Southeast Asian Recipes


Pinipig Cookies

Pinipig Cookies

Pinipig are flattened and toasted glutinous rice grains, the Southeast Asian equivalent of Kellogg’s corn flakes. Its name probably derives from the root word piga, which is Tagalog for squeeze.
The rice grains for pinipig are harvested while still young and green. Admittedly, I have never seen fresh green pinipig, not even in the Philippines, because [...]

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Thai Wild Mushroom Salad

Thai Wild Mushroom Salad

Stock up on cilantro, mint, and shallots and you’re well on your way to enjoying the aromatic salads of Thailand. Lightness and the emphasis on balancing hot, sour, and salty elements seem to be the hallmark of Thai greens. Instead of oils and vinegars, try whipping out the chiles, limes, and fish sauce for a [...]

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Oxtail Adobo

Oxtail Adobo

Any mention of oxtails in Filipino food probably involves kare-kare, a rich peanut-based vegetable stew. Beef shanks, tripe, pork hocks, and other tough parts tenderized through long simmering may also be added, but it has to have the oxtails. Leaving the bony segments out is unacceptable. Hindi maaari (no frickin’ way).
I didn’t have the other [...]

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Ensaimada – Filipino Cheese Brioche

Ensaimada – Filipino Cheese Brioche

Edam cheese is essential for making ensaimada. Filipinos know it best as queso de bola, bowling balls of cheesiness covered in a protective shell of red wax. These big-as-your-head cheese balls always made our dinner table during christmastime. We have this tradition of rounding up thirteen different types of spherical fruits to symbolize prosperity for [...]

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Ginataang Kalabasa – Kabocha Squash in Coconut Milk

Ginataang Kalabasa – Kabocha Squash in Coconut Milk

Creamy coconut milk is tinged a shade of yellow in this easy Filipino recipe for squash and shrimp simmered in coconut milk. This is my “macaroni and cheese,” with rice and tender kabocha squash assuming the roles of pasta and cheddar.
As with most comfort foods, ginataang kalabasa has countless variations. Other ginataan recipes call for [...]

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Pan de Leche – Filipino Sweet Bread Rolls

Pan de Leche – Filipino Sweet Bread Rolls

Pan de leche is a Filipino sweet bread that has many regional variations. As far as I know, any yeasted bread baked with milk and sugar can be labeled pan de leche, but I have a very specific idea of what it is supposed to be like. It will be dense and feel heavy for [...]

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Nasi Uduk – Lemongrass-Scented Coconut Rice

Nasi Uduk – Lemongrass-Scented Coconut Rice

My attempt at the Indonesian spice cake called spekkoek was a complete disaster, so weaseling my way into the this month’s edition of WTSIM means that I have to go with Plan B.
There is no Plan B, so let’s see what’s in the fridge:

Sriracha – Not much use in Indonesian cookery as far as I [...]

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Baby-Back Pork Ribs Adobo

Baby-Back Pork Ribs Adobo

The pork adobo of choice in our quaint little household in Quezon City was made with liempo, the cut also known as pork belly, source of wonderful things such as bacon and high blood pressure. Unabashedly lardy from slowly simmering pork in soy sauce and vinegar, pork adobo requires ungodly amounts of steamed rice, lest [...]

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Ginataang Gulay – Vegetables Simmered in Coconut Milk

Ginataang Gulay – Vegetables Simmered in Coconut Milk

Ginataan is a Filipino cooking technique where ingredients such as vegetables, seafood, or fruits are simmered in coconut milk. It can be sweet or savory depending on the ingredients — the term ginataan by itself refers to a warm dessert soup traditionally served in the Philippines as merienda, mid-afternoon snacks that help make the long [...]

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Banana Hearts Kinilaw

Banana Hearts Kinilaw

Kinilaw (pronounced ki-ni-lao) involves fresh ingredients doused with an acidic component such as vinegar or citrus juice. Also known as kilawin, it is the Filipino version of ceviche, most commonly used to prepare freshly caught seafood. Kinilaw can also feature fruits, vegetables, and half-cooked meats. Additional ingredients include aromatics such as ginger, onions, and chiles. [...]

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Simple Stir-Fry: Shanghai Bok Choy

Simple Stir-Fry: Shanghai Bok Choy

Some variation of tumis sayur, a side dish of stir-fried greens, is often found on the Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean dinner table. Three ingredients — Shanghai bok choy, garlic, and fresh chiles — come together within minutes to create a simple but satisfying addition to any meal. The fresh chiles are essential in this dish. [...]

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Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk

Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk

Growing up in the Philippines, I was a really picky eater. There are foods that I absolutely would not touch and I was, quite frankly, a pain in the ass to cook for. Some things in the fairly long list are atchara (pickled shredded papaya), anything with ampalaya (bitter melon), tutong (the burnt rice at [...]

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Indonesian Nutmeg Tea Cookies – Kue Kering

Indonesian Nutmeg Tea Cookies – Kue Kering

Somehow I ended up bringing home more nutmeg than I can realistically use in a lifetime. I get way too excited when visiting Middle Eastern and Indian groceries and end up buying spices cheap and in bulk. Five pounds of turmeric for the price charged at Whole Foods for a thimble-full? Why the hell not. [...]

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Thai Beef and Mangosteen Soup

Thai Beef and Mangosteen Soup

Fresh mangosteens are a rare sight even at Southeast Asian groceries in Chicago. Imports of irradiated fresh mangosteens from Thailand have only recently been approved by the USDA, but they’re still far from common. Aside from being seasonal (try your luck around springtime), they seem to fly off the shelves as soon as they’re available.
When [...]

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Pan de Sal – Filipino Salted Bread Rolls

Pan de Sal – Filipino Salted Bread Rolls

Pan de Sal with a pan-fried quail egg

The local bakery was a two mile bike ride from my house in the Philippines. Shortly after the first mile, the humid weather thickens the aroma of freshly baked pan de sal that even on an empty stomach, I am able to sprint quickly up the hill where [...]

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Beef Short Ribs Adobo

Beef Short Ribs Adobo

Adobo is the quintessential Filipino comfort food and is widely regarded as the national dish of the Philippines. When I had just started cooking and flopped around in a kitchen equipped with nothing but a crusty pot and a butter knife from Ikea, the first thing I made was adobo, sans recipe. It didn’t require [...]

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