Laing Tagalog

Filipino Catholics observe Cuaresma or Lent, most observants believe that the personal reflection demanded by Lenten practices are more fruitful if the individual refrains from heavy food indulgence and makes promise to abstain from other common habits such as eating meat.

Every family makes a different version of this meatless dish. I am sharing this recipe for my new culinary group, KULINARYA . Make it once and then tweak the recipe to your preference – but please do use with traditional ingredients!

Laing Tagalog
(Dried Taro leaves in Coconut Cream)


500 g Gabi or Taro Leaves (dried)
4-5 c Coconut Cream
3 cloves Garlic,crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk Lemon grass, crushed and tied
1 tbsp Ginger,grated
3-4 Siling labuyo (chili)
150 g Shrimps, medium size
Salt and Pepper

In a casserole, sauté onions, garlic and ginger until aromatic. Add Lemon grass,Gabi leaves and pour coconut cream.

Simmer until cream is reduced in half. Add Siling Labuyo and Shrimps. Stir from bottom to top delicately and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 15-20 mins on low fire or until you smell the coconut oil.

Food Notes:

  1. Laing is a popular dish from the Bicol Region.
  2. My Grandma’s grandma said that to avoid scratching any part of your body while preparing this dish if you don’t want your laing to be itchy in your mouth.
  3. If you cannot find fresh coconut you can replace it with one pack of coconut milk and one pack of coconut cream)
  4. You may use crab or other seafood—or Tuyo (dried fish)
  5. Add more chillies for a spicier version.
  6. Laing gets better as day passed by—eat them the next day !

KULINARYA was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture & its colourful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!

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Philippine Cocido : Pochero

The Holiday season is one filled with laughter, family and food. After every successful Christmas and New Year family feast there is inevitably an amount of food that is over catered and therefore surplus after the event–The question is what to do with the leftovers so as not to waste those expensive Holiday table fare such as ham, roasted chicken and vegetables.  For this month I am sharing a traditional Filipino stew recipe that uses holiday Christmas leftover….



1 kg. stewing beef (shoulder)
150 g. Ham pieces
Ham bones
2 pcs chorizos de bilbao, sliced
500g  Roasted Chicken pieces leftover
2-4 tbsps. Olive oil
1 tbsp. of whole peppercorns
2 whole onions
2 whole bulbs of garlic
2 bay leaves
1 c Tomatoes, chopped
1 head cabbage, quartered and cored
2 large potatoes, peeled cut into wedges
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into wedges
1 c. of chick peas (canned)
Salt and Pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Brown the beef on all sides. Add the chorizos, ham and ham bones. Add the onions, garlic, peppercorns, tomatoes and bay leaves. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, lower the heat then simmer for two to three hours or until the beef is tender.

When the beef is tender, Add chickpeas and chicken pieces and simmer for 5-8 mins.

Using a ladle, take about two to three cups of the broth and pour into another pan, cook the vegetables.

To serve, arrange on a platter the vegetables around the meat. Pour the broth into individual bowls.

Food Notes:

  1. Pochero is the Philippine version of Spanish Cocido
  2. Using roasted chicken adds flavor to the stew
  3. Patience is one of the secret ingredients !
  4. Add  fried banana (saba) and sweet potato before serving.
Posted in Philippine Cuisine | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 12 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 67 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 64mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 15th with 90 views. The most popular post that day was Pusit Diablo.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lengua estofado, pinoy cheese sticks, tagalog for horseradish, puti, and kesong puti.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Pusit Diablo November 2010


Pinoy Food Guide August 2010


About Me July 2010


What is Filipino Food ? August 2010


Kesong Puti — my pinoy cheese ! September 2010

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Christmas is here!

Most of us have fallen into the habit of looking back at year’s end to see what we’ve left behind in the past 12 months. It turns out, my 2010 was full of good food and amazing recipes!

This Christmas, as we gather with family and friends around the holiday feast, may we give thanks for the blessings our Creator has granted in each of our lives.

May the joy of the season renew our commitment to compassion and unconditional love as we share and enjoy the traditions of this holiday.

For my December blog, I am sharing my published articles and recipes from COOK magazine….

Let us continue to cook, eat and celebrate life this coming 2011!

Maligayang Pasko, Mapayapang Bagong Taon at Mabuhay ang Pagkaing Filipino !


Charcoal is the most ancient cooking fuel on earth. In the Philippines, it dates back to the pre-Hispanic era. The Malays introduced us to this primitive way of cooking- Inihaw !

The traditional method of producing charcoal or “uling” was to set fire to a pile of wood, cover it with sand and allowing it to simmer till it blackens into coal. Among cooking fuels, charcoal is inexpensive and readily available in the local market. The length of time charcoal will burn is determined by the amount of oxygen available, so if you can control the air you control the burning time. All other disadvantages of cooking with charcoal (such as its Greenhouse Effect on the atmosphere) are set aside in places where it is the sole means of cooking. More often than not, when we are enjoying the succulent Inihaw na Baboy and Charcoal Broiled Chicken, we forget about all else but the smokey aroma rendered by coals.

One of my childhood food related memories in Laguna is the sight and the aroma of simmering caldereta or menudo in a huge “talyasi” over a charcoal fire during family feast and town fiestas we relish the rewarding taste of the slow-cooked stews! And who could ignore charcoal baked bibingka—made fragrant with burnt banana leaves that were singed on coals.

The Upside/downside of Cooking with Uling

Undoubtedly, the most popular use of “uling” is for grilling. As you walk through the side streets of Manila, you can catch the wafts of delicious smoke from the barbeque pit: pork or chicken barbeque, IUD, helmet, adidas, walkman, betamax, etc. being grilled over the glowing embers, powered to stay on fire by electric fans directly focused on the pit.

And of course there are the sprouting Inasal chains that got rich due to highly sought after burnt-caramel taste that we salivate in anticipation of that first juicy bite. The great thing in grilling in charcoal is cooking low and slow. The secret is that one should keep a close eye on the fire and have some patience while it takes its time to cook from within and develop a cooked crust on the surface.

Two of the downsides of grilling over charcoal should likewise be a concern. Firing up coal will produce hydrocarbons that pollute the air which can aggravate heart and lung problems. Secondly, when the fat from the meat drips onto the charcoal, polycyclic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines form which are carcinogenic compounds that produce cancer

When you think about it, the use of “uling” has almost gone full circle—once being the only source of heat in the days of the cavemen, up to the present lifestyle cooking methods of the coal-rendered barbecues. Some would say the smoke has a discomforting smell while others would argue that it whets the appetite. Either way we’d all say that food cooked over, under or around that pile of warm “uling” just tastes  so incredibly good finger-lickin’ good!

As a practical approach to cooking with coal, try this recipe which I do with freshly caught Kanduli. But if you can’t find this fish, you can always substitute it with Hito or Catfish.

Inihaw sa Gata Na Kanduli (or Hito)


Kanduli or Hito    3 pcs
Coconut cream     500 ml
Garlic(chopped)    4 cloves
Onion(chopped)    30 g
String beans         100 g
Squash(sliced)      100 g
Eggplant(sliced)    100 g
Guava(semi-ripe)  4 pcs
Salt and Pepper


Grill Kanduli or Hito over charcoal, set aside.

In a clay pot, sauté garlic and onion. Add guava, squash and coconut cream. Simmer until squash is cooked and coconut reduced. Add string beans and eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Add the fish and simmer for 2 to 3 mins.

Food Notes:

  1. Published Cook Magazine, October 2010.
  2. This is a Southern Tagalog dish.
  3. Serve with hot rice !

(Healtful eating  isn’t about deprivation. It’s about deliciousness !)

Whenever we want to/or need to take a healthy stand, there are foods we are tasked to give up. Do we really have to? When you eliminate foods you love, sometimes it can bring you to the point of intense craving..and feeling “kawawa”. Take my case – I believe that a feel-good diet includes both eggs and bacon. Having an occasional treat is better than depriving yourself!

Experts suggest setting some time aside to slowly savor your favorite food so you get the most out of every last bite. (In other words, indulge in the food but chew it ever so slooowly and enjoy it only sparingly.)

All this talk about B-A-L-A-N-C-E! Yeah, right! For me a balance diet should be like this: half would be good foods I’m supposed to eat and the other half, the foods, I can’t resist, or my eating sins. Please let me be… try my recipes and join the club !

  1. BACON – According to the book called FAT, 45 percent of the fat in bacon is monounsaturated, the good-for-you fat that can help lower bad cholesterol levels. Better still, bacon’s monounsaturated fat turns out to be oleic acid, the same fat found in olive oil. So, that means that some could argue that bacon is about half as good for you as olive oil and about 100 times more delicious. Of course, moderation is key here, and you should seek out artisanal varieties without preservatives. One of the best things about bacon is that a little goes a long way!
  2. EGGS. Nutrionists previously thought that eggs raised blood cholesterol levels — one of the main causes of heart disease. But remember, saturated fat and not cholesterol substantially affects blood cholesterol level. Eggs are actually quite nutritious. They are not just fat (yolk) and protein (white). In fact, they contain Vitamins A, D, E, B1, B2, B6 and B12 and Minerals (Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Iodine and Selenium).
  3. WHOLE MILK – Are you still drinking skim milk? Good news! Whole milk can be good for you. According to a recent study, It turns out that saturated milk fats may help us absorb calcium better, and also contain big helpings of vitamins A and D. Another study suggested that one or more servings of whole milk products a day may enhance a woman’s fertility
  4. CHOCOLATE. According to a recent study, chocolate is the most common and “intensely” craved food.  Chocolate provides natural health promoting substance called flavonoids-which helps prevent heart disease and cancer. However, if you want me to tell you that a bar of Baby Ruth or Milky Way is good for you, I’m afraid that you would be disappointed—I am talking about chocolate in its purest form! The key is to find a bar with high cocoa content. According to experts, the higher the cocoa content, the less room there is for cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, vanilla, milk, and other stuff that makes chocolate the devil candy bar. Based USDA chart of antioxidant foods measured in ORACs (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity Units). For every 100 grams, dark chocolate has 13,120 ORACs (blueberries have only 2,400.)
  5. PEANUT BUTTER. Why is this good for you? Studies confirmed that eating peanuts can lower risk for coronary heart disease. According to research study, eating peanut butter or peanuts has been associated with lower total cholesterol, lower ldl or ‘bad’ cholesterol, and lower triglycerides, all of which are associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk. It is true that peanut butter is high in fat and calories, so, a tablespoon or two of peanut butter is all it takes to for us to enjoy its health benefits !

Stewed Chicken Chocolate


4 pcs           Chicken thigh quarters
1 tbsp         Paprika
4 cloves       Garlic
2 pcs           White onion(med), sliced
1 tblsp        cumin seed
1 tblsp        Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 spring      Thyme
2 pcs           Bay leaves
1 ½ c           Chicken Stock
1 ½ c           Red wine
As needed   Flour
As needed   Sugar (white)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive Oil


Sprinkle chicken with paprika, salt, pepper and coat with olive oil. Leave for 1 hour.

In a pan, brown the chicken. Set aside.

Saute onions in the same pan until soft. Stir in cocoa powder. Return chicken and add cumin seeds, bay leaves, and thyme. Add enough flour to absorb excess oil.  Add chicken stock and red wine. Make sure there are no lumps. Bring to a simmer or until sauce is thickened. Adjust acidity with sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 20-30 minutes in oven at 350 deg.

Food Notes:

  1. Published COOK magazine, November2010
  2. The secret in cooking this is patience ! cook it slowly….
  3. This is definitely an upscale adobo !

My mom, Angie, taught me to share what we make. For this month’s COOK, I’m sharing my family’s favourite cookie- the SNOWBALL! But that’s not all. I’m throwing in the Monday Chefs’ OATMEAL COOKIES recipe of the most requested cookies by our friends. You’re welcome to make the best cookies from my recipe and…..continue the cycles of sharing!

Christmas always brings me back to those long awaited pleasures. It is time we can slow down and recall the goodies of past years—goodies both discovered and then shared. When I got this cookie recipe, it has become our yearly treat—worth waiting a year for!

I don’t remember the first time I ever baked cookies, I do know that by the time I was 12, I was experienced enough to bake my Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. My first food memory is baking cookies with my mom, in particular, our family Christmas Cookies. I can’t remember a childhood Christmas when I wasn’t in the kitchen with her. At first she would only let my sister Camille and I sift flour and sugar. Then we graduated from sifting to creaming the butter and sugar. I would delicately scoop the raw mixture, making sure each was exactly the same. Imagine my delight when I could use the mixer and actually make the batter!

At age 14, I was possessive of the kitchen. My mother and siblings laughed at my meticulous ways of “managing” the kitchen—they simply ignored my bossy behavior. Whenever my sisters came to help, I barked orders at them and gave them tasks. wonder they don’t come into the kitchen to help, even now.

As I got older Mom let me take on more of the cooking responsibilities, and even let me add new recipes. We gave-away and sold cookies to friends and family, at first, then to friend’s friends, making, giving away and selling more and more each year. Friends requested cookies as soon as Halloween was over. Each year we would bake hundreds! The kitchen was not only filled with the sweet scents of cinnamon, chocolate, toasted nuts and sugar, but there was a cacophony of laughter, song and good-natured heckling that filled the room. More than anything else, Christmas meant family bonding, friendship, caring and sharing disguised as the cookie-session.



1 ½ c           Butter, unsalted (room temperature)
1 c               Sugar, granulated
2 pcs           Eggs (large)
3 tsp           Vanilla extract
4 c               All-purpose flour
1 tsp           Salt
3 c               Cashew nuts, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silicone mat.
Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Once the mixture is creamy, add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla with the last egg.

Sift together the flour and salt, and add to the creamed mixture. Mix together on low just until the flour is combined. Add the chopped cashews and mix just until incorporated. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball ( Each ball should be about one inch in diameter). Bake for 20-22 mins, until lightly golden brown on the bottom. After you remove them from the oven, let them cool slightly for about 5 mins, then roll in powdered sugar. After they cool completely, give them another dusting of powder sugar.

Makes about 48 snowballs.


3/4 cup            Butter, unsalted (room temperature)
1 cup               Brown Sugar, packed
1 pc                 Egg, large
1 teaspoon       Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup            All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon    Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon    Salt
1/2 teaspoon    Cinnamon powder
3 cups              Old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup               Dried Fruits (raisin, cranberries, or dates)
1 cup               Nuts (walnut, cashew, almonds etc), toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and the sugar in a stand mixer.  Once the mixture is creamy, add the egg and mix until incorporated. Then add vanilla extract.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt, and add to the creamed mixture.  Mix together on low just until the flour is combined.  Add the dates, walnuts and oats ,mix just until incorporated.

For large cookies, use 1/4 cup of batter (I like to use an ice cream scoop) and space the cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the baking sheet. Then wet your hand and flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers so they are about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. Bake the cookies for about 12 – 15 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges but still soft and a little wet in the centers. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 20 – 24 large cookies


Food Notes:

  1. Published COOK magazine, December 2010
  2. Bake and Share !!!
Posted in Filipinized, Philippine Cuisine | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Chicken Inasal !

This is my version of Ayam Gorek, (Grilled Chicken with coconut cream), a Malaysian favorite on fasting month and weddings. During Ramadan, hundreds of chickens are roasted over charcoal fire along the streets -the smell, sight and hearing the moisture dripping and sizzling over the glowing coals is truly luring. The intense aroma and flavor from the fresh spices will surely entice you…

Making the paste is easy and fun! If you are not rushing against time, pounding the spices into paste using stone mortar and pestle will undoubtedly satisfy your senses—It is said to be therapeutic, as the aromas of the spices and herbs are released the nerves are stimulated.

Asian Spiced Grilled Chicken 


Spring Chicken        1 whole
Salt                             2 tspn
Coconut cream         750 ml

Spice Paste :

Shallots, peeled                       10 to 12 pcs
Garlic, peeled                          3 cloves
Lemon Grass                           5 stalks
Galangal ( or Luyang dilaw)   2 to 3 pcs (1 inch)
White Pepper                          1 tspn
Cumin Seeds                           1 tspn
Fennel Seeds                           1 tblspn
Red Chillies (optional)            1-2 pcs


Combine shallots, garlic, lemon grass, galangal and rest of the spices. Make into a paste.Rub ½ of spice paste and salt to chicken (inside and out). Set aside.

In pan, add oil and paste. Cook spice paste until aromatic.Add coconut milk and chicken. Simmer for 15 to 25 mins, until liquid thickens.

Bake : Transfer into baking dish, pour over the liquid. And bake at 350 F for another 20 to 30 minutes until skin is golden brown.

Grill:  Cut into serving size and cook over charcoal, baste with liquid mixture.

Food Notes:

  1. Inasal is an Ilonggo word from root asal ;meaning to grill.
  2. To make sauce,simmer coconut cream mixture until thick.
  3. I prefer grilling this over charcoal adds smoky flavor.
  4. Left over can be made into pita bread filling, Just shred the chicken add your favorite vegetables-cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes-and you have a snack!
Posted in Filipinized | Tagged | 8 Comments

Bloody Stew…

Dinuguan (Pork blood stew) comes from the word dugo, or blood. This authentic Filipino dish is so named because the sauce is made with freshly slaughtered pig’s blood. Traditionally cooked using a mixture of pork belly meat and pork entrails. Dinuguan is also called dinardaraan in Ilocano and tid-tad in Pampanga.

This dish might seem unusual or disgusting to those who are not familiar with it. Like other peculiar dishes, it takes an acquired taste to like and enjoy this stew. Once an acquired taste develops, you will never look at this dish the same way again. This is a very delicious dish, really. I can only ask that for those reading about dinuguan for the first time, try it first before passing judgment….

Pork Dinuguan (Pork Blood Stew)  

Ingredients :

1 kg                 Pork belly (diced)
1/8 kg            Pork liver (diced)
1 bulb            Garlic (minced)
1 small          Onion (minced)
2 pcs              Bay leaves
3 tblspn        Cooking oil
1/8 c              Vinegar
3 tblspn       Patis (fish sauce)
2c                   Stock
1c                   Pig blood (frozen)
4 pcs             Siling Haba (green finger peppers)
2 tspn           Sugar
As needed   Salt and Pepper


In a pot, simmer pork for 30 minutes and remove scum that rises to the surface. Keep stock.

In a casserole, heat oil and saute garlic and onion until aromatic. Add in pork, pork liver, laurel leaves, patis, salt & pepper and saute for another 5 minutes. Add in vinegar and bring up to a boil without stirring.

Lower heat and allow simmering uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add in stock and allow simmering for 5 minutes. Add in blood, sugar and long green peppers.

Cook for 10 minutes more or until consistency thickens, stirring occasionally to avoid curdling

Food Notes:

  1. Avoid curdling by continuously stirring
  2. This dish is similar to European-style blood sausage and british black pudding.
  3. Best served with white rice or puto (rice cake)
Posted in Philippine Cuisine | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Pusit Diablo

This is no doubt –a Southern Tagalog Adobo dish.  I am sharing with you a version of adobong pusit  I learned from my mom-  Pusit Diablo — Coconut milk is added making a creamy sour sauce.

A dish with gata (coconut cream) will never go wrong ….





(Adobo sa Gata na Pusit)


1/2 kg             Squid, cleaned and sliced
(heads removed, tentacles and ink sacks retained)
4 cloves           Garlic, chopped
1 medium        Onion, chopped
1 thumb-size  Ginger, sliced
1-2 pcs.            Siling haba (Finger Chillies)
1 cup                Coconut cream
1/4 cup            Vinegar
as needed        Salt (or Fish Sauce)
as needed        Freshly Ground Pepper
2 tbsp               Cooking oil

Start by cleaning the squids. Pull out the entrails by holding on to the tentacles. Carefully pull out the head, intestines, ink sac, etc. Carefully remove the ink sacs and set aside. Cut off the entrails. Now, the body. Pull off the backbone. It’s the transparent plastic-like thing you will find in the cavity. Next, peel off the skins. Cut the squids into rings a quarter of an inch to half an inch thick.

Over high heat, Sauté onion and ginger, adding the garlic last (you don’t want burnt garlic). Pour the squid ink, coconut cream and vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Turn heat to low, add chillies and squid. Season with salt or fish sauce and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes, overcooking the squid makes it tough.


  1. Use coconut cream if canned or the first extraction if using fresh coconut.
  2. Coconut cream is the first extraction, Coconut Milk is the second and/or third…
  3. I prefer cane vinegar for this dish…and Fish Sauce (instead of salt)
  4. Do not overcook squid… it becomes rubbery!
  5. Best served over hot steamed pandan rice…

Posted in Philippine Cuisine | Tagged | 5 Comments