Monday, July 19, 2010


Pancit Canton (noodle stir fry)
Pancit, a term for "noodles" in Filipino cuisine, was introduced by the Chinese centuries ago. Filipinos have adopted and improvised the Chinese noodle recipes, and integrated them into our own cuisine using locally-available ingredients. As a result, various parts of the Philippines have created their own version of pancit, using different noodles, ingredients, toppings, and cooking methods.

There are over 25 pancit varieties! So I'm sharing my Mom's version of pancit canton, the Filipino version of chow mein. This is one of the most popular kinds of pancit and is stir-fried in a soy sauce mixture with toppings of vegetables, meats, and seafood.

Did you know: The word itself "pancit" is derived from the Hokkien word "pian i sit", meaning "something conveniently cooked fast".

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, julienned
(cut into thin strips)
1 cup snap peas, sliced on a diagonal
1/2 of a napa cabbage, shredded
2 cups of chicken broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp patis (fish sauce), or to taste
1 pkg (1 lb) pancit canton (Chinese egg noodles)


1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded
1/2 lb cooked shrimp, peeled
1/2 cup small whole peas
2 boiled eggs, sliced into rounds
1/4 cup fried garlic

1/4 cup green onions, sliced
Crushed pork rinds
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Did you know: Pancit is commonly served at birthday celebrations because noodles represent long life and good health.

1. In a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and saute the garlic for a minute then add the carrots and 1 cup of the chicken broth . Cook until carrots are tender. Add snap peas and napa cabbage, cook until all veggies are tender but crisp, 5-8 minutes. Add soy sauce, patis (fish sauce) and pepper, stirring to flavour. Remove a cup of mixture for topping.

2. Add noodles and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, cook until liquid is absorbed and noodles are cooked, 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat, pour remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth and season with black pepper and patis. Place noodles in a Pyrex dish and garnish with the cup of reserved cooked topping, shredded chicken, cooked shrimp, whole peas, sliced boiled eggs , fried garlic, green onions, pork rinds and lemon wedges. Dig in!!

Did you know: Patis is a pungent-tasting flavoring sauce and condiment made from salted, fermented fish. The history of patis came from early Chinese fishermen who would layer their catch of small fish in barrels with salt for preservation, which in turn produced a protein-rich sauce, patis!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chocolate Pavlova

Chocolate Pavlova (meringue-based dessert)
This dessert was created by a Kiwi chef who named it after Russian ballet dancer, Ánna Pávlova, during her world tour visit to New Zealand in 1926. Commonly known as the "pav", it is a meringue-based cake with a crispy crust and marsh-mellowly soft inner centre.

Ever since I've started making this chocolate variation over six years ago, it has consistently been a crowd pleaser and have to give credit to Nigella Lawson for this gorgeous creation.
Fabulous in both presentation and taste, it is a lovely summer dessert because you can dress it up in seasonal berries and fruits, enjoy!
Did you know: Pavlova and meringue are very similar in the ingredients and how it is baked but the main difference between Pavlova and meringue is the internal consistency. Pavlova's centre has a softer marshmellow texture, yummy!

Pavlova base

6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 cups mixed fruit (I love using berries for this dessert!)
1 oz bittersweet chocolate, grated
Did you know: The world's largest Pavlova was baked in 2005 by students of New Zealand's Eastern Institute of Technology. The giant "Pavkong" stretched 210 feet and used 5,000 egg whites, 150 kilograms of sugar and 150 litres of cream. Wow!
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in.

3. Mound on to the lined cookie sheet in a fat circle approximately 9" in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 300 degrees and cook for 1 hour. When it’s ready, the Pavlova should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the marshmallow centre beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate Pavlova cool completely.

4. When you’re ready to serve, invert on to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the sugar and vanilla extract into the whipping cream then pile it on top of the Pavlova. Scatter y0ur choice of fruit over the whipping cream. Coarsely grate the chocolate over the fruit. Serve immediately and get ready to receive loads of compliments for this delectable treat!

Recipe adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gỏi Cuốn (Summer or Fresh Roll)

Summer or Fresh Roll
Vietnamese summer rolls served cold are refreshing appetizers on those hot summer days (here's hoping we get some soon!). The rolls hold fillings that typically consist of shrimp, chicken, pork, fruit, herbs and vermicelli rice noodles all tightly rolled in rice spring-roll wrappers. Paired with peanut dipping sauce, spicy Hoisin sauce or Thai sweet chili sauce (available in most grocery stores in the Asian section), these rolls are a tasty no-cook meal.
Did you know: Rice spring-roll wrappers just need to be quickly soaked in cool water to be tender and easy to work with. Over soaking makes them mushy and more likely to tear. For the best results, work with one wrapper at a time, rolling it up snugly so that the roll stays firm and tight.

Shrimp & Mint Summer Rolls

120 grams of vermicelli rice noodles
rice spring-roll wrapper
1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled, de-veined, cooked and halved lengthwise

1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1 bunch of chives

Vegetarian Summer Rolls
120 grams of vermicelli rice noodles
rice spring-roll wrapper
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 small cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1 small ripe mango, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil
Delicious Tip: Make sure you have ample counter space and all your ingredients are ready and easily accessible when you start to roll. This way you can assemble your rolls quickly and enjoy them that much faster!

1. Pour boiling water over the vermicelli rice noodles and soak for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse. Divide into 8 equal portions. Fill a wide, shallow bowl with cool water. Working with one 8-inch rice spring-roll wrapper at a time, soak until pliable (20 seconds). Transfer to a smooth and flat surface.

2. Place a layer of desired fillings (suggested: Shrimp & Mint or Vegetarian Summer Rolls) on bottom third of wrapper. Top with a portion of noodles and another layer of fillings.

3. Fold bottom of wrapper tightly over fillings.

4. Roll over once, tuck in sides, and finish rolling. Transfer roll to a plate and cover with a slightly damp towel. Repeat to make 8 summer rolls. Serve immediately with dipping sauces (suggested: Peanut or Spicy Hoisin Sauces), or refrigerate up to 2 hours.

Peanut Dipping Sauce (Makes 1 1/4 cups)
In a medium cup, whisk together 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter and 1/2 cup warm water until smooth. Whisk in 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 4 teaspoons sugar. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts over sauce before serving.

Spicy Hoisin Dipping Sauce (Makes 1 cup)
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup hoisin sauce, 3 tablespoons chili sauce (i.e. sambal ulek), 2 teaspoons white vinegar, and 1/4 cup water until smooth.
Try this: For a party, try making bite-size summer rolls with smaller wrappers so they can be easily snacked on by your guests.
Recipes adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food