Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Preparing for the Lenten Season: February 22 is Ash Wednesday

The Philippines became a predominantly Catholic  country as it is known today because of its Hispanic influences. As Catholics, Filipinos observe the Lenten Season with much veneration and solemnity.

Lent prepares the Christian for the yearly commemoration of Christ's Death and Resurrection. Beginning on Ash Wednesday and culminating on Easter, Lent or Cuaresma, is a 40-day period in the liturgical year leading up to Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The 40 days represent the time that Jesus spent alone in the desert fighting the temptation of the devil before he begins his public ministry. During lent, the events relating to the martyrdom of Jesus Christ ultimately dying on the cross are commemorated through forms of repentance especially during Holy Week (Semana Santa in Spanish and Mahal na Araw in Tagalog). 

Throughout the Mahal na Araw,  Filipinos offer prayers, and sacrifices in observance of this religious tradition. As a way of making amends for their sins, some Filipinos consider walking on the streets barefoot, shirtless, covering their faces with dark cloths while scourging themselves at the back or letting someone do it for them. Some go to the extremes and let themselves be nailed to the wooden cross ( like what Jesus did) using 2-inch stainless steel nails and do it as a sign of penitence. These crucifixions are done in some parts of the country but more popularly in the town of San Pedro, Pampanga, north of Manila and has drawn crowds from all over the world. 

While these strong exhibition of devotion to the Passion of Christ remain as an irrevocable tradition in the Philippines, most Filipinos still prefer observing Lent through prayers, alms giving, fasting, and abstinence from meat.

Fasting or the pag-aayuno is also the most common practice observed even by the Filipinos living abroad. When fasting, a person refrains from eating meat during Lent, eating mostly fish and vegetables--or even nothing at all, reminding him or her to reject the worldly cares of life and follow the selfishness example of God through his son Jesus Christ. 

This Lenten Season, Isla Kulinarya will share with you delicious meatless recipes that you can include in your fasting diet. Don't  miss it!

Isla Kulinarya lets you explore the islands, taste the food, relive the memories--- all made possible by Island Pacific Supermarket. Go and visit an Island Pacific near you with branches in Southern California located at Cerritos, Canoga Park, North and South Vernon in Los Angeles, Panorama City and West Covina; Union City and Vallejo in Northern California. Check out our website at www.islandpacificmarket.com.   "Presyong Sulit...sa Isalnd Pacific."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ginataang Langka

BICOLANOS take pride not only in their cooking but also in the good traits and values that they have. Owing them mainly to the Spanish influence in the country, Bicolanos have developed  a profound relationship with God and Mother Mary. A deep sense of spirituality is greatly attributed to their strong devotion to the Lady of Penafrancia, their patroness and “Ina.”

Perhaps, it is also because of the Bicolanos' unfaltering faith in God that they are known to be the most enduring types of people, no matter how many natural calamities come their way. Typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions often causes havoc in this region.

Like most Filipinos, Bicolanos are also very welcoming. Their genuine concern for others is rooted in their love and for their families. They also like to engage themselves in conversations and talk about anything under the sun; from the latest news about famous celebrities, to controversial issues in the society and even politics. They often do these as they sit outside their backyard, shredding dried taro leaves that they will use for later for lunch or dinner.

Being family-centered, Bicolanos are often sweet. The guys are known for their extra efforts in wooing the girl they like. Ironically, Bicolanos may be fans of  saccharine romance but they like it wildly hot and spicy when it comes to their favorite ginataan dish.

Among the many favorite Bicolano dish is the Ginataang Langka , like any Bicolano dish, the Ginataang Langka is young jack fruit stewed in coconut milk with shrimp paste and of course, spiced with chili.

Aside from the Ginataang Langka, there are many Bicol dishes that have been considered as Filipino food favorites such as the Bicol Express, Ginataang Laing, and the Pinangat, among others. Not only are these delicacies enjoyed across the country, it is also demanded internationally with the many Filipino migrant workers  longing for zesty Bicolano classics to relieve the experience they have back at home.

 Catch us again next week for another recipe that you'll surely love. Don't miss it!

1/2 pc           onion, chopped
3 cloves        garlic, chopped
1 1/2 can      coconut milk
2 cans          jackfruit
3 oz              tinapa (smoked fish) approximately 2-3 pcs of boneless smoked fish
5 oz              shrimps
1 pc              tomato, cut in cubes

1. Saute onion, garlic and shrimp. Add coconut milk. Bring to a boil
2. Add jackfruit. When Jackfruit is tender, add the smoked fish and tomato.
3. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add knorr cubes.
4. Serve

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 15- 20 minutes
Serves 4

Chef Dindo Riforsado

Chef Drif has a long and distinguished career in the culinary arts industry.  He has worked in various upscale restaurants in Los Angeles such as La Defence Restaurant, Kado Japanese & Teppanyaki Restaurant; and Sushiko Kosher Japanese cuisine. He has mastered the art of culinary and has an extensive knowledge on a wide range of International cuisines. Currently, he is a Private Chef catering to private parties and events.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ginataang Tulingan

PINOYS, by nature, are very social people. Such is reflected through strong family ties and friendships that are kept alive since their youth up until the time when they have families of their own. Strong bonded relationships of Filipinos are mirrored through their inclination to travel in groups, be it with family, friends, or both. When traveling, they love seeing the countryside and its beautiful scenery; immersing in its culture, and tasting its delicacies.

Among the provinces most favored by local and foreign tourists is Batangas. Aside from the hospitality of its people, Batangas is a favored destination spot because it is not so far off from the city of Manila. Manileños who would want to unwind and hit the beach just for the weekend go to Batangas for its beautiful beach resorts and diving spots that are perfect for an ultimate bonding experience.

Batangueños are also known to be good cooks; making the best of the ingredients that  they already have. They take pride in whipping up dishes that use their main livestock, such as cattle and fish, and proudly share them with guests to partake especially during town fiestas. Among the popular dishes that  originated from Batangas is bulalo, the lomi or goto, and the tulingan or mackerel tuna cooked sinaing (boiled) or ginataan (cooked in coconut) style.

The tulingan or the mackerel tuna when cooked the ginataan way emits an aromatic flavor that is appetizingly delicious. In cooking the ginataang tulingan, the fish is cooked over a medium high heat and fried until medium brown. Spices and sauces such as garlic, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce and pepper are then added to enhance the flavor. Coconut Milk is then poured and simmered over low heat until the sauce thickens and the liquid is reduced in half. Salt and pepper is then added to taste. This dish is best served with a steaming cup of rice with the coconut sauce on top.

Catch us again next week for another recipe that you'll surely love. Don’t miss it!

1 kilo of tulingan (you can replace this with tuna fish)
1 cup of coconut cream
1 onion sliced
1 ginger grated about 1 tablespoon
3 cloves of garlic pounded
zeste of one lime or dayap
3 pieces of eggplant cut in serving portion
1 cup of string beans cut in about 5 inches long
2 tablespoons of patis (fish sauce)
2 siling haba (long green chili)
some cooking oil
1/4 cup of water

1. Start by cleaning your fish. You can use one big tulingan sliced or about ten pieces of small one. Remove the gills and intestines. Wash it with clean running water and put some salt on it. In a casserole start by sautéing the ginger, garlic and onion with some hot oil.
2. Pour your coconut milk and cover it. At the first boil, add the fish and vegetables. Simmer it gently cover for another ten minutes. Add your patis or fish sauce to correct the taste. Put the siling haba and cut the fire.

Ramon Gumapac
The featured recipe is created and prepared by veteran and seasoned cook, Ramon Gumapac. Ramon, a native of Batangas, has been cooking Filipino dishes for more than 15 years now.

He is one of the cooks whipping up sumptuous native Filipino dishes at The Hut Pinoy Food inside Island Pacific Supermarket West Covina.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beef Caldereta

ABUNDANT in livestock source such as cattle, Batangas remains to be the undisputed province in the Philippines when it comes to anything beef. Helmed as the Cattle Trading Capital of the country, the province is also known as home to the best bulalo (beef bone marrow soup), savory tapa (fried thin beef strips), and the bistek (beef steak).

Taking pride on being the best cooks in dishes that have beef as the main element, the Batangueños also love to cook the kalderetang baka (beef stew). The Spanish-influenced kaldereta is usually cooked with tomato sauce, liver spread, onions, and garlic, peas, bell peppers, potatoes, and mushroom. The Batangueños, however, like to put a little twist to it by skipping the use of tomato sauce and replacing it with a generous amount of creamy melted cheese as the sauce instead. Prior to making the sauce, the natives marinate the beef in a soy sauce and vinegar mixture and sautée it with butter or margarine. Goat or chicken or duck meat is also used as a substitute to beef.

Not to be confused with other tomato-based dishes like the mechado and afritada,  the kaldereta is one of the most sought-after Philippine delicacies that is present in any table fares of festivals or social gatherings; not only in Batangas, but in many parts of the country as well. Local restaurants along the roads of Batangas readily serve the kaldereta to foreign and local tourists who would want to experience dishes that are distinctively Batangas made.

Usually partnered with a steaming cup of rice, kaldereta is also preferred as a pulutan or an accompaniment to hard drinks.


2 cups and 2 tbsp unsweetened pineapple juice
1 kg. beef ribs
2 pieces small onions, sliced
2 8g. MAGGI Magic Sarap
2 tbsp. cooking oil
2 tbsp. minced garlic
¼ cup chopped onions
1 tbsp. pickle relish
1 250ml. tomato sauce
1 85g. can liver spread
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 pieces medium potatoes, cubed and fried
1 piece medium carrots, cubed and fried

1. Combine beef, pineapple juice, onions and MAGGI Magic Sarap in a pan. Boil briskly then lower heat. Continue simmering until beef is tender or about 2 hours. Set aside.

2. Using a different pan, heat oil then sauté garlic and onions until limp. Add back  tenderized beef and broth, bring to a boil.

3. Add pickle relish, tomato sauce, liver spread and cheese. Continue simmering until sauce slightly thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add fried potatoes and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Karne Asada

Having ruled the country for 400 years, Spain is believed to have the strongest culinary influence in the Philippines. Because most of the Spaniards in the country were elitists, Filipinos who belonged in the upper-class have adapted most of the Spanish dishes and served it in social gatherings like parties, town fiestas, and formal meetings.

Being the first Spanish province in the Philippines, La Pampanga, simply known today  as Pampanga, is considerably the most Spanish-influenced province in the country; as evidenced by its natives' knack for great tasting meat dishes.

The Kapampangan's  great inclination towards cooking dishes--especially those made of pork and beef like the tocino, longganisa, sisig--are some of the unique qualities that made Pampanga, the   "Culinary Capital of the Philippines."

Among the  many Spanish-inspired dishes that Kapampangans like to cook is the karne asada, a dish comprising of either thin or thick pieces of meat sirloin steak, rib, or top sirloin.

Marinating the beef is optional but is suggested to add flavor and tenderness to the meat. An ideal marinade includes lime juice or calamansi, garlic, onion, and black pepper. Other fruit juices like papaya will also help in tenderizing the meat.

Originally from Mexico, the karne asada is the equivalent of the contemporary barbecue, for it is usually served in social gatherings and is cooked over charcoal fire too. The meat is also glazed with olive oil,  worcestershire sauce, or rubbed with sea salt or pepper whilst it is being grilled.

After grilling, the meat is then cut across the grain into thin strips and then served as it is, or as a filling in tacos and burritos with fresh guacamole, black beans, salsa, or grilled onions.

Catch us again next week for another recipe that you'll surely love. Don’t miss it!


3 lbs Beef Ribs
3 cups Red Wine
1 Cups Carrots
1 Cups  Celery
2 Cups Onions
1 Whole Garlic
1 Tbsp Rosemarie
1 Tbsp Thyme
2 ea Bay leaf
2 lbs Heirloom Potatoes
¼ cup Olive oil
2 Tbsp Rosemarie
1 Cup Sweet peppers
1 Cup Red Onion
½ cup Light Soy Sauce
½ cup Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Braised with Cabernet Sauvignon, Mirepoix and water to cover the meat in a Roasting pan, roast in 360 degree oven for 1 hour till fork tender. Strain braising liquid, reduce to half and save for the sauce.
2.  Washed and dry, add olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary leaves and Roast In 350 degree oven, until tender and done. Set aside.
3. Combine the Roasted Potatoes, Sweet peppers and red onions.
4. Add Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar little by little at a time and taste.