Filipino Food 101: Chicken Afritada

I have been putting off writing about Filipino Food because I am Filipino and if it doesn’t turn out well… well.. what kind of a Filipino would I be?!?! My mom and my grandma are great cooks, but as for me… well… let’s just say I did not get their genes on cooking. But you know, I try and sometimes it turns out well.. and sometimes Andrew has to be like “great job babe….” BUT I think I have nailed Chicken Afritada down! Right??

Chicken Afritada is a filipino stew that is cooked and simmered in tomato sauce and chicken broth. I would compare it to a more savory version of chicken cacciatore with added veggies. This is my own particular recipe after trying out a few in the past several years. I’ve had to tweak it so that it’s not too salty for the kiddos.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium sized onion (chopped)
  • 1 medium sized tomato (chopped) (optional)
  • 1-1.5 lbs of boneless chicken (cubed – dark meat tastes better in this dish)
  • 1-2 red bell peppers (cubed)
  • 2-3 small potatoes (cubed)
  • 1 8oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1-2 tsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (more if you want it to be saltier)
  • 1 bag of frozen peas and carrots
  • 1.5 tsp salt, pepper and garlic powder each

Instructions

Wash and dry and cut all the produce. I like to be ready to throw things into the pan so I’m not scrambling to cut them during the cooking process so it’s good to prepare these before cooking. Chop up the chicken as well, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Saute the minced garlic and the chopped onion with olive oil in medium-high heat in a large pan. When the onions are glossy, add the chopped tomatoes. The tomatoes are optional but I like to put it in there to further flavor the chicken earlier in the process. Once the tomato pieces are softer, add the chicken and saute about 5-7 minutes until the chicken is mostly cooked.

Add the tomato sauce, the chicken broth, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Make sure that the liquids are covering all the solids because the next thing you’re going to add are the potatoes and the bell peppers. (If you’re going to use fresh carrots that are the same size as the potatoes, you can add it in this step as well).  Add more chicken broth (or water if you don’t want it to be too salty) if needed. Stir. Then cover the pan and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to medium or medium low and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Once the potatoes are softened add the frozen peas and carrots, then bring to a boil again. Then turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste and add salt or fish sauce if you want it to be saltier. This is where you’ll have full control of the taste of your stew. More salt will make it straight up saltier. More fish sauce will make it saltier with added flavor. Don’t worry, it won’t taste fishy unless you add a ton. Be careful because fish sauce does have a lot of flavor so a little goes a long way.

Finished Product

Voila! You’re done! We usually eat chicken afritada over rice, but you can certainly eat by itself if it’s not too salty =).

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Ain’t that a beaut? Well, that is what I tell myself and this is one of the dishes when the husband does not have to lie to me about being good. =) I also brought it to work and my coworkers said it smelled and tasted good. So I’m pretty much a master chef for chicken afritada really…

In my head, this is how people respond to this dish

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great rest of the day!!

Korean Food 101: Kimbap

Learn to make homemade kimbap

What is Kimbap? It’s basically a korean sushi roll. The fillings for the rolls are usually all cooked. The rice is flavored with sesame oil and salt, unlike Japanese Sushi which is seasoned with vinegar.

My in-laws taught me how to make this when I first married into the family. The prep is what takes up the most work, but with the right tools, rolling it up is pretty easy. Ok, so here we go, here’s our recipe for Kimbap!

Disclaimer: As with any of my in-laws’ cooking, the measurements here are estimations. You will have to do taste tests for most of the ingredients. The key is to start with less and then add more and more to taste.

All ingredients can be purchased in Asian/Korean Markets

Ingredients

– 2 to 4 cups of cooked short grained rice
– Seaweed for sushi (1 packet is a lot and you probably won’t use all of it)
– 1 to 3 tbsp of sesame oil
– salt to taste
– pickled yellow radish cut lengthwise (you can get this pre-cut from asian markets)
– 2 to 4 carrots
– 2 bunches of watercress
– Minced Garlic (or Garlic Powder)
– 2 to 4 eggs
– Fake Crab Meat (8 pieces)

Tools:
– Sushi roller – bamboo mat

Optional
– Kimbap Ham cut lengthwise
– Flat Fish cakes
– Burdock Root (edible)

Prep Work

  1. Rice: Cook rice in rice cooker.  Prep all other ingredients while rice is cooking.  When everything else is prepare, and once the rice is cooked, take 3 cups of cooked rice and place in bowl. Season with 1-2 tbsp of sesame oil and salt to taste. A little goes a long way for the sesame oil by the way. So start with 1 tbsp and then build up if needed. Mix well. The rice should have a mild taste of sesame oil and salt so that it will not overpower the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Wash and dry all produce.
  3. Watercress: Boil enough water in a pot (enough to cover the watercress). Cut the stems of the watercress. Blanch it for 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Drain. Using the same pot, saute the watercress with a tsp of sesame oil, a tsp of minced garlic (or garlic powder to taste), and salt to taste. Drain. Set aside.
  4. Carrots: Peel the carrots. Use a mandoline with a teeth attachment to cut the carrots into long, thin pieces. Using the same pot used for the watercress, saute the carrots with a tsp of sesame oil, a tsp of minced garlic (or garlic powder to taste), and salt to taste. Drain. Set aside.
  5. Eggs: Scramble 2 eggs at a time in a bowl. Set the heat to medium-high for a non-stick pan. If you’re not confident that the eggs will not stick onto the pan, use cooking spray to lightly cover the pan. Pour the scrambled eggs on the pan. Don’t stir. Wait 1-2 minutes and flip the whole egg to cook the other side. Wait 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside to cool and cook the 2 other eggs the same way. When cool to touch, cut the eggs into long strips.
  6. Fish cakes and kimbap ham: These are usually cooked already but needs to be heated up. So heat them up using the same pan as the eggs. Once hot enough, set aside until it is cool enough to touch. Cut into long strips and set aside.
  7. Fake Crab Meat: Defrost (since it usually comes in frozen form).  You can run the wrapped package in room temperature tap water to make the process of defrosting faster if you want. Open the package and unwrap the individually packaged crab meat. Pull apart once, lengthwise. Set aside.
  8. Pickled Yellow Radish: Drain. Cut into long strips if not already cut. Set aside.
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And that’s it for the preparation of the ingredients! Once you have everything ready and in place, you are ready to roll your kimbap!

Store bought kimbap have tons of rice in one roll. Our family likes to go easy on the rice and add more filling into it. We can eat more kimbap that way because the rice doesn’t fill us. If you do want the store-bought version, just add more rice and you’re good to go!

Rolling the Kimbap

  1. Lay all the ingredients within arms reach.
  2. Place 1 sheet of seaweed onto the bamboo sushi roller thingamajig with the shiny side down.
  3. Spread rice onto the seaweed. Make sure you get the edges of the seaweed sheet. You can put as much or as little rice you want into the middle of the sheet. I like to spread the rice out thinly because I know we like the fillings more than the rice.
  4. Lay all the fillings you want at one edge of the seaweed sheet.
  5. Roll the edge of the sheet around the fillings, then use the bamboo roller so that the pressure is even as you keep rolling the kimbap. Make sure you don’t roll the bamboo roller into the kimbap. You don’t want to eat that thing man. So roll, then pull the roller out, then roll again. Repeat process until you’ve rolled the whole kimbap. Since there is rice at the other edge of the sheet, it should easily stick and keep the kimbap roll closed.
  6. Cut the kimbap with a sharp knife so that you don’t squish the roll and voila! Eat it all up!

Storing the Kimbap

It’s important to note that kimbap tastes the best right after it’s made. Do not put leftover kimbaps in the fridge. It will harden the rice. Put the kimbap into containers and use saran wrap to lay over top of the kimbap. Close lid tightly and store in room temperature or if it’s a little chilly outside, put the container outdoors. Try to eat this by the next day because it doesn’t keep for too long!

Other Ingredients

You can put other ingredients in the kimbap. We’ve tried bulgogi (a sweet tasting thinly sliced, marinated beef), spinach, kalbi (marinated beef rib meat), and other veggies. Play around with it and see what you may like. You can do this! It’s delicious and it’s healthy depending on what you put in it. Good luck!

 

Thanks for reading and I hope you have an awesome rest of the day!

 

 

Homemade Pho Pressure Cooker Recipe

 Disclaimer: My husband and I are not Vietnamese. BUT we both have a love for…PHO! I mean who doesn’t love pho?! The soft rice noodles, the thinly sliced beef (or if you like the more “exotic” parts of the cow – like tripe, etc),  and the unmistakable unique taste of the broth whose flavor came from simmering beef bones and other awesome spices overnight – or in our case, a couple hours in the pressure cooker.

Ok! So a couple people have requested that my husband, Andrew, make an appearance on the blog. So, he decided he would contribute by writing up a recipe for pho. So, another disclaimer, this is not my recipe. Andrew decided to make his blogging debut by giving me step by step instructions on how he made pho. Not exactly a “dad blog,” but the man does not like to talk about personal stuff… so this is what you get. Something about food! The man loves his food! If he could do anything in the world without repercussions, he would play basketball and eat different types of food from all over the world. That’s the man I married. Basketball and food is life to him. (Ok, fine, maybe the children and I are first, but like basketball and food… very close 2nd and 3rd)

Before Andrew took on this task, he talked to his friend, who is Vietnamese and who also had already made him Pho before. He also read 4 different recipes and took bits and pieces of each recipe to create his own version. He couldn’t remember all the links to the recipes he looked at, but here’s one of them just in case you wanted to know a source.

OK! So without further ado, here’s Andrew! (With some commentary from me which will be in italics)

Ingredients:

  • Beef Knuckle Bones/Beef Shank/Oxtail – the amount here doesn’t matter too much because this is is what you’re going to use to flavor the broth, so go big on it!
  • Water – again, the amount here, you will be eyeing
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • 1-2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 5 star anise
  • 7-10 pieces of cloves
  • daikon (peeled and halved)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar – more to taste at the end
  • ½ cup fish sauce – more to taste at the end
  • 2 tbsp salt – more to taste at the end
  • Bean sprouts
  • Green onions (for garnish)
  • Thai basil (for garnish)
  • Jalopeno peppers (optional)
  1. Soak and wash the beef bones, beef shank or oxtail for about 20 minutes in a regular pot. Then take it out of the pot.
  2. Parboil for 10 minutes – boil enough water that would cover the all the bones, put in bones when boiling, then rinse in cold water. Look at him using technical terms such as “parboil”! Which, by the way, means partially cook… shouldn’t the word be “parcook” then? No? Just me? OK! Moving on…
    img_2951-1
  3. Add oil on a separate pan. Once hot, add onion, a whole ginger (cut in half). Cook, without stirring, for about 4 minutes, until slightly charred.
  4. Add 1-2 cinnamon sticks, 5 star anise and 7-10 cloves and cook for 3 minutes longer, until fragrant. (Some recipes say to crush them up and wrap in cheese cloth or tea bag so it’s easier to scoop out).
     

  5. Time to put everything from steps 3 and 4 in the pressure cooker!
  6. Add the beef bones, daikon (peeled and halved), 1/3 cup brown sugar, ½ cup fish sauce, 2 tbsp salt to the pressure cooker. (For the quicker version, you could also just buy the Beef pho soup base (Vietnamese msg) and add about 8 tbsp or more to taste and the pho pasteur spice bag so you don’t have to buy all the individual spices.) Look at him thinking things through for you guys! For the record, he did buy the base but decided against it because he wanted his first try to be all “fresh” ingredients.
    img_2953-1
  7. Add the hot water from the parboil step to max cup line; set manual high pressure for 60 minutes, then 15 minutes natural pressure release.
  8. Slowly release pressure by turning knob to venting.
  9. Pull out bones and scoop out onion, anise, cinnamon and cloves. What you get is a concentrated version of the soup base. You don’t have to use all the broth. In fact, go ahead and put half of that in the freezer and use it on a rainy day!
     

  10. Then fill back to max line with water and turn on saute to bring to a boil. Season to taste with additional salt, fish sauce and sugar.
  11. You can throw meatballs in for about 5 minutes and any other thinly sliced meat if you want it cooked well
  12. Assemble your pho bowl and put in the following: Noodles, bean sprouts, meat (raw and/or cooked) – the raw meat should be thinly sliced so that the hot broth can effectively cook itimg_2838-1
  1. Pour the hot broth onto assembled bowl
  2. Garnish with cilantro, green onions, Thai basil and jalapeno.
     

Some tips:

  • If you do end up saving half the concentrated pho broth, place it in fridge first, then you can scoop out the fat layer before freezing it to keep it fresh for about a week
  • If you buy fresh pho noodles, just bring water to boil and then put the noodles in for about 10 seconds and then scoop it out
  • If you buy dried noodles, you will need to soak it in hot water for about 10 minutes until softened and then put in boiling water for about 10 seconds and blanch it.

So there it is folks! Andrew’s pho recipe. I hope you enjoyed his appearance here on simplefficientmama.com! Make sure you hit that subsrcibe button for more fun recipes, product reviews, and lifestyle musings!

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Korean Food 101: Kimchi Jiggae

Disclaimer: I am not Korean. I am Filipino through and through. I do, however, love korean food (and filipino food). Before I met my husband (who is Korean), all I knew about korean food is a korean bbq place called Il Mee in Annandale, VA. Since we met in 2007 (whoa… we old…), he has introduced me to a plethora of different korean dishes which I immediately loved. Except for the really spicy korean food… i’m a weakling when it comes to that.

Another Disclaimer: I am not a good cook. I can follow a recipe and it will turn out fine… but I cannot make things up in my head. I can’t come up with the concept of what goes well with what. So I’m a lost cause… maybe.

My in laws stayed with us this past week and omma was gracious enough to teach me how to cook her version of kimchi jiggae, which is by the way, my favorite kimchi jiggae. I’ve tried them in restaurants, and they just don’t compare.

So in an attempt to share my love for korean food (or any food in general), here’s her “recipe” for Kimchi Jiggae (kimchi soup).

Last disclaimer: when you’re a good cook, there doesn’t seem to be a need to measure anything. Hence, the quotation marks on the word “recipe.” So this is essentially just some guidance on how to make kimchi soup. The measurements will have to be trial and error.

Here is what you will need:

  • Olive Oil – just enough so nothing sticks onto the pan
  • Pork shoulder – cut into cubes (1-1.5 inches in size it looked like)
  • Minced garlic – appa said that the more you use, the better! So throw that in there unsparingly
  • Dwenjang – soybean paste, also spelled “doenjang” which you can find in korean markets
  • Kimchi – not all kimchi is created equal; in-laws say “mat” kimchi is the best one to use for this soup
  • Potatoes – cut into any shape you want (just don’t throw whole potatoes in the soup – that’s not right ;-))
  • Anchovie broth – appa made the broth and swear it ups the level of the soup – he’s right; omma says if you don’t have that, “use water, it’s ok” haha love them!
  • Medium firm Tofu -sometimes in stores you can see on the label that the tofu is for “jiggae” – get that one
  • Onion – coarsely cut, doesn’t have to be tiny
  • Vegetables/toppings – here’s where you can add any veggies or toppings you may want (since I’m not one to know what goes well with what, zucchinni, and mushrooms are a good go-to)
  • Carbs – omma did not add this, but she said you can add rice cakes or noodles to the soup if you’d like
  • Green Onions – “for decoration” is specifically what omma says

Whoa that was a lot. But I promise it’s delish and that’s why I wanted to share it. Ok here’s how you make it… sorta… i mean like I said.. trial and error people.. trial and error.

Heat up that pan on medium-high heat and drizzle some olive oil on it. Add the cubed pork shoulder (maybe 1.5 – 2 lbs worth) on it and start to stir it around.

img_2200.jpg

While that’s cooking, go ahead and put a dollop or more of minced garlic… I mean if I have to measure it… I’d say 2 tablespoons or so? Then mix it together so the pork will have some flavor on it.

img_2201

Time for the dwenjang/doenjang/soybean paste – it does not look appetizing, but what paste does? Trust the process people, trust. I’d say double the size of the garlic but be warned that this is rather salty, so if you want it less salty, don’t put so much on there. Then mix mix mix! Until the outer park of the pork has browned.

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Then it’s mat kimchi time. See that bowl? That whole bowl’s worth. Hahah.. hmmmm like 2.5-3 cups. Trial and error people, trial and error.

img_2219

Add the cubed potatoes. In this recipe, we used 1.

img_2220

Then the anchovie broth (or water if you don’t have anchovie broth – appa said he’ll teach me how to make it next time so maybe I’ll put a link here if I remember). Bring it to a boil.

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Then add the vegetables/toppings, onions and tofu. Here’s where you decide how much to put. I don’t think it really matters, but just make sure you have enough broth for whatever you put in there.

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Then I think you can put the noodles and or the rices cakes the last 3-5 minutes (we didn’t, so no pics of that).

Lastly, the green onion to make it pretty.

img_2218

There you go! I hope that was sorta helpful and hope that if you’re interested on making it, that it goes well for you and that you like it.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!

 

 

Korean Food 101: Kimchi Jiggae

Disclaimer: I am not Korean. I am Filipino through and through. I do, however, love korean food (and filipino food). Before I met my husband (who is Korean), all I knew about korean food is a korean bbq place called Il Mee in Annandale, VA. Since we met in 2007 (whoa… we old…), he has introduced me to a plethora of different korean dishes which I immediately loved. Except for the really spicy korean food… i’m a weakling when it comes to that.

Another Disclaimer: I am not a good cook. I can follow a recipe and it will turn out fine… but I cannot make things up in my head. I can’t come up with the concept of what goes well with what. So I’m a lost cause… maybe.

My in laws stayed with us this past week and omma was gracious enough to teach me how to cook her version of kimchi jiggae, which is by the way, my favorite kimchi jiggae. I’ve tried them in restaurants, and they just don’t compare.

So in an attempt to share my love for korean food (or any food in general), here’s her “recipe” for Kimchi Jiggae (kimchi soup).

Last disclaimer: when you’re a good cook, there doesn’t seem to be a need to measure anything. Hence, the quotation marks on the word “recipe.” So this is essentially just some guidance on how to make kimchi soup. The measurements will have to be trial and error.

Here is what you will need:

  • Olive Oil – just enough so nothing sticks onto the pan
  • Pork shoulder – cut into cubes (1-1.5 inches in size it looked like)
  • Minced garlic – appa said that the more you use, the better! So throw that in there unsparingly
  • Dwenjang – soybean paste, also spelled “doenjang” which you can find in korean markets
  • Kimchi – not all kimchi is created equal; in-laws say “mat” kimchi is the best one to use for this soup
  • Potatoes – cut into any shape you want (just don’t throw whole potatoes in the soup – that’s not right ;-))
  • Anchovie broth – appa made the broth and swear it ups the level of the soup – he’s right; omma says if you don’t have that, “use water, it’s ok” haha love them!
  • Medium firm Tofu -sometimes in stores you can see on the label that the tofu is for “jiggae” – get that one
  • Onion – coarsely cut, doesn’t have to be tiny
  • Vegetables/toppings – here’s where you can add any veggies or toppings you may want (since I’m not one to know what goes well with what, zucchinni, and mushrooms are a good go-to)
  • Carbs – omma did not add this, but she said you can add rice cakes or noodles to the soup if you’d like
  • Green Onions – “for decoration” is specifically what omma says

Whoa that was a lot. But I promise it’s delish and that’s why I wanted to share it. Ok here’s how you make it… sorta… i mean like I said.. trial and error people.. trial and error.

Heat up that pan on medium-high heat and drizzle some olive oil on it. Add the cubed pork shoulder (maybe 1.5 – 2 lbs worth) on it and start to stir it around.

img_2200.jpg

While that’s cooking, go ahead and put a dollop or more of minced garlic… I mean if I have to measure it… I’d say 2 tablespoons or so? Then mix it together so the pork will have some flavor on it.

img_2201

Time for the dwenjang/doenjang/soybean paste – it does not look appetizing, but what paste does? Trust the process people, trust. I’d say double the size of the garlic but be warned that this is rather salty, so if you want it less salty, don’t put so much on there. Then mix mix mix! Until the outer park of the pork has browned.

img_2202

Then it’s mat kimchi time. See that bowl? That whole bowl’s worth. Hahah.. hmmmm like 2.5-3 cups. Trial and error people, trial and error.

img_2219

Add the cubed potatoes. In this recipe, we used 1.

img_2220

Then the anchovie broth (or water if you don’t have anchovie broth – appa said he’ll teach me how to make it next time so maybe I’ll put a link here if I remember). Bring it to a boil.

img_2221

Then add the vegetables/toppings, onions and tofu. Here’s where you decide how much to put. I don’t think it really matters, but just make sure you have enough broth for whatever you put in there.

img_2209

Then I think you can put the noodles and or the rices cakes the last 3-5 minutes (we didn’t, so no pics of that).

Lastly, the green onion to make it pretty.

img_2218

There you go! I hope that was sorta helpful and hope that if you’re interested on making it, that it goes well for you and that you like it.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!