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No Matter Where In The World You Are, Celebrate Christmas With A Filipino Feast

We Filipinos like to see an abundance of good food on the holiday table. It affirms our desire to celebrate life’s special moments, shared with those who mean a lot to us. Amidst the brightly wrapped gifts, the glitter and grandeur of holiday parties, we strive to fond meaning in the spirit of the season. And our food— the food of home—can bring us together with family and friends.

You can’t always come home for Christmas. When you’re far away and feeling homesick, the best way to reconnect is by filling the holiday tables with the dishes and flavors so familiar to our hearts and senses.For the holidays, I put together this spread of innovative and versatile dishes created by Filipino culinary authorities based in America. These savory, traditional- with-a-twist party dishes offer a blend of the avors our palates are used to but presented in a contemporary way.

No matter where we live in the world, as true-blue Filipinos we like to serve food that pays homage to the essence of who we are.

 

 

Deep Fried Slaw Salad

by Johanna Cook; inspired by Rodelio Aglibot

Serves 2 to 4

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage, like for coleslaw
  • 1/4 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/4 cup julienned shallots
  • 1/4 cup julienned scallions or green onion
  • 1 tablespoon sliced bird’s eye chili (siling labuyo)
  • 1/4 cup julienned red onion
  • 1/4 cup julienned red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup chili lime vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced chives

1. In a large skillet, heat oil to 350°F. Over medium high heat, deep-fry shredded cabbage for just a few seconds. Do it in batches so cabbage stays crisp. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

2. Combine fried cabbage slaw with carrots, shallots, scallions, chili, red onion and red cabbage. Toss well in a large salad bowl.

3. Prepare dressing at the last minute, just before serving. In a small bowl, combine sweet chili vinaigrette and chili lime vinaigrette (recipes below). Garnish with chives.

4. Right before serving, transfer vegetables to a platter. Pour dressing over the salad
or serve on the side. Salad should still be crisp and warm.

Chili Lime Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend well. Store in covered container in the refrigerator.

Sweet Chili Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rock salt
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool uncovered in the refrigerator. Transfer later to a covered container and keep in the refrigerator.

 

 

Pancit Miki with Beef and Asparagus

by Ray Gingco

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/4 kilo beef sirloin, thinly sliced, cut into about 1-inch long strips
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pack Chinese or miki noodles, about 2 to 3 cups cooked
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 6 asparagus spears, cut diagonally in 1-inch strips
  • 1 chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, then squeeze out water
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic

1. In a bowl, combine beef strips, soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, sherry, cornstarch and sugar. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2. In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add noodles and let soak for about 1 minute. Transfer noodles to a colander. Run cold water over noodles to cool. Drain then set aside.

3. In a wok, heat oil over high heat. Swirl 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in wok to spread oil. Once oil starts to smoke,
add asparagus, chili, onion, carrot and mushrooms. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.

4. In the same wok, add remaining oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add beef and stir-fry until beef is no longer pink. Transfer beef to the vegetable plate.

5. In the same wok, add sauce (recipe below). Continuously stir sauce until it boils and thickens. Turn heat down to medium. Return beef and vegetables to the wok. Let simmer for about 1 minute then turn off the heat. 6. Add cooked noodles and stir until coated with sauce. Transfer to a serving plate.

Sauce:

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice cooking wine

 

 

Chicken and Pork Pipian

by Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Serves 4 to 6

  • 8 large chicken cutlets, bone- in, or about 1 whole chicken, cut-up
  • 1/4 kilo pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup uncooked white rice grains
  • 3/4 cup unsalted peanuts, cooked
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 to 4 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
  • 1/4 cup calamansi juice
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 teaspoons achuete seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried epazote herbs (pasotes in Ilocos), or substitute with 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Marinate chicken and pork in oregano, olive oil, garlic, salt and black pepper. Place meats in separate plastic re-sealable bags and refrigerate for at least 6 hours up to overnight.

2. Toast rice grains in a small skillet over medium heat for about 5 to 6 minutes. Do not leave stove unattended or
rice will burn. When grains turn light brown and have a fragrant toasted aroma, remove from skillet and let cool. When cooled, crush grains with cooked peanuts in a mortar and pestle until mixture becomes powdery. For faster results, you can process rice grains and peanuts in a food processor for 1 minute. Set aside.

3. In a large stockpot, over medium high heat, heat vegetable oil for about 2 to 3 minutes. Sear chicken and pork pieces, turning them around so they brown evenly, around 8 to 10 minutes. If necessary, discard excess fat from pork so that dish is not greasy. Transfer meat to a plate and set aside.

4. Using the same stockpot, over medium heat, saute´ onion, garlic and tomatoes until onion is translucent and tomatoes are softened, about 8 minutes.

5. Add patis, calamansi juice, tomato paste and 1 3/4 cups chicken broth. Stir, cover and let simmer.

6. Meanwhile, warm remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth and pour over achuete seeds. Press down seeds with a fork until broth turns orange. Strain achuete seeds. Pour strained achuete broth into the stockpot.

7. Add chicken and pork pieces. Continue cooking until meats are cooked thoroughly, about 50 to 55 minutes.

8. Add epazotes (or oregano) and cilantro. Then add rice-peanut mixture to thicken the broth. Stir well to combine ingredients, then reduce heat to low medium and stir occasionally so rice on the bottom does not burn. Cover and continue cooking.

9. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve piping hot with rice.

Cook's note:

If you keep this dish in the refrigerator, the sauce may thicken. When reheating, add about 1/2 cup broth or hugas bigas (rice wash) if you prefer a more soup-like consistency.

 

Ube Pound Cake with Ube Glaze

by Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons ube avoring 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups mashed boiled ube

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan. If pan has a removable bottom, place heavy-duty aluminum foil underneath bottom so batter does not spill out during baking.

2. Combine our, baking powder and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, mix milk and ube avoring. Set aside.

4. Using a stand mixer, mix butter and sugars at high speed until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg added.

5. Add mashed ube and mix at low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure ube is distributed evenly.

6. Alternately add the our mixture and milk-ube mixture into the batter. Begin and end with the our mixture. Beat for about 5 minutes until batter has a thick, smooth texture and is light lavender in color.

7. Pour batter into the cake pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting the tip of a sharp knife in the center of the cake. If knife comes out clean, cake is done.

8. Cool cake on the counter for about 20 minutes, covering it with a cloth towel. Then invert cake on a wire rack and allow to cool thoroughly.

9. Using a clean, sharp knife, carefully slice a thin layer from the top of the cake to trim off any dark green cake parts. (Ube cake tends to come out dark green on the top and sides after it is baked.) Smoothen
ube glaze (recipe below) with a spatula on the top of the cake. Keep in the refrigerator.

Ube Glaze:

  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon ube flavoring, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Using a hand mixer, mix at high speed confectioners’ sugar with the milk.

2. Add ube flavoring, if using, and almond extract. Continue beating for 3 minutes more or until smooth.

3. Let glaze cool in the refrigerator while ube cake is cooling on the cake rack.  In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix well then set aside.

Cook's Note:

Preparing mashed ube

If using fresh ube, peel ube then boil in enough water to cover stockpot until it is soft enough to mash, about 25 to 30 minutes over medium heat. If using frozen ube, thaw at room temperature until mushy. Do not microwave to defrost.