Pinoy Food for Tapioca's Birthday

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I know it sounds weird to be cooking Pinoy food on Chinese New Year but I did. Chinese cooking is not really my forte (as if I have any forte in cooking, LOLZ!!!). Anyway, this is about Tapioca's favorite Pinoy food and I found an easy to follow recipe courtesy of Mama Sita. I thought I'm gonna cook all three dishes by myself but my brother came up to our house, much to our surprise. Good thing cause he became my assistant the whole time I was cooking.

This post is an account of my cooking experience. I'm making a blog post on this to help me remember. Let me tell you one thing. It was the first time I tried cooking all three dishes. The cookbook was a HUGE help. But before I followed everything on the cookbook, I tried to cross-reference the recipes from some reliable cooking blogs to check if there's something I can tweak on the recipe like add an ingredient or two or try a different approach or techniques.

First dish - Caldereta.

I cooked the Caldereta first. It was super easy. I followed everything on the book from the ingredients to the procedures. The recipe uses the Mama Sita Caldereta mix therefore it did not require you to add any garlic, onions or tomatoes. However, Connie from Casa Veneracion mentioned that a good Caldereta uses a good amount of these stuff and I believe her. Also, Tapioca loves onions. So I sauted a whole bunch of garlic and half a kilo of onions together with the browned  beef. As I was simmering the meat and waiting for it to become tender, I worried about the onions. There's just too much. It's like I'm making French Onion Soup. When the meat was tender, I put the sauce mix in, the potatoes, carrots, bell pepper and olives. While mixing everything up, I realized the onions suddenly vanished - like magic! Tapioca tried it and said it was perfect. He loved it! The sauce tasted like authentic Caldereta. We hardly notice it came from an instant mix.

Second dish - Fresh Lumpia.

For the recipe, it only requires Mama Sita ginisa mix for the veggies. The grocery sold ginisa mix for a whole pack and we never use those in our kitchen. Since I'm out of onions (I used them all for the Caldereta) I went to the nearby sari-sari store and bought the Ajinomoto ginisa mix (they didn't have the Mama Sita brand). Anyway, when I sauted all the veggies, they turned out all right. I added some fish sauce for more flavor and it came out fine. The sauce was very simple and easy to make. The recipe asked for 6 tablespoons of cornstarch. I thought it was too much and also I'm out of cornstarch. I still needed them for the wrapper. While I was boiling the sauce I thought it was not thick enough and that I should have followed the recipe. When the sauce cooled down, it turned into a really thick like paste. Tapioca did not like it. I made a second batch using 2 tablespoon of cornstarch and the consistency was much better.

The wrapper was quite a challenge for me. Making the batter was easy-peasy. Cooking them was not. We only have 2 pans. Big and small. First I used the big one and I couldn't make a round wrapper. Until I have no choice I asked Tapioca to help out. He used the small pan and it worked out right. The problem was it's hard to wrap the veggies in a smaller wrapper. It breaks easily. Tapioca found a solution. He cooked the wrapper a little longer and it helped that he made it a little more thick, too. Sort of like a crepe kind of thickness. The wrapper didn't break but I was still having such a hard time wrapping it.The filling spills out from the lettuce leaf. When we're out of lettuce it became more easy to wrap them. Though having a lettuce leaf makes the lumpia more presentable.

Third dish - Pancit Palabok.

This was the last dish I've prepared. The Palabok I would say was easy, too. Except it requires a lot of ingredients that needs to be prepared separately such as:

- Cook the noodles.
- Boil the pork.
- Boil the shrimps.
- Boil some eggs for the toppings.
- Use the pork stock to make the sauce.
- Grind the chicharon (good thing I already bought a ready made tinapa toppings or else it would it eat up my time picking up the bones.)

Yes the procedure was really easy. Just boil everything. But prep was such a hassle. Sobrang busisi! And it did not help that we only have 2 pots and pans (big and small). So what to do? No choice but wait until one of them is done cooking so I can use the pots.

Now I understand why on every fiesta or celebrations where there's a big handaan they require so many pots and pans because it's necessary to cook things faster. Did I also mention, time is key? Yes it is. Because people are waiting so they can eat because hello they are hungry and lunch time is lunch time. Because I'm being a Martha Stewart wanna be, nastress out ako ng bongga! Hahaha!

Here I am trying the best that I can to wrap the veggies as neat as possible. Promise ang hirap pala lalo na with the lettuce. My kitchen was a mess. Told ya, I was stressed!

Here's the spread . . .

That's the best I can with those lumpia. Then there's the brown sauce for the lumpia. the palabok sauce and the bowl with cover, that's the Caldereta.

In fairness, konti na lang natira. Or because ang tagal kong nagluto nagutom na mga bisita. Lol!!!

This was the cake I bought from Goldilocks . . .

. . .  and the cake innards

This one was given by Dirk . . .

Super moist choco cake with caramel! This cake was super yum! We always pass by Cake 2 Go on our way to work but I can't believe we never tried their products until now.

 The birthday boy with his cake and the leaning brown-out candle. Hahaha!

It was a simple fare with a few friends who came to celebrate with us. Though, it was not what how I would like it to be, what's important is we were together on his special day and he is recovering well.

PuccangGala  – (April 12, 2016 at 5:32 AM)  

Wow patikim ng palabok mo! Hahaha may bago daw anime si rob, punta kami jan :)

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