Filipino Bulalo

I often wish that there would always be a pot of soup of the stove. Warm and ready to go any time of the day, all day, and every day. How cool would that be, especially if you had a wood burner or something and it was your task to keep that warm pot of goodness warm all day long. I know I would be into something like that! I don’t want to be premature but I think fall sprung in Wisconsin. What does that mean? Well, what it means every fall Sunday at the Phillips house; comfort food season.

This weekend was no exception. The chicken pot pie came rolling out as did pumpkin spiced ‘you name it desserts’, as well as soup. The thought of soup seemed like a warm blanket on a cold afternoon. Granted chicken pot pie is that thickening agent that just coats your stomach lining, and almost putting you instantly to sleep, but that soup on the otherhand, well that got me thinking. Thinking not only about how delicious each bite would be, but thoughts of making a rustic bread,, and leaving that soup of the stove all darn day only to be had more of later. That’s when I thought of the communal Filipino soup known as Bulalo.

Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe
Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe

The thing about bulalo is that it might be intimidating if it is served in front of you without ever have tried it. It’s almost like a Mexican caldo de res where you get large chunks of meat and vegetables. It’s definitely a spoon, fork, knife, and hand meal so probably best to eat around close friends and family in case you get down and dirty and want to roll up your sleeves, not have a care in the world and just get to town on some bone marrow!

Yes, the bone marrow. It’s the luxurious part of this soup and part of the beauty. Beef bones with marrow, cooked really low and slow until pot roast tender. That’s this soup. Simple, delicious, and slurpable.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs of beef shanks
  • water
  • 2 bundles of bok choy, quartered whole
  • 3 ears of corn, cut into half, or quarters
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1 head garlic, top cut off (exposing cloves)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce, more to your liking
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • limes, optional
  • cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • fried shallots, optional
  • fried garlic, optional

Start by adding cold water to a stock pot. Add the beef shanks (find these on the cheap at local Mexican grocery stores), and turn on the heat to a medium high heat.

Cook the shanks for about 15 minutes or until they come to a boil for about 5 minutes. During the boil, get a large spoon out and skim the top surface of all of the bone scum. Discard the scum. We are going to discard the water and scum anyway but it’s always nice to get rid of the majority ahead of time.

Put a strainer in your sink and pour the beef and water into the strainer. Rinse the beef well.

Rinse out the stock pot. Place the bones back in the pot along with the onion, garlic, and peppercorns. Fill to cover with water, and return to a boil.

Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe
Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe

While the beef is boiling, continue to skim off any scum that comes to the surface and discard. After about 4 hours, remove the garlic, onion, and any peppercorns.

Season the stock with fish sauce and some salt. Stir and taste. If the stock is getting a bit low, add a bit more water to your liking, just keep the beef stock flavored as you add more water.

Add in the corn and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or so. Once the beef is ultra tender, add in the bok choy and cabbage. I tossed in a small amount of fresh green beans from our garden as well (not necessary), and give that a good stir. Good for another 10 minutes or so, give a taste and adjust salt if necessary.

When you are ready to serve, transfer some of the soup mixture into a soup serving bowl, ensuring some beef bone, corn, and cabbage, then give a good squeeze of lime. Serve alongside a big bowl of cooked jasmine rice, and dig in! I like to top mine with fried garlic chips and shallots, and some fresh chili, but that’s just me.

Not only is this a great communal dish, but it is one that is perfect for long, cold days and evenings, and one that is sure to please a crowd.

Get a plate. Take some rice onto the plate. Slurp some broth. Spoon out some chunks of cabbage or beef onto the rice. Get into it. Repeat.

Hope you enjoy!

Filipino Fried Bangus Breakfast (Daing na Bangus)

I have always been curious when my Filipino relatives discuss food, whether things they are making at home, or things to try when travelling to the Philippines. It seems like I have only skimmed the top when it comes to making Filipino food. The common ones are lechon kawali, bicol express, kare kare, arroz caldo, lechon manok, paksiw lechon, lumpia shanghai, and their famous adobo.

The reality is that there is so much more, especially with their desserts which I have really yet to try. There have been several occasions when I have heard of a great breakfast, beyond a plate of garlic fried rice and tocino, and it inspired me because it is something similar to what I grew up eating when visiting my grandparents lake house, and that was fried fish with eggs. It was one of my favorites, and this one tops the list as well. A Filipino fried bangus breakfast.

Filipino Fried Bangus Recipe
Filipino Fried Bangus Recipe

The fish takes a bit of preparation but nothing out of the ordinary. A simple marinade, preferably overnight, along with the removal of any bones (you can do this beforehand, or cautiously pick them out as you dig at it after cooking).  The small amount of time pays off.  If you have never heard of bangus, don’t worry. The common name for it is Milkfish.  What is great about this is that it holds the flavor of the marinade, does not take very long to pan fry, and it is a great, white and firm meat. You can find bangus, most likely, in your local Asian market, and typically frozen.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 filets of bangus, bones removed are optional
  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lightly crushed whole black peppercorns
  • 1 head of garlic, skins removed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup of cooked jasmine rice, optional, per serving
  • 2 eggs, cooked to your liking, per serving
  • Thai bird chilies, optional

Start by marinating your fish. To a sealable plastic bag, or medium sized bowl, add the vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and salt and mix to combine.  Add the bangus (in my case they came portioned, most likely quartered). Give a good mix, seal or cover, and let everything marry overnight.

The following morning, remove the bangus, and place onto a plate. Pat both sides with paper towel and remove any peppercorns or garlic from the fish. Don’t worry if some stick on the fish. That’s extra flavor in my opinion!

Ingredients for making Filipino Bangus
Ingredients for making Filipino Bangus

Get a large skillet ready, and add in your oil. Bring this to a medium-high heat. After a few minutes of warming the oil, lay in the filets, skin side down, and cook for about 4 minutes or until the skin is nice and crispy. Once the skin is crispy, gently flip it over and cook an additional 4 minutes.

During this time, feel free to plate your cooked jasmine rice, cook your eggs, and plate that, and get ready to feast.

Once the fish is cooked, remove with a slotted spatula, preferably a fish spatula, and place on a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Remove the filets from the plate and onto your plate along with the rice and eggs, and dig in.

I loved this dish. Not only the flavor of the vinegar, garlic, and peppercorns but when that fish is mixed with the rice and eggs, well you have one heck of a breakfast! If you cannot find the bangus, feel free to try the marinade on another firm whitefish. Hope you enjoy!

Filipino Fried Bangus Breakfast (Daing na Bangus)
Author: 
Recipe type: Filipino
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 filets of bangus, bones removed are optional
  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lightly crushed whole black peppercorns
  • 1 head of garlic, skins removed, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup of cooked jasmine rice, optional, per serving
  • 2 eggs, cooked to your liking, per serving
  • Thai bird chilies, optional
Instructions
  1. The fish takes a bit of preparation but nothing out of the ordinary. A simple marinade, preferably overnight, along with the removal of any bones (you can do this beforehand, or cautiously pick them out as you dig at it after cooking).  The small amount of time pays off.  If you have never heard of bangus, don't worry. The common name for it is Milkfish.  What is great about this is that it holds the flavor of the marinade, does not take very long to pan fry, and it is a great, white and firm meat. You can find bangus, most likely, in your local Asian market, and typically frozen.
  2. Start by marinating your fish. To a sealable plastic bag, or medium sized bowl, add the vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and salt and mix to combine.  Add the bangus (in my case they came portioned, most likely quartered). Give a good mix, seal or cover, and let everything marry overnight.
  3. The following morning, remove the bangus, and place onto a plate. Pat both sides with paper towel and remove any peppercorns or garlic from the fish. Don't worry if some stick on the fish. That's extra flavor in my opinion!
  4. Get a large skillet ready, and add in your oil. Bring this to a medium-high heat. After a few minutes of warming the oil, lay in the filets, skin side down, and cook for about 4 minutes or until the skin is nice and crispy. Once the skin is crispy, gently flip it over and cook an additional 4 minutes.
  5. During this time, feel free to plate your cooked jasmine rice, cook your eggs, and plate that, and get ready to feast.
  6. Once the fish is cooked, remove with a slotted spatula, preferably a fish spatula, and place on a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Remove the filets from the plate and onto your plate along with the rice and eggs, and dig in.

 

Chinese Walnut Shrimp

We recently got back from a trip from the gulf. It was a trip that was long overdue. We had lots of rest and relaxation, as well as lots of great seafood. The food down there was something I could never get sick of, especially the shrimp. Since we have been back home for a couple of weeks, that shrimp was still on my mind. So as I normally do, I began purging items from our freezer and noticed a big bag of whole shrimp. I was stoked to say the least and knew exactly what I was going to make with them. Chinese walnut shrimp!

I can’t say this would be a dish that I would order at a Chinese restaurant but one I know that my wife loves and has talked about in the past. It was time for me to step up and impress my wife with this simple, and really tasting Chinese walnut shrimp. The kicker is the sauce, and trust me you will love it.

Chinese Walnut Shrimp Recipe
Chinese Walnut Shrimp Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the walnuts:

  • 2 cups roughly chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for the shrimp:

  • 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • splash of rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup Japanese mayonnaise or your favorite
  • 1 cup of fine corn meal or cornstarch
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • cooked jasmine rice

The oil that will be used to crisp up the walnuts will be reused for the shrimp, so don’t discard it.

You will want to start by heating your oil on medium heat.  As the oil heats, go ahead and make a simple syrup. Heat another small pot on medium heat and add the water and sugar.  Bring that to a simmer, then remove it from the heat. The oil should be heated now.

Add the walnuts to the oil and cook them for a few minutes. Just be careful as you do not want to burn them. After a few minutes, remove the walnuts with a slotted spoon and place on a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil and season with salt.

Once the walnuts are strained, add them to the simple syrup and and give that a good stir, coating all of the walnuts. Add them to a parchment paper lined tray, and try to keep them from sticking together. Set aside.

Chinese Walnut Shrimp Ingredients
Chinese Walnut Shrimp Ingredients

Next, make your sauce. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, condensed milk, honey, and salt to a mixing bowl, and stir well. Set aside on the counter.

Now to the shrimp. Reheat the oil to about 350 degrees. During this time, add the shrimp to the cornmeal (or cornstarch), and toss them around to make sure they are full coated. Once the oil is heated, take a few shrimp, enough to not crowd the pan of oil, and shake off any excess cornmeal, and gently drop them into the oil. Cook the shrimp for only a few minutes as you want crispy, succulent shrimp.

Place the cooked shrimp in a mixing bowl, season with a bit of salt, and repeat this process until all shrimp are cooked.

Cook your broccoli in boiling water for about two minutes, then blanch them in cold water.  Strain and set aside.

Add the sauce to the bowl of shrimp and gently stir, coating all of the shrimp in that delicious sauce.

Now time to plate.

I like to add cooked rice to a bowl, pack it in, then flip the bowl over onto a large serving plate. Pour the shrimp over the rice, then garnish around the rice and shrimp the broccoli. Pour over the candied walnuts, and now you are in business!

My wife, who did not know I was making this dish was floored and fell in love with it. Real deal is what I think I heard her say, but regardless this had me sold. And that shrimp… oh yeah that shrimp was something to write about. I hope you enjoy!

Thai Curry Asparagus

I love coming up with new recipes, and this past weekend was one of those times. I particularly enjoy family dinners on Sundays. There is something about that day when we can all come together and enjoy a meal together. Granted it is extremely important for me to have everyone come together every day for dinner, but I realize that is not always possible with work schedules.  So as I have been trying to eat more healthy throughout the week, meaning for vegetables, I decided to come up with this lightly sauteed Thai curry asparagus.

I recently fell in love with this curry paste when I made Khao Poon and there was something about the sweetness that I fell in love with.

Thai Curry Asparagus Recipe
Thai Curry Asparagus Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz can sweet Thai Noodle paste
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 bundle of asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, optional
  • 1 Thai chili, lightly bruised, optional
  • salt to taste

Start by heating a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the Thai noodle paste and give that a good stir, cooking for a couple of minutes to waken all of the paste.

Next add in the water, kaffir lime leaves, salt, and chili. Give another good stir. Add in the asparagus, and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until your desired tenderness. I still like my asparagus with just a slight crunch. Next, just plate and serve.

The end result is a perfect vegetable dish with that sweet curry flavor. Serve alongside with some rice for a perfect side dish. I hope you enjoy!