Sunday, June 27, 2010

Celebrating Philippines Independence Day!

This was a "must-attend" Filipino event of the year, where Vancouver celebrated the 112th Philippines Independence Day with a large gathering at the Waterfront Park in North Vancouver. It was an opportunity for Filipinos to share and promote our culture, food, heritage, and traditions among our fellow Canadians.

Throughout the day, there was an estimated attendance of over 3,000 families and friends who enjoyed delicious Filipino and international cuisine, multicultural performances, fantastic raffle prizes, games and a morning parade!

Candice's Cusina joined in with the festivities and interviewed a local chef, Tony, from Fiesta Filipino Restaurant about their empanadas and enjoyed every bite of it! Now you can make these delicious, crispy empandas at home by trying out my empanada recipe, below. "Masarap!" (tastes good!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Beef Empanada

Beef Empanada (Sweet stuffed pastry)
The Filipino empanada was introduced by the Spaniards made by folding a sweet pastry dough around filling that usually contains ground beef or pork, chopped onion and raisins. Baked and flaky fried versions of empanadas can be also found in cultures like Portugal, the Caribbean and Latin America. I love the crispy fried empanadas most and sharing this recipe for you to enjoy!
Did You Know: Empanadas are great as appetizers and snacks on the go! There are over 25 countries that have an empanada version of their own from Argentina to Nigeria to Portugal.

Makes 20-22 pieces


Beef filling:

1 lb lean ground beef

1 medium onion chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup green onion, chopped into 1/8" pieces

1 large potato, chopped into 1/4" cubes

1 carrot, chopped into 1/4" cubes

½ cup sultana raisins

1 tbsp soya sauce

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Salt & pepper


  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic, then add potatoes and carrots, cook till soft. Add beef and soya sauce. Keep stirring to break up clumps, cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir in the sultana raisins and sugar, cook for 2 more minutes. Add salt & pepper and taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Drain all excess liquid from beef filling. Let mixture cool completely in the fridge before using as filling in pastry.
Delicious Tip: Customize your empanada! Try using pork or chicken breast (cooked & shredded) instead of beef, or add frozen peas, sliced boiled egg, and/or mozzarella cheese.

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tspn baking powder

1/2 tspn kosher salt

250 grams cold butter, cubed

1/4 cup cold water

1 egg

vegetable oil for deep frying


  1. Combine all the dry pastry ingredients into a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse a few times to mix. Add cold cubed butter. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until dough resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the machine running, pour in the egg and ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.
  2. Dump the dough onto a floured board, knead until you have a smooth dough ball. The texture should feel like smooth play dough. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 60 minutes.
  3. Remove cold dough from fridge and divide into 1/4 cup size pieces, place on a floured baking paper. With a rolling pin, flatten each piece into a circle about the size of a small saucer.
  4. Place 1/8 cup of cold filling on the upper side of the pastry. Fold the lower side of the pastry over the filling and make sure you firmly press the edges to seal the encased filling.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you finish your dough. Place the uncooked empanadas in ziplock bags and place in freezer. Freezing the empanadas before frying will keep the dough staying crispy.
  6. Heat vegetable oil in medium saucepan to 350 degrees. Fry 3 pieces at a time, making sure to keep flipping the empanadas so they do not burn. Cook until golden brown and drain cooked empanadas on paper towels.

Delicious Tip: You can freeze cooked empanadas, tightly sealed in a ziplock, for up to 2 months. Simply take out the frozen empanadas and bake on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree heated oven. Great way to have yummy appetizers on the ready before guests arrive!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo (Braised Chicken)
Chicken Adobo is viewed as the national dish of the Philippines. Adobo is both a specific dish and a method of braising meat, seafood or vegetables in soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaf, crushed garlic and peppercorns.

This dish was the first Filipino recipe I mastered because of its simplicity and short ingredient list! This basic recipe combination allows for many variations and I'm sharing my Mom's version of her chicken adobo. She includes brown sugar for added sweetness and finishes the chicken by browning it in a frying pan for desired crispness.

Did You Know: Adobo is a borrowed Spanish word meaning marinade or seasoning. In the 1500s, it was the Spaniards who introduced vinegar to Filipino cuisine as a way to preserve food due to the lack of refrigeration.
4 servings


3lbs of chicken thighs bones-in or cubed pork
3 tbsp of minced garlic
1 tbsp of kosher salt
1 tbsp of whole pepper corns
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups of soy sauce
1/4 cups of dark soy sauce
2 bay leaves
4 tbsp of vegetable oil
Delicious Tip: When cooking adobo style, use ceramic, glass, stainless steel or wrought iron sauce pans - anything but aluminum, which interacts chemically with vinegar and impairs the flavour.

1. In a 3-4 liter sauce pan, put the chicken, garlic, salt, peppercorns, sugar, vinegar, water, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and bay leafs. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove any impurities that float up to the top of the stew.
2. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot, and allow any excess liquid to drain off them. The flesh of the chicken should be very tender and cooked.
3. Allow the stock to reduce by half.
4. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Fry the chicken pieces until they are golden brown and crispy.
5. Transfer the chicken back into the adobo sauce and place onto a serving platter. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and cooked veggies, if desired.
Delicious Tip: The flavour of this dish improves when it sits for 1-2 days. Great for leftovers!