Categories
dessert Filipino Instant Pot recipes

Mom’s Leche Flan (Instant Pot Version)

leche flan

My mom had a stroke 11 years ago and as a result, she hasn’t been able to do a lot of cooking since then, especially not something as fussy as making a leche flan. Last year (Christmas 2015), my mom said she wanted to make leche flan for Christmas. She tried to talk me through the process, but they didn’t turn out as well as she wanted, which frustrated and saddened her because making leche flan was one of her specialities.

As Christmas 2016 approached, I thought about making leche flan again, especially after seeing a sous vide version on Betty Ann Besa-Qurino’s blog. However, like many people in the last couple of years, I bought an Instant Pot on Amazon and have been fascinated with the cult-like community that has emerged. One of the first things I thought of doing when I got Instant Pot was seeing if you could pressure cook a leche flan. The answer is a definite “Yes,” and it’s so easy that making flan is no longer a chore.

I used my mom’s recipe, which I’ve modified since I originally posted it, and referred to Amy and Jacky’s Creme Caramel post at Pressure Cooker Recipes to figure out the timing. I used small ramekins to make this for Christmas, but you should be able to use any pan or mold that fits in the Instant Pot to make this.

Ingredients

7 egg yolks
1 egg
2 cups evaporated milk
1 tsp. lemon extract or lemon zest
1 cup sugar
Extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar to caramelize before adding the rest of the mixture

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and gently whisk (or use a hand or stand mixer on the lowest speed) to mix the custard together. To ensure the smoothness of the custard, you should strain the mixture while before pouring it into the baking dish or mold.
  2. Place extra sugar in a small pan and heat it over medium heat until the sugar melts and browns.
  3. Pour caramelized sugar into your baking pan or mold so it coats the bottom.
  4. Add custard mixture to your baking pan or mold on top of the caramelized sugar.
  5. Cover the baking pan or mold with foil and place it into Instant Pot on top of the trivet or steaming rack. I was able to fit 4 small ramekins in my 6-quart Instant Pot.
  6. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot.
  7. Cook on High for 9 minutes and let it naturally release.
  8. Remove from Instant Pot and let cool on the counter. You can also refrigerate the leche flan after it reaches room temperature if you’re making this ahead of time.
  9. When you’re ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the flan. Place a serving plate on top of the pan and invert it quickly. Be careful not to spill! When properly executed, the flan will be golden brown on top and yellowish on the bottom.
Categories
dessert Filipino recipes

Froot Loops Cereal Milk Philippine Ice Candy

Confession: The subject of this latest Kulinarya challenge is completely new to me!

I had never heard of Philippine Ice Candy until Jun Belen brought it up to me as we were discussing this month’s challenge. I was born in California and didn’t grow up eating Philippine ice candy. I grew up on Popsicles and Fudgesicles, Push-Ups and the occasional Otter Pop when I was at a friend’s house. Oh…and Thrifty ice cream. Remember when triple scoops of Thrifty’s legendary Chocolate Malted Krunch were 15 cents? Yeah…I’m that old. :)

Ice candy is typically made using long plastic bags that are tied at the top. These bags are usually 1½x10 inches and from what I hear, can be found in the US in Filipino markets. I didn’t have a chance to get to my usual spots, but I found 2×10 inch bags on eBay, which produce a thicker ice candy, which was just fine with me. Use your favorite popsicle mold if you can’t find the bags.

While doing research for this challenge, I loved seeing all the different ways ice candy is served in the Philippines; the use of fresh fruits is pretty mind-boggling. But if I was going to do this challenge any justice, I’d have to draw from the memories of my own American childhood.

Cereal Milk Ice Candy
Fruity Pebbles Ice Candy (center) guarded by Froot Loops Ice Candy.

Cereal milk has always been an indulgence, especially when artificially flavored fruity or chocolately cereals are involved. It’s analogous to the icing on the cake; an extra reward after finishing off something delectable and sweet. Over the past few years, cereal milk’s popularity grew when it became a drink and a featured ingredient at David Chang’s Momofuku Milk Bar. Bottles of cereal milk, cereal milk soft serve ice cream, and cereal milk panna cotta — along with Milk Bar’s compost cookie — made Momofuku pastry chef Christina Tosi famous, and the official Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook was released in October 2011.

You don’t really need to follow the recipe in the book…cereal milk is made by simply steeping cereal in milk and then straining it. Tosi adds a little brown sugar and salt after steeping to balance flavors, but your own taste buds will let you know if you’re satisfied with the flavor after steeping. Tosi’s recipes use toasted Corn Flakes, Fruity Pebbles, and Cap’n Crunch, but you can use whatever cereal you want. Serious Eats has a fantastic post about the best chocolate cereal to make chocolate cereal milk (they preferred Cocoa Puffs and I concur with them that Cocoa Pebbles are generally awful.


Making a batch of Cocoa Puffs cereal milk.

For this version, I used Froot Loops because they were my favorite fruity cereal when I was a kid (and I was always kind of a Kellogg’s loyalist). My first batch of cereal milk was made with Fruity Pebbles using the Momofuku recipe. I liked it a lot, especially for the color, but it was really sweet. I made a second batch with Froot Loops, which I freestyled, and was really happy with the results. Froot Loops aren’t as sweet as Fruity Pebbles, which I preferred, but you’ll miss out on the pretty peach pink color. The Momofuku cereal milk recipe is below, but feel free to make your cereal milk however you like. :)

Fruity Pebbles Cereal Milk (from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook)

2 cups (100g) Fruity Pebbles
3¾ cup (825g) cold milk (I used 1%)
2 Tbsp (30g) tightly packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp (1g) kosher salt

  1. Crush the Fruity Pebbles with your hands until it’s the texture of coarse sand.
  2. In a large pitcher, add milk and crushed cereal and stir vigorously. Steep mixture for 20 minutes at room temperature
  3. Strain milk into a bowl using a fine mesh sieve
  4. Whisk brown sugar and salt into the milk until fully dissolved. Store in a glass pitcher or milk jug, refrigerated, for up to one week. (I doubt it will last that long!)

Cereal Milk Ice Candy (inspired by Busog Sarap)

2 cups cereal milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl or blender and stir to combine.
  2. Use a funnel to fill the bags leaving enough room so you can tie them off at the top. Tina at Pinay in Texas has some really good instructions on how to do this.
  3. Place ice candy on flat on a tray or plate and put them in the freezer for at least 8 hours. When they’re ready, the ice candy will be firm but not rock hard.
  4. Cut the knot off the ice bag and enjoy! :)

You can join the Kulinarya Cooking Club too!
Categories
breakfast Filipino kulinarya recipes

Tocino and Blue Potato Hash

This is my first post for the Kulinarya Cooking Club, a collection of Filipino food bloggers that celebrates Filipino cuisine every month. This month’s theme was the “Colors of the Philippine Flag,” which doesn’t sound hard until you consider that there isn’t a lot of blue food from which to choose. The rules did allow for garnishes or dishes to be used to represent the color blue, but I wanted it to be a main component of the dish.

My original idea was to do tocino chilaquiles, but I thought that was a little too easy since I would’ve simply bought a bag of blue tortilla chips. The hash idea evolved naturally from there, and blue potatoes was a natural choice. I wanted to tocino to represent the color red, and I used Jun Belen’s tocino recipe. I’ve been experimenting with tocino recipes for awhile, but I wanted to try Jun’s recipe because I like its simplicity and his use of red beet powder as a coloring agent. I added red bell pepper at the end for a more “pure” red color, since the tocino’s redness would diminish a bit when cooking. To round out the colors, I used a sunny egg for the yellow and white, which also fairly accurately represents the sun on Philippine flag.

For the technique, I pretty much followed the steps for the corned beef hash at Simply Recipes. It’s really straightforward and easily adaptable. Thanks, Elise!

I think I should’ve maybe used some yukon gold or other light-colored potato to maybe help the blue potatoes stand out more, but in the end, it was delicious and that’s all that really matters. :)

Tocino and Blue Potato Hash

(adapted from Simply Recipes.)

1 lb. cooked tocino, finely chopped
1½ cups cooked blue potatoes, diced
½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat butter in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) on medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes, until translucent.
  2. Mix in the chopped tocino and potatoes. Spread out evenly over the pan. Increase the heat to high or medium high and press down on the mixture with a metal spatula.
  3. Do not stir the potatoes and tocino, but let them brown. If you hear them sizzling, this is good. Use a metal spatula to peak underneath and see if they are browning. If nicely browned, use the spatula to flip sections over in the pan so that they brown on the other side. Press down again with the spatula. If there is too much sticking, you can add a little more butter to the pan. Continue to cook in this manner until the potatoes and the tocino are nicely browned.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in chopped red bell pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Top with fried or poached eggs for breakfast.
Categories
dessert Filipino street food

Puto Bumbong

Puto Bumbong is a Filipino delicacy that’s traditionally served during the Christmas season in the Philippines. It literally translates to steamed glutinous rice (puto) cooked in bamboo (bumbong), and it’s a staple at my best friend’s house, where we gather for Noche Buena at midnight on Christmas Eve. The purple color comes from the mixture of sweet rice and black rice (pirurutong), but I’ve seen recipes that call for purple food coloring, which is obviously cheating! Puto bumbong is served with butter, sugar and freshly grated coconut on top. I asked my friend’s mom if she would show me how to make puto bumbong, and she was happy to oblige.

Puto Bumbong
Dave Chappelle says “I want that purple stuff!”

Cooking puto bumbong is fairly quick but preparing the rice is a three-day process. On the first day, you take a mixture of equal parts of sweet rice and pirurutong and soak it overnight. On the second day, you take the mixture and grind it in a blender. (In the Philippines, you’d traditionally use a grinding stone of some kind.) Then the mixture is placed in a cotton sack (like a flour sack) for another day in order to drain any excess water. Since it’s generally warm at Christmastime in the Philippines, you’d simply hang the bag outside and let gravity do the work. With the colder winters here in the States, better results are obtained by putting a heavy weight on the bag to force the excess water out.

The rice mixture should be ready the next day, and it should be moist, not dry. The next step is to use your hands to mix it up and break up any clumps.

Purple Rice Mixture
Clumps are bad.

To cook the puto bumbong, you need a special steamer. This one has three holes on top so that the steam can escape and cook the puto in the bamboo. The cloth wrapped around the bamboo helps prevent burnt hands.

Puto Bumbong Steamer

Simply fill up the bamboo with the rice mixture and put it on top of the steamer. You can tell when it’s done when the rice turns dark purple and kind of shrinks into the bamboo.

Three Different Stages of Doneness
Clockwise from top: almost done, just started (light purple), and finished (dark purple).

Before you remove the puto bumbong from the bamboo, hold the top of the bamboo over the steam to finish cooking the end that was farthest away from the steam.

Finishing the Ends...
Finish off the tip.

To remove from the bamboo, hold the bamboo in your left hand…then hit the pinky side of your left hand against your right palm by the base of your thumb. The puto bumbong should plop onto plate.

Puto Bumbong with Butter
Lots of butter is very important!

To finish, slather the puto bumbong with butter and then top it with freshly grated coconut and sugar (either white or brown). In the Philippines, puto bumbong is sold by street vendors after Mass during Christmas week and is wrapped in banana leaves so customers can take it with them. Since we normally enjoy these at home, we just eat it fresh from the steamer…no banana leaves required.

Thanks to my Tita Lety for showing me how this delicious Christmas treat is made. It’s always great going to their house on Christmas Eve for Noche Buena just a few hours after finishing our own Christmas Dinner.

Categories
Filipino Oakland reviews

Pulled Pork Adobo Sandwich at Cafe Gabriela – Oakland, CA

Pulled Pork Adobo Sandwich

Cafe Gabriela has been open for around seven months and it’s a couple blocks from my office, but I never thought about going there until my friend Luis told me they served a pulled pork adobo sandwich. After I read that tweet, I immediately left the office to go get some lunch.

The adobo is cooked long enough so that the pork pulls apart easily, and flavorwise, I really liked that you can actually taste the vinegar. It’s served topped with onions and any juices are absorbed by a perfectly toasted baguette. Owner Penny Bee, who named the business after Philippine heroine Gabriela Silang, developed the recipe herself and says she’s gotten several requests for a chicken adobo sandwich, as well.

Aside from their signature adobo sandwich, Cafe Gabriela’s other menu options include a turkey cranberry sandwich and an heirloom tomato salad. They also make a point to showcase some of the East Bay’s best businesses, including The Bread Workshop, Blue Bottle Coffee, Arizmendi Bakery, and Pepples Donuts.

I’ve been desperate for Filipino lunch options since I started working in downtown Oakland in February. With Cafe Gabriela and the newly opened No Worries vegan Filipino restaurant just a few blocks in the other direction, my Filipino lunch cravings are finally satisfied.

Cafe Gabriela
988 Broadway
(between 9th St & 10th St)
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 763-2233
Facebook

Categories
Filipino pork recipes sandwiches

Homemade Pork Tocino

A few weeks ago, I got this urge to make my tocino, the sweet cured pork that’s a staple Philippine breakfast meat. It’s probably most commonly served as tosilog, which is portmanteau of tocino, sinangag (garlic fried rice), and itlog (eggs). (I discuss “silogs” in my Best Breakfast Ever post from a few years ago.)

Tosilog - Cherry GardenTosilog — the breakfast of champions (from Cherry Garden in Fremont, CA)

My first attempt at tocino used the simple salt/sugar/achuete cure from the book Memories of Philippine Kitchens by Chef Romy Dotoran and Amy Besa of New York’s famous-but-now-closed Cendrillon. but that recipe didn’t work for me at all. The tocino ended up being way too salty, and it was almost inedible. (There’s a good chance that the recipe’s failure was my fault, so I’ll have to revisit it one of these days.)

While discussing my tocino plans with a couple other food bloggers on Twitter, Mark Manguerra of No Special Effects said that he’d always want to try Simply Anne’s tocino recipe, so I decided to give it a shot. In short, the recipe is good and with a few adjustments, the tocino was exactly what I wanted.

Pork Tocino

(adapted from Simply Anne’s.)

3 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
1¼ cups pineapple juice
½ cup ketchup
½ cup lemon-lime soda
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Freeze pork shoulder roast for an hour or so to firm it up so that it’s easier to slice. Cut 1/4-inch slices of pork shoulder and place in a one gallon zipper-lock plastic bag.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in bowl and then add to the meat. Seal the bag, doing your best to remove excess air. Let the pork cure in the refrigerator for a 4-5 days, flipping over the bag every day or so.
  3. After curing, you can either cook the meat or portion them off into smaller bags and freeze them.
  4. To cook the tocino, add a little water, marinade and a few slices of meat to a skillet. Over medium heat, let the liquid boil off and then fry the meat for a couple more minutes to caramelize it. There’s a lot of sugar in the marinade so make sure you don’t burn the meat.

    You can also grill the tocino, which is my ideal method, by searing both sides on a grill over high heat and then letting them finish cooking over low or indirect heat. You can replicate this method indoors using a grill pan to sear and a low oven (around 250F) to finish.

Grilled TocinoPan frying tocino is traditional, but I prefer it grilled.

There’s a lot of tocino in that picture, isn’t there? I’ll show you what I did with it in my next post… :)

Categories
beef Filipino recipes

Making Tapa with Dad

Ready to broil...

Tapa is Filipino cured beef that is similar to beef jerky, and when I was home last weekend, my dad was raving about the homemade tapa he started making recently. He was eager to show me how it’s done, so I pulled out my camera and followed him step by step.

  1. Dad uses three pounds of thinly sliced sirloin tip steaks that he gets at the local Mexican supermarket and cuts it into equal-sized strips with scissors.
  2. Cut into Strips
  3. Next, he marinates it for 10 hours in a basic mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and sugar.

    Tapa Marinade
    ½ cup soy sauce
    ½ cup vinegar
    6-8 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 Tbsp. sugar

  4. Marinated for around 10 hours
  5. After marinating, the meat gets layered in a food dehydrator that will run for 12 hours. A dehydrator simplifies the process of making tapa, but if you don’t have one, you can always use Alton Brown’s box fan method, which Burnt Lumpia did when he made his tapa. I don’t have a dehydrator, but I do have a box fan, so I’m going to use this method next time.
    Dehydrate for 12 hours
  6. After 12 hours, the tapa looks like this…
  7. All dried out...If Lisa Lisa saw this, she’d say it was “all dried out.”
  8. My dad is insistent on broiling the tapa for two minutes a side because I think he’s averse to frying in general, but frying the tapa in a little oil is a great way to finish it off before serving. One of the most popular ways to enjoy it is for breakfast in tapsilog (tapa, garlic fried rice (sinangag) and eggs (itlog)), which is how I like to eat it.
  9. Homemade TapsilogTapsilog with Dad’s Homemade Tapa.

Last weekend I was home attending my high school reunion, so I’m not going to be home for Father’s Day this year. When I was a kid, it was my dad’s garlic fried rice that woke me up on Sunday mornings, and when I was out on my own, trying to replicate that simple dish was one of the reasons I started cooking. My mom had a stroke five years ago, and dad has been responsible for taking care of her—cooking all the meals, making sure she’s exercising and doing her therapy, and more importantly, keeping her smiling and laughing.

So this post is for you, dad. Happy Father’s Day, and I can’t wait to hear more of your culinary secrets.

Categories
Filipino hot dog recipes

Filipino Spaghetti 2.0 (Holy Trinity Version)

After my first post on Filipino spaghetti, I was pretty satisfied with myself and didn’t really have a desire to make drastic changes to my methods. But during my appearance on Kababayan LA last week, I told host Jannelle So that I had Martin PureFoods red hot dogs in hand and was ready to make a more “authentic” version of Filipino spaghetti. Over the weekend, I dropped by Island Pacific Market in Union City and picked up two more items—a bottle of Jufran banana sauce (ketchup, really) and a blue can of Kraft Cheddar “Cheese” (or as a reader called it…”Krap Chis”)—to complete the Holy Trinity of Filipino Spaghetti.

Holy Trinity of Filipino Spaghetti :)
Categories
Ad Hoc entertainment Filipino SPAM Thomas Keller

Inuyaki.com Featured on Kababayan LA

I didn’t do a very good job promoting this appearance, but I was the featured blogger on Kababayan LA’s weekly segment known as Viral Thursdays. Hosted by Jannelle So, Kababayan LA is a LA18’s daily Filipino newsmagazine show. It airs weekday afternoons at 4:30pm on Channel 18 in Southern California.

I thought the interview went really well, and we talked about a range of topics, including my blogging origins, Ad Hoc’s Swine and Wine and my Filipino Spaghetti post, which Jannelle said gave her a Jollibee craving.

Here’s the video. My segment starts at the 57-second mark.




When I was talking about the Ad Hoc Swine and Wine, they showed some random pictures of lechon as I was talking, probably because I didn’t have any other pictures of the actual Ad Hoc pig posted here. I thought that was pretty funny.

Despite how serious I look, I had a really good time. I wasn’t able to see Jannelle during the interview, so I was forced to respond to her questions while staring into my laptop camera, which was awkward. Luckily, my face isn’t on screen as much as it could have been.

Thanks to Jannelle and everyone at Kababayan LA for having me on the show. Let’s do it again some time!

Categories
Filipino hot dog recipes

Filipino Spaghetti

UPDATE: Check out my Filipino Spaghetti 2.0 post for another version of this dish)

Filipinos love spaghetti…so much so that it’s a staple at fast-food restaurants in the Philippines, including American franchises like KFC and Wendy’s. The Philippines biggest fast-food chain, Jollibee, offers burgers, fried chicken and spaghetti under one roof, and lucky for me, there’s a bunch of them here in California.

Filipino spaghetti is sweeter than a traditional Italian spaghetti, usually from the addition of sugar or banana ketchup to the sauce. It’s other defining characteristic is hot dogs, which sounds weird to non-Pinoys, but it acts as a salty counterpoint to the sweet sauce. (I always knew there was a reason I was partial to Spaghetti O’s with Sliced Franks when I was a kid.)

Filipino Spaghetti

I generally freestyle my spaghetti, but I always start with a plain sauce (like canned Hunt’s or Del Monte) to use as a base since other ingredients are going to be added. A friend who makes her own excellent version of Filipino spaghetti swears by Prego. I prefer using sugar as a sweetener instead of banana ketchup since it’s something I always have on hand.