Dining and Cooking – Crispy Catfish with Garlic Honey Mayo Sauce

This is an inspired version of my friend’s very successful restaurant in Manila, LA.  Since then I tried different fish fillets to check on what’s best type that I would prefer to use eventually…  So far I liked catfish than tilapia fillets plus here in the US our catfish fillets in the market are huge slices of catfish fillets.  Catfish have distinct stronger flavor when fried.  Just like when they use it as well in yum pla duk foo (catfish pomelo salad).  The texture when fried gets light and crispy.  My kids love my fish fillet honey mayo as one of their favorite fish dish.  Here’s how to prepare it.

Crispy Catfish with Garlic Honey Mayo Sauce


4 large Catfish Fillets (at least the size of your hand)
1 cup of Cornstarch
1 cup crushed Sky Flakes Crackers (instead of Panko, I preferred using this because of the added flavor and preferred texture)
1 beaten egg
1 cup of Cold Milk
A dash of Salt ad Pepper
2 cups of Cooking Oil


In a breading plate mix all dry ingredients such as cornstarch, crackers, salt and pepper and in a deep dish bowl, mix milk and egg.  Dip Catfish fillet first in the wet coating the fillet completely and then roll it to the dry ingredients until the fillet is covered completely and pat excess dry ingredients and place flat in a plate until you have prepared the rest of the fish fillets.  Cover with a plastic serene wrap and freeze for about 30 minutes.  The reason why I recommended it to be frozen to seal in moisture when you deep fry it leaving crispy in the outside and flaky soft in the inside.

After freezing the fish fillets, preheat cooking oil in a frying pan and deep fry the catfish until golden brown is achieved.  Place the fried fillets in a plate layered with paper towel to drain excess oil.

Sauce Mixture:

4 Tbsp of Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp of Honey
1/2 Tbsp of Garlic Paste
1 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil


In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, mayo, honey, garlic paste and olive oil and mix completely.

Lay the crispy fillet in a plate and drizzle with the sauce mixture.  You can garnish it a little with fried onions and garlic on top as well if you wish.

Bon appetit!


Dining and Cooking – Beef Asado

Have you tried those Mami House in the Philippines where they serve Pares?  It’s a great combination of Beef Asado, Fried Rice and clear soup…  It looks complicated but it’s the easiest dish to make…  I remember before that we would always go to the noodle houses called Jonas Pares and would always be excited to eat there.  As I grew up I learned to make this recipe because it’s one of my mom’s usual emergency dishes for everyone who would drop by our house.

Beef Asado the Chinese version is mostly popular as a dish by itself, or it’s usually a filling for siopao except they are made from pork instead.  Kids love it because of sweet and salty combination in taste.  It’s taste is very adaptable to everyone so it’s ideal to prepare them in mixed race parties.  It can be something different from the usual dishes we serve at our parties but like I’ve said, it’s so easy and can’t go wrong to prepare Beef Asado to your loved ones.

Here’s how:

Chinese Beef Asado


2 Lbs of Beef Flank or Beef Brisket (You can tenderize it usually in a pressure cooker or crockpot ahead of time just make sure to save the broth)

1 Cup Soy Sauce

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Clove of crushed Garlic

5 Pcs of Star Anise

2 Tbsp of Sesame Oil

2 Tbsp of Cornstarch

2 Cups of Beef Broth (Be sure to take the oil from the broth by cooling it down and straining the fats out of the broth)

1 Cup of Cold Water


In a preheated pan, add in Beef flank, soy sauce, garlic, star anise and brown sugar and beef broth and simmer until liquid is reduced to enough amount for sauce.  dilute cornstarch in a cup of water and pour in all over the beef and mixing it until desired consistency of thickness in sauce is achieved.  Add in sesame oil to finish.  Serve over Garlic Fried Rice or Cuapao Bread (White bread like the ones in Siopao)

I told you it’s that easy!

Bon Appetit!

Dining and Cooking – Butter Chicken Masala

Today I did my second attempt to prepare an Indian dish called Butter Chicken Masala.  This is a famous dish from India which I got to try here in the US as well as when I was in Dubai.  It’s creamy with a good set of spices that leaves an interest for anyone who will try it the first time.  It’s not the usually curry type of food that’s one and the sauce itself makes you eat rice or naan (Indian bread) by itself alone.  I learned to make naan or chapati from scratch when i was in college with my college UST Association of Foreign Students Friday Cookouts.

Last time I went to this Indian Grocery I bought a packet of Chicken Biryani and this Butter Chicken Masala spice.  Since I have a bit time to try to prepare it today, I explored the possibility to try to cook it as close as possible to the original Butter Chicken Masala that I have tried around.

Here’s how I did it…

Butter Chicken Masala


2 lbs of Chicken Wings

1 box of Shan Butter Chicken Masala Spice

2 tbsp of Lemon Juice

3 cups of Water

2 tbsp of Oil

2 tbsp of Garlic Paste

1 cup of Milk

1 cup of Heavy Cream

2 tbsp of  Butter

Salt and Pepper to taste…


In a bowl, combine water, lemon juice and Butter Chicken Masala drizzle it all over the chicken wings and marinade a minimum of 30 minutes but ideally store it overnight at the fridge so the spices will penetrate in the chicken to make it more tasty.

Preheat oil in pan and fry marinated chicken until edges are brown.  When chicken wings are completely brown, add in garlic paste and saute a little bit more.  Deglace the pan with milk and water and simmer until liquid reduced to a little bit thick sauce.  When it starts to thicken, add in butter and heavy cream and add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over basmati rice or naan…

Bon appetit!

If you’re wondering what does Shan Butter Chicken looks like, here a picture of the box


Cooking and Dining – Laing (Taro leaves in coconut milk)

After my niece’s wedding when everyone was hang over… we decided to have another round of festivities… This time it’s a cookout! So one of the dish I prepared is Laing, it’s Candice’s request! Gotta fulfill the new Mrs. Garcia’s request!

Laing is a native dish from Bicol where my ex bf (now husband), Lyndon is from.  It’s made up of dried Taro (Gabi) leaves simmered in coconut milk prepared with lots of chili… I just don’t know why I can eat spicier than the Bicolanos in his family!

Kids don’t try this at home!

Laing (Taro leaves in spicy coco milk)


1 bag of shredded Dried Taro Leaves (You can usually find this in Asian Supermarkets)
1 clove of finely chopped Garlic
1 cup of finely chopped Onion
2 cans of Coconut Milk
1 lb of finely sliced Pork Belly
1 lb of Shrimp
10 pcs finely chopped Chili (Use Siling Labuyo) in which you can increase or decrease the amount depending on how spicy you wan it to be
2 tbsp of Cooking Oil
1/2 cup Fish Sauce
4 cups of water

In a pan, preheat the cooking oil and saute chopped chili, onion and garlic and brown a little.  Add in pork and continue to toast a little bit more.  Mean time soak the dried Taro leaves in water until it’s completely moistened.  Add in the pan and pour in the first can of Coco milk and the water. Add in Fish Sauce and adjust saltness to taste.  Simmer until the leaves are completely soft.  Once it’s ready and soft, add in and the second can of coconut milk and simmer a little bit more until the shrimp is completely cooked.

Serve over tons of rice and water 😉

If you don’t have enough cooking time, substitute the Taro leaves with Spinach.

Bon appetit!

My family…


This was taken at Candice’s Wedding last April 15 in Azusa Mansion Garden in Azusa CA.  We love you Can!  We are so happy for you!

(From left to right – Bernadette, me, Candice and Tori)

Dining and Cooking – Crispy Pork Binagoongan

If you’re my friend or family you will for sure know my Crispy Pork Binagoongan is exceptionally great! Once you tried it you’ll never forget it!

Even my sister’s mother in law, Nanay Ida will ask a bottle of it and save it to enjoy it little by little and I feel guilty because it’s not allowed for her to have it.

Through the years I have improved this to be one of my signature dish. I have a few tweaks here and there every now and then when I cook it. I have long ways to prepare it as well as short cuts too! If given the benefit of the time I personally prefer to cook it with a lot of ample time… Aside from lots of love and time preparing it I think it tastes better for me.

I hope you will enjoy trying out my Crispy Pork Binagoongan recipe in your own kitchen. 🙂

Crispy Pork Binagoongan

2 lbs of Pork cubed or cut (I use pork tenderloin cut in medallions, or pork butt or pork belly or ribs depending on the preferred texture I feel like eveytime I cook this dish)
1 lbs of Pork Fat (for longer version) or 200 gms of Pork Chicharon with fat on (for shorter version)
1 cup of finely chopped Garlic
2 tbsp of Cooking Oil
5 pcs of chopped Chili (optional if you prefer it spicy, I do!)
1 cup of Shrimp Paste (bagoong)
1 cup of Vinegar
4 cups of Water
1 cup of Brown Sugar
1 cup of Tomato Puree
A dash of Pepper

Longer versions melt pork fat on slow flame until all the oil gets released from the fat and the fats become crispy. Drain the oil and place it in a plate lined with towel paper and set aside. This takes quite a long time about an hour at least so I recommend you prepare this ahead of time. If not, just use Pork Fat Chicharon and try to choose a ready-made that doesn’t have too much salt nor msg which is why I don’t like doing the shortcut version as much as possible to avoid msg. If you have a chance to use lechon kawali it’s great too!

In a deep chef pan, saute garlic and you can add in chopped chili as well if you prefer it spicy if ever and toast a little. Add in Pork cutlets until it’s brown. Add in shrimp paste and continue to saute until the shrimp paste change its color into red or brown. Pour in vinegar and water and simmer until fluids reduced to just a little bit left. Add in tomato puree and brown sugar and continue to cook until sauce thickens. Season with pepper to taste. Turn off heat and cool down a little bit for about 10 minutes. When it’s done cooling down, mix in pork fats lastly to have a crispy texture. I usually prefer adding it in only before I serve it so I can keep the crispier texture on this dish. Serve it with heaping hot rice and sliced green mango and tomato!

If were lucky to have left overs, I usually turn this dish to Binagoongan Rice eventually. But it only happens in a blue moon! Usually reaches the finish line or being brought home for to go.

Bon appetit!

Dining and Cooking – Olive Garlic Sardines Fromage Dip

I just thought of trying out something new from combination of ingredients as well as taste of different places…  So I thought of these combinations…  It’s somewhat addicting to keep on eating once you start, but remember, this is an appetizer… 😛

Olive Garlic Sardines Fromage


1/2 Cup EVO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1/2 Cup Minced Garlic

1 Cup of Grated Mozzarella Cheese

1/2 Cup of Grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano

1 Tin Can of Portuguese Sardines in Oil (I suggest if you can handle spicy to get the Hot Flavor)

1/2 Cup Chopped Greek Olives

1/2 Cup Mediterranean Capers

A Pinch of Salt & Pepper


In a hot sauce pan, pour in EVO and saute minced garlic lightly until just browning the edge slightly and add in Spanish Sardines and continue sauteing until garlic and sardines are flaky.  Add in Olives and Capers and even out distribution of ingredients, reduce flame to lower the temperature and add in mozzarella cheese and grana padano and melt completely.  Season with ground pepper and very little salt since the cheese and the rest of the ingredients are a bit salty all together already.

Serve with toast, cracker or fita chips.

Beware starting it because you’ll keep on eating it since it’s quite addicting…

Bon Appetit!

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