Friday, December 23, 2016

Filipino Fruit Salad for Christmas

Filipino Fruit Salad for Christmas!
As we're nearing my favourite holiday, Christmas, my family is already planning for our Noche Buena (meaning Good Night or alternately Christmas Eve in Spanish), a traditional Filipino family feast taken place right after Christmas' midnight mass.
Did you know: Maligayang Pasko is Merry Christmas in Tagalog. 
This Yuletide fare usually includes: pandesal (sweet Filipino buns) with sliced hamon (Christmas ham) and queso de bola (edam cheese ball sealed with red wax), fruit salad, macaroni salad, bibingka and tsokolate (Filipino hot chocolate). By the time we've tucked into this bountiful meal, it's 2am and our tummies are full, but we're wide awake getting excited to open presents and while Frank Sinatra and Perry Como Christmas classics are jingling in the background.

Here's an easy and colourful Filipino fruit salad recipe that will get your family & friends excited for the holidays!

Make enough fruit salad for leftovers, your family will love you for it!
Fruit Salad
Serves: 6-8 people

- 1 can (770 ml) DelMonte Fiesta Tropical Fruits (pineapple, nata de coco, papaya and cherries)
- 1 can (398ml) sliced peaches in juice, drained and diced
- 1 can (398 ml) pear halves in juice, drained diced
- 1 fresh apple, chopped
- 1 jar (340ml) kaong, sugar palm fruit in syrup
- 1 jar (340ml) coconut strings in syrup
- 1 cup whipped cream
- 1/2 can (300ml) condensed milk

1. Drain all canned and jarred fruit preserves well so no juices are remaining. This will ensure the whip cream and condensed milk will not get watered down.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Chill for 3 hours or overnight before serving.

Fruit salad, masarap! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Halo-Halo (mix-mix) Filipino Dessert!

Loving Chowking's Halo Halo!
There is no question, I have a sweet tooth. My Mom said she predicted that when she was pregnant with me, craving desserts like ice cream more often than usual. Btw, she also has a sweet tooth so this sweet apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Hence, my name is CANDIce. It could have been my name and my obsession for sweets was a coincidence but I think the universe planned it perfectly, I love sugar!

Growing up in Singapore, you're living in a climate that is tropical, hot and humid year round. My places for solace was a pool and an iced dessert Filipino halo halo or what literally means "mix-mix". Halo halo is a good representation of the Filipino culture which is a mixture of many influences and cultures: Spanish, American, Malaysian, Chinese and more.

It starts with a tall clear glass filled with sweet preserved red and white mung beans (mungo), preserved fruit, saba bananas (saging) and jackfruit (langka), coconut meat (macapuno) and coconut jello (nata de coco). Then this colourful parfait is topped with shaved ice, evaporated milk, mango or purple yam (ube) ice-crream, creme caramel (leche flan) and roasted rice puffs (pinipig).

Red mung beans (mungo)
Saba bananas (saging)
Coconut jello - white (nata de coco)
Sweetened purple yam (ube)

Mango ice cream
Once assembled, the layers are so pretty when they come together, the glass looks like frosty rainbow! Then with some skillful spoon-work, you start combining all of the flavours together to gather a spoonful of contrasting soft, chewy, crunchy, crispy and creamy textures bouncing and cooling all corners of your mouth. Here's a short foodieo of us in Cebu, Philippines enjoying halo halo, yum!

Chowking's Halo Halo in Manila
This is my childhood memory in a glass and love how easy it is to recreate it at home here in Vancouver!

Halo Halo, summer in a cup!
Serves 1

2 tbsp preserved red and white mung beans (mungo)
1/2 boiled saba bananas, sliced (saging)
1/4 cup white and green coconut jello, diced (nata de coco)
1/4 cup jackfruit, julienne (langka)
1/4 cup coconut meat, julienne (macapuno)

You can find pre-made Halo Halo mixes in specialty Asian stores
1 cup ice cubes
1/4-1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 scoop of mango ice cream
1 tsp of ube jam
1 tbsp of pinipig (or granola)
Did you know: Pinipig are rice grains that are roasted and then pounded until they are flat and look like oats with the texture of rice crisps. 
Halo Halo ingredients (L-R): Nata De Coco (green), Mango Ice Cream, Ube, Nata De Coco (white), Saba Bananas, Halo Halo Mix and Red Mung Beans
1. In a 16 oz glass (holds 2 cups), start layering the filling ingredients with the beans, saba bananas, coconut jello, coconut and jackfruit.
2. Using a powerful blender, crush the ice cubes with the milk to create a thick and creamy smoothie-like texture. Top the halo halo parfait with the milky shaved ice smoothie. Then add the mango ice-cream, ube jam and sprinkle with pinipig. Serve immediately.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Crispy Roti Prata (Asian Flat Bread)

If you haven't tasted roti prata, imagine if a croissant and a pancake had a baby and it was served dipped in spicy curry, umm yum!
Foodieo fact: Roti means "bread" and prata means "flat" in Hindi. 
Yummy roti prata!
I was raised eating this south Indian flat bread, made by pan searing stretched dough coated in ghee (clarified butter), when we lived in Singapore.  This country is tiny but a serious mighty global contender when it comes to representing and establishing its own culinary delights influenced from South East Asia like India, Malaysia, China & Malaysia.  My favourite memories of eating authentic roti prata is at our Singaporean neighbourhood hawker centre, an open air food court, consuming the flakey, fluffy and butter bread, hot off the griddle. 
Foodieo fact: Ghee is prepared by simmering butter and removing any liquid residue.  
I'd eat roti prata for breakfast, snack, dessert...heck any meal really, using my fingers to dip the flat bread in warm fish or mutton curry, or have it stuffed with egg, cheese, onion or simply sprinkled with granulated sugar.
Glee with Ghee!
Foodieo tip: Ghee is shelf stable but once opened, it can last 2-3 months unrefrigerated but best to store in the fridge, up to 1 year, for longer shelf live.
Now that we live in Vancouver, BC the only chance we get to have roti prata is at Malaysian or Singapore restaurants. Our recent trip back to Singapore last year reinvigorated my love for this fried pancake so much so, I made it my mission to learn how to make it authentically from scratch so I can satisfy my cravings and introduce this delectable dish to friends in Canada.
Foodieo tip: Transform your roti prata from savoury to sweet by enjoying it with ice-cream, nutella and fresh fruit.   
Watch my Instafoodieo
- 3 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup ghee (melted)
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 3/4 cup whole milk (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup water (room temperature)

Mixing Directions:
1. Use a mixer with a paddle attachment to combine flour, salt, sugar and 1/4 cup ghee until mixture starts to clump. 
2. Add egg, milk and water. Once dough starts to form, switch to dough hook attachment to start kneading until dough become elastic and smooth (5-7 minutes). 
3. Turn dough onto lightly oiled (use ghee) surface and manually knead dough for another 5 minutes. If dough starts to stick onto surface, continue to drizzle ghee. Dough will feel a bit sticky but not wet.
4. Cut dough into 16 equal pieces and form into balls. Coat each ball with 1/2-1 tsp of ghee and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and covered with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for at least 6 hours or over night (do not place in fridge, will harden dough).

Kneading dough in mixer with dough hook (5 minutes). 

Kneading dough by hand (another 5 minutes) on a lightly greased surface using ghee.

Tadah, roti prata dough! Should feel smooth & elastic.

Cut dough into 16 even pieces and roll into balls.

Coat each piece with 1/2-1 tsp ghee. Necessary to keep moist & impart flavour.

Roti balls slathered with ghee. Let rest covered with saran wrap at room temp, at least 6 hours. Overnight is even better!

Stretching the Roti Prata Directions:
1. Make sure your work surface is clean and that you dough is room temperature.  Warm dough is more pliable and easier to stretch without making holes!  
2. Coat your work surface and hands with a thin layer of ghee. Place one dough ball in the centre of your work surface and use the heel of your palm to press and flatten the dough into a 6-8" disk, slightly thinner around the edges. 
Foodieo tip: Drizzle ghee in the middle of the sheet to add, flavour and crispiness to the roti prata.
*You can try using a damp dish towel to practice first!*
3. Using your more dominant hand (mine is left), place four fingers of your left hand underneath dough and your thumb on top, at the 7 o’clock position. Place four fingers of right hand on top of dough at 4 o’clock 
4. Throw dough by moving left hand toward your right side, and then slapping it back onto table in one quick motion. Each time, as the dough sticks to the table, pull it back to stretch it further. The dough will get thinner as it’s tossed and pulled. Repeat this until it become thin as possible without too many holes (few are fine). 
5. Simultaneously move your hands clockwise around dough's edges each time you throw dough, allowing the disc to slowly rotate in your hands. This ensures an even stretch from all sides. You can also go around dough's edges by lifting the thicker parts and pulling outwards to thin and gently pressing against table to stick.
6. Using both hands, fold the top quarter dough so almost reaching middle of sheet. Fold the opposite edge to meet in the middle. Then repeat on the other edges to make a square. Each time you fold, try to capture some air in-between layers.

Press & flatten dough with greased hands.
Flatten dough until paper thin, throwing & slapping dough on greased counter. 
View my Instafoodieo again!
 Fold edges so barely touching each other in the middle.
Foodieo tip: Once you have stretched the roti prata open, you can stuff it by adding fixings like a beaten egg, grated cheddar cheese, thinly sliced onions. Then you close it up by folding the edges into the middle like an envelope.  
Cooking Roti Prata Directions:
1. Heat a non-stick pan over a low-medium heat. 
2. Drizzle pan with a little ghee. Add one bread to the pan, and cook slowly, turning periodically, to ensure even browning on all sides. Cook until each side is deep golden brown, even if that means more cooking time than you expect. 
3. Once cooked, place the roti prata to a flat work surface, and then use a clapping motion (careful as the bread will be hot), slapping the bread together between your hands to separate the layers so the bread is flakley. Repeat with remaining roti and eat immediately with curry or granulated sugar. 
Foodieo tip: The first roti prata tend to be a “tester,” letting you know whether to raise or lower the heat. 
Gently place folded roti to heated & greased non-stick pan. Air bubbles are good, means roti will be flaky!
Ahh...browning to perfection.
Slap cooked roti between your hands to separate the layers so the bread is flakley.
Serve with curry, granulated sugar, egg, plain or whatever suits you!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

FOODIEO: Pandesal (Filipino Sweet Bread Roll)

Homemade pandesal, (Filipino sweet bread roll). Maliknamnam!
Whenever we visit the Philippines, before dropping off our luggages at my mom's childhood home in Cubao, Manila, we make a pit stop on route from the airport to the famous Megamelt Muhlach. They are best known for their ensaymada (Filipino cheesy butter pastry) but our guilty pleasure is their pandesal. We pick up a dozen of their fresh pandesal, a Filipino classic sweet bread roll. This batch of pandesal barely lasts us 24 hours. 
Foodieo Fact: Pandesal is Spanish for "salt of bread" but they're slightly sweet! Lost in translation;)
The national bread of the Philippines, these golden rolls are soft, airy and slightly sweet with a light crust for crunch, yum! They are best consumed warm, spread with a layer of salted butter, topped with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese then dipped into hot strong coffee. They melt in your mouth like pillowy biscotti. For most Filipinos, it's tough to live through a day without our fix of pandesal.
Foodieo Fact: Commonly known as "poor man's bread", pandelsal was a cheaper alternative for rice during the world war times. Now, these ubiquitous buns can be found throughout the world in variety of flavours like whole wheat, cheese, raisin, ube (purple yam) and much more!
Whenever we crave these little oval loaves back in Canada, we can easily find them at local Filipino stores. However, it's nothing like have them hot-out-of-the-oven, watching steam gently evaporating when you pull the loaf apart and seeing the butter liquify before your eyes. Then immediately devouring a 3-4 pandesal rolls at once! Not that I've experienced that but can imagine the temptation;)
So happy the pandesals turned out, yay!
Here's an easy, a little time consuming recipe (believe me it's worth it!) pandesal recipe that is foolproof. At least it was for me. This FOODIEO shows me making pandesal for the first time and nailing it! They turned out exactly how I remember eating them in the Philippines. Hope you will give it a try and bring some pinoy comfort food into your home.

2 cups warm water (110°F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
5-6 cups organic, unbleached all-purpose flour + 1/3 cup for kneading
1/2 cup bread crumbs (sprinkle on top of rolls)

Butter (optional)

1) Fill small bowl with warm water, add yeast and 1 tsp of sugar, stir to dissolve. Let sit until mixture becomes bubbly and creamy, about 10 min.
2) In large mixing bowl, combine 1/3 cup of sugar and oil, mix until smooth. Add salt and 1 cup of flour, mix until combined. Add yeast mixture. Add remaining 4-5 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
3) Turn dough onto slightly floured surface and knead until smooth, supple and elastic, 10 minutes. Oil a large mixing bowl, turn dough in it until coated with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let sit in warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
4) Turn dough onto floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into
log and roll until 1/2" thick in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut log into 1/2" roll pieces. Place the rolls, flat side down, onto 2 baking sheets. Gently press each roll down to flatten. 
5) Preheat oven to 375°F.
6) Sprinkle pandesal rolls with bread crumbs, cover them with a damp cloth and let rise until double in volume, about 30 min.
7) Bake for about 10-15 min or until golden brown. Then immediately eat with lots of butter, masarap!!

Enjoy spread with butter, cheddar cheese, jam, coffee grinds...anything would be good in pandesal!
Recipe adapted from All Recipes.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Que Pasa Spicy Tortilla Soup

Candice having fun at the Que Pasa cooking demo at the Gluten Free Expo
Happy 2016, que pasa (what's up)? Well, the past few years I've been blessed being able to combine my passions of cooking, eating and promoting organic foods at my job as Marketing Events Manager for Nature's Path Organic Food and Que Pasa. My role has me travelling often so that's why my posts haven't been frequent but I hope to change that this year. My new year's resolution is to try and post a recipe or a culinary story at least once a month, definitely doable (I will keep reminding myself)!

With January's cold rainy weather, it's nice to cuddle up to a bowl of warm and hearty soup. So last weekend I did a cooking demo on a Spicy Tortilla Soup topped with Que Pasa chips at the Gluten Free Expo Vancouver.  This one pot wonder is quick and easy to make, satisfying the healthy and tasty requirements while being vegetarian and gluten free. I especially like it because it's a nice meal if you want to entertain after the holidays without needing to spend too much time or money.

I'm not gluten free but working in the food industry, I've realized that not all gluten free foods are created equal. A gluten free label doesn't mean it's healthier and better for you. It's considering the quality of the ingredients in the gluten free products.  Not only are the Que Pasa chips third party certified gluten free, they are also certified organic and Non-GMO Project verified. Meaning the ingredients in the Que Pasa corn chips are not genetically modified, sprayed with synthetic chemical pesticides and herbicides or have artificial colours or preservatives. They are void of the artificial stuff but packed with lots of flavour, yay!

Good thing because Que Pasa are my favourite tortilla chips, and those end of the bag broken pieces are perfect to be topped on soups or salads of just plain snacking. I love the whole grain corn textures and satisfying crunch of each lightly salted chip, delicioso!

Que Pasa Spicy Tortilla Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, medium chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped (1" thick)
2 tsp Mexican chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups gluten free vegetable stock
1 can (14oz) black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup organic corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 cup gluten free salsa (canned diced tomatoes)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp brown sugar (optional)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted & chopped
2 cups broken Que Pasa Tortilla chips
2 tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic & red bell peppers, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until vegetables are soften. Add chilli powder and cumin, cook and stir for 1 minute.

Add stock, black beans and corn to saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in salsa, season with salt & pepper. Divide among bowls and garnish with avocado, tortilla chips and cilantro or parsley.

Recipe adapted from Que Pasa Foods.