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!!

Spending Time with the Grandparents

Life can be so busy these days that it’s hard to spend time with the grandparents. It most often can’t be helped when our weekdays become routine because it’s easier to have a schedule and because I want to have my own “me time” at night after a full day. Usually, our schedule consists of waking up, getting ourselves ready, getting the kids ready, eating a quick breakfast, taking the kids to daycare/school, going to work, picking up the kids, getting dinner ready, eating dinner, playing with the kiddos, putting them to bed, washing dishes/cleaning up mess, then if I’m lucky, I’ll have enough energy to work out, blog, or do some other “me time” activity (NCIS marathon anyone?).  The weekends consists of catching up on errands (laundry anyone??), taking our 4 year old to Korean School and ballet, and trying to keep our 1 year old’s naptime schedule so that he’s not a hysterical booger at night.

Growing up, my grandparents lived with us.  Since my mom was a single mom to three rowdy kids, my grandparents were kind enough to live with us and care for us so my mom can work extra shifts to make ends meet. Because of that, we grew pretty close to our grandparents and I want my kids to have that same feeling of closeness with their grandparents (my mom and in laws as well). So on weekends, my husband, Andrew, and I try to make time to go to Lola’s house (the in laws will soon move near us so hopefully more time with them too!). Ella (our 4 year old going on 30) and Isaac (our ever curious 1 year old) love spending time with Lola , Halmeoni, and Harabeoji and vice versa. The kids love it because there are endless amounts for treats – we are lucky that our kids love to eat. The grandparents love it because the kids’ energy and joy are just so contagious.

It’s also very important for us for the kids to learn about their different cultures. I’m Filipino and I want them to learn to “mano” (a way to show respect to Filipino elders) and to learn some tagalog (a dialect we speak in the Philippines). Andrew is Korean and so we want the kids to learn to “insa” (a way to show respect to Korean elders) and to learn some korean because the in laws have trouble speaking English. Additionally, since Andrew and I are both foodies, it’s also important for us that the kids have a palate for Filipino and Korean food (all types of foods really), and what better way to develop it than eating home-cooked meals by the best chefs in town!

Lastly, since family is so important to both of us, we want to make sure to instill in our kids how vital it is to spend time with their grandparents. I mean, I know I’ve still got a lot of learning to do when it comes to parenting and who better to teach me than from the woman who sacrificed everything so that we could have a better life? If we’re lucky, maybe one day when we’re old and gray (ok let’s be honest, we are starting to gray now…), our kids will take their kids to come see us often.

So no matter how busy life can be, we make it a point to find time, even if it’s just an hour or two, to see Lola, Ingkong (my grandpa, the kids’ great-grandpa), Halmeoni and Harabeoji.

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!