Category Archives: kakanin

tamales in winter

i’m going to try and resuscitate this site. wish myself luck. almost a year without a peep from me* and to be honest i haven’t missed it much. we’ve had a kind of rough 2014, ups and downs and downs and downs but we must turn the page and start out new and fresh and look forward to a bright and sparkling year. yey.
today is my babybaobao’s 9th birthday and i’ll be making us a cake and giving him a special toy and treats, but for now i just want to record how i made tamales, Filipino style. we don’t call it tamale in singular form, always it is tamales. though it is similar in name to the Mexican snack made of corn masa and fillings, wrapped in corn husks, it is really more like the Chinese zhong or jong with rice, pork, dried shrimp, etc. wrapped in lotus leaves. i’ve been wanting to make it for so long–a bit of nostalgia for the snack my Ma and i bought from a vendor at a rest stop in Pampanga 4 years ago. the rice and coconut and peanut flavors are really out of this world. mine came out rather nice. but i would still like to go back with my Ma to Pampanga.

just out of the steamer
Continue reading

welcome 2012!

yey, we made it to another year :wizard: . i’ve recovered from all that holiday-ing, and once more my resolution about that is to start out earlier. we’ll just have to wait and see. i always am so full of hope :drunk: .
i’ve been cooking a lot, A LOT! i’ve really renewed vows with my baking and cooking love*, but have just been so pressed for time. the world’s just spinning so much faster. why is that? :fryingpan

our New Year’s eve, we splashed out and made sure the refrigerator, pantry, and table were full and/or laden with our favorites.
we decided on a table full of appetizers and savory snacks, a combination of take-out and home-cooked, among them:
New Year's Eve table
appetizer table with assorted savories and cheese fondue…
not-quite-7 layer dip
not-quite-7 layer dip (black bean, guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, black olives, pickled jalapeños, topped with cilantro), great with corn tortilla chips.layered dip
honey ham
smile, you’re a honey-baked ham!
orangesoyribs 011
orange-soy glazed ribs
Bon Chon chicken from Boston
Bon Chon chicken…try the sweet soy-garlic and the fiery fearsome hot wings, dare!
and for the desserts,
coconut lemon tea cake
coconut lemon tea cake–not too rich, not too moist, perfect with hot tea,
halayang ube (purple yam pudding)
halayang ube, purple yam pudding, something sweet and sticky to catch good luck for 2012, also year of the fierce Dragon. wait, that means another celebration in a couple of weeks! yey!

*a whole other story, worth its own chapter.
bold means recipes provided on demand upon request!

the week that was

this new year is supposed to be husband’s lucky year…so we accompanied him to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, the nearest of his “playgrounds,” for some playtime. we stayed in a little generic suite hotel, with an ample free breakfast!, and had us some of that bad buffet. bad as in big, grand, sinful, gluttonous! we stood in line for a good half hour, building up an appetite. thankfully there was a little sitting area for the kids to wait it out, and by the time we reached the cashier we were able to give the buffet due justice.
nothing too exciting except for a scuffle on the buffet “veranda”, we followed the line of boys in teal uniforms who separated the women…too bad we didn’t find out what the fight was about. a huge crowd gathered around to watch the drama. i think it’s human nature: crowd curiosity, morbid fascination and neck craning, you just have to look back on a bad scene.

a wall of security boys in teal
sigh, luck wasn’t raining down on us for this foray though…rain was raining down on us when we drove back home.

another cold day= kakanin day! #2son had a bad cold and was very sad to stay home and miss all his playdates on this vacation week (winter break).
had to make a vat of pancit sotanghon (glass noodles) and a huge pan of bibingkang kamoteng kahoy (cassava bibingka) for husband’s work party (“multiethnic” day or some such holiday made up by his co-workers) so i finagled a little portion for the kiddies, and then made a pan of what i really wanted to eat…bibingkang malagkit (glutinous rice cake) with coconut custard topping.
i think it was the memory of eating something cooked in a roasted fragrant banana leaf that triggered all this bibingka making.

i tried to cheer him up by having him assemble a large deep dish pizza with his favorite topping–pepperoni. i think that it coaxed a big smile out of him.

then what do you know, a snowstorm blew into town and dumped 8 new inches of the fresh and fluffy kind…time to make a snowman?

how about a fry-up for breakfast, the morning after?

a symptom of my o.c.c.d.

admitting one has it,obsessive-compulsive cake disorder?, is the first step to a cure, right?
i do admit when it comes to cake baking, i am a cake-mix snob.
i truly have a hard time shaking it off, this haughty habit of turning up my nose at these ready-mix boxes–i just can’t help it, i can immediately tell from just one sniff or one nibble when i am face to face with a cake mix cake.
the only exception is bibingkang galapong mix…
my kung hey fat choy cake

and i’ll admit it’s from a cake mix box.
i’ve burnt this at least once before!

cassava suman

many readers stumble into this blog looking for kakanin, or rice and/or coconut-based sweet treats. when we were kids in the Philippines it was sold in most wet markets and brought home to us kids by our ma or Lola from early Saturday morning shopping.
winter somehow wakes up these cravings, especially for those wrapped or cooked in banana leaves. could it be the comforting fragrance, the belly-filling and nostalgia-evoking feelings? whatever–“hungry pinay”‘s email nudged me out of my hypothermia-induced stupor, and i went rummaging in my freezer for cassava and grated coconut.
Continue reading

i’ve got the blues

yippeeeeee! bluer than blue!
we have cleaned up the House. congratulations to the winners. the Commonwealth of Massachusetts now has its first African American governor, and the House has a Madame Speaker, for the first time! yehey!.

anxiously awaiting the election results (painfully remembering the dark nights of two elections past), and therefore needing comfort food… i made bibingkang malagkit, sweet rice cake, not cheating this time and making a true topping. but! having run out of dark brown sugar and with only barely a quarter cup of light brown, i added granulated white, and the topping came out blonde.

sweet rice bibingka, bibingkang malagkit bibingkang blonde

so now the blonde is a celebratory cake! yehey ulitContinue reading

bibingkang pinipig

Mae of rice and noodles commented that the only ingredient she had available for halo halo was pinipig, the pounded green glutinous rice sold frozen in plastic packs in the Pinoy section of most Asian groceries.

that got me into another a HA! moment…hey i used to have pinipig bibingka…let me call Ma. she used to buy us this really special bibingka from her very early Saturday market forays. she didn’t have a recipe so i googled and found this recipe, which i tweaked a little bit.


i’m sure it is nothing like the real thing because if you read all the googled items re: pinipig they all seem to say that the commercially available packs are inferior, fake, no comparison, to the freshly harvested immature green rice pounded at the most opportune time.

but i wanted to give my kids a little whiff, if nothing else, of how good it could be.:grandma:

pinipig bibingka

4 cups pinipig (pounded green glutinous rice, available frozen from Asian food stores), thawed if frozen, toasted, cooled

2 cans coconut milk (i used Chef’s Choice brand)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. salt

soak pinipig in coconut milk with sugar and salt (stirred well to dissolve) for at least 45 minutes.

preheat oven to 375F.

wash and dry (over low flame of stove top) banana leaves and line 8-inch square pyrex dish.

PICT0007evenly spread out the pinipig coconut mixture. cover tightly with aluminum foil. bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, uncover, then bake 15 minutes more.

top with bottled coconut jam. bake for another 15 minutes. remove from the oven, let cool to room temperature before serving.

it got really fragrant…and i loved the toasty crusty sides and corners.

PICT0008PICT0010pinipig bibingka slice

bibingkang malagkit, glutinous rice cake

my kids were asking for brownies, but i wanted to have some bibingka first. this one’s very easy –i cheated and used bottled matamis sa bao or coconut jam instead of making it up from scratch. there’s a recipe for it here …and steaming seems to yields a meltingly soft rice cake. decrease the amount of liquid if you prefer it chewier.
based on a recipe from “Asian Cakes and Desserts.”

banana leaves cut to line the dish, thawed, washed and wiped clean, then briefly passed over a low flame of the gas burner (or set in the oven rack for a few minutes to dry but not brown)

2 cups malagkit or glutinous rice, soaked in water overnight

1 packet (2 cups) of thawed frozen coconut milk, “handaan” brand; or canned (14 to 15 ozs., make it up with water)
1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

banana leaves for lining the 8″ square cake pan or glass heat proof dish

1/2 jar of coconut jam, more or less, to taste

PICT0023drain the soaked rice and in a large bowl mix with coconut milk, sugar and salt. spread out over the banana leaf-lined (or buttered) dish and steam over medium heat for about 25 minutes. it should be soft and grains should have absorbed most of the liquid. fluff with a fork or a pair of chopsticks.


flatten and smoothen the surface with the back of a spoon, with another piece of banana leaf or oiled wax paper on top.

PICT0022steam for 5 minutes. pour the coconut jam and steam another 5 minutes. let cool to slightly warm before cutting. it firms up more as it cools. store in the refrigerator.

frogfish 011
(an old photo of a bibingka baked in the oven…kids cut into the steamed rice cake before i could photograph!)



..with kittycat on the side.
just a white king bibingka mix, one pack following instructions except using a ten inch pan instead of 2 8-inch pans.
beat 3 eggs, add the mix, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 4 tbsps. melted cooled butter, and mixed together until smooth (used my hand mixer).
you can bake in a hot oven at 450F or broil 8 inches away from the element for 10 minutes.

i lined my pan with rinsed and dried banana leaf, buttered generously.
topped with water buffalo mozzarella (italat brand, in brine) and salted egg yolk if you like.
daughter said i shouldn’t blog it, it’s burnt mama!, but after she had a bite she relented…this is the way my grandmother bought it from the stalls near the church after 4 a.m. masses (misa de gallo) on the days before Christmas eve. it is cooked on coals, with coals on a pan right on top…