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A writer for CLM Magazine and CLM Social Pages, Achelle is also an independent blogger, giving her two cents on personal and social issues from an educated Filipina's point of view, especially those relating to love and relationships. She has a knack for tackling issues from unique angles that are often left unexplored, posing questions that move and challenge readers to view a certain issue from a wholly different perspective. Achelle is happily engaged to her childhood sweetheart and is currently based in the Philippines. Achelle's writing is a delight to read and highly enlightening, entertaining and thought provoking. You're going to see lots of her on our Emagazine, Blogs, Social Pages and Hubs. Enjoy
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Due To Insistent Public Demand    

By Achelle Vinzon
2678 Views | 1 Comments | 6/1/2013 6:00:13 AM

In the spirit of sharing, I am giving here a few examples of dishes that are considered Filipino favorites. I cannot claim that they are the healthiest Filipino fare, but the way they are cooked and the ingredients used no doubt make them some of the healthier food options in my country. This is also the second in a series of blogs wherein I will be exploring different food cultures and some of their health issues.

The Philippines also has a diverse food culture, with culinary influences from all over the world. Being colonized by the Spaniards for 300 years, much of our cuisine is influenced by Spanish cooking. Additionally, every major region in the archipelago also has their distinct culinary practices and staple food.

The dishes (and recipes) I am sharing below are, however, considered everyday food in nearly every home in the non-Muslim regions of the Philippines. Of course, as it is everywhere else in the world, these dishes may be prepared in different ways, depending on different family traditions and personal preferences; a family’s economic status may also affect the ingredients they use and how they prepare the food. The sample recipes demonstrate the most common way that these dishes are prepared.

Ginataang Pork/Chicken Adobo (Pork/Chicken Stew in Coconut Milk)

Adobo is one of the most, if not the most, popular dishes among us Filipinos, because it is very easy to prepare and has a relatively long storage life. Adobo is a stew of pork, chicken, or a mixture of both. The base for this stew is usually a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar, with lots of garlic. Sometimes, it is also cooked with only vinegar. Adobo can also be cooked using beef (try beef short ribs), squid, and even just water spinach. When using pork, the most commonly used cut is the pork belly (cubed); of course, you can use healthier cuts of meat.

The recipe I’m sharing here is a version that uses coconut milk, which replaces much of the soy sauce and makes the dish healthier, although this variation in the sauce mixture is more of a flavor preference (and is influenced by one of the more popular regional cooking practices in the country) than a health-related choice.

Ingredients

1 kilo beef short ribs or pork ribs (or chicken)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic (crushed)
3/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
4 bay leaves
2 finger chilies
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh coconut cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
A dash of brown sugar (optional)

Procedure

• Season meat with a little salt and pepper. Sear the meat in the oil.
• Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
• Add all the other ingredients except for coconut cream. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until meat is tender.
• Add coconut cream and cook for another 5 minutes. (Health tip: Allow oil to separate and then use a spoon to scoop it out.)
• Serve with rice.

Pork/Beef Sinigang (Sour Pork/Beef Stew)

Sinigang is another Filipino favorite. The soup is sour – a mixture of water and freshly squeezed or powdered tamarind. This stew is also often cooked using milk fish or prawns. When using pork, taro is often added to make the soup a bit thick; when using beef or fish, guavas (guavas of the pink flesh variety) are also often used as a souring agent with a little amount of tamarind to maintain the characteristic tangy flavor of the broth. Fresh pork/beef stock is often used to make the soup more flavorful. The stew is also cooked with a variety of vegetables; tomatoes, onions, and finger chilies are basic ingredients. Other vegetables that are commonly added are white radish, water spinach, and string beans. Some also use/add egg plants and/or winged beans. Cooking time often takes about two hours when pork and/or beef meat is used; the longer the meat is boiled, the more flavorful the broth is. Using cuts of meat with bones in them give the best flavor.

Ingredients

1 kilo pork ribs (cut into cubes)
12 pcs Tamarind (or a packet of tamarind powder)
1 big white onion (sliced)
6 big tomatoes (quartered)
2 pcs radish (sliced)
1 bundle string beans (cut into 2-inch lengths)
1 bundle water spinach (broken into smaller pieces or cut into 2-inch lengths)
3 pieces finger chillies
3 pieces taro (quartered)
Salt/fish sauce to taste

Procedure

• When using fresh tamarind, boil tamarind to soften, then crush and strain the juices. Set aside.
• In a separate pot, boil meat and taro, then simmer until meat is tender.
• Add onions and tomatoes; simmer for five minutes.
• Add chillies, radish, and string beans, simmer for another 5 minutes. (Keep adding water as needed.)
• Add water spinach.
• Season with salt/fish sauce.
• Serve with rice.
Enjoy!

Side note: Many Filipino dishes and eating and cooking practices are also unhealthy. For example, Filipinos have a love affair with pork skin and fat. We are also addicted to sugar. I don’t just mean desserts; Filipinos love sweetening their dishes and most of our traditional Filipino snacks are also loaded with sugar. But as with all unhealthy habits, knowing and acknowledging that something is bad for us is the first and most important step toward taking precautionary steps and making healthful changes in our lifestyle.

I will be discussing this particular unhealthy food practice further in the second installment of my “:Food Sucks” series.

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#2013-06-01 07:30:40 by madmac @madmac

Wow thank you for this blog very enlightening. I have to let you know that filipino beef/pork stew and chicken adobo are 2 m of my most favorite foods on the entire planet. I have even begun to cook at home for my 3 daughters and they love it. I am also quite spoiled when it cvomes to filipino food as my coworker and his filipino wife own a filipino restaraunt. Hencefore I get hands on training with the food. I have even helped prepare it for her menu.

Great article and yes filipinos are addicted to sugar!! :) Keep up the great artciles!!!


MM

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