Budget cooking: sweet and sour pla-pla


At the market yesterday morning, I was shocked at the prices of fish. Whole talakitok (trevally) at three hundred pesos per kilo, maya-maya steaks (red snapper) at two hundred and seventy and tanigue (Spanish mackerel?) steaks at a jaw-dropping three hundred and seventy per kilo.It's even more shocking when you consider that the Philippines is an archipelago of over … [Read more...]

Fish fingers with honey-mustard sauce


It's really fish tempura but since I didn't serve it with the traditional tentsuyu dipping sauce, I'd rather not call it a tempura dish. But the principle and procedure are the same -- lightly seasoned fish dipped in batter then deep fried. Except that the batter contains dried herbs which make the fish fingers so aromatic. And the crisp batter looks mighty better too with … [Read more...]

Bangus (milkfish) fritters with yogurt and honey dipping sauce


A new version of an old favorite -- flaked bangus (milkfish) mixed with vegetables and seasonings, formed into logs then fried until golden and crisp. I posted my first bangus fritters recipe on May 21, 2003, you can compare the two and decide which you like better.And just what is the difference between the two versions? Quite a bit, actually. In the old version, the … [Read more...]

Pressure-cooked baby bangus (milkfish) a la tinola


Today is about bangus (milkfish), the national fish of the Philippines. Not because I'm feeling nationalistic but because I was lucky enough to find baby bangus in the market. Been searching for them for a long time because I miss making pressure-cooked bangus sardines-style. While substituting some other small fish isn't a bad idea, there's still nothing like the delicate … [Read more...]

Pressure-cooked sweet and sour bisugo (Threadfin bream)


The traditional way of cooking sweet and sour fish is to use large fish, dredge it in starch, deep fry it until crisp, then pour the sweet and sour sauce over it. This version of sweet and sour fish has no frying involved. Small bisugo (Threadfin bream) about four inches long from head to tail are pressure cooked with the ingredients for sweet and sour sauce until every … [Read more...]

Microwave recipe: cheese-topped baked egg and sardines


It's 1.00 a.m. on Sunday morning as I start writing this post. We're still up, Sam and Speedy are watching cartoons, Alex is taking a shower and I am here near the oven where I can watch the tray that will yield what I will call dulce de leche squares when they're done. But more on that later; I can't write about something that's still in the oven.The point of this … [Read more...]

Salmon and vegetables pot pie


I love pot pies. I love the surprise hidden underneath the golden crust, I love the steam that hits your face as you break through the crust, I love the contrast between the flaky crust and the creamy filling. In fact, I love savory pies more than sweet pies. And it doesn't matter if the pie is in pocket form (empanadas), a full-sized pie or a single serve pot pie. This … [Read more...]

Salmon-topped pasta with white sauce


Alex had been asking for baked salmon with buttered vegetables but we only had a 300-gram or so of salmon fillet and it wouldn't have been enough to feel all four of us for lunch. So, I deviated from the baked salmon with buttered vegetables by serving the salmon on a bed of very cheesy pasta with white sauce.And, as an added precaution, I fried some squid rings too. … [Read more...]

Steamed bangus (milkfish) with black bean and garlic sauce


There are two earlier version of this recipe for steamed fish with tausi (salted black beans), one using fish head and another with a whole fish, but this is, by far, the easiest procedure and the one that cooks the fastest. Fifteen minutes of steaming plus five minutes of preparation.If you have the time, you can use whole tausi and mash the beans with a couple of … [Read more...]

Bangus (milkfish) and kinugoshi (silken) tofu with three sauces


It has always been my opinion that to become a good cook, one has to be confident about his skills and taste. And by that, I don't mean professional training. No, not at all. Rather, I mean the ability to think outside the box, to never feel limited by the lack of access to certain ingredients and to never feel insecure for falling short of standards set by other people. … [Read more...]