Last night I was happily perusing Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the World and out of curiousity looked for recipes from the Philippines. I found three: chicken adobo, sweet garlic soy sauce, and lumpia rolls. Granted, a lot of the recipes labeled "Southeast Asia" could also be considered Filipino, especially yummies like the sweet sticky rice with mangoes.
But I was disappointed that Bittman wrote, "The Philippines is not known for its cuisine...." It's true that when we have guests over it's MoBob who cooks the blockbuster Moroccan dishes. It's true that Moroccan restaurants vastly outnumber Filipino restaurants. It's true that a lot of people aren't as familiar with Filipino food as other SE Asian cuisines such as Vietnamese or Thai. But it's still my favorite cuisine - for emotional reasons in addition to gastronomic ones. I didn't realize how much until I noticed that my main reference for Filipino food, Nora Daza, is someone whose cookbooks grace my mother's kitchen as well. When I look at the author photo of "Let's Cook with Nora" I see my mom with the same bouffant hairdo in the kitchen in New Jersey with her fellow student nurses.
* eggplant and tomato salad
* lumpia rolls
* chicken adobo with fried rice
* pancit (cheat sheet recipe below)
* leche flan
* bibingka (several recipes)
Kaz Sushi Bistro's Asian Vegetable Noodles
Kazuhiro ("Kaz") Okochi is a Washington, D.C., chef whose bistro has garnered many awards.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
12 cups water
1/2 pound vermicelli noodles
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, julienne
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
5 large, fresh shiitake mushrooms (or any kind of fresh mushroom)
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne
1/2 carrot, shredded
1 bunch (about 5) scallions, julienne
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring water to a boil. Add noodles and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Set aside.
Saute onion, ginger and garlic in vegetable oil in a small pan for 10 minutes or until soft. Add next 6 ingredients and saute 5-10 minutes more. Add noodles to pan, toss with vegetables, add remaining sesame oil and black pepper, and heat through, about 2 minutes.
(Shape Magazine 1/2003)
"What? No spaghetti?" *grin*
When I left for college, I ralized I wasn't going to be able to easily get Filipino cooking any more. So I went over to some of my mom's friends' house and learned how to make lumpia and pancit. I'm a good cook (I do it profesionally once a week now), but my lumpia and pancit were never as good as the slowly-cooling stuff that would come over for every church potluck.
Filipino cooking is wonderful. I probably have an emotional attachment to it, too, but it's also just plain good.