Archive for the ‘Sarap (Philippine Cuisine)’ Category

FIlipino Style Spaghetti

FIlipino Style Spaghetti

I love being an Aunt and I’m fortunate enough to have three gorgeous nephews who I can return after a few hours of babysitting! I previously wrote about my eldest nephew when I did a post on making sushi rolls a few years ago. Since then, two other little boys, James and William, have come into our family. Its fascinating to watch James handle his little brother. I still remember the first time James laid eyes on William. He came into the maternity room with his father, looked at the little bundle, then looked at his Mum, and then back to his brother and then to his Mum again as if to say “what have you done?!?!” Luckily he quickly warmed up to William, constantly trying to give him a cuddle and kiss. It should be loads of fun to watch them grow up together but I suspect though that James will find a way to put the blame on William for any mischief them may get into. When I ask him “who is naughty?”, James loves to say, “bro-da”!

James and his baby brother Wills

James and his baby brother Wills

One of James’ favourite food is spaghetti. He also has a penchant for anything sweet (like his Mum). I suspect James would love Filipino Style Spaghetti which was the Kulinarya Club’s dish for the month of October. Purists out there need not read any further as the recipe below is enough to give any Italian grandmother a heart attack. Filipinos have taken the traditional bolognese recipe and put their own twist to it. So what makes it so different? A few things come to mind. First, the sauce is sweetened by the addition of sugar and some recipes will also include ketchup (banana or tomato) Second, is the that the recipe includes chopped hotdogs. The recipe is not going to win any awards for traditional cuisine but kids love it! In fact, it’s so popular that it’s become a staple in children’s parties and even Mc Donalds in the Philippines have created their own version called the Mc Spaghetti.

So here is my recipe. I have to admit that I couldn’t bring myself to use ketchup in this recipe but otherwise, it’s pretty much how I remember it tasting. A little quirky, but every little bit of it delicious.

Filipino Style Spaghetti

Serves 6

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 500 grams beef mince
  • 230 grams hot dog (your favourite brand)
  • 50 grams tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 400 grams pasta sauce (your favourite brand)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 package of dried spaghetti noodles
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onions and garlic. Saute over low heat for around 5 minutes until the onions turn translucent.
  2. Add the red peppers and again saute until softened, around 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beef and cook over medium high heat until cooked then add the chopped hot dogs and the tomato paste.
  4. At this point, season with salt and pepper and add the sugar. Stir the mixture well and add the tomato sauce. Allow to cook for around 15 minutes over a low heat.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the pasta as per directions on the packet. Drain the water from the pasta. When the sauce and pasta is done, spoon the sauce over the spaghetti noodles.
  6. Serve with cheese.
FIlipino Style Spaghetti

FIlipino Style Spaghetti

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Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata

A recent survey asking Filipinos what they thought the national dish of the Philippines should be, revealed that 90% of respondents voted for crispy pata.  While adobo is probably the first dish you learn how to cook, the crispy pata was voted all time favorite.

Well, before I am asked to reveal the survey methodology, I have to admit that the survey was done at my dining table, while we were feasting on crispy pata that I made for one Sunday lunch.

Crispy Pata is a deep fried pork leg which is usually served with a soy/vinegar dipping sauce or sometimes a liver sauce.  The pork leg is first simmered until tender and then dried at least overnight.  The final step is the frying which really requires (in my opinion) a deep fat fryer.  Some recipes call for the pork leg to be fried sometimes as much as three times.  The process of simmering the meat and then frying ensures crispy crackling on the outside yet very tender meat.  The recipe below is a simplified version but delicious nevertheless!

This recipe serves 8 people.


  • 3 pork legs, singed to remove any hair
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (patis)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • Oil for deep frying


  1. Fill a pot with water and the pork legs.  Bring to a boil and remove any scum that floats to the top.
  2. Drain the pot and fill anew with water and the pork legs.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Once the water boils, bring down the heat and simmer for around 2 hours until tender.
  4. Remove the pork  from the heat and cool.
  5. Place the pork in a place and cover loosely with foil and leave in the refrigerator at least overnight to allow the pork to dry out (this is essential to get the crispy skin).
  6. Just before serving score the pork legs with a sharp knife.
  7. Heat the oil to 190C and carefully lower the pork legs into the oil.
  8. Fry until crispy, around 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with either the soy/vinegar dipping sauce or lechon sauce and PLENTY OF RICE!

Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce

Mix equal quantities soy sauce and white vinegar (preferably a Filipino brand like Datu Puti) and add a crushed garlic or a chilli.

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Chicken Barbecue and Java Rice

Chicken Barbecue and Java Rice

Inspired by the beautiful posts from Trish at Sugarlace, I’ve attempted to make a very typical Filipino dish.  We used to have this at a restaurant in the Philippines called Alex III and occasionally for Sunday lunch at my grandmother’s house.  Another version of this dish is to cut up pork belly or shoulder and marinate overnight in the recipe below.  The next day, thread the pork pieces on pre-soaked bamboo skewers and grill.

This dish is traditionally served with  pickled vegetables, Philippine Style called Atchara.

Chicken Marinade – serves 6

  • 12 chicken thighs (or a combination of thighs and drumsticks)
  • 1 can of sprite
  • 1 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 cloves of crushed garlic
  • salt and pepper

Marinate the chicken pieces in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.  When ready to cook, bake the chicken in a 180c oven for 40 minutes.  The reason I do this is because the marinade contains a lot of sugar, pre-baking the dish ensures that the pieces are cooked prior to grilling.  Grilling without pre-baking may result in burned chicken pieces! If you are not grilling the chicken after, continue to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the pieces are thoroughly cooked.

If grilling the chicken, fire up the barbecue and grill for around 10 to 15 minutes.  Baste the chicken pieces frequently with the leftover marinade.

Java Rice – serves 6

  • 6 cups cooked rice (cooked a day earlier and left in the refrigerator to cool)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 6 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)

For the rice, heat the oil in a large work and add the crushed garlic until fragrant (around 30 seconds).  Add the salt and pepper and then the rice.  Fry the rice for a few minutes, making sure to separate the grains with the back of a wooden.  spoon.  To finish, add the soy sauce and ketchup and fry for another two to three minutes.

Chicken Barbecue and Java Rice

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The ensaimada has its origins from Mallorca, Spain’s largest island. This version is rolled into a tube and then coiled into a spiral shape. The Mallorcans take their ensaimadas seriously. There is even a regulatory council and a sampling committee that ensure that the “Ensaimada de Mallorca” meet certain controls and guidelines.

While the brioche has its origins in Rome, the French have perfected the art of this rich roll. The core ingredients of a brioche are flour, eggs, butter, milk, sugar, and yeast. When done properly, a brioche is light, buttery and really more a pastry than a bread.

The Philippine Ensaimada got its origins from the Spanish but has similarities as well to the brioche.

But I have my own version of how the Philippine Ensaimada began. I like to think three bakers, a Frenchman, Spaniard and Filipino were sitting around one day and decided to have a bread baking contest.

The Spaniard went first and his version was made with flour, water, sugar, eggs, pork lard and yeast. The Frenchman, not wanting to be outdone, decided to enrich the roll and replaced the water with some milk and the pork lard with butter. The Filipino baker went even further. He used the Frenchman’s dough and added some cheese before rolling it like a jelly roll and then into a spiral shape before baking. After baking, the baker topped the resulting roll with butter, sugar and even more cheese!
Guess who won?!?!

Recipe for 12 Ensaimadas

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp dried yeast

1/3 cup warm water

1/4 cup egg yolks (around 3 egg yolks)

1/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons milk

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup butter for the dough and another 1/3 cup for brushing

1/3 salt

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

  • Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water, let stand for 10 minutes
  • Blend egg yolks, sugar and milk and add to the yeast mixture
  • Add the flour and salt then knead and add the butter a little at a time
  • Leave in a warm place and let rise until double in size.
  • Punch down and divide into 12 pieces.  Form each piece into a ball and then roll out to 1/8 inch thickness
  • Brush each with soft butter and and sprinkle with grated cheese (I used parmesan)
  • Let rise for another hour and bake at 300F for 12 to 15 minutes
  • When done, cool and brush tops with more butter and sprinkle with more grated cheese and sugar

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