Tag Archives: beef

Tapsilog – A Breakfast Time Machine

When I moved to New York from Manila, one of my biggest concerns was whether my then-girlfriend (now wife) ate Filipino food, or if I had to eat pancakes for the rest of my life. A Pinoy breakfast is always heavy with the protein of meat, fish and eggs, and a big helping of garlic fried rice. On occasion some pickled papaya might grace the plate, but for the most part this breakfast is everything a farmer would need to make it through the day.

I was relieved to know that she was every bit a Filipino food hound as myself. The only problem was that the closest decent Filipino restaurant was a car ride away, and we didn’t have a car. And nobody made tapsilog the way I liked it. So I had to make my own.

Tapsilog - a Filipino farmer's breakfast of beef, egg and garlic rice.

Tapsilog – a Filipino farmer’s breakfast of beef, egg and garlic rice.

Tapsilog is short for tapa (cured beef), sinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (egg). The suffix “silog” is added to many protein sources such as ham-silog, hotdog-silog, daing-silog (daing – marinated milkfish) and longsilog (longganisa – sausage). Technically beef tapa is supposed to be air-dried beef, but I’ve been able to achieve the same result by just marinating the beef in a mixture of soy sauce and lemon. Continue reading

Easter Dinner – Vegetable Sinigang and Sesame Beef

It was Easter and we wanted to feed our dear friends, so we brought over a pot of stew and some vegetables to prepare for dinner. We love feeding friends, especially those who love to eat what we serve, and are always open to some kind of adventure.

These friends once made us their twist on our own national dish, adobo with coconut milk! After much skepticism we were very much impressed and even entertained the possibility of including it in our arsenal of adobo variations.

Click on the captions for the recipes.

A bowl of vegetable sinigang

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Beef Vindaloo From Scratch

One of our favorite Indian dishes is vindaloo, a tomato-based combination of chilis and spices used to stew lamb or chicken. I had some organic grass-fed stewing beef from the Food Coop and some garam masala powder I got from Chinatown so I decided to experiment. I simmered the beef with the garam masala (a combination of coriander, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and chili) and added some curry, paprika, cumin, turmeric and tomato paste. The resulting stew tasted so much like a vindaloo that I realized I made a serendipitous discovery. Now there might not be any reason to make it to an Indian restaurant! Recipe follows.

Vindaloo, sauteed okra, mango chutney and greek yogurt.

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Kare Kare (Oxtail Peanut Stew): A Storyteller’s Dish

I talk about kare-kare a lot because it has defined a huge part of my childhood and my relationship with my dear nanny who cooked this complex dish once a year on my birthday. One of my first cooking objectives when I moved to the US was to be able to make this dish myself, and being able to do so was so pivotal to my migration story that I relive it every time I make this dish and share the recipe.
I don’t like to keep recipes secret because this also suppresses the stories behind them. If I can share the joy of making and eating this dish with others, then my story and memories will live through others, and possibly even beyond me.
Kare-kare is a peanut-based stew made with peanut butter and rice. The secret ingredient of this dish is the rice that is roasted in a pan until brown and then ground until fine using a mortar (as in my youth), or a coffee grinder (something I discovered when I started making this myself). Kare-kare may be made with beef or pork, oxtail or pork tails, hocks or knuckles, beef tripe, vegetables, or seafood. It is a rich dish that is a regular in gatherings and fiestas, and is always memorable and in short supply. (Recipe below)

 The most tedious part of this dish is softening the meat with water and onions on low heat.
This particular batch took three and a half hours to become tender. 
A pressure cooker speeds up this process but some of the flavor is lost in the process as well.
The meat is tender when gaps appear between the meat and the bone. 
This means that it is almost falling off the bone. Be careful not to let it get past that part.
My meat became very tender so I set it aside so it wouldn’t fall apart while I made the sauce.
While the meat is boiling, roast some rice in a pan until brown.
Cool and grind in a coffee blender until fine and smooth.
Peanut butter and annatto are mixed into the broth, resulting in an orange color. 
The ground rice is added little by little until the desired consistency is reached. 
When the sauce is made, the meat is returned to the pot. 
The vegetables are added and simmered until cooked.
The resulting dish
Kare-kare is served with rice and a side of shrimp paste (bagoong).
Kare Kare (Oxtail Peanut Stew)
6-10 pieces oxtail
1 onion, chopped coarsely
4 tablespoons roasted rice (raw rice, roasted brown and ground using a coffee grinder)
1 cup peanut butter
1 bunch bokchoy (pechay)
String beans or sitaw, cut into 3 inch pieces 
Eggplant, cut into 2-inch pieces
Achuete/Annatto powder (for color)

In a pot, cook oxtail and onions with enough water to submerge them for about three hours or in a pressure cooker for  20-30 minutes. Set the meat aside and cook the stew separately. Simmer the sauce, add peanut butter and stir lightly until dissolved, about 15 minutes. Add ground roasted rice two teaspoons at a time until the desired consistency is reached (allow twenty minutes for the rice to thicken before adding more).  Season with fish sauce. Add achuete/annatto until the desired color is achieved. Simmer for 15 more minutes or until vegetables till cooked, adding bokchoy last. Serve with bagoong (shrimp paste) and steamed rice.

From my kitchen, my childhood, and my heart – to yours. Kain tayo!

Libidinous: Short Rib in Wine, Soy and Mushrooms

The dish’s name is from a hilarious description of the Chinese Fire Dragon, which I am and whose year we celebrate this year: Force and power are the symbols attributed to the Dragon. There is a decidedly exotic air about Dragon people, especially among the women, who fairly exude sexuality. Indeed, whether male or female, Dragons are libidinous and score quite a hit with the opposite sex.

The dish itself celebrates the first day of Spring by recalling a favorite barbecue recipe (Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings) and turning it into a stew, all to christen a newly-bought Dutch oven (our first!). (Recipe below)

This dish is sweet, rich, and has a unique blend of tastes. Garlic lends to the wine as ginger lends to the soy. East meets west? More like wine invades Sesame Shortribs if you ask me! Either way the result is an unconventional preparation of a classic cut of beef. Great to make when you have a leftover bottle of vino. Mangia! Continue reading

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