Filipino BBQ Chicken with Java Rice

DSCF7219 (640x480)The Philippines was absolutely influenced by the Spaniards. I don’t understand why a certain blog referred to the Filipino Food as a cousin of the Thai?  I totally believe that my great grandparents spoke Spanish even though they lived and grew up in far-flung provincial towns in the Philippines.

I am currently spending my most awaited time-off in Madrid. I waited for ten months for a most awaited week’s refuge and isolation. I’m slowly getting my groove back. I badly needed one! It’s my second day and enjoying my hotel and hotel room amenities located at the Old Madrid side of the city. It’s extremely hot and humid outside and a ‘siesta’ everyday is necessary to keep pace with the Spaniard’s way of drinking and eating; although I only last until about 11 p.m. I’ve picked up some Spanish words and expressions along the way which are vey related to Tagalog: Bale-bale!! (Di Bale na lang, OK lang),  Taquila (Takilya), Todos Dineros ($$$$$) and more.

Anyway, I’m enjoying the ‘Tapas’ culture despite the very ‘touristy’ climate in and around the area. I don’t mind though. I could always lock myself up in my hotel room and sleep! That I miserably miss too.  I haven’t really encountered any chicken dishes on my second day, but have been overwhelmed by servings of crusty bread, local cheese and Iberico ham on every ‘Tapas’ Bar I enter. Catalunya didn’t serve me them when I went there last year (just for comparison). These staples are all over much like the Filipinos’ strict affair with steamed rice and adobo.

This particular BBQ Chicken was inspired by the Old Manila culture which in part is very, very Spanish. I’m sure anyone who were born in the ’60s and ’70s would understand what I’m referring to. The Old Manila I knew was clean, quaint, sophisticated and just like Madrid, had plazas all over which weren’t as crowded as now.  It was fun milling around these plazas and drinking ‘Cerveza’ from ‘cafeterias’ from across the four corners of the street.

This BBQ Chicken was popularized by Aristocrat where my parents took me when I was still a toddler.  I didn’t follow any strict recipe for this one, and it didn’t exactly tasted like Aristocrat’s. I didn’t have the resources to execute that splendid dish, and as always time was against me to gather up all ingredients. Anyway, here’s my take on that ‘Old Manila’ BBQ Chicken. I also tried the very popular ‘Java’ rice using a ‘Paella’ Spice I bought in Barcelona. Enjoyed both.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Quarter Leg
  • Pop (used a can of Pepsi)
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Con Azafran
  • Brown Sugar
  • Lemon Juice (or Lime)
  • Patis
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Thai Chilis
  • Coriander (garnish)
  • Thai Basil (garnish)
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt

Combine everything in a mixing a bowl. Taste the marinade accordingly and pour in another container together with the chicken legs.

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Discard the marinade and pat-dry the legs with a paper towel. Insert in a 385’C pre-heated oven until cooked through; about 45 minutes to an hour.

Garnish with finely chopped Coriander and Thai Basil. These herbs made a whole lot of difference on each bite! I wanted more thereafter.

Java Rice:

Heat a wok with vegetable oil. Saute the garlic followed by the day-old rice.  Add salt and pepper and generously sprinkle with ‘Paella’ Con Azafran until each kernel has been fully coated by the yellow substance.

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Risotto alla Milanese

DSCF6841 (640x512)It’s not officially Christmas yet, but the season is definitely here. There is a bunch of catering and food reservations lined-up until the third week of December and the kitchen has just started processing orders to accommodate this gigantic task. The first of many will be tomorrow.  When that kicks in, I know it’s definitely the holidays.   Another set of similar functions (of roasting Turkey & Ham) will be recreated over Christmas Day, targeted specifically for the clients, and that will surely be another major prep work down the road. Roasting is fairly basic. It’s the portioning, serving and cleaning that makes work just a tad harder.  Moreover, hours are longer and time is slower.

I have been far and away lately, on most occasions after work, eating my heart out with a very huge meal of rice and beef just to clean my palate.  Although I cook rice almost every day now, I still crave for steamed rice topped with a heavy Chinese sauce; an Asian rice meal.  It just satisfies my hunger after cooking the whole day, and the accompanying light, jasmine tea makes me at ease and relaxed as I munch down on my almost only meal during the day. It’s just so difficult eating properly during work when there are a million things to be done. I take something every so often, but they’re not really considered a full rice meal with the works.

Rice is a Filipino staple, but for health reasons, I’ve switched mine to Basmati. It does not have as much starch as Jasmine, but it still satisfies. This particular blog, however, wouldn’t tackle either.  I have been searching and looking at an Italian Risotto recipe before I became pre-occupied with work and was intrigued with Risotto alla Milanese.  I’ve been really engaged working with Saffron and when I bumped into this one, I wrote it down as one of those I have to cook. It’s also rice, but it’s the Italian Arborio which I also love.  This should have been partnered with the Osso Bucco post I shared previously, but because of time constraints and the quick changing of the season, I had left it at the backburner for about a month or so until I found some time to make it. Here it is: Risotto all Milanese.

Ingredients:

  • Arborio Rice
  • Beef Stock
  • Saffron Threads ( or Saffron powder)
  • Spanish Onion
  • Olive Oil, finely diced
  • Butter
  • Sage, chopped
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Lemon Juice

Heat a small pot of Beef stock with the Saffron threads and let it steep for about half an hour. Start sweating the onions with the olive oil and butter in a saute pan, and add the Arborio rice until toasty.

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Slowly ladle the stock into the pan, and gently stir the rice.  Check the doneness of the rice every now and then or until the rice has absorbed most of the stock.

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When the rice is Al Dente, sprinkle the cheese and garnish with chopped Sage. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season according to taste before serving.

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Paella

I tried my hand in doing Paella several years ago when I was still starting in the kitchen and contributing articles to Iska. It was one of those dishes I vividly recall of finishing an entire pan by myself out of hunger and excitement. I missed eating Paella. It was one of those ‘one-pan wonders’ where everything can be had using a spoon. It’s extremely luscious, contagious and to some extent, dangerously addictive with all the fat content and grease used in its creation.   The distinct Saffron taste also stood out.

After traipsing and enjoying myself in Catalonia for a couple of days, I made a decision of trying my hand again at cooking Paella. My point-of-view has shifted to the other side of the fence (as a traveling foodie and tourist scorning those suffering in the kitchen, temporarily that is) and for the last couple of years has initiated back to reading books that interest me the most-food & the martial arts.  I badly needed some motivation and inspiration (for both), and I guess they were the ready answers to my calling-whatever that maybe.  I also had the opportunity of writing about my ever wandering thoughts and ideas in a nutshell during the week through this blog; sometimes they ( the ideas) just pop out of nowhere.  It does help when I feel estranged and diminutive in society.  Those moments of sinking-in and shying away, in one way or the other, brings forth satisfaction of my skills or worth.

I am totally grateful to Iska for introducing me to blogging. My world does not revolve around to just work or Tai Chi anymore.  Moreover, I found somebody else who understands the meaning of hardwork  and life living away from home despite the distance and sometimes the difficulty of catching one another on-line. Every minute in every conversation, however short or muddled,  is cherished.

Cooking one-pot meals or one-pan meals in this case brings total comfort to that swirling imagination of mine and sometimes, apprehension or dissatisfaction to self. Moving away and being with society, mingling and socializing with them as a real human being, for at least just a short bit of time (wish it was longer) can be gratifying; knowing this willful act and intention will be repeated in the future.  I’ve discovered so much and I’m looking further on to see what’s really out there.

I used Basmati Rice when I did my first Paella.  I learned to love Basmati for its healthy connotation and easy preparation. I was taught in Culinary School how to make Rice Pilaf and Basmati Rice was the medium. It’s relative cheap and it’s as abundant as parboiled or Jasmine.  I really don’t recall what other spices I’ve inputted into that dish, but I remember giving the sauté pan to my ex-wife just to get rid of the clutter building up in my apartment. Glad I did.  It was  a very, very heavy sauté pan meant to serve a small group of about 5 or 6 and I’d lived alone for about three when I had it. This, I believe, is the much better version of the last. I used Italian Arborio as substitute and infused authentic Spanish Saffron (Azafran) and Chorizo into the dish.  I know I didn’t add those in the first.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Turkey Thigh
  • 1 Chorizo
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Spanish Onion, finely chopped
  • Parsley, finely chopped
  • Laurel (Bay leaves)
  • Chicken Stock
  • Saffron (a few strands)
  • Paella Mix (Con Azafran or Sazon)
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black or White Pepper
  • Lemon Juice

Start by steeping the chicken stock with the Saffron. The stock should be more than enough to cook the rice.

Cut the thighs in bite-size pieces and season with salt and pepper. Brown the thighs (skin side down) in olive oil and set aside. Cut the chorizo in a bias and pan fry on the same pan.  Add a little more oil if necessary. Set aside.

Start sautéing the onions, followed by the garlic and the rice. Continue sautéing until the rice becomes a little toasty. Slowly incorporate the stock in the pan. Season as you go. Add the bayleaves and the Paella Mix together with the thighs and gently fold the rice in.  Shove in a preheated 350’C oven for ten to fifteen minutes or cover until the rice is cooked. Stir occasionally.

Check the doneness of the rice and the thighs every now and then and add more stock along the way. When both are nearly cooked, lower the temperature of the oven to 180’C and let them all blend in nicely.  Each rice kernel should be coated with the yellow substance ( coming from the saffron).  Squeeze some lemon juice and add more seasoning before making one final stir.  Discard the bay leaves.

Top with the cooked Chorizos, sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil before serving. Garnish with finely chopped Parsley.

This Paella is more straightforward than probably a Pinoy’s version where tomatoes and tomato paste are added in the cooking process. This is simplicity at its best where the quality and taste of the Saffron and Con Azafran, Chorizos and Olive Oil stand out.  If I had used Spanish Rice and Rabbit, this Paella would have brought an entire nation to its feet.

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Sticky Rice Cake Filled with Pork and Shitake Mushrooms

I started very late dating; at 25.  When everybody else was happily hugging and holding each other’s hands on the corridors of my Conyo riddled high school, I was in one corner concentrating on finishing my Algebra and Geometry assignments.  I was a horribly shy student and this shyness even affected my speaking abilities towards women; too quiet to even talk properly (torpe). I stuttured in front of them. This situation went onto University.  I just couldn’t seem to find the actual combination and the exact words of  affection to approach gorgeous women. Moreover, I was inhibited by strict rules of engagement as directed by my barkada  and my prohibitive parents to socially interact and to mingle beyond school sponsored activities was next to impossible. That would have said it all.

Anyway, I met my first girlfriend through a friend back in HS. That relationship jumpstarted it all. It was through this sweet and terribly sticky relationship that I learned how Venuses’ clock ticked.  From then on, one relationship after another relationship had begun sprouting; each one developing at least every couple of years. Others were instant and mutual attraction while many blossomed through dates and friendships; basically ‘ just the thoughts of always being together.’ The digital age was still afar and the only way to a Venus’ soul was through little post-it notes, pages (pagers) and short letters. That worked for me. I used each medium to floor a woman I would have wanted to be with for a dinner date, and at the same time, remaining coy and honest of my true intentions.

Many of those I previously dated, for at least a month (yeah?), have been long forgotten and lost.  I still remember their faces, and nothing else.  As for those who have made a significant mark in my life during that time, I have continued and kept an open door and at the same time,  have maintained constant communication therein to this day.  That was almost 20 years ago.

Those memorable relationships in the past used to be as sticky as this dish.  In fact, one of those I had dated requested this particular recipe after seeing Oggi’s Machang Recipe. I happily obliged, of course. I must admit. It was one exhiliraating experience I have ever had; despite my overall shortcomings to her. I also learned more about life which unfortunately I had missed in that closely-guarded and secluded school I went and grew up as a teenager.

I regularly ‘dimsum,’ but honestly I have never tasted in any of my trips nor have never made Machang.  To accommodate my’ buddy’s’ request, I have opted to make something similar. I know it would be difficult to recreate a taste of something which I myself haven’t really tried, and the only way to approach such problem was through research.  I pulled out all my cookbooks in my storage and discovered this one.  After going through the process,  I went through and made a ‘binalot;’ combining two cooking techniques.

Ingredients:

  • Glutinous Rice (Malagkit-about two cups)
  • Banana Leaves
  • Dried Shitake Mushrooms
  • Lean Pork (1/4 of a pound)
  • Chinese Pork Sausages
  • Garlic
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Fish Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Chicken Stock
  • Brown Sugar

Before starting, soak the rice and the Dried Shitake Mushrooms overnight.  Drain the water from the rice, and using a cheesecloth, steam the rice for about twenty minutes.  Let it cool and set aside.

While waiting, slice the pork and shitake mushrooms into bite size pieces and chop the garlic.  Start by sautéing the garlic, followed by the pork  and the mushrooms. Add in the Light Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Chicken Stock, the water from the soaked mushrooms, brown sugar and the fish sauce.  Season to taste and set aside.

Pull out a Banana Leaf, and trim the edges to use as its twine. Run it through the stovetop to make it more pliable.

Set half of the sticky rice onto the Banana Leaf and top it with the stuffing. Cut the Chinese Pork Sausages in a bias and include them in. Drizzle some of the sauce on the stuffing before covering and with the other half of the sticky rice, pour whatever’s left on the mound before wrapping. Fold the leaf to form a rectangle just enough to fit a bamboo steamer, and let it steam for another ten minutes.

 

 

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