Tinola, a comforting chicken soup seasoned with plenty of ginger and garlic, has countless variations throughout the Philippines. The soup calls for malunggay leaves (aka moringa), which can be found fresh or frozen at Asian markets. Bok choy is a good substitute. Feel free to increase the amounts of garlic and fish sauce for an even more flavorful soup. Serve this easy and healthy chicken soup on its own or with jasmine rice, quinoa or wild rice.
These spring rolls (sariwa means fresh in Tagalog) were first introduced to the Philippines by Chinese immigrants and traders. They usually consist of vegetables, meat or seafood, rolled up in lettuce and a thin wrapper. Read more about this recipe.
In the Philippines, rice is life. There's archaeological evidence of it being grown as early as 3400 B.C. Even so, rice was historically produced in limited quantities for spiritual rituals. Because of its associated luxury, rice was considered only for elite members of the tribe, given as tribute to chiefs. When Spanish colonists introduced plow technology, rice production increased and it became a staple for everyone. Read more about this recipe.
When the Spanish colonized the Philippines, they established the epic global trade route known as the Manila Galleon, linking Acapulco and Manila. Plants and products shipped from Mexico included the pineapple. It quickly flourished throughout the Philippines and many pineapple-based dishes were created, including this flan, also introduced by the colonizers. Read more about this recipe.
This quick and easy cocktail showcases the refreshing zing of calamansi, aka calamondin or Philippine lime. The citrus fruit, a staple of Filipino and Southeast Asian cooking, tastes like a very tart combination of lemon, lime and orange. This recipe makes enough syrup for 4 cocktails and the syrup can be made ahead. For a nonalcoholic version, simply leave out the gin.
Ubod, or hearts of palm, are the edible pith of the coconut tree. Yana Gilbuena, who's toured the world sharing her culture's cooking, considers this ingredient to be a great example of how Filipino cuisine honors a plant by using as many parts as possible. Read more about Gilbuena and this recipe.
The Spanish introduced the cultivation of corn to the Filipino island of Cebu in the 1700s. This propelled the vegetable to staple status not just in that province, but throughout the country. Yana Gilbuena features this dish in her pop-up kamayan dinners showcasing her culture's cuisine. Read more about Gilbuena and the pop-up kamayan dinners.
Arroz caldo, a bowl of comforting rice porridge seasoned with plenty of ginger and garlic, has countless variations throughout the Philippines. The porridge can have a variety of toppings, such as hard- or soft-boiled eggs, crispy tofu, crispy garlic bits or crispy shallots, lime, lemon, nutritional yeast and so much more. For a change of pace, you can swap cubed smoked tofu for the chicken. Quinoa, wild rice, cauliflower rice and other grains can also be substituted for the jasmine rice. Feel free to increase the amounts of garlic and fish sauce for an even more flavorful porridge. Serve this easy and healthy ginger-garlic rice porridge with love as my mother would always do.
In this savory Filipino beef-and-onion dish, bistek Tagalog (also simply called beef steak), calamansi juice tenderizes the beef and makes it more flavorful. The citrus fruit, a staple of Filipino and Southeast Asian cooking, is also called calamondin or Philippine lime and tastes like a very tart combination of lemon, lime and orange. Serve with steamed rice.