Monday, November 21, 2011

Arroz Caldo (Filipino Chicken Congee) – iLugaw 4S for Kulinarya Challenge

It’s Kulinarya time once again …… and the November Challenge conceived by Joy of Joy’s Misadventures is up among the (probably) finest Filipino food bloggers around …… exploring an authentic Filipino light meal or snack dish generically referred to as “lugaw” …… a common name which for me is representative of scrumptiousness, self-effacement, simplicity and serenity …… my own concoction of iLugaw 4S. :-)

This month’s theme is “arroz caldo”. A type of Filipino congee or “lugaw” (as referred in the local language) flavored or added with chicken. As you may know, the main component of the dish is rice which in the Spanish language is called …… you guessed it right, “arroz”. Well of course, the other originally Spanish word “caldo” refers to broth or stock …… I know you knew that …… and you need a lot of it to be able to prepare a really tasty rice congee worthy of being called iLugaw 4S.

This modest dish is superb when the climate is cool …… during winter (obviously when living outside the Philippines, like most Kulinaryans are) …… or when it’s windy and rainy. It is believed to possess the ability to perk-up or improve one’s body condition after dining with it …… piping hot of course. It is also considered an ideal comfort food for the sick and elderly as it has a therapeutic effect …… or healing power of sort, if you like.

Apart from my “Goto Arroz Caldo”, I have already posted a recipe for “Arroz Caldo” before (no, it’s not called iLugaw 4). While I am fully satisfied with it, in honor of Kulinarya Cooking Club, I will attempt to make a reboot entrée to offer a fresher approach to the dish …… hopefully to come out with simpler or easier procedure but geared towards accommodating many variations or possibilities …… and probably …… just probably …… we could make serving and eating the humble “lugaw” more fun and exciting. :-)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Atay ng Baka sa Oyster Sauce (Beef Liver Stir-fried in Oyster Sauce)

This is about beef liver as a culinary item …… and I need to tackle this matter convincingly …… my better half is not a fan of the food and as we all know, it’s hard to argue with the wife …… most often it is a no contest situation …… lol. No matter how good my preparation is …… if it has liver, chances are my wife will not touch it …… much more eat it. :-))

But that should not discourage me from sharing you good people what I believe is a wonderful food item …… both in taste and in its nutritional contents. Am I that obvious I love this food? I think so… :) Simply grilled, lightly fried or cook in “calamansi”, soy sauce and onions like in “bistek” (Filipino beef or pork steak), liver or “atay” (as called in the Philippine language), be it from beef, “carabeef”, chicken or pork, never ceases to delight me.

Yes, beef liver has delicate texture and is delicious. Okay, okay that’s only me speaking and not my better half. And it’s also full of high quality protein, has lots of vitamins such as A, C and many types of B as well as riboflavin and niacin, essential minerals such as copper, selenium, iron & zinc and other nutrients such as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

I guess she will have to agree with me on the last statement. After all, it is factual that beef liver or calf liver has an incredible nutritional value even when served in small quantity. To mention just a few, it helps the immune system in functioning well, improves cardiovascular health and decreases the risk of having a heart attack. Who would not like that benefits? Except my wife that is. :)

Truly, there are more reasons to eat liver than not! Here is one take that you could try if you have not been transformed yet. Who knows, it could open a whole new insight on the rather exotic food.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Avocado-Banana Milkshake (Smoothie)

Avocado is in season here in Sri Lanka and our group has been consuming the healthy fruit (or vegetable, if that’s the way you like categorizing it) enormously. Either prepared as avocado shake/smoothie as a drink or lightly pureed and sweetened with condensed milk and eaten as a dessert (the popular Filipino way of eating it), avocado is truly delicious. Wait …… I’m drooling just thinking of the greenish yellow, velvety, buttery flesh of the fruit .... so make that very delicious. :)

Taking advantage of the current abundant supply which also translates to very reasonable or inexpensive cost, we have avocado smoothie almost every day. Don’t be astonished. While we love it and there is no indication that we will develop a taste fatigue any sooner, I decided to effect counter measure early on and made an easy variation by blending banana into the luscious drink. The result is pretty fabulous and worthy of posting hence this feature now.

This is a nice addition to the several fruit shake recipes already posted here such as the exotic bael (beli fruit), guyabano (sour sop) and green mango (unripe); the typical ones like pineapple, mango, avocado and papaya; and mixed-flavor concoction like the mango-papaya. Since guyabano and avocado are my top picks, this new avocado-banana blend is another potential favorite for me ……… and just probably, yours too!


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