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SobaAddict70

Filipino Food Is Fantastic!

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Your mom is likely right stef (and btw welcome). There is always that everyday version and the special treat take in most cuisines and Filipino cooking is specially observant of this due to differences in resources. Kind of squares with our adage “kung maikli and kumot magtiis mamaluktot” (loosely, suffer sleeping in fetal position if your blanket is too short). My family has a solecism for dishes that do not benefit from a complete larder. Pancit moto is a noodle dish with missing ingredients, moto being a literal equivalent of the French manqué. It also kind of hi-lites my strong opposition to the dismissive preconception that any cuisine can only aspire to two stars at most. If that is the case then, why is it that Japanese food which is essentially a cuisine of poverty due to the restrictions imposed on Japanese life by the shoguns achieved the enviable status scaled by Masa? But I digress. You are right too about estofado being another name for a jazzed up paksiw na pata. In most of Rizal and Laguna it is even an indispensable dish for the most festive preparation of the year, the Christmas table. In Bataan where I grew up, however, estofado(a) is invariably linked with lengua. It was this link that made me notice a dish in Simca’s Cuisine by Simone Beck, one of Julia Child’s original cooking partners, called étoufade de trois viande, an estofado (as in lengua) of pork, beef and lamb complete with green olives. I noticed later too that our mechado is but a simplified version of boeuf en daube.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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I agree! There are everyday versions for dishes. The basic afritada is livened up with added ingredients for a special occasion. There's also an everyday kare-kare.

We also have a paksiw na pata which is for ordinary days and a lengua estofado like what Apicio mentioned.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to do a taxonomy of Philippine cuisine?


Edited by PPPans (log)

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PPPan, a culinary map is what we need. A geography based food nomenclature system that can serve as baedecker for a forager roaming the Philippines because the territory is just riddled with false cognates. Eight years ago I paid a retired friend in Cebu a visit. I know very well that this friend is not into food so he was completely useless as a food guide. You know how you have certain expectations based on names of dishes, well I ordered pochero in one of the better restaurants with my mouth welling with the expectation of a pot of pochero and the accompanying eggplant and/or calabasa with garlic vinaigrette. It turned out that pochero was their term for our nilaga. And you know how travelling antique collectors are always on the look out for what else, antique shops? Well my pilot light is always on for mami and shopao. My one week visit was almost over and I have’nt seen yet any place for mami and shopao. Mmm very strange and as I said my friend was no help at all. I was already sitting in the plane going back when it suddenly dawned on me that that was what all the famous bachoy signs were trying to tell me.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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Oh, how about the cocido which ranges from nilaga to sinigang? :biggrin:

Apicio, perhaps we can start that culinary map as a new thread? I'm sure many eGullet Filipinos will have a lot to contribute.


Edited by PPPans (log)

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Still in the subject of everyday and feastday versions of Filipino dishes, if you ever wondered what sets apart a common inabraw from dinengdeng, there is a book called Philippine Food & Life by Gilda Cordero-Fernando from 1992 that celebrates the regional culinary cultures of (unfortunately limited only to) the main provinces of Luzon. Profusely and beautifully illustrated too with stylish line drawings of Manuel Baldemor. And then there is also that highly reputed Kapampangan cookbook in the Kapampangan language of Mariano Henson whose recurring mention in every food discussion infuriatingly omits mentioning whether it was ever published.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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And back to desserts, so what was for dessert when we were young? Usually the different varieties of eating-out-of-hand bananas, that was always in season. Also papaya and avocado. Strictly seasonal were water melon, cantaloupe and the mealy indigenous melon that is made into a cold drink. Fried sliced sweet potato (camote) and cassaba (kamoteng kahoy) quartered cylinders in heavy syrup. Ripe plantain (saba) sliced lengthwise three-ways and fried, sprinkled with sugar and doused with rum (reputed to be MLQ’s favorite), sliced cross-wise and boiled in very light syrup, wrapped in spring roll wrapper and fried (turron, with or without the jackfruit flavoring) or mashed and formed into patties and fried (maruya). Frozen custard apple (caimito), stripped green coconut meat in its own sweet water, or grated and bound with custard and made into bonbons. Candied grated coconut (bukayo). On fridays at lunch time we always counted on iced sweet porridge made out of mung beans unless it was rainy when we got it as a hot sweet soup.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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On dinengdeng and inabraw, some Ilocana bloggers say it's practically the same. My theory is it may be, perhaps same dish with different names from different Ilocano provinces - just like how in the same province, Kapampangans call buro tagilo and balo-balo. What does Ms. Cordero-Fernando say?

On Mariano Henson's cookbook, I'll check with the Center for Kapampangan Studies if it was published and get back to you on that.

Desserts! Yes, you just succeeded in making my mouth water, Apicio! Interestingly, I was telling my mom the other day how I only encountered the term 'turon saging' in Manila because it goes by the name 'lumpiang saguin' in Pampanga. 'Turon' for us only means 'turrones de casoy' and further reinforced because one of the original makers are our neighbours! :biggrin:


Edited by PPPans (log)

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Apparently, inabraw is the Tagalog translation of ulam which, forced in the straight-jacket of western taxonomy, is translated as viand. Viand means meat (specially in French) which both inabraw and ulam, typically, are anything but. In Ilocos, of course, inabraw is almost always dinengdeng and on very special occasions or in all too rare fits of splurging may be pinakbet.

Funny enough, we also called turron “lumpiang saging.” It is called pastrak outside our home and valencia if you go as far as the next town. There again goes the moving target of random nomenclature. And your neighbour’s turron, of course, is the real turron, decadent descendant of the famous honey and eggwhite confection of the great almond producing coast of the Mediterranian. I find the Italian version dangerously tooth breaking, a lot scarier than the Spanish version. Our’s of course is the best, just the right balance of chewy brittleness, filled with a far tastier than almond local cashew nuts, and an immaculate wafer not just as liner to prevent sticking but wrapping the thin morsel in its own heavenly host.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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Ah, how interesting! Thanks for that info, Apicio! That reminds me of our asan, which is Kapampangan for ulam but we use it to mean fish too. If we wish to distinguish fish with ulam, the former becomes asan danum - danum meaning water. Always interesting to do a bit of anthropology!

Will we create a culinary map? I'm game, just tell me what to do! :smile:

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Still on the topic of Filipino desserts - Filipino immigrants who arrived here in the sixties and seventies remember the time when they had to search high and low for cooking bananas (plantain or saba). Only the West Indian stores sold them and what they sold was very expensive and of dubious quality since more often than not they never ripened. So we started experimenting with what was abundant and available and fell upon the common apple as filling for turron. Those who settled in communities bordering the great lakes are even more fortunate because this is the home and birthplace of the cosummate pie apple called Northern Spy. These apples are great for cooking because they do not loose their fall flavour and they hold their shape under fire which you cannot say about the rest that just turn to mush when heated. These days when city limits have sprawled into the countryside most anywhere, one has to drive around only a few minutes to reach a farmer’s produce stand that in the olden days we drove half a day for to reach.

Now I would say that turron is just one of the very few desserts with an emphatic and distinct Filipino connection. You wo’nt see them in Chinese or Thai restaurants and even my Indonesian and Vietnamese friends, let alone Central and South American amigos, have ever heard of them until they tasted some in a Filipino home.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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Oh, so there's a Filipino-Canadian turron/lumpiang mansanas? I can imagine a good cooking apple's texture to be similar to an almost ripe saba banana's.

You're right, the turron saging seems a unique Filipino innovation.

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Another desert item that seems to be unique to the Philippines is macapuno. It is sometimes translated into English as coconut sport because that is what it is, a freak of nature. You get it from a normal coconut tree that has a propensity for some of its fruits to be acted on by some organism that thickens the normally firm nutmeat into something chewy and turn its coconut water into a viscuous clear liquid. The flavour is ever so subtly changed too. There is so much thickening of the nutmeat in some of them that it almost fills the hollow space inside, hence macapuno, solid, full. Inspite of the extensive exploitation of the coconut industry in Thailand, I have yet to see a jar of Thai macapuno and is’nt that a big relief for Laguna and Quezon. They have not discovered them either in Jamaica where coconuts also grow in abundance but maybe because theirs is not really a coconut culture. But its absence in Brazil really startles me because their coconut cuisine almost parallels the sophistication of that of South East Asia. But neither Bahian nor the rest of Nordeste cuisine have it either.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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I’m posting this here because of its limited interest. Yes you are right PPPan about the sweet and sour aspect of our escabeche. Enriqueta David-Perez included three recipes of escabeche in her cookbook. All three of them bearing undeniable Chinese influence. The first one includes tokwa (firm taufu), the next chunks of green papaya and the last one is actually Fried Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce renamed Cantonese style Escabeche. We call this last one Escabecheng Macau at home which makes me wonder about the overlapping Iberian influence. Macau of course, being for a long time the Asian out-post of the Portuguese empire.

My dad’s family cooked the unadorned escabeche to feed the bearers of our family’s float for the Maundy Thursdays night procession of Holy Week for at least three generations that the float itself came to be identified as the escabeche float.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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Still on the topic of Filipino desserts - Filipino immigrants who arrived here in the sixties and seventies remember the time when they had to search high and low for cooking bananas (plantain or saba).  Only the West Indian stores sold them and what they sold was very expensive and of dubious quality since more often than not they never ripened.  So we started experimenting with what was abundant and available and fell upon the common apple as filling for turron.  Those who settled in communities bordering the great lakes are even more fortunate because this is the home and birthplace of the cosummate pie apple called Northern Spy.  These apples are great for cooking because they do not loose their fall flavour and they hold their shape under fire which you cannot say about the rest that just turn to mush when heated.  These days when city limits have sprawled into the countryside most anywhere, one has to drive around only a few minutes to reach a farmer’s produce stand that in the olden days we drove half a day for to reach.

Now I would say that turron is just one of the very few desserts with an emphatic and distinct Filipino connection.  You wo’nt see them in Chinese or Thai restaurants and even my Indonesian and Vietnamese friends, let alone  Central and South American amigos, have ever heard of them until they tasted some in a Filipino home.

Oh, so there's a Filipino-Canadian turron/lumpiang mansanas? I can imagine a good cooking apple's texture to be similar to an almost ripe saba banana's.

You're right, the turron saging seems a unique Filipino innovation.

gallery_28661_3_13768.jpg

I was lucky enough to have some last week; as you can see, this version also had langka (jackfruit) in it.

Another desert item that seems to be unique to the Philippines is macapuno.

Macapuno in ice cream or atop fresh bibingka. Mmmmm. :wub:


Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Hi Mooshmouse! Is that a picture of the turron mansanas? I should add this to the list of Filipino adaptations abroad. I only have pears in the house today, will try to find apples later. This would also go well with vanilla ice cream, like the turron a la mode in many Manila restaurants nowadays. Some even sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

Don't forget about macapuno in halo-halo! :wub:

Apicio, I wonder if the organism(s) that affect the coconut tree to bear macapuno are endemic to the Philippines or if macapuno in other places are just ignored. Hmmm... I wonder how much research has been done on macapuno.

I've never had green papaya in escabeche before. I might as well try it too. Right now, I'm trying to psych up myself for an escabeche with avocado, a South American recipe I saw and lost a long time back.

Escabeche float? Hehehe, that conjures an image of a beverage but with escabeche as base. In Tagalog, was it karong escabeche? :biggrin:

I better take note of what we feed the Stabat Mater cantors for the Good Friday procession. Who knows if they name the procession after what they eat?


Edited by PPPans (log)

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Another desert item that seems to be unique to the Philippines is macapuno.

Is Brazo de Mercedes (sp?) another uniquely Filipino dessert? I've been told that it is, but have never investigated it.

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Another desert item that seems to be unique to the Philippines is macapuno.

Is Brazo de Mercedes (sp?) another uniquely Filipino dessert? I've been told that it is, but have never investigated it.

Rona, my Google search turned up this article which says that Brazo de Mercedes is of Spanish origin.


Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Braza Mercedez, as my mother insisted is its correct name, definitely belongs to the repertoire of egg and milked based desserts we obviously inherited from Spain. This group includes the caramel custard flan (redundantly called leche flan), egg yolk and milk paste yemas, pure yolk and syrup custard tocino del cielo, candied egg yolk noodles cabellos de angel and a local version of Ile Flotant called canonigos. Most likely originally brought to the colonies by the nuns and taught in convent schools to the daughters of the rich and subsequently filtered down to the general population. In Nora Daza’s most recent recipe collection, she mentions that she served Braza Mercedez in her Filipino restaurant in Paris and no one found it to be a European dessert. Apparently, you can no longer find it in Spain and they have never heard of it either in Mexico and Argentina.

The original recipe for the meringue can be improved by gradual addition of a cooked paste made out of two tablespoons of cornstarch and a quarter cup of water. The filling can be made a lot less cloyingly sweet by blending in creme patisier to taste.

And PPPan, my thought exactly about the organism. You never know it might be in the soil of Laguna and Quezon because our supposed macapuno tree (in Bataan) never succeeded in producing a real macapuno coconut.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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I'm getting lost in some of the terminology here, but the question I'll ask you is: What is ulam in the Philippines, again? In the Malaysian states of Kelantan and Terengganu, that's a bunch of fragrant leaves and such-like (wild or/and cultivated), usually raw, which are eaten with sambal belacan (shrimp paste plus hot pepper and such) or/and budu (fish sauce) or/and tempoyak (fermented durian paste). I think I can say categorically that there is never any meat or fish in Malaysian ulam, except inasmuch as the fish sauce is used, and you can of course eat some fish dish or something else along with your ulam, if you so choose.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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The closest thing I've seen to our Brazo de Mercedes is Brazo de Gitano -- found in Spanish, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Portuguese, etc. cuisines... although the outside is more cake than meringue -- the filling is custard, similar to ours.

Macapuno/mutant coconut/freak coconut is much loved here in the US, PPPans, I've seen it in different desserts in various cities. A really good one I remember was in a California bakeshop patronized by Pinoys and Americans alike -- chocolate cake topped with macapuno ice cream. Infinitely better (for me at least) than the German chocolate cake with coconut topping. Apparently the PCA (Philippine Coconut Authority) has developed trees that yield 80% mutant coconut? Perhaps their website has more info on this -- tried to access it earlier but couldn't.

Hi Pan, we have Malaysian friends in St. Louis and we're always comparing notes on terminology and such -- as in your example here, we've found that we have LOTS of words that we both use, but with different meanings. Ulam is a collective term we use to signify anything that we eat with rice, or at least that's how it is in the Tagalog region where I grew up -- it could be meat, fish, veggies, etc., even soup. It's the practice of eating rice with it that makes it ulam. Soup can be called ulam if it's eaten with rice. Otherwise it would just be called sopas.

"Anong ulam n'yo?" means "What are you eating with rice?"


Edited by stef_foodie (log)

stefoodie.net - now a wheatless, eggless, dairyless food blog

noodlesandrice.com (with b5media)

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Braza Mercedez, as my mother insisted is its correct name, definitely belongs to the repertoire of egg and milked based desserts we obviously inherited from Spain. 

Hee, hee. My mother insists that it is Brazo de Mercedes (arm of Mercedes), because that's what her hoity toity Spanish-speaking aunt used to call it. She was one of those daughters of the rich, educated in a Spanish convent school (Assumption), and was taught her recipe by the nuns. My mother said that her aunt's recipe was the best she had ever tried, but unfortunately, no one in the family still has the recipe.

This group includes the caramel custard flan (redundantly called leche flan), egg yolk and milk paste yemas, pure yolk and syrup custard tocino del cielo, candied egg yolk noodles cabellos de angel and a local version of Ile Flotant called canonigos.  Most likely originally brought to the colonies by the nuns and taught in convent schools to the daughters of the rich  and subsequently filtered down to the general population.  In Nora Daza’s most recent recipe collection, she mentions that she served Braza Mercedez in her Filipino restaurant in Paris and no one found it to be a European dessert.  Apparently, you can no longer find it in Spain and they have never heard of it either in Mexico and Argentina.

The original recipe for the meringue can be improved by gradual addition of a cooked paste made out of two tablespoons of cornstarch and a quarter cup of water.  The filling can be made a lot less cloyingly sweet by blending in creme patisier to taste.

I had thought it might be Spanish in origin, but wasn't sure. I'd like to try making it for my co-workers. I think it would go over well in Japan.

Interestingly, cabellos de angel, is the same as (or is very similar to) the Thai foitong (foythong, etc) except I think the Thai version comes from Portugal. Which came first, the Portuguese or the Spanish version? (That could be a rhetorical question, but it might be interesting...)

What's canonigos? Does it have a different name in the Visayas? It doesn't sound familiar to me at all.

My all-time favourite Filipino dessert (probably also Spanish-influenced) is Sans Rival. But it's so time-consuming to make, that I haven't made it in years (literally...the last time I made it was in 1999).

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Canonigos are actually closer to Oeufs a la neige (Snow eggs) rather than to Ile Flotant (floating island). Ile Flotant being a single large meringue afloat in a soft custard sea while Oeufs a la neige are individual egg-shaped ones that also have been poached in milk. Both served with berries in season and further decorated with a loose nest of caramel threads.

Sans Rival (meringue-nut layer cake with butter-cream filling and frosting) is of French derivation although no longer known under that name. Julia Child included it in her original book where it is called variously as Le Succès - Le Progrès - La Dacquoise or even Gâteau Japonais. Since even slight and various variation invite one name or another, I think, we can safely call Sans Rival a legitimate Filipino version particularly if you use our intensely flavoured local cashew nuts and fresh butter (imported from New Zealand or Australia or the tinned ones from Denmark, in the distant olden days).


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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The closest thing I've seen to our Brazo de Mercedes is Brazo de Gitano -- found in Spanish, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Portuguese, etc. cuisines... although the outside is more cake than meringue -- the filling is custard, similar to ours.

...

Ulam is a collective term we use to signify anything that we eat with rice, or at least that's how it is in the Tagalog region where I grew up -- it could be meat, fish, veggies, etc., even soup.  It's the practice of eating rice with it that makes it ulam.  Soup can be called ulam if it's eaten with rice.  Otherwise it would just be called sopas

"Anong ulam n'yo?" means "What are you eating with rice?"

To add to what Stef said, ulam for Tagalogs is something savoury eaten with rice to make up a meal. I just wanted to be more specific because we recently found out that it is common to eat fruits with rice.

Now we see another of those regional nuances. In Pampanga, sopas refer to milky soups usually with macaroni. "Native" soups like sinigang or tinola are referred to as sabo or sabaw in Tagalog. Both can be ulam if eaten with rice, as Stef mentioned.

Is Brazo de Gitano similar to the Chileño Brazo de Reina? From the recipes I've seen, it's also similar to our Brazo de Mercedes except that it has flour instead of just meringue. The Mexican version is a tamal, on the other hand. Perhaps I should start a thread on the Latin American section.

Below is a picture of Stel's version of Canonigo. More pictures and the recipe are on her blog.

gallery_35373_1761_3929.jpg

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Hi Mooshmouse! Is that a picture of the turron mansanas? I should add this to the list of Filipino adaptations abroad. I only have pears in the house today, will try to find apples later. This would also go well with vanilla ice cream, like the turron a la mode in many Manila restaurants nowadays. Some even sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

Don't forget about macapuno in halo-halo!  :wub:

No, it's just turon saging. I've also had it as prepared in this variant of the recipe from PinoyCook.net which substitutes white cheese for the langka (jackfruit); this is how they made it at the Expo '86 Philippine pavilion.

Interestingly enough, this turon recipe that I came across also calls for macapuno.

I also love Goldilocks's mocha-macapuno and ube-macapuno cream rolls. :wub:


Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Is Brazo de Gitano similar to the Chileño Brazo de Reina? From the recipes I've seen, it's also similar to our Brazo de Mercedes except that it has flour instead of just meringue. The Mexican version is a tamal, on the other hand. Perhaps I should start a thread on the Latin American section.

I've actually found two versions of Brazo de Reina: one is similar to the Gitano, and one is the tamal that you mention. Yes, perhaps the folks at the Latin Am section could help enlighten us about this.


stefoodie.net - now a wheatless, eggless, dairyless food blog

noodlesandrice.com (with b5media)

bakingdelights.com (with b5media, and my 15-yo-dd)

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