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The Expat Kitchen: A Cookbook for The Global Pinoy

The Expat Kitchen: A Cookbook for The Global Pinoy

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The Expat Kitchen: A Cookbook for The Global Pinoy

464 pagine
3 ore
Nov 15, 2017


The Expat Kitchen is a practical cookbook for a range of culinary expertise, from the novice to the knowledgeable cook, from the career woman/man with little time to spare for food preparation, to the skilled and consummate cook who will happily slave over a hot stove for hours preparing the perfect meal for friends and family, to the simple housewife looking to perk up the appetite of picky eaters in the family.

Above all, it reflects and offers a cosmopolitan view of Filipino food and the Filipino palate, consistent with the changing tastes and lifestyles of today’s widely-traveled and well-informed Filipino.

Nov 15, 2017

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The Expat Kitchen - Blanche David-Gallardo



Filipino Food 101

and Beyond

The uninitiated tend to dismiss Filipino cuisine as nonexistent. At best, lacking in originality. Bland. Or all of the above. It is a mistake based on ignorance of the fact that there are basically only two cuisines of major importance in the region: Chinese and Indian. The rest are either influenced by, or are developments of these two.

Much like the people themselves, Filipino food is something of a hybrid. And, as the racial stew goes, so one might say, goes the food. It is a cuisine liberally peppered with borrowings from China and Spain, and more recently—from the American fast-food culture.

Essentially, the Philippines falls under the Chinese sphere of culinary influence. But traces of Indian characteristics (no doubt transmitted indirectly through the Filipino’s Indo-Malay forebears) are to be found in the Muslim south and the Bicol region of Luzon where coconut milk and chilies are extensively used.

If Filipino food is, in addition, also strongly Spanish–and American–oriented, it is because, unlike other Asians who jealously guard the purity of their race and culture, Filipinos have been inter-marrying and absorbing other cultures for many, many generations. The culinary fare, therefore, while genuinely and characteristically Filipino, is much like the people themselves, a happy blend of east and west, and in that sense, unique in the region, if not the world.

In truth, Filipino food is as European as Spanish paella, as American as hotdog, and as Asian as Chinese noodles. It is not, however, without its distinctive flavors and character.

The Indian and Indonesian achar, without the latter’s characteristic chili-hotness, is the Philippine achara, a sweetish pickle of grated unripe papaya and spices.

The Filipino sinigang, a sour soup of fish, shellfish or meat with vegetables (acidified with tamarind or native limes and spiced with just a hint of chilli), as original a Filipino dish as one can name, has its Asian counterpart in thom yam gung, the chili-hot-sour soup of Thailand.

While most Filipino noodle dishes are Chinese in origin and name—pancit Canton (egg noodles) and pancit bihon (rice noodles called mee hoon in Cantonese)—are two examples that come to mind—they are not necessarily prepared in the same way, just as pancit Molo, which resembles the Chinese wan tun, is worlds apart from the flavor and texture of its Chinese counterpart.

One can hardly go more authentic Pinoy than dinuguan, a native dish of pork blood, meat, and entrails cooked in vinegar, herbs and spices. The Chinese equivalent is the Cantonese hot sour soup. And while most Westerners might blanch at the notion of eating pork blood and entrails stewed in vinegar and spices, German and British nationals, familiar with their own bloodwurst and blood pudding, will doubtless remain undaunted by such exotica.

Another authentic Filipino comfort food, nilagang baka, a meal-in-one dish of soup, beef cubes, ham, and vegetables, by any other name, might well be the German souppentopf.

But of all the Filipino edibles, balut takes the cake as the most distinctive and unique, definitely not for the chicken-hearted or the weak of stomach. Strictly speaking, it is not a dish and is rarely eaten with a meal. It is characteristically enjoyed as a late-night or after-dinner snack, washed down with beer or a soft drink. When the sun goes down, you’ll find the balut vendor hawking this delicacy on the streets of the country.

There is nothing quite like living overseas to make one long for comfort food from home. These bouts of occasional nostalgia and homesickness were what impelled me to experiment with homemade longaniza (pork sausage) and tapa (similar to beef jerky), both of which are normally easier to buy off the supermarket shelves than to make at home. Longaniza is made—and identified with—various regions in the Philippines. Thus you would have Vigan longaniza, Baguio longaniza, Pampanga longaniza, Lukban longaniza, etc. The traditional longaniza (now sometimes jokingly referred to as shortganiza, because the links have become smaller and shorter than the traditional version) is a fresh sausage encased in pork casing and traditionally hung in the sun to dry and drip out fat. Lacking the facility to sun-dry my longaniza, I leave the seasoned meat to "curein the fridge for at least three days before shaping the mixture into skinless sausage-shaped rolls, and storing these for later use. Similarly, you can make a large batch and store in the freezer until required. To serve, shallow-fry without thawing.

Filipino expatriates living overseas often get homesick for the flavors of home. The salted beef dish known as tapa, usually served at breakfast with fried rice, is among those much missed. There are no hard and fast rules regarding the making of tapa. Some people marinate the beef in a mixture of vinegar, salt, and pepper, others simply spread salt and pepper over the surface of the meat. Some even serve it sweetened (yuck!), but I prefer the original salty flavor. The best salt to use is the organic, non-iodized sea salt. According to old folks, the trick is to feel the seasoning mixture spreading over the surface of the thinly sliced beef by using the fingers to season it evenly. Here is an easy-to-follow recipe.

This recipe comes from Eo Dumlao, erstwhile Hong Kong resident whose husband Santi Dumlao was the Managing Director, in its early days, of the Hong Kong-based Orientations group of publications. Then as now, the specialties of the Dumlao kitchen are a magnet for friends and family, colleagues, and members of the charismatic community to which the family belongs. This is one of several recipes she has shared for this volume.

Filipinos dearly love a fiesta. And what greater fiesta is there than Christmas? The season enjoys what is undoubtedly its longest unofficial run in the Christian world in the Philippines, beginning with the first ber month of September and extending almost to mid-January. Officially, the season begins on the 16th of December with a novena of dawn masses known as Misa de Gallo, literally Mass of the Rooster (because it is scheduled at cock’s crow—4:00 or 5:00 in the morning), and reaches a crescendo during midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, before building up again in the run-up to the New Year.

Traditional Filipino Christmas fare, which is almost synonymous with fiesta fare, developed around religious rites and observances, and usually feature dishes adopted or adapted from Spain and/or China, as well as native sweets of possibly Malay or Indonesian origin, such as bibingka and puto bumbong.

The following are some of the major stars of the Filipino family’s groaning board during the Christmas season—whether for the traditional Noche Buena or Media Noche midnight repast, and/or for entertaining during the festive season—give or take the addition of a lechon (roast pork), and these days, perhaps a roast turkey, as

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