Tasty’s One Pot Chicken Alfredo

Found this recipe in the Facebook account of Tasty and it’s awesome! This uses minimal, easy to find ingredients, and all you pretty much need is one pot. It cooks quickly too and good for storage. Best of all, kids love it! Let’s get started!

 

Ingredients:
• Olive oil
• 2-3 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 14oz chicken stock (cube & water)
• 1 250ml all-purpose cream
• 250 grams penne pasta
• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

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Heat oil. Sauté chicken cubes. Add garlic. Add stock and cream and simmer. Add pasta. Simmer and cover for 20 mins to desired texture. Stir occasionally and add a few ounces of water if it’s too dry. Add Parmesan cheese and stir thoroughly. Taste it first and season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve. That’s it!

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Pork Lechon Belly

“I will be regularly infusing this blog with new entries on a regular basis.” That was in 2011. It’s now 2015. Cringe. Moving on…

Look at that gloriously crispy skin! Any self-respecting Filipino cook should know how to make this.

Look at that gloriously crispy skin! Any self-respecting Filipino cook should know how to make this.

Ok! Let’s make some Lechon Belly! You see, I was plagued with different methods of cooking lechon belly. Do I marinate it with Sprite/ 7Up and Milk (to achieve that reddish color)? Do I brine it? What the hell, I told myself, I’ll spare you guys the trouble and make them both and find out which is better! And so I did, and learned that brining it is best. The skin turned out crispier and evenly cooked, and the meat was very succulent. Let’s head on straight to the ingredients and procedure. I’ll do some of the chitchat later.

You will need:

  • Pork belly. 1.5 or 2 kg can feed a family of 4-6. Ask the butcher for young pig, and have it cut into a square.
  • Butcher’s twine. You can ask the butcher for this for free. 2 meters should do it.

Brine Solution

  • A gallon of water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • cracked pepper
  • a couple of bayleaves
  • lemon grass (or tanglad in Filipino). Make sure you pound the stalks to release the flavor.
  • crushed garlic
  • sliced onions
  • rosemary and thyme (optional)
  • 1 cup really cold water

Stuffing/Rub

  • crushed garlic
  • sliced onions
  • a few bayleaves
  • lemon grass (Make sure to pound this)
  • rosemary and thyme (optional)
  • onion leeks
  • oil

Now do this:

  1. Simmer the sugar and salt in water until it dissolves. Take it off the heat source and add the other ingredients to release their flavors. Add the cup of iced water to cool the brine solution. Make sure it’s not warm! Submerge the meat in. Use a glass/ceramic tray or bowl. Don’t use plastic. Cover it with cling wrap and keep it in the ref overnight. I brined mine for just 10 hours so as not to make it too salty.
  2. Take out the meat from the brine solution and rinse the meat thoroughly under running water. (You may discard the brine solution.) Pat dry with kitchen towels. Put it back in the ref. This is to make the skin really dry. At this point you may prepare the garnish and fire up the oven (set it to 180ºC).
  3. Bring out the belly and lay it skin down. Spread out the stuffing. Roll up the belly into a roulade, keeping all the stuffing in the center.
  4. Now we tie the butcher twine around the roulade. Start on one end, about two inches from the edge. Make a knot to secure it, then go around and around the roulade with the spiraling string about two inches apart. Make sure it’s tight and won’t fall apart.
  5. Set the belly on a metal grill with a tray underneath to catch the drippings (there’ll be a lot so make sure it’s deep!) Pat dry again for good measure and brush the skin with oil.
  6. Get some aluminum foil and wrap the meat. You might want to make sure that the foil doesn’t touch the meat so it won’t stick.
  7. Set your timer and start cooking! Roast it for 2 hours to cook the meat thoroughly with the foil on to keep the skin from burning. After 2 hours take the meat out and remove the foil. You can also use an instant meat thermometer to check the doneness (make sure thermometer is calibrated!) Put the meat back in. This time you are ready to make the skin crispy. Increase the temperature to 200ºC and roast for another 45 mins to an hour. At this point you might want to check on it once in a while so it doesn’t get burnt as cooking times may vary.
  8. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before carving. Get rid of the string and serve with lechon sauce. Oh yeah!

There you have it! It’s pretty easy and uses minimal ingredients. It just takes too darn long. Here are a few tips:

  • You can achieve that chicharon skin (bubbly crispy skin) by stabbing the skin lightly with a fork or anything sharp. Just don’t go too deep and pierce through. Personally, I’d skip this for my lechon. I’d do it for the lechong kawali though.
  • I have yet to try using a Turbo Broiler but I’m sure you can. I would do all the things mentioned here save for the final hour of cooking where you might have to keep close watch and turn the belly around (maybe flip it after 20-30 minutes) so the top part won’t burn.
  • Regarding the stuffing, I was in a hurry when I made this so I pretty much spread them out before rolling it into a roulade. I realized that it would be best to chop them up coarsely and pound them a bit to release the flavors, then spread it out on the belly. That way all parts of the meat get some action! Enjoy!
This is a 2.5kg pork belly which I cut into two so I can experiment with the marinade.

This is a 2.5kg pork belly which I cut into two so I can experiment with the marinade.

Load up on spices! Used leeks and shallots. Either is fine. Make sure to pound the lemon grass to release the flavor. Disregard the fish sauce (patis), I used that on the other non-brined belly.

Load up on spices! Used leeks and shallots. Either is fine. Make sure to pound the lemon grass to release the flavor. Disregard the fish sauce (patis), I used that on the other non-brined belly.

This is what my brine solution looks like. Make sure it's cold before you immerse the pork belly in it.

This is what my brine solution looks like. Make sure it’s cold before you immerse the pork belly in it.

Side by side. Left was brined. Notice how the one on the right was burned. The sucrose from the marinade did that. Some parts of the skin weren't as crispy too.

Left was brined for 10 hours. Notice how lighter the skin has become. Right was marinated in Sprite/ 7Up and fresh milk. Note to self: Keep the stuffing inside the roulade. Cut them and stuff back in. Better yet, chop them up and spread ’em out.

Side by side. Left was brined. Notice how the one on the right was burned. The sucrose from the marinade did that. Some parts of the skin weren't as crispy too.

Side by side. Left was brined. Notice how the one on the right was burned. The sucrose from the marinade did that. Some parts of the skin weren’t as crispy too.

This one was marinated in clear soda and milk. It still tasted good though, but the brined one was still better, especially when it comes to the skin.

This one was marinated in clear soda and milk. It still tasted good though, but the brined one was still better, especially when it comes to the skin.

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Lechon Kawali

Baked to a crisp

Whoa! How long has it been since my last post? So many things have happened since our move back to Manila from Singapore that this blog has taken a backseat. Nevertheless, the passion for cooking (and consequently, eating) has never waned. Although I cannot guarantee that I will be regularly infusing this blog with new entries on a regular basis, still I am making this comeback with a vengeance by introducing this deadly dish- the Lechon Kawali.

Aside from a death-wish, you will need:

• a kilo (2.2lbs) of pork belly (or liempo). In this case I bought  750 grams worth of young hog so the skin will come out crispier.
• lots of garlic, chopped
• onions
• peppercorns, maybe a spoonful
• 2 bay leaves
• lots of salt
• water for boiling

First, boil the meat for a minute or two just to clean it. Get rid of that dirty water and boil water again. Just enough to cover the meat. Add in the garlic cloves, onions, peppercorns, bay leaves, and maybe a spoonful of salt. Boil for 40 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, boil for 25 minutes.


Get rid of the water and everything else except the meat. Set the pork on a wire rack to let excess water drip and to air it. You may also keep it in the ref to be baked another time. In my case I fired up the oven after an hour of the meat sitting.
Set the oven to 180°C and pop in the meat after 15 minutes with the skin up. I placed the meat on a wire rack, and that wire rack on a baking pan to catch the oil drippings. I collected a cupful of oil so make sure your baking pan is deep enough.
Now, ovens may vary. I had to check on the meat every so often to make sure that it’s being broiled properly. Keep in mind that the meat is already cooked, so you can just work on getting the skin crispy. I spent about 30 minutes having it broiled, then to make the skin crispy I set the oven to fan (it’s the setting with the “fan” icon) and gave it 20 minutes more. That is how this beautiful piece of meat came about. No frying involved nor cringing from hot oil spattering.
Serve with bottled lechon sauce found in Filipino groceries or plain old vinegar with crushed garlic will also do. Don’t forget your cupfuls of rice.

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Tokwa’t Baboy (Tofu and Pork)

tokwa't baboy

Be sure to check out the recipe on Arroz Caldo because this dish is its perfect mate. Then again, this can work as a stand alone snack. Better yet, serve it as bar chow. It really goes great with beer. Unlike my wife, I am a fan of tofu, cooked in any way. I like its texture, and the fact that it’s really healthy (unless you deep fry it, which is the case here), not to mention that it is cheap. Just bear in mind that you purchase it from a reputable store to ensure that it has been prepared hygienically. Also, raw tofu spoils easily so cook them right away upon buying.

For the pork, I used liempo or pork belly as it is easily available. Ideally, it would be best to use pork head, since the texture of the pig’s face and ears is crunchy due to the soft cartilage. But to ask a grocery butcher here in Singapore for a pig’s head will only elicit a peculiar response.

The best Tokwa’t Baboy I have tasted is once again found in Dencia’s in Davao City. As I have mentioned in my previous post on preparing Arroz Caldo, dining in Dencia’s will leave you reeking with its kitchen aromas. At times you’d like to argue that it’s all worth it, but then you could always argue that there should be something they could do about their kitchen’s ventilation.

When serving this dish, make sure you give it a good toss to infuse the ingredients with the sauce. And did I mention that this really goes well with beer?

You’ll need:

  • about 250 grams of Pork belly
  • 200 grams of tokwa or soy bean curd
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar
  • a tablespoon of soy sauce
  • half a teaspoon of salt
  • half a teaspoon of pepper
  • a teaspoon of sugar
  • a tablespoon of minced garlic
  • onions, either minced or rings if you prefer

Boil the pork in water 2 cups of water with about half a teaspoon of salt until tender and cut into half-inch cubes then set aside. Pan fry the tokwa until golden brown and drain on paper towels to get rid of the excess oil. Cut tokwa in the same size as the pork and set it aside.

If you want to go hardcore and use pig’s face/head, boil the head in pot with water enough to cover it. Season with salt and sliced onions. Remove scum as it boils. Once tender, debone and cut the meat into cubes.

In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, garlic and minced onions until the sugar and salt have been dissolved. Simply combine the tokwa and pork in a serving bowl and pour over the sauce. Top with onion rings if you wish. Now bust open that cold bottle of beer. I know, I’m a beer lover.

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Arroz Caldo

arroz caldo

Ultimate comfort food for Filipinos. This is great anytime of the day- as a snack; as a hot meal to conclude a night of heavy drinking so as to sober up; or as a cure for a hangover the following day. Also works as a soothing cure when suffering from a fever coupled with a sore throat. I remember looking forward to this during my childhood whenever I get sick. Now I look forward to it after drinking (there’s just too much reference on drinking).

When it comes to Arroz Caldo (Spanish for “hot rice”) the best that come to mind are found in the Mabuhay Lounge of PAL Airport in Manila (I don’t get it but the Arroz Caldo in Davao’s Mabuhay Lounge isn’t as good), and of course the famous Arroz Caldo of Dencia’s in Davao City. The catch with dining at Dencia’s is you end up reeking of, er, Dencias the whole day. You’ll smell of a curious blend of garlic, onions, shallots and ginger. It would be wise to avoid eating there before a date. Otherwise you will have to douse yourself with perfume.

The perfect accompaniment to Arroz Caldo can only be Tokwa’t Baboy (Tofu and Pork in Vinegar and Soy sauce dressing). Yum. Simply click on the link to take you to my page featuring that dish.

Here is my version of Arroz Caldo. Remember that it absorbs a lot of water so prepare a lot of chicken stock ahead of time. It may also dry up when you keep it in the ref so be sure to have some chicken stock handy should you need to zap it in the oven in the future.

You will need:

  • about 500 grams of chicken parts. A quarter of a chicken will do. You’ll shred it later anyway.
  • half a cup of glutinous rice, rinsed
  • a cup of plain rice, rinsed too
  • 8 cups of water
  • ginger root cut into strips
  • an onion, quartered
  • minced garlic, 3 tablespoons
  • cooking oil
  • salt and pepper
  • patis or fish sauce
  • chopped spring onions for topping
  • chicken broth cubes
  • kasuba or pinoy saffron (not the expensive kind. This is mainly used to give the dish its yellow color)

In a big pot, combine the chicken parts, water, onion and a broth cube. Once it boils, let it simmer by lowering the flame until tender. Take out the chicken parts and shred. Needless to say, set the stock aside for later.

In another pot, saute garlic until golden brown and use a spoon to scoop it out leaving the oil. Set this aside as this will be used as topping later.

In that same pot with the oil, add the onions and ginger root and saute until the onions are transparent in color. Add the kasuba. Finally, add both glutinous rice and plain rice then saute for 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and let it boil while stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and let simmer.

Season with salt, pepper, patis according to your taste. Remember that you used some chicken cubes here so it already has a degree of saltiness to it. Finally, add the shredded chicken and keep cooking until the rice is cooked and the broth is thick in consistency.

Keep in mind that the stock could dry up so be prepared. All you need to do is microwave 2 cups of water and dissolve a chicken broth cube in it. I hope you won’t need more than that.

Serve your arroz caldo in a bowl and top it with chopped spring onions and lots of garlic. Don’t burn your tongue, now.

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Ginataan (Mixed fruits in Sweet Coconut Milk)

ginataan

One of my all time favorite dessert snacks. This dish never fails to bring forth memories of my not-so-long-ago (don’t argue) childhood. I remember the anticipation of such a delightful dessert, looking through the pot’s glass lid as the creamy white coconut milk simmers and the sweet smell of  langka or jackfruit wafts in the kitchen. And as you put a spoonful in your mouth you’d be thrilled with all that mushy texture of varying sweetness coming from the assortment of fruits and root crop. Needless to say, a major part of its appeal would be the generous amount of those supple sago and rice balls or bilo-bilo. It’s like putting a dream in your mouth, if there is such a thing.

I have always thought that this was a complicated dish to make, considering that it has too many ingredients. As it turns out, it’s insanely easy. It’s basically putting everything in a big pot in a particular order and letting it simmer until they’re all cooked and tender. The only challenge would be the time it takes to prepare the ingredients. I’m lucky to have found pre-packed ingredients such as the coconut cream and the rice balls, but then again it’s not like they’re difficult to come by or even prepare.

Here’s my ginataan, or guinataan. “Ginataan” means “prepared with coconut milk cream.”

You’ll need:

  • 3 tetra packs of coconut milk at 200ml/pack. Make sure you shake it well as some settling might have occurred.
  • 3 cups of water. Pour some of the water into the empty tetra packs to make use of every drop.
  • 1-2 cups of sugar, depending on your sweet tooth
  • about 3/4 cup of uncooked small sago or tapioca pearls. I use a lot of these. Use the small ones so they’ll cook faster.
  • 300 grams of kamote or sweet potato. Indonesian sweet potatoes cook faster than those in the Philippines by the way so keep that in mind.
  • 200 grams of gabi or taro root. I opted this one out and added more kamote instead
  • 2 pieces of small saba, a Philippine variety of banana. I wasn’t able to use this here though. They’re hard to come by in this country.
  • 200 grams of langka or jackfruit. Hopefully they’re in season. Cut into strips.

For the rice balls, if you can’t find them as I did, you may easily prepare these by mixing a cup of glutinous rice flour and half a cup of water. Add the water a little at a time and mix to create something that resembles a dough. Take a small piece one at a time and roll into 1/4 inch balls.

In a large pot, pour in all of the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Be sure to watch out as it may boil over and make a mess. Add sago pearls and simmer until transparent. This might take about 15 minutes or more. Add the rice balls and simmer until they all float to the surface. Mix in some sugar until you get the desired sweetness. Add the kamote, gabi and bananas until they’re all cooked. Finally, add the langka and simmer further for another 5 minutes.

Best if served hot on a rainy day. Or if craving for something sweet, which is all the time. Enjoy!

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Binagoongang Baboy (Pork in Shrimp Paste)

pork binagoongan

If you are on a diet, stay away from this page. You’re still there? Okay, let us prepare something to get your high blood, cholesterol, gout, kidney, or diabetes go disco-dancing. This dish has always been sinful, especially since it bursts with flavor and commands to be stuffed down with plenty of rice. May I also warn you that, aside from the health concerns, cooking this will stink up your kitchen, and consequently the clothes you’re in, so please take the necessary precautions.

Before I ramble on, I would like to thank Luvluv Tan, my very pretty friend from Davao City, who shared this recipe with me a year ago. I asked her permission to post it in my blog and she happily obliged. Luvluv is known to host dinner parties and never fails to wow her friends with her cooking. I wish I can be like that. Whenever I try to cook for a crowd I tend to get anxious, overdo something, and mess it all up. (To my friends: there, that’s my excuse.)

I just would like to add that this was inspired when my wife opened a big jar of Barrio Fiesta Sauteed Shrimp Paste for her hilaw na mangga. There was just too much bagoong and it ought to be used to clear some refrigerator space and to keep these food stuff from expiring. Have you ever thought about how much grocery items you end up throwing away because they have gone past their expiration date? That equates to a lot of money wasted.

The thing is, after cooking this dish, there’s still more than half of the bagoong left in the jar.

You’ll need:

  • half kilo of pork liempo (belly), cubed
  • half kilo of pork kasim (shoulder), cubed
  • 1 head of  garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of sauteed shrimp paste
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • half a teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 3 cups of water to simmer the pork with
  • water to blanch the pork with
  • an eggplant, sliced (optional)

In a pot or wok, bring water to a rolling boil and blanch the pork for about 3 minutes. This procedure will make sure that your pork is thoroughly clean. Get rid of the water and dry the pork cubes in paper towels.

fried porkIn the same pot, or wok, stir fry pork cubes until they turn light brown. Resist the urge to eat them. Set the pork cubes aside and leave the oil in the wok.

If you are big on eggplant, this is the time to fry them until they turn brown on the sides. Set them aside and add them later into the dish.

Add oil into the wok if necessary. Saute garlic until light brown, then add the onions until they turn transparent. Add the tomatoes and saute until the skin starts to peel.

Add the shrimp paste a spoonful at a time. This is dependent on the kind of bagoong you have so you’ll have to use your superior knowledge to gauge the taste. Add the brown sugar and let simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the fried pork and vinegar. Pour just enough water to cover the meat. Lower heat, cover, and let simmer for 40 minutes until the meat is tender and the mixture has become less watery. It is important that you stir occasionally to keep it from burning. I repeat, stir it occasionally.

Add the chopped chilies and the ground pepper, give it another stir and turn off the flame. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

You might want to keep the number to the hospital ambulance handy. Make sure you have enough rice. And don’t forget to breathe between mouthfuls. Enjoy!

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