Filipino recipes

If there is a cuisine that does not have a good reputation, it’s the Filipino one: too fat, too sweet, not enough balanced… However, if you go around the many fast food restaurants in the country, you can find many small traditional restaurants called Carinderia where you can find trays and pots filled with traditional hot meals, cooked with fresh, local ingredients. Driven by curiosity, our vegetarian stomachs have become interested in Filipino recipes… It’s time, let’s eat: Kain na!


Quick access:
 
Hot meals:  Adobo  –  Pinakbet –  Mung beans coco
 Ginataang papaya –  Ginataang langka –  Torta  –  Pancit
 Other dishes
Tofu dishes:  
Sisig tofu  –  Curry tofu
Breads
Desserts: 
Mango float  –  Fried Banana  –  Other desserts

Hot meals

Adobo – 4 people

Adobo is a hot dish cooked with garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and pepper. In its original version, this national dish includes chicken or pork meat, but it’s not uncommon for some Filipinos to replace these meats with tofu!

Ingredients:
– 3 bunches of spinach
– 400gr green beans
– 3-4 garlic cloves
– 1 medium sized onion
– 5 tablespoons of vinegar (originally coconut vinegar, but cider vinegar can also be used!)
– 5 tablespoons of salted soy sauce
– black pepper
Optional: 200gr fried tofu

— In a frying pan, sauté the garlic and onion cut into small pieces. Add the washed and chopped spinach stems and green beans. Add five tablespoons of vinegar, 5 tablespoons of soy sauce, 10cL of water and cook until the ingredients soften. Then add the spinach leaves. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, then pepper the dish generously.  

Pinakbet – 4 people

Pinakbet is one of the traditional dishes of the Philippines. Vegetables are basically cooked in a shrimp paste – which you can remove for the vegetarian version, without altering the final taste!

Ingredients:
– 1 large (or 2 small) eggplants
– 1 squash 
– 400gr green beans
– 3-4 garlic cloves
– 1 onion
– cooking oil, soy sauce, salt, pepper
Optional: okra (adds bitterness to the dish), green pepper

— Sauté the garlic and onion cut into small pieces. Add the thinly sliced squash, 10cL water, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, salt and pepper. Don’t wait until the squash becomes too soft. Add the green beans and wait for them to be slightly scortched. Add the diced eggplant and cook for a few minutes until the dish is ready!

Mung beans and moringa in coconut milk – 4 people

Ingredients:

– 500gr mung beans (or green lentils)
– some Moringa leaves (can be replaced by basil)
– 3-5 garlic cloves
– 1 onion
– 1 small sized eggplant
– coconut milk
– oil, salt, pepper

— Soak mung beans (or lentils) overnight. Bring the beans to a boil in a pot of water until the beans become soft. At the same time, fry the garlic cloves and onion in a pan, along with the sliced eggplant and a few fresh moringa (or basil) leaves. Cook for a few minutes and then add the drained beans and coconut milk to level. Salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the beans “explode”, the texture becomes pasty, and all the water is absorbed. 

Ginataang papaya and alugbati – 4 people

Ginataang Papaya is a dish based on unripe papaya cooked in coconut milk. Unripe papaya is a tropical fruit with a distinctive taste, but it can be replaced by another crunchy vegetable, such as turnip in winter or zucchini in summer.

Ingredients:

– 1 unripe papaya
– 500gr Alugbati or Malabar spinach
– 50cL coconut milk
– 1 medium sized onion
– 4 garlic cloves
– pepper, salt, water
facultatif: 4 small green peppers

— Peel the papaya until all the green part is removed. Cut it into thin slices, before placing them in a dish with coarse salt (the coarse salt will absorb the water and make the slices softer). Press the pieces with your hands. These steps are not necessary if you use zucchini or turnip instead of unripe papaya; in this case you just need to peel and cut the vegetable into small pieces. In a frying pan, sauté garlic, onion, then the papaya pieces (or other). Cook for about 2 minutes. Add water until all ingredients are soaked, no more. Cook until papaya is ‘melting’. Add coconut milk, salt, pepper, and finish cooking the dish. 

Ginataang langka – 4 people

Langka is the local name for the unripe jackfruit. Consumed this way, the flesh of the Jacque easily frays and absorbs spices well.

Ingredients:

– 300gr sliced and drained unripe jackfruit
– 50cL coconut milk
– approx. 3 cm of fresh ginger
– 3 small onions
– 5 garlic gloves
– 2 long sweet chili peppers
Optional: curry powder 

— Brown chopped small onions, a few chopped cloves of garlic, and fresh ginger in a little oil in the bottom of a pot, with the addition of curry (optional). Add 10cL of water, coconut milk, minced unripe jackfruit and sweet chili peppers cut into slices and let it cook over a low heat, covered, for 40 minutes. Stir from time to time. 

Torta – Eggplant integrated in an omelette – 1 person

Ingredients:
– 1 small eggplant
– 2 eggs
– 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
– oil, salt, pepper

— In a saucepan of boiling water, cook one eggplant for about 10 minutes – until soft. At the same time, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt, pepper and cornstarch. When eggplant is cooked, put it in fine layer of oil on a hot frying pan, smash it with the back of a spatula and then pour in the egg mixture. Sear the torta on both sides before serving!

Pancit Canton – noodles dish

In the Philippines, pancit noodles are very popular. There are two kinds: pancit bihon (rice noodles), and pancit canton (egg noodles).

Ingredients:
– 250gr egg noodles
– 50gr shiitake mushrooms
– 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
– 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
– 4 garlic cloves
– 1 medium carrot cut into thin strips
– 400gr chopped cabbage
– water, oil, pepper

— In a wok or large frying pan, fry garlic, onions, mushrooms, carrot and cabbage strips in a little oil. Once all ingredients are lightly browned, add two glasses of water and the soy sauce. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the noodles, cover and let cook for another 2-3 minutes – to let noodles steaming. Mix, pepper. It’s ready to serve!

Other dishes

  • Ginataang sitaw: dish made of green beans and shrimps cooked in coconut milk
  • Tupig: sticky rice

Tofu dishes

Sisig tofu – 4 people

Sisig is not a vegetarian dish originally: it’s cooked with pork meat and animal fat. Here, our host offered us a vegetarian version with tofu and mayonnaise!

Ingredients:
– 750ml firm tofu, diced
– mayonnaise
– 2 long sweet peppers
– 2 peppers
– onions

— Fry the tofu in a pan with a little oil. Once the tofu is fried, set it aside and use the pan to fry onion, diced peppers and sliced sweet peppers. When all ingredients are cooked, mix them with tofu and mayonnaise. 

Curry tofu – 4 people

This dish is not really traditional in the Philippines, but it’s nevertheless in the Philippines that we learned this recipe. Moreover, this vegetarian dish can be cooked very well with locally grown ingredients!

Ingredients:
– 750ml firm tofu, cut into cubes
– 4-6 garlic cloves
– 1 onion
– 400gr mango puree
– coconut milk
– 4 teaspoons of curry powder
– oil, salt, pepper

— Fry the tofu in a frying pan with a little oil and set aside. Then fry onions and garlic. Add the mango puree and coconut milk and let the mixture reduce. Add salt and pepper. Let it cook for another 5 minutes, before diluting curry powder in a small amount of the mixture, before diluting it completely (this step prevents curry from becoming lumpy). Finally, add tofu to your preparation. Cover, turn off the fire. It’s ready to eat! 

Breads

  • Pandesal: round small bun, cheap
  • Pan de coco: a pandesal filled with grated coconut
  • Ensaimada: salt bun

Desserts

Mango float

Ingredients:
– 3 ripe mangoes, diced (you can replace this fruit with peaches)
– 400ml sweetened condensed milk
– crushed speculoos type cookies
– cinnamon

— In a rectangular glass container, place a layer of cookie, then a layer of mangoes, a layer of sweetened condensed milk, a little cinnamon – and repeat until the container is full (you must finish with a layer of mangoes). Then put it in the freezer overnight (minimum 8 hours). 

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Mango float

Fried bananas

In the Philippines, Saba and plantain bananas are perfect for dessert – or for the daytime’s little cravings! 

Banana Cue (fried bananas)

– Saba bananas
– brown sugar
– vegetable oil

— In a pan over medium heat, pour the brown sugar in a little oil. Once the sugar has caramelized, add more oil, heat it up, and dip the peeled bananas in it to fry them and coat them with caramel!

Turon (banana rolls)

– Saba or plantain bananas
– sugar
– spring rolls sheets

— Cut the bananas in half and roll each half in sugar before wrapping them in a spring roll sheet. Close well by folding the edges, and seal them with a little water. In a pan of hot oil, dip the banana rolls until the sheet becomes golden and crispy. Serve hot!

Maruya (banana fritters)

– 6 Saba or plantain bananas
– 125gr flour + one plate filled with flour
– 1 egg
– 150gr of sugar
– 200ml of milk
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– salt, vegetable oil

— In a bowl, first pour flour, then sugar, baking powder, a pinch of salt, egg and milk. Mix well. Next to it, cut the bananas in half lengthwise. Roll them in flour and then dip them in the previously prepared dough. In a frying pan with hot oil, fry the coated bananas on each side until lightly browned. Serve hot!

Other desserts

  • Halo Halo (mix mix): an iced dessert made from crushed ice, fruits (coconut, bananas) and diced colored jellies, sweetened condensed milk
  • Buko salad: cold salad of fresh grated coconut, mixed with sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, sprinkled with a few pieces of green jello
  • Macaroni salad: cold pasta salad eaten as a dessert, prepared with mayonnaise, pineapple chunks, papaya, raisins and diced green jelly!
  • Bibingka: rice cake, similar to Puto
  • Puto: rice cake, steamed
  • Calamay: dessert of sticky rice, sweetened condensed milk, syrup and grated coconut crumbs on top
  • Suman: sticky rice dessert

More about the Philippines:

Many thanks to our hosts and especially to Evelyn from the Soul Kitchen restaurant in El Nido, for showing us local vegetarian recipes!

* Post written according to our personal experience *

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