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

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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

Procedure:

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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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

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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!

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)

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:
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 😉

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

Bon appetit!

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

Ingredients:
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

Procedure:
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

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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!

Dining and Cooking – Chicken Biryani with Mediterranean Rice

While waiting for Lyndon to pick me up from the salon, I walked around the block and saw a small Indian grocery store.  I remembered the good Indian food I had and so I thought of being experimental to try to cook Indian food for the very first time…  I asked the help of the staff to guide me through the different ingredients.

I remember when I was in college in UST, Friday nights usually is a cook out night with my friends from the UST Association of Foreign Students.  Each one of us will cook our own native dish for dinner.  We had some friends then from Pakistan, Rizwan whose parents were very nice to cook for us one time and the mom prepared Biryani Rice.  Since then I got fond of Indian curry food as well.  Although you got to have a taste for it but it’s really very interesting to try if you’re brave enough for spicy food.

Allow me to share to you my first exploration to prepare this famous dish called Chicken Biryani with Mediterranean Rice.  This may not be the usual traditional Biryani but the twist I made makes it adapt to everyone’s taste buds who tried my cooking…

Chicken Biryani with Mediterranean Rice

Chicken Biryani

Ingredients:

2 Lbs of Chicken Cuts

2 Tbs Ghee (Indian cooking oil)

1 Cup  Chopped Onion

1 Clove Chopped Garlic

2 Tbs of Garlic Ginger Paste

5 Pcs Bay Leaves

1 box Shan Chicken Biryani Mix

1 Cup Greek Youghurt

4 Cups Water

Procedure:

In a pan, preheat oil and saute in chopped onion, garlic and garlic-ginger paste and bay leaves and add Shan Chicken Biryani Mix and toast a little.  Add in the chicken cuts to toast a little.  Add in water and simmer until chicken becomes tender.  When water is reduced, add in a cup of yoghurt which will regulate the spices and also to thicken the sauce.  Set it aside for later to pour on top of our Mediterranean Rice.

 

I decided to use Mediterranean Rice to put a little twist on this dish.

Mediterranean Rice

Ingredients:

5 Cups of cooked Basmati Rice

1/2 Cup Hot water

A pinch of Saffron (Make sure it’s a pinch!  This is very expensive! )

1 Cup Chopped Cashew Nuts

1 Cup Shelled Pistachio

1 Cup Dried Cranberries

2 Tbs Butter

Procedure:

Cook the Basmati rice accordingly, when rice is cooked, flake it with fork and place in a mixing bowl.  Steep the saffron in hot water until water becomes strong yellow in color.  Drizzle it in the rice and mix a little to even out the color in around the rice.  Toss in Butter, Cashews, Pistachios, Cranberry and toss a little more until the rice and the nuts are evenly distributed.

Final Preparation:

In a plate, scoop in Mediterranean Rice and top it with Chicken Biryani, drizzle the sauce around the rice and serve…  Serve a side of yoghurt if the Biryani is quite spicy for you.

If you’re wondering how Shan Biryani Mix looks…  find the box below…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next project dish when I get sometime to prepare something special again… Butter Chicken!

Bon Appetit!

Dining and Cooking – Gnocchi with Bacon, Green Peas in Creamy Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce

Gnocchi (English pronunciation: /ˈnɒki/, /ˈnjɒki/; Italian: [ˈɲɔkki], singular gnocco) are various thick, soft dumplings. They may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, potato, bread crumbs, or similar ingredients.

I wanted to prepare something off the usual home dinner so I thought of making this dish…  It was so easy to make in a way and oh so tasty…  The kiddos liked it one time we tried it before so when I prepared it once more, Dave said, “Mom, have we tried this somewhere else before?  It’s one of a good way to make your kids eat some veggies.  It looks fun and colorful and since it’s a cheese based creamy sauce, they love them easily.

It can be a nice all in one dish.

 

Recipe:  Gnocchi with Bacon, Green Peas in Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

Ingredients:

1 lb Gnocchi cooked accordingly from the package (this is mostly in the ref section of groceries for fresh versions or pasta section for dry forms)

1 cup Pancetta/prosciutto/6 slices of bacon chopped

1 bag Frozen Green Peas

1 clove chopped Garlic

1 cup chopped Onion

1 tbsp EVO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

2 tbsp Butter

2 cups of Gorgonzola Cheese (Italian Blue Cheese quite buttery and salty with a kick of flavor from the blue veins)

4 cups of Heavy Cream

1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

a pinch of Salt and Pepper to taste

Procedure:

Cook gnocchi according to the package instruction.  Usually it only takes 3-5 minutes to cook them by immersing it in hot boiling water.  Save 2-3 cups of the broth for the sauce later.

In a medium deep pan, add in EVO and Butter until it completely melts, saute garlic and onion until golden brown, add in pancetta and fry until corners become a bit crispy.  Add in frozen green peas  and saute until all ice completely melts as well.  Add in the Gorgonzola Cheese and Heavy cream and adjust consistency of the cream sauce by adding in the Gnocchi broth to lighten the thick sauce.  Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.  When you reached the right consistency of you creamy cheese sauce, add in the Gnocchi.  Serve and sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese.

Bon appetit!

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