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!

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 😘

Pansit Ala Ritz

Pansit noodles made in the Philippines sa Woolies! Isa ang Woolworths (Woolies for short) sa biggest grocery chains in Australia and it’s such a delight to see our products slowly making their way to international grocery shelves. I said ‘slowly’ because I’ve only seen few items so far: dried mangoes and eto nga, pansit. Most of the Asian products are from Japan, Thailand or China. Unless you go to specialty stores where there’s a wider selection (bagoong, sardines to name a few). Kaya everytime we do grocery shopping and I find ‘Product of the Philippines’ written on the label, my heart skips a beat. As in wide eyes with gaping mouth moment. Pati presyo, makalaglag panga (note to self: tigilan ang pag convert to PhP!). In any case, nakakatuwa at nakaka excite to patronize Pinoy goods.

Alam natin na pansit is an extremely popular Filipino food. It’s one of my personal favorites which I associate with festivities. Birthdays, New Year or even Christmas celebration feels incomplete kung wala nito.  Dapat always present sa handaan. At the same time, it also reminds me of relaxed afternoons back home where it’s easily prepared for a quick merienda. Kasi naman, the ingredients are quite simple and readily available. Kung tinatamad naman magluto, go to the nearest carinderia at for sure may mabibiling ready to eat na.

Dito sa Australia, meron din naman sa mga Chinese restaurants or takeaway counters sa food court. Iba’t iba din ang klase. Pero for me, the best pa rin talaga yung Pinoy version. Isa pa, parang hindi uso sa kanila na i-partner ang lemon (wala ditong calamansi). Hindi ka bibigyan when you order. How odd ‘no? It’s a sacrilege! Sa atin kasi automatic na kasama yun. Kahit nga ga-patak lang ang ma squeeze from a tiny piece, ayos na rin.

Dahil nga it’s almost a staple sa hapag kainan, I wasn’t surprised nung na mention ito sa akin ng isa sa gym nutritionist from our workplace. He’s an Aussie na may Filipina girlfriend. We were chatting about his recent trip sa Pinas. He talked about the places he visited and foods he tried. He asked me if I know how to cook pansit. Syempre proud ako, so I said with full conviction ‘of course!’ (gosh, can I even call myself Filipino if I don’t know how?). Medyo natigilan ako sa next question nya. He asked kung ang version ko daw ba ay yung halos puro noodles lang? Na observe daw nya na mabibilang lang ang lahok na gulay. Hindi kaya instant pansit canton ang nakain nya? Well, I told him na nilalagyan ko naman ng kerots at beans especially pag sinisipag mag gayat. May karne din, basta depende kung ano ang mahalungkat sa fridge. Hindi na rin ako masyado nag elaborate at hahaba pa ang usapan. Ayoko din ma nosebleed pa lalo. Pumunta nga ako that time sa gym para magpaka healthy tapos ini-istress nya ko sa kaka-explain.

Kaya ang post na ito ay para rin sayo, nawa ay mabasa mo. Kindly turn your google translate on (pahirapan kita ng kaunti, makaganti man lang). This is my version of pansit at nilagyan ko ng gulay galore: carrots, cabbage, snow peas and red capsicum. Syempre with lemon para semi-authentic Pinoy style.

Kayo, anong favorite nyo isahog sa pansit?

Buhay OZ

Limang taon. Matagal na rin pala pero parang kailan lang. I can still remember the first time I set foot in Australia. It feels like yesterday. Ang bilis talaga ng panahon. Tumatanda na tayo (isama na din kita, damay damay na). Tulad ng libu-libong migrante sa bansang ito, madami dami na din akong nadiskubre sa uri ng pamumuhay dito. May nakakatuwa, nakakainis, nakaka-shock at kung anu ano pa. Pero kahit ano pa man, I have come to love this place that we now call home (naks).

Heto ang ilan sa mga na observe ko that I wanted to share with you. Dahil limang taon, lima lang din. Pasensya na slow learner, isa lang talaga kada taon ang learning capacity. Tsaka mahirap mag-isip. I-blog ko na lang next year pag may idadagdag pa.

WEEKEND

They are big on weekends. Sa office, ang tanong sa ‘yo every Friday ay: “What’s the plan for the weekend?” Minsan wala naman talaga akong plan kundi kumain at matulog. Pero actually nakakahiya din naman kung panay ganun ang sagot. Kaya Thursday pa lang nag re-ready na rin ako ng iba’t ibang sagot na ganun din naman ang meaning – “Oh, just a quiet weekend for us” o kaya “Just the usual household stuff” pasado na din diba? Tapos pagdating naman ng Monday, weekend pa din ang topic: “How was your weekend?”.  Grabe, hindi maka move on. Ok din dahil nakakakuha ako ng idea kung anong pwedeng ganap pag weekends.

OUTDOORS

Maraming outdoor activities dito. Parang they are so used to spending time outside and being active. They start young kasi you will see kids playing soccer every weekend while their parents cheer them on. Pwede ka mag bike kasi may mga dedicated bike lanes, maraming walking trails at mga park. Magaganda ang mga beach that you can visit during summer. Maybe this is also why everyone looks forward to the weekend. There are plenty of things to do and you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy them. Halos lahat nga libre. So yes, madami na din actually ako naisasagot sa tuwing matatanong ng golden question na “what’s the plan for the weekend?”.

ABBREVIATIONS

Nung first month ko sa work, may email yung amo ko, may cinirculate kasi na card para sa isang intern na aalis. Sabi “Can you please return the card to me this arvo?” Ha? Anu daw? Anong arvo? Buti na lang laging to the rescue si google. Afternoon pala yun! Ikaw ma ge-gets mo yun? Hindi ko matanggap na yun ang shortcut for afternoon, bakit hindi aftie?

Ang daming abbreviation dito: brollie for umbrella, macca’s ang tawag dito sa McDo, devo for devastated. May nag greet pa sa amin before: Merry Chrissie! (for Merry Christmas).  OMG.

May mga terms din sila na iba sa American words.  They call gas as petrol, running shoes as joggers, candies ay lollies. Nag order ako nung first week ko sa work ng “fries”. Ayun, binigyan ako ng rice. My face must have looked so confused kaya tinanong ako if that was what I wanted. So I said, actually I wanted that – sabay turo sa fries. Sabi sa akin “Oh, you wanted CHIPS!”

FRUITS AND VEGGIES

Dahil dugong Pinoy, one time nagbaon ako ng kanin at itlog for breakfast. Someone saw me and asked, “Rice for breakfast???” with matching nanlalaking mata.  Sabi ko “I’m Asian, I even eat rice for snack and dessert”.  In fact hindi ako choosy, I can eat anything, mag ingat ka baka kainin din kita –  pero hindi ko na yan sinabi baka matanggal ako sa work.

Sila kasi nakakabilib, mahilig talaga sa fruits and veggies (ang karamihan). Yun ang lagi nilang kinakain. Sa office may free fruits every Monday and Wednesday for all employees. Sa grocery nga may fruit basket, kids can get for free while the parents do their shopping. Sa food court there is also an abundance of healthy food options. So bakit panay pa rin ang rice ko? Bakit, healthy din naman yun ah! Tsaka basahin mo yung next section.

WAPAKELS

Actually, in general wala talagang paki alamanan dito. Gawin mo kung anong gusto mo kinda thing, (yah know)? This is one of what I love most, as in to the highest level ang appreciation ko sa “wapakels attitude” ng mga tao dito. Nakakapag 2 piece ng hindi na ja judge. Pata here, pata there, pata everywhere! Nakakapag suot ng kahit anong trip mo without the apprehension na pansinin ka for it. Neighbors don’t go shouting ‘san ang punta mo???’ when you step outside the house. They respect your privacy and expect you of course to do the same for them.

Pero hindi pa din ako fully ‘aussified’ sa larangan ng wapakels. Na sha shock pa din kasi ako pag nakakakita ako ng mga nag hahalikan in broad daylight.  Napapa second look pa rin ako kahit pilit kong iniisip na that’s sooooo normal! Naiinggit kasi ako, gagawin nga rin namin yan (chos!).  Hindi lang ata talaga ako sanay. Let’s see, baka after 5 more years I will be a 101% wapakels girl.

And that’s it. Don’t know what else is in store for us, but I think there will be heaps (mahilig sila sa heaps heaps dito kaya nakiki heaps na din kami) more to learn 😊

See you until next blog!