Dining and Cooking: Palabok

Pancit Palabok is a traditional Filipino noodle dish often served during mirienda.  Rice noodle smothered with shrimp gravy, topped with tinapa flakes, crushed chicharon, boiled egg, fried garlic and chopped green onion.

It’s comes in different variations from different provinces.

Right now I will share to you the most basic way to enjoy Palabok…



1 bag of Rice Palabok Noodles

1 Clove of garlic finely chopped

1 Medium size onion finely chopped

1 cup of chopped pancetta

2 tbsp of annato Powder

1 can of chicken broth

1 can of cream of mushroom

1 can of coconut milk

1 tbsp of shrimp powder

2 tbsp of cornstarch

1 cup of water

1/4 cup of fish sauce

1/2 tsp of ground pepper

1 cup of tinapa flakes

1 cup of crushed chicharon

6 boiled eggs sliced

2 tbsp of chopped green onion


1 cup boiled and peeled shrimp

1 cup of fried chopped tofu

1. Soak Palabok Noodles in cold water

2. Boil 12 cups of water in a pot.

3. On another pot saute pancetta until Brown.  Add garlic and onion until onion becomes clear and garlic becomes Brown. Add in shrimp powder, pepper, Annato and deflate with chicken broth.  Add cream of mushroom and coconut milk and simmer. Thicken the broth with cornstarch mixed in cold water and simmer until it thickens to the desired consistency.

4. Boil noodles for about 12 to 15 minutes until desired tenderness and drain water.

5. Lay noodles to the casserole tray and pour generous amount of shrimp gravy sauce that should cover and coat the whole noodles.

6. Sprinkle tinapa flakes, chicharon, fried garlic and sliced egg.  Top with green onion and serve.
Bon appetit!


Dining and Cooking: Kare Kare

Kare Kare is a Philippine stew with peanut and sticky rice base, it’s normally accompanied  with Bagoong shrimp paste to suit the saltiness of the dish over rice…

I hunted different restaurant for a good Kare Kare and barely found a place that serve them authentically like back home… Most of them uses instant Kare Kare mix from the grocery store or just don’t have any idea what the real Kare Kare is supposedly.

So one Sunday I made my Kare Kare…

And it goes this way…

4 lbs of Ox Tail
6 lbs of Honey Comb and Book Tripe
1 Cup of Sticky Rice Grounded
1 Cup of Skinless Peanuts Grounded
2 Tbs of Achuete Powder
1 Clove of Garlic Chopped
1 Cup of Onion Minced
2 large Eggplant Sliced
2 packs of Bokchoy Sliced half
1 bunch of string beans sliced
4 Tbs of Cooking Oil
12 Cups of Meat stock
A pinch of Salt and Pepper


Chop off and prepare all the vegetables.  Saute in 2 tbs of cooking oil half cooked and set aside. Saute garlic and onion until a little bit toasted to bring out the flavor.  Add in Ground Peanuts, Sticky Rice and Achuete Powder.  Toast until color orange and brown appears in the mixture.  Add in meat and continue to saute until edges become brown as well.

Add in the meat stock and mix until the peanuts and sticky rice starts to thicken the sauce lightly. Add salt and pepper to taste making sure the saltiness should be done very light that it won’t be competing with the shrimp paste eventually.

Add in the sauteed vegetables to the Kare Kare and serve over rice and Bagoong…

Bon appetit!

Dining and Cooking: Catfish in Claypot (Ca Kho To)

Dining and Cooking:  Catfish in Claypot (Ca Kho To)


This is one of the Vietnamese comfort food which I always love among the Vietnamese Dishes…  Like I told my classmate Jenny L.  Sistah,  I’m half vietnamese, my tummy downwards is!  She would laugh at me when I say that.  It’s a result of over feeding me of vietnamese food in my school days at the Academy of Salon Professional.  I hanged out with the vietnamese triad for lunch usually.

So this Friday night, I planned to revive my Vietnamese side of me…  I prepared a dish called Ca Kho To, don’t worry I wouldn’t know how I would pronounce it too…  Just know it as Catfish in Claypot!  It’s a sweet and salty flavorful catfish dish.

I went to an Asian Supermarket to get a whole catfish and requested it to be cleaned and sliced to fish steak cuts.  Grab the rest of the ingredients and here’s what you can come up with…  It’s so easy to make, better to have a bit of time even if it’s a fish dish, the longer you cook it the more tender and flavorful.  Enjoy the recipe!

Ca Kho To – Catfish in Claypot


3-5 Lbs of Whole Catfish cut in fish steak slices

1 Cup of Coconut Caramel (Nuoc Mau)

1 Cup of Brown Sugar

2 Cans of Coconut Juice

1/2 Cup Fish Sauce

1 Clove of minced Garlic

1/2 Cup of chopped Shallots

1/2 Cup of sliced Green Onion

Cooking Procedure:

1.  Clean and dry catfish with paper towel.

2.  Pan sear each side of the fish and transfer to a pot arranging it in one layer not overlapping each other. 

3.Put to simmer adding garlic, onion, coconut juice, fish sauce and brown sugar.

4.  When it starts to boil, lower the heat and slowly cook it at least 30 minutes.  Please do not move or stir the fish.  You want to achieve a very tender and flavorful fish that you will scoop out very carefully from the pot.

5.  When the liquid starts to thicken a bit, add in green onion, fried garlic and fried onion to garnish.

So easy yet it’s so flavorful and comforting to eat for a great weekend!

Bon Appetit!

Happy New Year everyone!





Dining and Cooking – Cauliflower Salad

I remembered this is in one of the holidays I spent in Pomona where my niece’s mother in law used to prepare this which for the first time I never thought would be a great salad since I really don’t pay much attention specially if it’s vegetables (I know, I know, our parents told us to eat begetables, it’s good for our body!). Now it’s our turn to convince our children! So going back, I took some of this from the dining table and got surprised that it’s really good and it’s cauliflower! Hpw many times did we appreciate cauliflower in a dish, it’s usually a second runner up to broccoli right? But this time, it’s the star of the show! So let me share to you how Carolyn prepared it and my sister loves it so much… as I add my own version of it too!

Cauliflower Salad
2 lbs of Cauliflower cut coarsely in bite sizes
1 cup Mayonaisse (use light if you want it healthier)
1/2 cup Condensed Milk
1/2 cup Bacon Bits (it’s best if you made your own bacon bits, just make sure to drain all the oil)
1/2 cup grated Cheese
Salt & Pepper


Cut fresh cauliflower corsely in bite sizes and layer it flat in a deep dish. Season if very lightly with Salt since we’re using bacon and cheese, it will have the tendency to be salty already. Season with ground pepper. In a cup, mix mayonaisse and condensed milk eveny and cover pour in the layers of cauliflower making sure that everything is covered and coated evenly. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Meantime, prepare your bacon bits by frying or baking your bacon until brown and crispy and drying out every excess oil in paper towel. Chop bacon into bits and pieces. As you reached an hour cooling your cauliflower, the mayonaisse and milk will soak up and slightly soften the cauliflower but would still maintain crispy ness in the inside. Bring out the cauliflower within an housr timely before you serve it and sprinkle the bacon bits and grated cheese and mix it a little, adjust taste with salt and pepper.

Bon appetit!



Dining and Cooking – Tsokolate de Batirol

Tsokolate de Batirol

Did you know that one of the finest cacao seeds are found in the Philippines? Unfortunately, most of these seeds are being exported right away and we don’t get much chances to really enjoy the flavor of this Philippine grown product. Chocolate have this content that makes you happy? It’s the reason there is why chocolate lovers gets a great satisfaction from eating them, not the sugar loading… Chocolate are healthy as long as they are eaten pure and not much sugar and milk added… Dark chocolate are good for the heart just like wine… when I travelled in Europe in a place where they make serious chocolate bars, you would find 98% Dark Chocolate which means, very little other ingredients like sugar and milk is added in Cacao and it’s expensive!

Traditionally, in the Philippines during Christmas season which usually by the way starts as soon as our months ends in “ber” we start playing Christmas Carols and hanging Parols (Christmas lanterns) as early as September 1st. We can start smelling all the Christmas delicacies like bibingka and puto bungbong. Almost every corner of the streets in the neighborhood will have it. Traditionally, we have beverages like Salabat and Tsokolate de Batirol. Today, I would like to share more about our very own traditional hot chocolate. The thick, creamy hot drink that would match our local Filipino dessert like suman and ensaymadas too.

This morning, I got a mood to make my own version of Tsokolate de Batirol that I would like to share with you…

Tsokolate de Batirol


2 pcs. Pure Chocolate Tablea (choose the ones that is really just cacao and have no sugar or milk content)

3/4 cups Water

1/4 cup Half and Half Milk (I personally would recommend half and half milk instead of any other milk because it’s the closest taste in milk like our Carabao’s milk)

1 pc. Vanilla Stick (this is optional because it’s quite expensive but makes a big difference)

In a sauce pan, boil water and melt in the chocolate tablea. bring to boil and use the traditional batirol ( wooden chocolate mixer) or a wire whisk. The mixture will thicken after sometime and as you reach desired consistency, add in milk and bring to boil until you get some bubbles from boiling and turm off the heat. With a use of the edge of the knife, scrape in vanilla into the mixture. Pour in a thick mugs and serve. Best paired with pastries like ensaymada or sweet delicacies like suman and bibingka.

Bon appetit!



Dining and Cooking – Beef Meatloaf

I got reminded of Meatloaf recently when I had it again after a very long time. So I thought of preparing one. It’s messy that’s why it’s taking me sometime to prepare them again. Just to cut short how I did it, here’s how to prepare it…

Classic Beef Meatloaf


2 Lbs of Ground Beef

2 Cups of Bread Crumbs

1 Clove of Garlic Chopped

1 Bulb of Onion Finely Chopped

5 Stalks of Cilantro Finely Chopped

1/2 Cup of Raisin

I Cup of Grated Cheese

6 Pcs of Eggs

1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper

1/2 Cup of Pickle Relish

Salt & Pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients and mix evenly completely and refrigerate for 30 minutes so the meat mixture marinates and binds. Place in an 8 Inch loaf pan, brush tomato ketchup on top and baked at 325 degrees for an hour. Serve over mashed potato or white rice with a side of buttered vegetables.

Bon Appetit!



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!


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