I love rice and so does my husband. We try to find different ways to prepare and enjoy this wonderful food. Through time, we found hundreds of recipes, some simple and some exotic, and have enjoyed preparing them. We've found some real winners, which I have published on this blog and some that are not so great, which are in my personal "do not" repeat folder. I have created this site to share those memorable dishes - which are all about this wonderful food called "rice".

Celebrating Philippine Independence - June 12th

On June 12th, the Filipino community in the Dallas/Ft Worth area celebrated their independence day with a formal dinner, dancing and pageant.  The Philippines celebrated its 112th year of freedom.  To recognize this wonderful event, I decided to dedicate the month of June to share the different foods of my country.  Though only half Filipino, I am still proud to call it my own.

In 1898, the United States bought the Philippines from Spain for $20 million dollars ending the Spanish American War. On June 12, 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo led the Filipinos to declare their independence against the United States.  This declaration of independence was opposed by the United States, leading into the guerilla war in the Philippines.  Emilio Aguinaldo was arrested but, soon declared his allegiance to the United States.

In 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor declaring war on the United States.  Japan then invaded and occupied the Philippines.  Those were grueling times for the Philippines.  In October 1944, General MacArthur and President Osmena returned and liberated the Philippines from Japan.

On July 4, 1946, the United States gave the Philippines their independence. They then became Republic of the Philippines.

In 1961, Diosdado Macapagal won the presidential election.  He changed the independence day from July 4th to June 12th, the day Emilio Aguinaldo declared independence from Spain in 1898. Emilio Aguinaldo was the guest of honour on the first Independence Day celebration in 1962.

If you want to see and try the different Filipino foods, click on "Philippines" on my "Food Search" to find all the recipes I have personally prepared.


Tamarind Pork and Vegetable Soup (Sinigang na Baboy)

Soups play a major role in the Philippines. Combined with rice, it is a substantial meal.  Sinigang is the national soup. There are so many variations depending on the region, and in the Philippines, there is a lot.  I had previously blogged a shrimp version.  This is the pork version, which is the ultimate favorite at my house.  This is where my husband stands by my shoulder going "is it done yet?" Another dish that does not last at my house.

8 cups of water
2 pork boullions
2 tblsp tamarind paste
2 lbs pork butt, shoulder, pork belly or pork ribs ( a little fat makes this very flavorful)
4 tomatoes (quartered)
1 cup daikon radish (cut into chunks)
1 bunch water spinach or regular spinach
1 cup green beans (trimmed)
1 Japanese eggplant (cut into chunks)
Salt or fish sauce to taste
1 anaheim or chillie pepper (optional)

Cut pork into chunks.  In a large stock pot, add water, boullions, tamarind paste, tomatoes, pork, and daikon.  Bring to a full boil.  Reduce heat to a low boil and continue to cook for 45 to 60 minutes.  The longer you cook the pork the more tender.  Taste and season with salt or fish sauce. Add the green beans and eggplant. If you want to make a spicy version, add the pepper at this time.  Continue at a low boil for 5-7 minutes, until eggplant is tender.  Add the water spinach and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.  If using regular spinach instead.  Turn the heat off after the egg plant is done, then add the spinach. Stir the soup, taste and reseason with salt or fish sauce if needed.  Allow the spinach to wilt.  Serve hot over rice.  Yummmmm!!!!

NOTE: Fish sauce can be purchased at any Asian grocery store.  Use any vegetables that you have on hand: brocolli, cabbage, okra, carrots, etc.  You cannot go wrong.

Filipino Barbeque (Inihaw)

During picnics and summer events, this is very popular with the Filipinos. Majority of the prep-time is in skewering the meat through the bamboo spears.  The dish itself is very simple with very few ingredients, but oh so worthwhile after you barbeque them on the grill. Interstingly enough, the fattier the meat the more tender and less dry.

2 lbs of pork butt or picnic (sliced in strips)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
8 garlic cloves (minced)
2-3 tblsp canola or peanut oil
Salt and pepper
bamboo Skewers

Slice the pork into strips approximately 1/4 -1/2 inch thick.  Do not slice too thin or it will dry out during the cooking process.  In a glass or non-reactive bowl, add the pork, vinegar, sugar, and garlic.  Using your hand, mix well.  Season with salt and lots of pepper.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night.

Soak bamboo sticks in water for at least 20 minutes.  Skewer the pork into each bamboo stick.  You can either skewer the pork on 3/4 of the stick or if you want more stick to handle, then only skewer the top half of the stick.  After skewering, brush the pork lightly with oil.  Heat the barbeque grill on medium and cook each side of the pork for approximately 8-10 minutes. This will depend on the thickness of the cut of the meat.  Turn the skewered meat over and continue to grill on the other side for another 4-6 minutes.  Do not allow the meat to burn or get dry.  If it appears dry, brush with a little more oil.  Serve hot with rice and pickled salad (achara).

NOTE: This can also be prepared in the oven using the broiler.  

Green Papaya Salad (Achara)

This a very popular pickled salad in the Philippines.  It is usually served with rice and your favorite grilled or fried fish and meat.  Try it with the Filipino fried chicken or barbeque.  It is so easy to make.  You can find green papayas at most Asian grocery stores.  Adding the red chillies provide some heat.  Reduce or add the number of chillies to adjust to your taste.  They can be removed if you do not want it spicy.

1 green papaya (cut into julienne strips)
1 carrot (cut into julienne strips)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar
1-2 red chillies (cut into very thin strips)
1/2 red bell pepper (cut into julienne strips)
1/2 cup raisins and/or sultanas
3 shallots (minced)
1 inch ginger (minced)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

In a small sauce pan, heat the vinegar, sugar and salt.  Once sugar and salt has disolved, remove sauce pan from heat and allow to cool. 

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.  Pour sweet vinegar over the vegetables in the bowl and mix well.  Store in an airtight container for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Serve with rice and your favorite fried or grilled foods.

Filipino Beef and Onions (Bistek)

This is so yummy.  Another recipe that when I make at home does not last very long.  This is one of my mother's favorites as well.  It so simple to make and quick.  This can be prepared while waiting for the rice to cook. If you love liver and onions, this is a great recipe. Just change the beef for thinly sliced liver.

2 lbs beef skirt or sirloin (thinly sliced)
6 tblsp soy sauce
Juice of 3 lemons - separate 1 of lemon juice
2 onions (sliced into rings)
3/4 cup of water
1 tblsp oyster sauce
Salt and pepper
1 tblsp flour or corn starch
3 tblsp olive or canola oil

In a glass or non-reactive bowl mix beef, 3 tblsp soy sauce, juice of 1 lemon and flour. Let sit for 15 minutes.  Heat oil in a deep saute or frying pan.  Add the onions and season with salt and pepper.  Fry onions until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Add the sliced beef in batches to allow it to brown. Remove and set aside, continue cooking until all the beef has been browned.  Return all the beef back into the pan and add the onions.  Add the  remaining soy sauce, the juice of the last 2 lemons and water.  Allow to slowly boil.  Season with lots of pepper or to taste.  Add the oyster sauce and continue slow boiling for another 5 minutes. If the soup is too tangy, add 2-3 tablespoon of water and continue to slow boil for another 2-3 minutes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.  Serve hot over rice.

Filipino Menudo (Diced Pork Stew with Potatoes)

Okay, let me start by saying "this is nothing like the Mexican version." Filipino Menudo has a lot of Spanish influence.  This is especially wonderful the next day.  It does take some time for the cooking process but so worth it.  My husband absolutely loves this and cannot wait for me to make it.  The challenge is letting it sit for a little while to let the flavors marry.  Not possible at my house.


1 lb pork butt or shoulder (cut in large sections)
1 lb calf or beef liver (cut into bite size pieces)
3 large tomatoes (chopped or minced)
2 1/2 cups potatoes (cut into bite size pieces)
1/2 cup canned chick peas (drained)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 large onion (minced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 cups water (from boiled pork)
1 roasted red bell pepper (diced) or 3oz jar of pimiento
1/2 cup raisins
1 tblsp sugar
2 tblsp olive or canola oil
salt and pepper

In a deep pot, fill about half way with water, add the pork and season with salt.  Boil for 45 minutes until pork is tender.  Strain pork reserving 2 cups of the broth and set aside to cool.  When cool, chop pork into bite size pieces.   

In a large deep pan or pot, heat oil.  Add potatoes and cook until tender and lightly brown.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is translucent, then add the tomatoes and sugar.  Continue cooking stirring constantly until tomatoes soften approximately 3-4 minutes.  Add the pork and liver.  Continue stirring until liver browns and is cooked.  Add the reserved 2 cups of pork broth, peas, raisins and chick peas.  Allow to gently boil for another 12-13 minutes.  Liquid will reduce; season with salt  and pepper.  Add the roasted bell peppers or pimientos and continue to cook for another 8 minutes.  Serve hot over rice.

Filipino Sour Shrimp Soup (Sinigang na Hipon)

In the Philippines, like many in the Pacific Islands, soups play a main role in their food culture.  These soups are poured over rice, making a substantial meal.  This is a very versatile soup.  The broth, tomatoes and shrimp are the base.  There is no limit to the vegetables.  Use whatever you have on hand (brocolli, carrots, cabbage, okra, etc.)  You can also make it spicy by adding green chillies. Different regions and families have numerous versions.  Try it out using the basics and then play around with what suits you. 


1 lb shrimp in shells
8 cups water
2 fish or shrimp bouillion cubes
2 tblsp tamarind paste
2 tomatoes (quartered)
1 small bunch fresh spinach leaves (trimmed)
1 cup green string beans (trimmed)
1 medium onion (quartered)
1 cup dikon radish (cut in chunks)
2-3 green chillies (optional)
Salt or Patis (fish sauce)
Steamed jasmine or basmati rice

In a deep pot, add water, bouillion, tamarind paste, onion, tomatoes and dikon radish.  If using the green chillies, add those at this time.  Bring to a boil for 15-20 minutes until daikon becomes translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add the green beans and continue to cook for another 10 minutes at a low boil.  Add the shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes.  When the shrimp becomes a dark pink and opaque, season with salt or patis and the fresh spinach.  Turn off the heat and allow the spinach leaves to wilt approximately 3 minutes.  Scoop rice into a deep bowl.  Add shrimp and vegetables with plenty of broth for a soupy consistency.  Season with additional salt or patis if needed. Enjoy!

Note:  For additional variety, you can add fresh fish (i.e. trout, sea bass, cod, etc.)  Change out the vegetables if you like. This is great with eggplant and okra.

Clams With Spinach and Chayote

This is one of those comfort foods that we absolutely love at home.  There are several versions of this depending on what part of the Philippines you are from.  The original recipe calls for chicken with chicken broth, but I thought I would try it with clams and yummmmmm.  If you do not like clams, then try it with chicken and chicken broth. . 


1 lb of small neck or manila clams (scrubbed and cleaned or frozen)
1 medium onion (sliced)
1 inch of ginger (sliced in match sticks)
3 cups of fish or clam broth
1 chayote (peeled; remove seed and cut into bite size pieces)
1 small bunch of fresh spinach leaves (clean and trimmed)
Steamed white or brown rice to serve over.
2 tblsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot.  Add onions and chayote.  In medium heat, stir occasionally until onions become translucent - approximately 5 minutes.  Add the ginger and continue cooking for another 2 minutes to release the flavor of the ginger.  Add the broth and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat to a simmer or lightly boil to allow the chayote to tender for another 8 minutes.  If chayote pieces are large, this will take a longer cooking time.   Season with salt and pepper then add your clams.  Continue cooking until all the clams open. If you are using fresh clams, discard any that are still close.  Add the spinach and stir it into the soup mixture.  Turn off the heat and allow the spinach to wilt.  In a deep bowl, add a scoop or two of rice and top it with the clams and vegetables.  Be very generous with the soup or broth.  Enjoy!

Pork and Chicken Adobo

This is probably the most world known Philippine dish.  Even the Neiman Marcus cookbook has a recipe.  I have never met an American who did not swoon over this dish or when they find out my heritage, wanted to let me know that they have had adobo and how wonderful this is.  Though Mexico has adobo, this is very different from their version.  If you have never tried any of the dishes of the Philippines, start with this first, you will absolutely fall in love with the country when you do.


1lb boneless pork shoulder (cut into large chunks)
1lb chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
10 cloves of garlic (crushed whole)
1 1/2 cups chicken or pork broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup white wine vinegar or coconut vinegar
2 tblsp sugar
2 tsp of black pepper
2 tblsp oyster sauce
1 Bay leaf
2-3 tblsp canola or olive oil

In a large dutch oven or pot, add all the ingredients except for the oyster sauce.  Turn the heat up and allow to boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover; add the oyster sauce.  Allow to cook for 1 hour (check occassionally and stir) until meat is tender and liquid has reduced. Do not allow the liquid to go completely dry.  

In a separate pan, add the oil and heat.  Remove the chicken and pork pieces from the pot. Reserve the cooking liquid. Fry the meat pieces in the pan until it browns turning the meat continuously to create a nice crisp skin.  Since the meat is already done, do not over fry.  You just want to add a nice crisp outer layer.  Remove the meat from the pan and into a plate.  Spoon rice into a bowl, add the pork and chicken piece, pour some of the cooking liquid over the meat and rice.  Enjoy!

Note: In many Philippine households, the meat is not fried but enjoyed directly from the pot and over rice.  You decide.