Vegetarian “chicken nuggets”, snow peas and pineapple tidbits in sweet Sriracha sauce Vegan chicken nuggets, peas and pineapple tidbits in sweet Sriracha sauce

Our favorite Buddhist food store in Manila (Palomi at the corner of San Marcelino and Quirino) sells mock chicken nuggets made from soya. They are really delicious. Speedy bought a pack for Sam but when Sam was in the condo, we sometimes filched a few pieces and snacked on them. Low sodium, low fat, cholesterol free and GMO-free — how does snacking get better than that? In short, the pack of vegetarian “chicken nuggets” didn’t last very long. This was the last dish I cooked with the nuggets.

To explain the photo, I made two versions of a stir fry with chicharo (snow peas), carrot slices and pineapple tidbits in sweetened Sriracha sauce. One version (foreground) had the vegetarian “chicken nuggets” while the other (in the background) contained pork. That’s how life goes at Casa Veneracion on weekends. Everyone has to be feed according to his or her beliefs. Vegetarian meals for vegetarian Sam; meaty dishes for the omnivorous others. The recipe below is for the vegetarian stir fry. If you can’t get your hands on vegetarian “chicken nuggets,” fried firm tofu is a good substitute. [Read more...] Replacing proteins lost in meatless diets with legumes, fruits and nuts

Replacing proteins lost in meatless diets with legumes, fruits and nuts

I don’t think I need to enumerate here the reasons why we need protein in our diet. Suffice to say that protein builds tissues and is a source of energy. In the human diet, meat, eggs and seafood are complete sources of protein with milk and dairy products a close second. Fortunately, Sam has chosen the ovo-lacto vegetarian diet. Meaning, she will not give up eggs, milk and dairy products. She is okay with broth made from pork, chicken and fish bones. It’s really just the meat that she is ditching.

Still and all, we know that she will benefit from additional sources of protein. And that’s where legumes (pulses), fruits and nuts come in. Fruits and nuts need no explanation; but what are legumes, exactly? [Read more...]

Snow peas, snap peas, sweet peas, mangetout and edamame

Peas: small, round and green; sold fresh, frozen, dried or canned.

Snow peas: edible whole pods with unripened peas inside; pods rather flat; sold fresh or canned; called chicharo or sitsaro in the Philippines.

Snap peas: like snow peas, edible whole pods with unripened peas inside; pods rounder than snow peas; sold fresh or canned.

Mangetout: a French term for “eat all” refers to both snap peas and snap peas and is descriptive of the characteristics of both of having edible pods.

Don’t confuse any of the above with edamame which is soy bean with edible pods.

Why the enumeration? Because grocery labels can get confusing. These snap snow peas, for instance, were labeled as Chinese sweet peas at Shopwise. Huh? Sweet pea is a totally different plant cultivated for its flowers and its seeds can be toxic.

In the Philippines, snow peas are more common than snap peas. The pods are used in stir fried dishes and is especially popular as one of several vegetables for pancit canton, a catch-all name for lo mein and chow mein. [Read more...]

Chicken, veggies and rice in coconut milk chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and rice

I haven’t cooked anything in days. The kids are on the their sem break and we figured it was the best time to take a short out-of-town trip. We spent a few days in Tagaytay, hopping from one restaurant to another and comparing the bulalo soup on their menus. I’ve so much to write about that trip, really, and I will soon. :) Anyway, things are back to normal. Meaning… we’re home and I’ve been slaving in the kitchen. LOL

Ever since I learned to make lamb biryani, I’ve always wondered if I could modify the usual paella to include gata (coconut milk). I tried it once using beef brisket but we had a small dinner party at home that time and I wasn’t able to take photos. I gave it a second try tonight using chicken and a more interesting mix of vegetables. [Read more...]