Monday, 30 April 2012

Inabraw nga Alukon, patani, ken Cardis

 © Fresha-licious:  Inabraw nga Alukon, patani, ken Cardis

I’ve mentioned in my post yesterday that my in-laws (Mama Glo and Papa Tim) came to Singapore for a 2 ½ days visit, haven’t I?  That’s why, we’ve decided to dedicate this week’s posts to my in-law’s home-cooking.  The recipes we’ll be posting for this week are Mama Glo’s.  Other Ilocano delicacies made by some of Frederick's relatives will also be posted.  These dishes were prepared and cooked during my husband's  vacation in Tabuk.  I actually "demanded" that he take photos of the dishes his parents and relatives cook while he's there.  Good thing he did :-)

Aside from showcasing my in-law’s recipes, our objective is to show the world the Ilocano’s provincial style cooking at its best.  We aim to give our readers a glimpse of  what and how an Ilocano that lives in a rural part, of the Northern Luzon looks like (though Tabuk is already declared as a City)

In most Ilocano homes, there is no day in a week where dinengdeng / inabraw is not served as part of a meal.  It’s one of those staple dishes that anyone can whip up any time and any day due to its simplicity. Like most home-cooks in the northern part of Luzon, dishes usually involves the use of salty seasonings, like patis (fish sauce) and bug-goong / bagoong (fermented salted fish) and backyard vegetables.  It may sound and look like rustic, (rural remember?) but in the province, when it comes to cooking, the taste always comes first before the appearance, presentation, nor the aroma.  Some may look and smell like gross and stomach-revolting, BUT, don’t pass judgments just yet, these dishes are delicious and most of the time extremely healthy.  Our ka-ilyan / kababayan (our townmates ;-) ) enjoy fresh and organic foods that is regarded as expensive luxury in urban cities, specially in the first world countries.  So be envious!  Our town folks may not enjoy gourmet foods but they feast everyday on healthy organic foods, fertilizer & pesticide free, and most of the time free-of-charge as they just pick their vegetables from their own backyards and farms.

So we are starting with this dinengdeng / inabraw nga alukon, patani, kardis, and kamote tops. What is dinengdeng / inabraw? It's an Ilocano vegetable dish that make use of any available vegetable that an Ilocano can find from his/her backyard and farm or even from anywhere where vegetation is present, then seasoned with buggoong / bagoong (fermented salted fish) or patis (fish sauce) for some who are allergic to buggoong / bagoong like me.  You can check our previous post on dinengdeng / inabraw by clicking here.   In this recipe, Mama Glo made use of leaves (uggot ti kamote), legumes (patani and kardis), and flowers (alukon) 

Uggot ti kamote refers to the young leaves of the sweet potatoes.   Patani refers to the lima beans.

 © Fresha-licious:  Patani (Lima beans)

Kardis in Ilocano or Kadyos among the Tagalog refers to the pigeon pea, also known as red gram or Congo peas in English. It’s scientific name is Cajanus cajan .

 © Fresha-licious:  Kardis / kadyos (Pigeon Pea)

 Alukon is a green squiggly worm-like vegetable that refers to the flower of the himbabau tree (Broussonetia Luzonica) We have this plant in our backyard in Tabuk.  It is a very tall slim tree that in order for us to harvest the flowers, we have to ask a tree climber (no one among my siblings including my father can climb hehehe) to cut the branches of the tree so we can pick its flowers.

 © Fresha-licious:  Alukon (himbabau blossoms)

Here is Mama Glo's recipe :

© Fresha-licious:  Inabraw nga Alukon, patani, ken Cardis
Click Dinengdeng  for more dinengdeng / inabraw recipes



Patani (you can peel its skin if you like or leave it as is)

Kardis / kadyos
Uggot ti kamote
Bagoong sauce (fermented salty fish)
Ripe Tomatoes (optional)


Cooking Procedure:

  1. Place water in a pot bring to a boil.  The amount of water will depend on how soupy or dry you want your dinengdeng / inabraw
  2. In a bowl, place the bagoong sauce with some of its fermented fishes.  Add boiling water then mash the fish to separate the meat from the fish bones.  Pour the bagoong into the boiling water excluding the fish bones.  Add in the onion and ginger and tomatoes (if desired).  Let it simmer.  

The amount of bagoong  to be used depends on your taste preference.  Just be careful not to make it too salty

  1. Add the kardis and patani and cook them until they are half-cooked.  
  2. Add the alukon and let simmer until it is cooked
  3. Remove the dish from fire and add the kamote tops.  Let the heat of the dish cook the leaves.
You can actually add fried or grilled fishes (tilapia, catfish, or milkfish) for additional flavor.  Serve with steamed rice and enjoy

For me, I enjoy my dinengdeng / inabraw with rice and sprinkled with a spoonful of sugar. Yumm!!!

 © Fresha-licious (30April2012)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Teochew Bak Kut Teh

© fresha-licious :  Teochew Bak Kut Teh

Fresha-licious went on hiatus for over a week because, I, the author had been sick for over a week (too bad).  All I did was sleep, eat, sleep, and stare blankly at the ceiling. I felt disoriented and incoherent that blogging would be a bad idea.   No worries though, coz there’s nothing serious.  My head and my abdomen/gut just ganged up and rebelled on me, and that gave me a difficult and painful week.  

My head made me suffer from enormous and intensely painful pulsating migraine that attacked me almost every single freaking minute that I was awake all throughout the week. And if it wasn't that bad enough, my abdomen, actually, it was the whole of my gut, as usual had tantrums for the same whole week – pain at the upper right portion of my abdomen (it’s always on that same spot), and bloating, digestion and excretion of waste were problems despite the fact that I’ve been eating the usual healthy foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, fishes, less salt, less sugar, less fat) Imagine that ordeal I went through (huh).  I was just thankful that my husband took very good care of me (Thank you Dear! mmmuah)

My guess was as good as my husband’s. I over indulged my body during the weekends when my in-laws (Frederick’s parents) came to visit us here in Singapore – too much physical strain because of long strenuous walking and too much exposure to heat and even rain, and excessive eating may have caused my system to breakdown.  Mama Glo and Papa Tim enjoyed their stay here anyway, and we’re glad about that, though I know that the 2 ½ days they were here was never enough to get the most out of Singapore, may be next time they visit, they will stay longer AND with my parents already.

So the break is over :-) though my gut is still not in a good shape but is already tolerable and manageable.  I still have on and off migraines but I am already capable of thinking clear and coherently as you can see (thank goodness).  For a fresh start, I am posting my bak kut teh recipe I made from scratch.  My husband, Frederick who is finicky, choosy, and demanding, loves this Chinese pork rib dish but he prefers cooking it the fool-proof way using pre-packed spices for bak kut teh as he doesn’t want to ruin its taste.  When I told him that I’m cooking the dish from scratch, he texted me a cynical “good luck to that”.  He doubted the idea that I can really pull it off.  Guess what?  I did, and he loves my Teochew Bak Kut Teh.  He said it’s delicious and it tasted like the real Bak Kut Teh.  And by “real” he meant the same great taste he gets using the pre-mix spices of bak kut teh . My in-laws loved it too :-)

That made me happy.  Thanks to Marc of  for his Teochew Bak Kut Teh . I copied his recipe to this post so in case anyone prefers to follow his can do too.

Here’s my take on the Marc's Teochew Bak Kut Teh:

© fresha-licious :  Teochew Bak Kut Teh with boiled cabbage

You can also check our other bah kut teh recipe using premixed spices - (Bak Kut Teh )



Pork spareribs, cut into serving sizes – 500 g.
Pork belly, cut into serving sizes – 250 g.
Black peppercorns, slightly crushed – 1 1/2 tbsp
White peppercorns, slightly crushed – 1 1/2 tbsp
Garlic, smashed – 20 cloves
Red Onions, quartered - 3 medium
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water at least 2 inches above the meat level or more for the soup

Cooking Procedure:

1. Pour Water in a pressure cooker then add the garlic, peppercorns, and onion.  Bring to a boil.  let it boil for 2 minutes
2.  Add the pork and bring to a boil under pressure for at least 30 minutes from the time the valve whistles or until the meat are tender.
3. .   Season with salt and sugar. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add your desired vegetables like papaya, sayote, cabbage, or bok choi   serve and enjoy

 © Fresha-licious (28April2012)

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Bak Kut Teh (Sparerib Soup)
By Marc of

see original post here. 

for soup
5 pounds pork spareribs (I used half spareribs and half loin bones)
1 head garlic smashed
1 Tbs black peppercorns
1 Tbs white peppercorns
cinnamon stick
green papaya, peeled, seeded, then cut into 3/4″ cubes
gai choy
crispy fried shallots (minced shallots deep fried until golden brown and crisp)

for dipping sauce
6 red bird chilis chopped
3 tablespoons kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Cut the spare ribs apart at every second rib so they’re in managable sized pieces. Cover the spare ribs with a handful of salt, and let it sit in a container overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, then add the pork (you may need to do this in two batches). Return the water to a boil and let cook them until there is no blood coming out (about 5-10 minutes). Use tongs to transfer the ribs to a bowl of cold water, then scrub any bits of blood or scum off of them. Give them a rinse under cold water and put them in a clean bowl. Repeat with the rest of the ribs.

Dump the now murky water down the drain and rinse out the pot. Add the cleaned ribs to the pot with the garlic, peppercorns and cinnamon, and add enough water to cover the top of the ribs by 1″. Bring the water to a simmer over medium high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer (medium low on my stove). Skim off any foam or fat that floats to the surface (you should only have to do this for the first 20 minutes). Continue simmering uncovered for 2 hours.

To make the dipping sauce for the ribs, combine the kecap manis, soy sauce and chilis in a bowl then divide evenly among small bowls or ramekins. If you can’t find kecap manis, you can also use Chinese dark soy sauce mixed with some honey or agave nectar.

After two hours the water should be just above the level of the meat. If it’s too low, add some more water so the meat is just covered. Taste the soup for salt adding more as needed, then add the green papaya. Cover with a lid and turn down the heat slightly and cook for another 1 hour. Add the gai choy and cook for about a minute or until it is bright green.

Serve in bowls with plenty of soup, sprinkle the fried shallots on top, and serve with a side of rice and the dipping sauce.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Salmon in Oyster Sauce

 © Fresha-licious :  Salmon in Oyster Sauce

I am busy cooking my Teochew bah kut teh from scratch as I draft this post (see my recipe on Teochew bah kut teh  here) .  While waiting for the pork to be cooked to tender, I took advantage of the time to do this as  I need to post this recipe before it goes to oblivion again like some of my recipes (sigh…)

We had this salmon dish a day before Frederick went back to Manila  and that was more than a week ago (see? That’s what I meant.  I still have almost 50 recipes waiting to be posted in my draft box)  Anyway, Frederick loves salmon ONLY when it’s raw and it’s not cooked with sugar or as long as the salmon dish is not sweet nor too oily.  And this dish is one that he said he likes but I know he doesn’t and was just trying to finish his plate so I won’t get offended L  

I cooked only 300 g of salmon and usually if he likes a dish, he will finish it all off and will ask me to cook more of it next time.  At that time thoug, 1/3 of the dish was left for me to finish off when I get the appetite to eat.

Well, I like salmon in sweet sauce on the other hand that’s the reason why I made this dish because I don’t want to be cooking sinigang nor paksiw again!  And I want something sweet and savory too, you know (sniff)

So, if you’re not like my husband, you can try this ;-)

Oh by the way, the teriyaki sauce I used is based on my usual recipe below.  You can also see my teriyaki sauce recipe here – Saba Mackerel Teriyaki 



Salmon, cut into bite sizes - 300 g.
Oyster Sauce - 2 tbsp
Teriyaki sauce  (see below)
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Onions, diced - 1 small
Garlic, crushed and minced - 3 cloves
Canola Oil – 2 tsp

Teriyaki Sauce

Kikoman soy sauce - 2 tbsp
Mirin - 1 tbsp
Honey – 1/2 tbsp
Water - 1 tbsp
cornstarch - 1 tsp

Cooking Procedure:

  1. Mix the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce and the oyster sauce and set aside
  2. Heat oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and ginger, then the onion, then the salmon.  Pan fry them until the salmon turns light brown.
  3. Add the sauce and continue stirring it until the sauce thickens.

Dish out and enjoy.  Oh by the way, as for my bah kut teh, let's see how long will it take me to post its recipe (sigh...)

 © Fresha-licious (20April2012)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Stir Fried Beef - Japanese Inspired

© Fresha-licious : Stir Fried Beef - Japanese Inspired

After posting 2 Japanese inspired recipe, I thought of posting another one.  A Japanese inspired almost-beef-gyudon-like beef dish.  This is an invention of Marco (Sarmiento).  Like the beef gyudon, this also tastes sweet but a bit saltier than a beef gyudon. By the way, the Sarmiento family (Marco and Airene and their kids) are more into sweet and sometimes salty dishes  At the moment though, I've noticed that they are trying to moderate their sodium intake :-)

See my recipe of beef gyudon  - Gyudon- Japanese Beef Bowl



Beef, sliced thinly - 300 g.
Carrots, sliced thinly and in strips - 1 medium
Onions, sliced into rings - 1 large
Garlic, minced - 5 cloves
Soy Sauce
Sweet Sauce
Ground pepper and salt to taste
Water - just enough to cook the beef
Vegetable oil

Cooking Procedure:

1.      Heat oil and sauté garlic, then onion, then the beef strips.  Let it simmer for a minute.
2.      Add the water and soy and cook the beef until it is tender.  Add the sweet sauce and ground pepper and stir.  Then add the carrots and let it simmer until most of the liquids have evaporated

Serve like the Japanese does with their beef gyudon – rice in a bowl then topped with the beef dish J

By the way, belated Happy birthday to the "inventor" of this dish (April 12)

 © Fresha-licious (19April2012)

11 Tips to Cut Your Cholesterol Fast

My husband was informed to have an elevated cholesterol, it was just slightly above normal.  To think that he's weight is a bit above normal and he's not obese :-(  Oh well, I think we really need to  watch our weight and be mindful of our food in take.

Anyway, here's an interesting article I saw on the internet.  Just want to share it

 © Fresha-licious (19April2012)

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11 Tips to Cut Your Cholesterol Fast
Got high cholesterol? Learn what you can do to lower it quickly -- starting today.

By David Freeman, WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Robert J Bryg, MD

see original article here.

How's your cholesterol? If you think that the normal reading you got back in 2004 (or earlier) means you're in the clear, think again: Levels of the artery-clogging substance often rise with age, and cardiologists say everyone 20 or older should be screened for high cholesterol at least once every five years, with more frequent screenings for anyone deemed to be at high risk for heart disease. If it's been awhile since your last cholesterol screening, now's a good time to ask your doctor if you're due for one.
The good news? If your fasting total cholesterol level exceeds the desirable level of 200, or if your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad”) cholesterol is above 100, getting it down to a safer level could be easier than you think. In fact, with simple lifestyle modifications -- and, if necessary, drug therapy -- people often see significant reductions in cholesterol within six weeks. Get going right now, and by New Year's Eve you could be toasting your cholesterol level rather than resolving to lower it.
Here are 11 tips from WebMD health experts on how to cut high cholesterol fast:
1. Set a target.
You know you've got to get your cholesterol number down, but how low do you need to go? That depends on several factors, including your personal and family history of heart disease, as well as whether you have cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking.
If your risk is deemed high, "most doctors will treat for a target LDL of less than 70," says James Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in private practice in Portland, Oregon. If your risk is moderate, a target LDL of under 130 is generally OK, Beckerman says. If your risk is low, less than 160 is a reasonable target. "The trend now is to treat people earlier, especially if they have two or more risk factors," he says.
2. Consider medication.
Lifestyle modifications make sense for anyone with elevated cholesterol. But if your cardiovascular risk is high, you may also need to take a cholesterol-lowering drug. Michael Richman, MD, medical director of the Center for Cholesterol Management in Los Angeles, calls drug therapy "the only thing that will work fast" to lower high cholesterol. "Everyone should do the basics, like stopping smoking and losing weight," Richman tells WebMD. "But these things lower the risk only modestly. They're nothing to write home about."
Beckerman agrees. "Lifestyle modifications are important, but we should also be emphasizing the benefits of medication when appropriate," he says.
Several types of cholesterol-lowering medication are available, including niacin, bile acid resins, and fibrates. But statins are the treatment of choice for most individuals. "Statins can lower LDL cholesterol by 20% to 50%" says Pamela Peeke, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

3. Get moving.
In addition to lowering LDL "bad" cholesterol, regular physical activity can raise HDL "good" cholesterol by up to 10%. The benefits come even with moderate exercise, such as brisk walking.
Robert Harrington, MD, professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., urges his patients to go for a 45-minute walk after supper.
Peeke tells WebMD, "I ask people to get a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day. If you work at a desk, get up and walk around for five minutes every hour."
Whatever form your exercise takes, the key is to do it with regularity. "Some experts recommend seven days a week, although I think five days is more realistic," Richman says.
4. Avoid saturated fat.
Doctors used to think that the key to lowering high cholesterol was to cut back on eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods. But now it's clear that dietary cholesterol isn't the main culprit. "Eggs don't do all that much [to raise cholesterol]," Beckerman says. "You don't want to be throwing down six eggs a day, but recent data suggest that it's really saturated fat" that causes increases in cholesterol. And if you cooked your eggs in a slab of butter, don't overlook the fat in the butter.                                            
"One of the first things to do when you're trying to lower your cholesterol level is to take saturated fat down a few notches," says Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, the author of several nutrition books, including the forthcoming Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Heart Disease. "The second thing to do is to start eating more 'smart' fats," Magee says. She recommends substituting canola oil or olive oil for vegetable oil, butter, stick margarine, lard, or shortening while cutting back on meat and eating more fish.
5. Eat more fiber.
Fruits and vegetables, including whole grains, are good sources not only of heart-healthy antioxidants but also cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber. Soluble fiber, in particular, can help lower cholesterol. Beckerman says it "acts like a sponge to absorb cholesterol" in the digestive tract. Good sources of soluble fiber include dried beans, oats, and barley, as well as fiber products containing psyllium
6. Go fish.
Fish and fish oil are chockablock with cholesterol-lowering omega-3 fatty acids. "Fish oil supplements can have a profound effect on cholesterol and triglycerides," Beckerman says. "There's a lot of scientific evidence to support their use." Fish oil is considered to be quite safe, but check with your doctor first if you are taking an anti-clotting medication.
Magee recommends eating fish two or three times a week. "Salmon is great, as it has lots of omega-3s," she says. But even canned tuna has omega-3s, and it's more consumer-friendly. The American Heart Association also recommends fish as the preferable source of omega-3s, but fish oil capsule supplements can be considered after consultation with your physician. Plant sources of omega-3s include soybeans, canola, flaxseeds, walnuts, and their oils, but they don't provide the same omega-3s as fish. The  biggest heart benefits have been linked to omega-3s found in fish.

7. Drink up.
Moderate consumption of alcohol can raise levels of HDL "good" cholesterol by as much as 10%. Doctors say up to one drink a day makes sense for women, up to two a day for men. But given the risks of excessive drinking, the American Heart Association cautions against increasing your alcohol intake or starting to drink if you don't already.
8. Drink green.
Magee suggests green tea as a healthier alternative to sodas and sugary beverages. Indeed, research in both animals and humans has shown that green tea contains compounds that can help lower LDL cholesterol. In a small-scale study conducted recently in Brazil, people who took capsules containing a green tea extract experienced a 4.5% reduction in LDL cholesterol.
9. Eat nuts.
Extensive research has demonstrated that regular consumption of nuts can bring modest reductions in cholesterol. Walnuts and almonds seem particularly beneficial. But nuts are high in calories, so limit yourself to a handful a day, experts say.
10. Switch spreads.
Recent years have seen the introduction of margarine-like spreads and other foods fortified with cholesterol-lowering plant compounds known as stanols.

11. Don't smoke.
Smoking lowers levels of HDL "good" cholesterol and is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Pork Belly Stew - Japanese Style

 © Fresha-licious :  Pork Belly Stew - Japanese Style with steamed wholegrain red rice mixed with white jasmine rice

An appetizing blend of aroma of caramelized sugar and  fried pork filled the house as the pressure cooker whistles.  Yep I  cooked pork, pork belly at that, again, for the second time this week.  It was for my packed lunch today.

This wasn't actually planned as I had been contemplating, all day yesterday, of cooking another braised pork cuisine, something Korean or Chinese, but the Korean method is to tedious and the Chinese style was almost similar to the Japanese braised pork dish I cooked last Sunday so I changed my mind.  Nonetheless, pork belly is still perched high into my “to cook” and “to eat” list yesterday, so pork belly it is.  

I thought of cooking adobo but as I try to reach for the condiments I was suppose to use for my adobo, I took out mirin, sake, and kikkoman from the cabinet instead.  And besides, my taste buds and my stomach is revolting with the thought of adobo again.  There, I went Japanese.

So today, I enjoyed a lunch of savory tender pork belly.  Its sapidity is so satisfying that I enjoyed every bite of the pork belly with the steamed red-white rice and boiled french beans.  Delicious.

Next time I will cook this for my husband using a leaner pork meat.  I’m sure Frederick will like it :-)

Ooops, I cooked a Chinese inspired braised pork belly a few months ago see this - Braised Pork Belly - Chinese Inspired

 © Fresha-licious :  Pork Belly Stew - Japanese Style



Pork Belly, sliced into serving sizes - 300 g.
Ginger, crushed and sliced into strips - 1/2 inch
Garlic, crushed and coarsely chopped - 5 cloves
Ground Black Pepper 
Sake (or any rice wine ) - 4 tbsp
Soy Sauce (kikkoman) - 2 tbsp
Mirin - 1 1/2 tbsp
Water - 1 cup
Canola oil - 1 tsp

Cooking Procedure:

1.      Heat oil in a pressure cooker (don’t let it smoke) and sauté the garlic then the ginger then the pork.  Stir and let simmer until oil comes out from the pork.

2.      Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to boil under pressure for at least 15 minutes or until the pork is fork-tender.  Remove the pressure from the cooker and remove lid. 

3.      Continue to simmer until most of the liquids evaporated leaving only the oil and some liquid as sauce.

I had this with steamed red-white rice and boiled baby french-beans


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 © Fresha-licious (18April2012)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Daing na Bangus III

Since I have posted a while ago one version of Frederick's daing na bangus, I've decided to post another of his daing na bangus recipe:

Here's another of Frederick's DAING NA BANGUS:

Ingredients :

Milkfish (
Bangus) –  2 large pieces, gutted, scaled and sliced (see the picture above)
White Vinegar – just enough to cover the whole fish
Garlic, crushed and finely chopped – 10 cloves or as many you want
Ground Black pepper
Salt - 1 tsp
Red Chili Peppers, chopped - 10 pcs

Cooking Procedure:

1) Mix all the ingredients for the marinade.  Soak the
bangus and marinate it for at least 24 hours before frying it. 

2) Shallow fry the daing na bangus until it turned brown on both sides.

As I had mentioned earlier the fish can be soaked for more than a week.  That's what we usually do since most of the time, we forget that we have daing na bangus just lying in the fridge.  The good thing about it is that, marinading the bangus for a long period softens the fish's bones.

Check out the other daing na bangus recipe of Frederick here and mine here .

 © Fresha-licious (17April2012)

Daing Na Bangus II

My husband's favorite past time is making preserved foods even if most of the time he forgets them after making them.  Just like today.  I saw this daing na bangus and beef tapa lying in the refrigerator for almost a month already.  So instead of cooking chicken soup, I have decided to cook daing na bangus just to finish it up.  I'm not complaining though coz the taste of this daing na bangus is really deliciously hot and spicy  :-) yummy

Here’s the recipe of Frederick's DAING NA BANGUS:

Ingredients :

Milkfish (
Bangus) –  2 large pieces, gutted, scaled and sliced (see the picture above)
Apple Cider Vinegar – just enough to cover the whole fish
Garlic, crushed and finely chopped – 10 cloves or as many you want
Ground Black pepper
Soy Sauce - 3 tbsp

Salt - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Peppers

Cooking Procedure:

1) Mix all the ingredients for the marinade.  Soak the
bangus and marinate it for at least 24 hours before frying it. 

2) Shallow fry the daing na bangus until it turned brown on both sides.

As I had mentioned earlier the fish can be soaked for more than a week.  That's what we usually do since most of the time, we forget that we have daing na bangus just lying in the fridge.  The good thing about it is that, marinading the bangus for a long period softens the fish's bones.

Check our other recipe of Daing collection.

 © Fresha-licious (17April2012)

Japanese Braised Pork Belly (BUTA NO KAKUNI)

 © Fresha-licious:  Japanese Braised Pork Belly (BUTA NO KAKUNI)

I had braised pork belly Japanese style last Sunday.  And it was so good.  I’d be doing 1 or two more braised pork belly within the week  yehey! The husband is back in Manila, that’s the reason why I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to cook my favorite fatty pork while the “bully cat” is away (hehehe lab u Dear)

Frederick hates fatty and greasy dishes specially pork which is also a favorite of mine.  I love fatty and unctuous meats, may they be fish, chicken, beef, goat, lamb, specially pork.  I don’t find lean meat appetizing specially when it comes to pork.  Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t guzzle.  I still stick to my “diet” of eating pork just once or twice a week and that’s it, no more than that.  When Frederick is around I have to scrape off the oil and the fat L but since he’s in Manila, I get to enjoy it :D

And yes, we are still on a diet break while we try to figure what to do with our weight woes

Going back to my Buta no Kakuni.  This is a tender and flavorful dish that is mouth-watering.  It has a salty-sweet taste that blended well with the spices used though I might have used to many star anise as the flavor is overwhelming.   That’s why I reduced the amount in the list of ingredients below, from 3 pcs to 1.

By the way, I based my recipe on Makiko’s Buta no Kakuni recipe which is found on her blog at (Thank you!)  Tweaked it a bit to fit my taste buds :-)

 © Fresha-licious:  Japanese Braised Pork Belly (BUTA NO KAKUNI)



Pork Belly  - 300 g.
Garlic, minced - 4 cloves
Ginger, minced - 1/2 inch
Star Anise - 1 pc
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Mirin - 1 tsp
Soy Sauce (Kikkoman) - 2 tbsp
Sake - 1 tbsp
Water - 1 cup
Canola Oil - 2 tsp

Cooking Procedure:

1. Pan fry the pork in oil until it turned brown on all sides. Remove browned pork and set aside
 © Fresha-licious:  Pan frying the cut porkbelly

2. In the same oil, sauté garlic until it is almost brown then add the ginger.  
3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Toss in the pork then transfer to a pressure cooker.  Bring the mixture to a boil under pressure for at least 30 to 40 minutes until the meat is tender.  Remove the lid of the cooker and let the mixture simmer until most of the liquids evaporated. 

If you have a slow cooker or if you have the time you can slow cook it for 2 to 3 hrs.

Serve with steamed red-white rice and boiled veggies of your choice.

 © Fresha-licious (17April2012)

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Makiko's Buta no kakuni (Japanese braised pork belly)

posted at

See original recipe here

  • About 450g / 1 lb pork belly
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 piece of leek (about 6 inches / 15 cm long or so. You can use the green part too.)
  • 1 large piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. sake
  • 2 cups water
Cut the pork into cubes about 1 inch / 2cm or so square. If the skin is still on, leave it on. Heat up a large pot with a heavy bottom. Sauté the pork belly cubes, without any added fat (you don’t need it…) until browned.
When the meat is browned, scrape it to one side and put the sugar in the fat that’s accumulated on the bottom, and stir around until it’s a bit caramelized. Stir and toss so the meat gets coated by the sugar.
Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a simmer and lower the heat. Put a lid on and let it simmer gently for about 3 hours, turning occasionally.
To serve, dredge the pieces carefully out of the very oily cooking liquid, and peel of the thick layer of fat that’s on the skin side of the meat. Drizzle a little bit of the cooking liquid over the cubes.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Dinuguang Baboy (Pork Blood Stew)

At last, I got to cook Dinuguan (Pork blood stew).  I’ve been wanting to eat and cook dinuguan since I got to Singapore and that is almost 4 yrs already.  Only last Easter Sunday was I able to fulfill that :D  Well, I never had the chance to cook this dish when I was still in the Philippines prior to relocating to Singapore.  Talking about procrastination, complacency, and uninterest in something I so often see or is always available.  Most of the time, it's all about plain laziness.  It happens, so when something is scarce and beyond my reach, I look back with regrets to the missed opportunities in the past, and ask myself  “why did I not try cooking Blood Stew / dinuguan when blood is available and plenty”.   

Dinuguan (dinardaraan in Ilocano) or blood stew is a popular dish in the Philippines in which the major ingredient is animal blood, and meat and / or innards and entrails.  The name dinuguan come from the word dugo which is the Filipino word for blood that is also called as dara in Ilocano. This dish may seem to be appalling and distasteful specially to the squeamish or may even be repulsive and offensive to other people due to cultural or religious beliefs, but for the Filipinos, this is one tasty dish that is a must-try for foreigners.

The dish may be made of blood but it doesn’t have the nasty-metallic taste associated with blood.  The blood stew flavor is actually rich and savoury, in short, delicious, specially when combined with spices.  The taste ranges from salty-sweet-sour or salty-sour-spicy depending on how it’s cooked, what ingredients specially what meat or parts of an animal (pig, chicken, cow, goat, etc.) was used.  For me, I prefer the dry-oily type which is salty-sour, that’s how my Papa Ambring cooks his dinardaraan.  My Mama Tessie’s version tastes salty-sour but is usually soupy.  For some Filipino’s, depending on where they come from, will cook it with coconut milk for a smoother and creamier sauce, some people add vegetables like sayote or green papaya, some use meaty parts only, and some prefers the innards and entrails, or a combination of both.  Which ever way one wants to cook it, dinuguan / dinardaraan  will still be one of the best Filipino dishes that can be served as a viand and goes with steamed rice, or as a snack and is eaten with puto (steamed rice cake), or pulutan that is wolfed down with ice-cold beer or ginebra gin.

The dinuguan / dinardaraan I cooked was based on my Mama Tessie’s recipe.  She texted me the ingredients and the cooking procedure.  I just don’t know if I had done justice to her recipe because all that I had heard from my husband and siblings were negative remarks, like “why does it look like that – it should be like this”, “you should have cooked it with ginger”, etc. etc. For me, my dinuguan / dinardaraan  tasted and looked like the way I expected Mama Tessie will cook it.  Screw them, wehehehe, they ate it anyway :D

Freaked out? Why should you? It's not like we're eating raw blood and it's not like this is news to anyone.  Cooking with animal blood is not only peculiar to the Filipinos.  In fact other cultures from Asia, to Europe, to America has their own dishes using blood as the major ingredient.

Pig's blood mixed with vinegar

The Chinese, for instance, has red tofu referring to steamed coagulated blood and they also use blood as ingredients in other dishes.  The Tibetans’, Gyuma or blood sausage, the Taiwanese pig’s blood cake, the Korean’s Sundae (Blood pudding), and the Thailanders’ sai krok lueat, all make use of blood as ingredient.

Have you heard the name black pudding or blood sausages?  They’re made of blood too. And blood sausages are found in different cultures and are called in different names :
     Americans – Black Pudding
     English – Lancashire pudding
     Spanish – Morcilla
     German – Blutwurst
     Finnish – mustamakkara
     French – Boudin Noir
     Austrian – Blunzngröstl
     Belgians - bloedworst
     Italians – Buristo
     Portuguese- Morcela
     Swedish - blodkorv (blood sausage), blodplättar (blood pancakes) and blodpalt. There is also a soup made from blood, called svartsoppa (black soup).

Source :  Wikipedia
Still squeamish? Don’t be.  This dish may seem weird and eccentric, but once you've tasted it, you'll be wanting and begging for more.  Anyway, for those who have heard for the first time, dishes using blood as ingredient, try it first before passing judgement :-) Here's my take on my Mother's Dinuguan / Dinardaraan recipe

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Pork meat (Kasim or belly) - 500 g
Pig's Sweet Intestines - 500 g.
Pig's Blood - 500 ml or more
Cane Vinegar - 7 tbsp
Fish Sauce - 2 tbsp
Sea Salt - 2 tbsp
Ground Black Pepper
Magi Magic Sarap - 2 tsp
Green Chili
Red Onions, diced - 2 medium
Garlic, crushed and chopped - 5 cloves
Water enough to cover the meat

Cooking Procedure:

  1. Strain the blood and mash any coagulated blood.  Add the vinegar to the blood and mix it well
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté garlic until it almost turns brown, add the onion, then the meat.  Pan fry it until the liquid and oils from the meat comes out.  Transfer the meat into a pressure cooker.  Add the water and bring to a  boil under pressure for at least 20 minutes.  Release pressure from the cooker and open lid.
  3. Add the blood and the seasonings and let it simmer until most of the liquids have evaporated. 
  4. Add the green chili and simmer for another 2 minutes.

You can serve it with rice for dinner or steamed rice cakes (puto) for snack.


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- © Fresha-licious (16April2012)