Bulalo with grapes, pinakbet with baked liempo, lechon kawali with roasted pumpkin gata.
Leave it to young chefs to give classic Filipino dishes an interesting twist.
Knorr Philippines has just tapped five of these chefs—actor-turned-restaurateur Marvin Agustin; TV show chefs Tristan Encarnacion and John Patrick Anglo; former model Martin Jickain; and Unilever Philippines chef for innovation and technical management Dianne de la Cruz.
Unilever senior assistant manager Jeremiah Ty said the chefs were chosen for their culinary skills as well as their affable appeal—moms and yuppies who cook could instantly relate to them.
Over lunch at Romulo Café in Makati, they discussed their innovations.
‘Sinigang’ with grapes
Encarnacion is an instructor at the Center for Culinary Arts. He also hosted a cooking segment in the morning show “Unang Hirit” on GMA 7.
He surprised us with his take on the bulalo. Instead of doing the traditional nilaga which involves slow-boiling the beef shank with marrow in a big pot of water, he made Sinigang na Bulalo—with red grapes.
The fruity kick from the grapes counters the richness of the meat. It gives the soup slight sweetness, which saba-banana slices usually provide in the nilaga.
This was one of his kitchen experiments that turned out well.
“I first used yellow watermelon, but it became soggy. I tried grapes and it worked well.”
He also seared the beef in hot oil before adding water, and used a pack of Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok instant mix as souring agent.
‘Pinakbet’ with baked ‘liempo’
Agustin is the heartthrob actor who now does cooking shows. He took up culinary courses and, with business partners, established restaurants such as Oyster Boy, Sumosam, Johnny Chow, John and Yoko, and Mr. Kurosawa.
Like a typical Kapampangan, he has innate interest in food and talent in cooking. For the launch, he made a combo of Ilocano dishes—Pinakbet with Baked Liempo.
His pinakbet has Knorr Shrimp Cube and tomato paste instead of bagoong. The liempo, which is as crunchy as the deep-fried bagnet of the Ilocanos, is marinated in patis or fish sauce and white pepper, then baked until brown. Agustin lists Italian pasta, cocido and paella, and beef tapa as his other specialties.
“My friends who go abroad always ask me to make tapa they can store. It’s simply spiced with salt and pepper, but I need a good cut of beef,” he said. “I made kilos of beef tapa on my recent trip in the US.”
Organic brown-rice paella
Chef Jickain is executive chef of Station Juan Café in Boracay and food editor of Queue Magazine. He made Organic Sagada Rice Paella with Seafoods with Knorr Chicken and Shrimp Cubes.
Surfer and recent “Junior Master Chef Philippines” judge chef Anglo made Lechon Kawali with Roasted Pumpkin Gata. The creamy sauce has Knorr Sinigang Mix, Chicken Cube, and Ginataang Gulay Mix, a quicker alternative to coconut milk.
We also love chef De la Cruz’s fish dish—Lapu-Lapu Escabeche. The fish is seasoned with Knorr All-in-One + Meaty Seasoning, then deep-fried. The Oriental sweet-sour sauce has ginger, catsup, sugar, Knorr Fish Cube, julienned carrots and bell peppers. It is poured on the fried fish just before serving to give it a good glaze.
All dishes go well with steaming-hot white rice cooked with Knorr Rice Mate rice conditioner, which, Ty adds, took Unilever eight years to formulate.
Sinigang na Bulalo with Grapes
350-400 g beef shank
2 tbsp cooking oil
¼ c white onions, diced
Water as needed
1 pack Knorr 2-in-1 Sinigang sa Sampalok mix
4 pc siling pangsigang
½ c red and green cabbage leaves
Red or green seedless grapes, washed
½ tbsp calamansi juice
2 tbsp achuete
Fish sauce, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Season beef with salt and pepper, and sear both sides in hot oil in a casserole or pot.
Remove seared beef; set it aside.
Using the same pot, saute onions, pour water and return seared beef into the casserole. Bring to a boil and simmer until beef is tender. Add water if needed.
Add Knorr 2-in-1 Sinigang mix. Add siling pangsigang and calamansi juice. Using a strainer with the achuete, ladle broth into the strainer until broth turns orange. Discard used achuete.
Season with fish sauce and pepper. Add cabbage leaves and simmer for a minute or two. Garnish with seedless grapes and serve.
Pinakbet with Baked Liempo
1 pc white onion, minced
8 cloves garlic, minced
6 pc tomato, cut into quarters
1 pc Knorr Shrimp Cube
1 c sliced okra
1 c ampalaya, sliced
1 c eggplant , sliced
1 c squash, diced
1 c sitaw, cut into two-inch sticks
Wate, as needed
500 g liempo (full slab)
2 tbsp patis
White pepper, to taste
Saute onion, garlic and tomatoes in oil. Add Knorr Shrimp Cube. Add vegetables, tomato paste, water.
Marinate liempo in patis and white pepper. Bake until golden brown.
Lechon Kawali with Roasted Pumpkin Gata
5 g onions
5 g garlic
1 tbsp shrimp paste
15 g snow peas
15 g green beans
50 g pumpkin, cubed
20 g tofu
80 g pork belly
2 g whole peppercorn
1 pack Knorr Ginataang Gulay Recipe Mix
½ cube Knorr Chicken Cubes
1 pack Knorr Sinigang Mix
Saute garlic, onion and cubed pumpkin in oil. Add water. Bring to a boil, add Knorr Chicken Cube and Ginataang Gulay Mix. Stir until thick.
In separate pan, blanche the snow peas and green beans, strain. Cut tofu into strips and fry.
Boil pork belly for about an hour in water with Knorr Sinigang Mix, lemongrass, garlic, whole peppercorn, salt. Deep fry.
To serve, put blanched snow peas and green beans on a plate, top with the pumpkin stew and tofu strips. Place chopped pork belly on the side.
1 kg lapu-lapu
Oil for frying, as needed
2 packs Knorr All-in-One + Meaty Seasoning
3 tsp garlic, chopped
3 tbsp ginger, julienned
50 g onions, sliced
385 ml water
1 pc Knorr Fish Broth Cube
40 ml vinegar
Brown sugar, to taste
200 ml tomato sauce
1 pc carrots, julienned
1 pc red bell pepper, julienned
24 g cornstarch
Season fish with Knorr All-in-One + Meaty Seasoning. Fry until cooked through. In the same pan with reduced oil, saute onion, garlic and ginger. Add vinegar, simmer. Add water, Knorr Fish Cubes, sugar and catsup. Blend well. Add carrots and bell peppers, simmer for two minutes. Add slurry and stir until sauce thickens. Add fish and let this simmer for six to eight minutes. Serve.