 cans)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

- Pre-heat oven to 190"C .
- Combine sugar,salt,sugar,cream of tartar and soft butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.blend for 4 mins at lowest speed.
- Stir together in a separate bowl the all-purpose flour,cake flour & baking powder.
- Stir togeteher vanilla,water,yellowcolour and condensed milk in another small bowl.
- Add wet and dry ingredients along with oil alternately to mixer until it forms a smooth batter.
- Fill-each well-greased muffin cup with 1/2 cup batter.bake for 22 mins. or until toothpick inserted in cake center comes out clean.
- When the muffin is almost done, turn off the oven & partially open the oven door for another 5 mins. before taking out the muffin.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Manang's Pancit Sotanghon

This is one of the many ways I cook sotanghon...my typical ingredients are the usual ingredients for pancit: holy trinity of ginisang bawang, sibuyas, at kamatis (sauteed garlic, onions, and tomatoes), carrots and cabbage, with chicken broth, chicken/pork meat or shrimps and squid, with some soy sauce, patis, oyster sauce, ground pepper, and a drizzle of sesame oil

However, one day I had an intense craving, and all I had at home were the garlic and onions, carrots, and celery, with some leftover chicken and turkey breasts. And in my pantry were (Asian ingredientrs) canned baby corn, straw mushrooms, water chestnut, and quail eggs...and I had in my freezer several pints of chicken broth.

Hmmm...seems like I can make a somewhat more-Chinese-ish version of pancit. So I did, and I managed to satisfy my cravings.


2 tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced thinly
3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1/2 the contents of each canned straw mushrooms, baby corns, quail eggs, and water chestnut (don't forget to drain)
1 cup cubed chicken/turkey breasts
2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
cornstarch+water to thicken a bit

You might be wondering why only half of the canned products...well, I had to save some for another batch this time using a cup of squid and 1/2 pound of shrimps (seafood version, which I made the next day).

1 pack of bean vermicelli noodles (about 14 ounces?)
hot water to soak noodles in for 5 minutes
2-3 cups chicken broth to cook the noodles in
2 tbsp oyster sauce
soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp anatto oil (optional- see here for instructions)
drizzle of sesame oil


Soak the noodles in HOT water for 5 minutes. Drain well.

Sautee, in the following order, garlic (until golden brown), onions (until translucent), carrots, celery, baby corn, water chestnut, and straw mushrooms for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from pan.  Put the 2 cups broth into the pan and let boil. Thicken a bit with cornstarch-water mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the veggies back into the pan, add the quail eggs and stir until veggies are coated with the slightly thickened sauce. When it starts to boil/bubble, cook some more, uncovered, for additional 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Set aside. (Note: I gave some to my friend Anna, with the noodles separated. She ate this with plain rice, not realizing that it was supposed to go with the noodles, which she was saving for another meal time, thinking it was complete pancit already.)

For the noodles, bring the broth to a boil, season with the other ingredients except sesame oil, and dump the wet noodles into it. Stir, stir, stir until noodles have absorbed the broth. Bite into a noodle. If it still is too tough, add some more broth (or water).  Do not be too concerned if it is not that salty, as you can easily adjust the salt with soy sauce once you serve.  Remove from heat, drizzle with sesame oil, and stir.

Pour the prepared sauce/veggie/meat (or seafood) on top of hot noodles.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Puto Pao/Cua Pao

I am not really sure what this is called. The first time I tasted what seemed like puto with filling like that of siopao, it was when a sister-in-law brought some from Laguna. I loved it then. She said it was called cuapao. The shape was rectangular.

With previous browsing on the net, some called it puto pao. The cua pao search I made led me to a photo that did not look like what my ex-SIL brought. So, I don't know what this is really called. But simply put, that pao that I had then from SIL is basically puto with siopao filling. Period.

Now, with my easy method of making puto from boxed white cake mix (and I recently bought a pint of pure pasteurized egg whites), I made some puto pao (or cua pao?). After my kids loved them paos, I thought I should have a set of rectangular or square silicone muffin cups. So I bought a set of square and triangular. Next time I make puto pao again, I will use the square ones(they are larger too than the typical muffin cup shape). We already tried them with brownies and once the brownies were cool enough, they were easy to remove from the silicone cups.

I used leftover beef pares for filling (note: the beef pares link will lead you to my blog post which had a very old unappealing photo of my beef pares, which does not do justice to how scrumptious this dish is, so please do not be discouraged. It has been a tried and tested and loved recipe by several of my readers, and a favorite special beef roast recipe in my household that even my in-laws love it). I chopped the meat roughly, mixed that with the sauce, adjusted the sauce with thickener (cornstarch-water mix), salt, sugar, pepper as necessary. Then I chilled the mixture prior to making the puto pao. The chilling enables me to shape the filling into disks which I could lay flat over half of the puto batter before I top with the other half.

I get the water boiling even before I start preparing the batter. I use any white cake mix in my pantry, with the required egg whites and oil, then mix thoroughly with a hand mixer until batter looks fluffy. I place about a teaspoon at the bottom of the muffin paper liner, then carefully top with flattened filling (I measure using cooking scoop), then finally add another teaspoon or so of white cake mix batter, or enough to cover sides and top of the filling (I avoid adding too much). The slide show has some photos with sliced cheese on top, or plain, or some puto pao with the filling on top only (I experimented to place the filling on top, expecting it to sink to the middle while steaming, but it did not).

The result got my kids excited, they had these for snacks that night, and saved some for the next morning for their breakfast.

As expected, hubby only ate the plain puto. :(

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Egg Tarts

Another recipe shared by my fb friend Leslie Ruelan. Thanks a lot, Leslie, for sharing your tried and tested recipes, especially at these times that I am too busy to bake something new or to even try new recipes.

30 pcs. tart shells
10 pcs. egg yolks
1 can 300 ml. condensed milk
1 can 370 ml. evap. milk
1 tsp. vanilla


1.) mix all ingredients (except tart shells) until egg is well dispersed.
2.) pour into each tart shells
3.) bake at 350F for 25 mins. or until golden brown

Monday, March 01, 2010

Sugar Twists/Siakoy/Pilipit/Linubid

Another recipe from Leslie Ruelan. He shared three of his favorite Filipino snack recipes with me (after he added my supersoft ensaymada to his favorite recipes).  Thanks, Leslie!


5 tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 c warm water (to be used with the yeast)
1/2 c oil
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp. salt
6 ~ 7 c bread flour
1 c milk
3/4 c water

1.) mix yeast with the 1/2 c warm water (set aside)
2.) mix all dry ingredients first before placing all the remaining ingredients
3.) knead the dough for about 10 mins. (if using the manual method)
4.) cover the dough and let it rest for 10 mins.
5.) cut and roll the dough like you're making ensaymada then twist it as shown in the picture
6.) let rise for 1/2 hour or more depending on the size you want
7.) deep fry the twists on medium heat until golden brown
8.) remove and let the oil drip by placing it in a wire rack
9.) when its not too hot anymore, you can dip in a bowl of sugar* or use a zip lock with sugar then shake.

*Note from me: You can make vanilla sugar by placing a vanilla bean pod (cut in half) inside a jar of sugar.

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