For chef Myrna Segismundo, there is no reason traditional Filipino favorite dishes cannot be made more special for the holiday season. And the makeover does not even have to cost a lot.
In a recent cooking demonstration in The Maya Kitchen Culinary Elite Series at Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center, Segismundo, assisted by chef Raul Ramos, whipped up her “Filipino Flavors of Christmas.” The menu consisted of non-holiday dishes like adobo, a salad of ubod and pomelo, and turon, tweaked to make them more festive and suitable for a holiday spread, plus morcon, and apples and pears poached in red wine.
Segismundo, who has been promoting Filipino cuisine here and abroad, said the recipes in her “Filipino Flavors of Christmas” “are not very complicated but familiar to everyone.” She added that she liked to do dishes “using ingredients readily available,” or those where she could use scraps from the kitchen. “Think of your leftovers and concoct something out of them,” Segismundo said.
For added flavor, she suggested keeping ham bones handy and adding them to certain dishes.
The chef said it was not, for instance, adobo per se that would propel the Filipino cuisine into the international stage, but the unique and indigenous ingredients used.
“We have to think of what we have,” she said, adding that foreign food aficionados, for example, are envious of the wide variety of vinegars in the Philippines.
Here are a couple of Segismundo’s recipes:
Pepper Jelly and Toast Points
For the Adobo:
1 head garlic, peeled and pounded
2/3 c cane vinegar
½ c soy sauce
½ tbsp black peppercorns, cracked
1 pc bay leaf (optional)
1 kg pork shoulder, boneless, cut into stewing pieces
Enough water to cover meat
2 c fresh cream
1 bar (227 g) 100 g unsalted butter, divided
1. Combine garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, pepper and bay leaf in a wok or saucepot. Add pork and water and marinate for 30 minutes. Simmer over medium heat until pork is cooked. Continue simmering the pork till it is tender. Some fat will be rendered from the pork. Fry the pork in the remaining oil until golden brown.
2. Gently toss cooked meat. Some of the meat will stick to the pot so scrape the sides. Set aside.
3. Add fresh cream and half of the butter and continue simmering for another 5 minutes.
4. Remove the bay leaves from the adobo and allow to cool.
For the Paté:
In a blender, pour adobo mixture and process till smooth. Transfer to desired container and top with the remaining melted butter to seal the pate. Chill before serving with toast points/crackers and pepper jelly.
25 g red bell pepper, seeded and minced
1 c honey
1/2 c water
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp juice from fresh lemon or calamansi
2 pc siling labuyo, seeded and minced
Combine all ingredients in a pot. Simmer, stir and reduce by half.
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