Agar Fruit Jelly

This was the fruit jelly I shared in my IG stories a few days ago @ritzypixie. They look like cute crystals don’t they? Tastes great too! Recipe was taken from Chef Pailin @hotthaikitchen but this is basically made out of agar (seaweed) powder, lychee syrup and sugar.

You can get creative and use different fruits as you wish. My personal tweak on this yummy treat is to add a few pieces of dragon fruit (pitaya). As you can see the colors turned out amazing! I used fruit cutters to get them shaped into stars and hearts. Don’t worry, nothing’s wasted as any excess ended up in my tummy 😜! You can also make them into popsicles (if you are like me who doesn’t want to share 😜) just add half a teaspoon more of agar powder to make it firmer. Not my original recipe so I will just direct you to HOT THAI KITCHEN youtube channel, search for Agar Jelly Fruit Cake recipe if you want to recreate it! Perfect for your next party! 💖⭐️💖

Easy Chicken & Corn Soup

Pwedeng appetizer pero pwede na rin pang main meal 😁. No need to buy powdered, instant or canned soup dahil madali lang syang gawin. Simple lang din ang ingredients. Freshly cooked, homemade meal is always the best dahil you can be sure na walang sangkaterbang preservatives ang kinakain mo. Try this easy recipe and let me know what you think! 🌽🐓.

Ingredients:
1/4 piece of whole chicken (I used thigh part, bone on)
3 cups water
1 whole onion
Ginger (small, about half a thumb size)
Salt
1 tsp garlic powder
Ground pepper
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 stalk of spring onions, chopped
1 small can creamed corn (pay attention to the ingredients written on the can. Mine already has salt and thickener so I know I don’t have to add too much salt or add any other pampalapot)
1 egg beaten

How to make:
In a small pot, combine water chicken, ginger, half onion, pinch of salt and bring to a boil
Once chicken is cooked (or when water reduces to about 1 1/2 cups, turn heat off. Remove chicken, discard onion and ginger and set aside broth.
Shred chicken into pieces.
Heat cooking oil in a pot and sauté remaining 1/2 onion. Add shredded chicken, sprinkle with garlic powder and cook until slightly brown.
Add chicken broth and simmer for about a minute.
Add the canned cream of corn and mix well. Add spring onions (reserve a tablespoon for topping.
Cook for another 2-3 minutes while stirring constantly.
Add beaten egg and mix vigorously.
If you find the mixture is too thick, add 1/4 cup of water at a time and adjust taste by adding salt. Sprinkle with pepper before turning off heat.

That’s it! Serve in a bowl and top with remaining spring onions.😋

Sinigang sa Sabaw ng Buko

I had my first taste of sinigang sa buko (sour soup in coconut water) when I made a trip to Palawan many years ago. Sobrang tagal na I can’t even remember the year. Anyway, I never had it prior and thought it was wonderful.  Coconut water lends a hint of sweetness and lifts the flavour of the dish.

Since I moved here in Australia, I only attempted to make it once and it was sadly a failed attempt. It ended up too sweet for my liking, so something must have gone wrong. I realised this was because of the coconut water I used.  Fresh coconut juice here is scarce and too pricey if available so I just usually get bottled ones sourced from Thailand. Although it tastes great as a refreshing drink, its floral undertone wasn’t suitable for use in a savoury dish like sinigang. It’s sweet by itself without needing to add any sugar. I used to wonder if it’s artificially sweetened but then I realised they are not. I recently tried it fresh and its juice tastes the same as bottled. I can’t really say I prefer it though. Memories of home are entwined with every drop of our own buko juice. Ang drama ano? Pero iba pa rin talaga ang nakasanayan at nakalakihan. Agree?

I’m not the one who easily gives up, so I decided to give it another go. Perhaps I told myself, I can try another brand. So, there I was at the grocery aisle and I instinctively grabbed the first one that caught my eye. When I flipped the container to peep at the “made from” label, look at what I found:

Juice ko Lord, produced from the Philippines! This must be a sign, my sinigang sa buko dream is about to come true. Muntik na akong mag-hyperventilate sa tuwa. If you read my previous blog (here), you know that I am a proud advocate of Philippine made products. I had my doubts at first at baka kasi iba ang lasa. To my surprise, para lang akong bumili ng buko sa palengke. Yung sinasalin sa plastic, but obviously minus the coconut meat.

Bago pa maubos sa sobrang excitement, I saved myself some to cook sinigang na alimango. I was finally satisfied with the outcome. This is a simple recipe but it’s bursting with flavour. Of course, you may substitute it with other seafood (like hipon!). I haven’t tried using pork meat though. Mas mabilis kasi lutuin ang seafood plus the liquid doesn’t evaporate much so you’re left with more sabaw. The dami the sabaw, the better right?Heto na po ang recipe at syempre huwag natin kalimutan magluto ng kanin😃

Ingredients:

  • Crabs, thoroughly cleaned and cut
  • 1 cup fresh coconut water
  • Juice of ½ lemon (or 4 calamansi, adjust if you don’t want it too tangy)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 big tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium sized red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sized ginger (be generous if you want the spice to shine through)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (Healthy tip: go easy on salt or fish sauce when cooking shellfish. They already contain high amount of sodium, so you don’t want to add more)
  • Your choice of usual sinigang veggies (kangkong, eggplant, okra, etc.)

How to make:

  • Sauté ginger and onion in oil. Once onion is slightly translucent, add in tomatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. I find that this helps bring out that ginisa flavor better. Tomatoes also sweat a lot quicker, so you can get the juices out. You want that for additional tamis asim.
  • Add the crabs and sauté for less than a minute just to infuse flavours of other ingredients.
  • Pour coconut water and cook until crabs turn slightly orange. Season with fish sauce.
  • Add vegetables last and turn off heat once cooked.

Ang dali ‘di ba? Let me know if you’ve tried it, I would love to hear your thoughts. Better yet, let me know if may iba pang quirky ways to prepare sinigang.

See you until next blog!

Malunggay Milk Cookies

If you are like me who doesn’t drink coffee, tea would most likely be your alternative beverage. I think it’s more exciting anyway with the range of flavors to choose from. My go-to are green tea (I drink this almost everyday), early grey or peppermint. Imagine my delight when I found out it can also be used to flavor food.  I’ve seen recipes where you can use it to smoke meat or even for gravies.

My first encounter of a tea infused treat was when one of my colleagues brought back a darjeeling biscuit (with chocolate) from Japan. Oh my goodness, it was lovely! I was  so smitten that I had to recreate it. The malunggay (moringa) tea sitting in my pantry immediately came to mind. I thought it would add a healthy twist and would make a nice milky flavored cookie.

The result? I will probably make a few more batches because this will be devoured quickly.  It is yummy!  Lucky I restrained myself from eating everything until I can get a decent shot for this blog.  Here’s the recipe in case you want to try it:

malunggay cookie 2

Ingredients:

100g (1/2 cup) plain flour

20g (1 tbsp) tapioca flour (you can just use plain flour but this will make a crunchy outer to the cookie)

40g (1/3 cup) icing sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 bags of malunggay tea

50g (1/4 cup) vegetable oil

50g (1/4 cup) evaporated milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

How to make:

1.)  In a bowl, sift together flour, icing sugar and baking powder. Mix well.

2.) Open malunggay tea bags and pour contents to dry ingredients.

3.) Add oil, evaporated milk and vanilla extract. Mix all ingredients well. The texture will be sticky.

4.) Form the dough into a log and cover in a cling wrap. Put in the fridge and chill until it hardens slightly.

5.) Slice dough evenly (the recipe will yield about 16 pieces of cookies). Form into a ball and flatten to achieve a round shape.

6.) Bake at 180C for about 15 minutes or until sides turn slightly brown.

7.) Remove from oven immediately and transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Enjoy! Let me know if you tried this recipe.

Cheesy Kangkong Dip

I love cheesy dips! One that I would normally buy from grocery is the spinach dip. Of course, homemade is always better than store bought so here’s my own version using a veggie that you are all familiar with — kangkong (water spinach). Yep, you can use it for something else other than sinigang 😊

Ingredients:
3 cups kangkong ‘leaves’ (use leaves only but don’t discard the stem, you can use it for other dishes)
1 small carrots chopped finely
125g (half block) cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise (Japanese style – Kewpie)
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon condensed milk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon onion flakes for topping (optional)
A pinch of salt

How To Make:
✩ Wash kangkong thoroughly and steam for about 3 minutes. (note: best to use chinese kangkong)
✩ Remove kangkong from heat and place in ice cold water to prevent further cooking. Drain and squeeze to take out juices. Once most of the liquid is removed, gather leaves and chop into smaller pieces. Place in a bowl.
✩Put the rest of the ingredients making sure everything is mixed in properly.
✩Adjust taste by adding a pinch of salt. Top with onion flakes.

This recipe also works well as spread for crackers or toast. Hope you enjoy!

Vegan Cheese

Anong lasa ng nutritional yeast or ‘vegan cheese’? Watch the latest video on my youtube channel (link below) or in my IGTV channel (username ritzypixie). Eto po ang payak na recipe ng Tuna Pasta na nasa litrato 😊

Ingredients:

✩ 250g spaghetti noodles
✩1 tbsp olive butter
✩1 small white onion, diced
✩Fresh tomatoes halved (I used cherry tomatoes, you can use whatever is available wag lang canned para mas malasa)
✩ Mushrooms (sliced)
✩1 small can of tuna, drained
✩Nutritional Yeast as substitute for cheese

Procedure:
✩Cook pasta according to package instructions (don’t forget to add salt), drain and set aside. Keep about 3 tbsp. of pasta water.
✩Heat the olive oil and sautee onion

✩Add tomatoes and mushrooms. Do not overcook the mushrooms if using fresh produce. Mabilis magtubig ito and you don’t want it to become soggy. About 2-3 minutes will do.
✩Add in tuna and cook for another minute
✩Add in the pasta and mix well to incorporate the other ingredients, drizzle with the reserved water taken from pasta
✩Sprinkle with a teaspoon of vegan cheese

This recipe doesn’t contain a lot of seasoning dahil yung nutritional yeast na ang pinaka seasoning. Enjoy and let me know if you tried it 😘

Pickled Okra

Smoked fish with pickled papaya (atchara) on a bed of warm rice is one of my favorite Filipino comfort foods. My husband’s lola (granny) makes wicked atchara and I don’t think I will be able to replicate it. The process of making this dish is quite tedious and I haven’t convinced myself yet to give it a go (lazy!). I recently bought my Ball Preserving Starter Kit to make fruit jam since we have an abundance of stone fruits. I looked for recipes at www.freshpreserving.com  and while browsing was surprised to see pickled okra!  I never knew this can be pickled.  I’ve tried bitter melon and radish but not okra.  This vegetable is quite polarizing – either you love or hate it. I personally LOVE, LOVE it. I recreated the recipe (with a few tweaks) and it’s delicious! Super easy to make too. It’s crunchy and perfect partnered with fish or an addition to fresh vegetable salads.

Here’s my version:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds okra
  • 1 small carrot cut thinly
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed

Procedure:

  • Combine vinegar, water, salt, sugar and mustard seed in a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Place the okra, garlic and carrots in properly sterilised jars (pack tightly).
  • Pour hot brine into the jars until all jars are filled up to brim (1/4 headspace).
  • Follow proper water bath canning method if desired. Otherwise, let the jars cool completely before refrigerating.