Sunday, September 28, 2008

Highlanders Brown Rice Tea

Don't know if it goes with age, but I've lately turned a convert for anything herbal or "natural." I've tried using Carica shampoo for my hair, papaya soap and also the Zen Zest line - all of which have brought positive results. One good thing I also subscribe to is Highlanders Brown Rice Tea which is made from - you guessed it - a combination of brown rice and ginseng. It claims to be an all-natural beverage adapted from what has been used by ancient Tibetans to fight the cold up in the mountains.

I have to admit I had to resort to drinking this when I worked on shifts and sleeping sometimes proved to be difficult. Wasn't really that comfortable taking melatonin, another over-the-counter sleep-inducing medicine.A cup before bedtime was enough to calm me down (like chamomile), and no getting up to empty the bladder too! The only drawback to this tea is the price, it costs about twenty five pesos per tea bag. Still, that's much cheaper than having your cuppa at Starbucks or any of those stylish chains.

What brown rice tea claims to bring about: (from its official literature)

- better sleep & stress relief
- greater stamina
- reduced night urination
- stimulation of appetite
- improved digestion
- relieves constipation
- better blood circulation
- detoxification
- improved complexion
-regulation of blood pressure
- reduce tummy bulge

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Beef Gyudon, Home Version

Beef gyudon is what we usually order in Japanese fastfood chains like Yoshinoya and Rai-rai Ken. But did you know it's easy-peasy to make it at home? Except for the mirin and the sake, most of it is already in your pantry at home. Just remember to order super-thinly sliced beef too from your butcher. In Japan, they usually eat gyudon with beni-shoga) but that can be bought at the Japanese grocery too.

These days, I'll try to make pork gyudon too - I think that would be equally delish.

Recipe below is from local chef Heny Sison (she who's made famous with her fabulous cakes). I happened to have been invited by Abenson to attend her cooking class at her spacious cooking school in Makati. So it was a lazy Sunday afternoon of learning all about Japanese cooking ~ again!

For your big bowl of beef gyudon, you'll need:

500 grams white onions
1 cup white wine, or sake
1/2 cup water
500 grams thinly-sliced beef
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup mirin
4 tbsps. sugar
600 grams cooked rice
pickled ginger or beni shoga, to taste

1. Slice the onions thinly.
2. In a medium-size saucepan, mix sake and water. Bring to a boil. Add the beef slices and simmer for a few minutes. Add 3/4 cup soy sauce, 3/4 cup mirin and 4 tbsps. sugar. Simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Add onions and again simmer until onions are transparent and soft.
4. Prepare hot cooked rice in bowls and add gyudon with the sauce on top. garnish with sweet vinegared ginger.

Baked Fish Fillet with Kesong Puti (Native Philippine White Cheese)

Here's a tried-and-tested fish fillet recipe I got from the Good Housekeeping (Philippines) Cookbook, Volume 4. Cooked this to commemorate Valentine's Day 2008 with the boyfriend..and even though he wasn't here, my officemates loved it. Must have been the cheese. Glad to use kesong puti on this dish, I normally just slather it in my hot pan de sal.

The original recipe called for snapper fillets, but I just used creamy dory since it seems so common in the grocery these days. No problem with that.

You will need:

1/2 kilo fish fillet, trimmed and sliced into four
100 grans kesong puti
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsps. oil
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

For the Wasabi Cream topping:

1/4 cup wasabi powder
1/4 cup water
1 cup cream 2 tsps. honey

How to Do:

Place fish fillet on a tray and season with pepper. Put kesong puti on top and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 530F oven.

Prepare vegetables. In a pan, saute sliced tomatoes and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make the wasabi cream by dissolving wasabi powder in water. Add cream and honey. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

Serve fish with wasabi cream on top and vegetables on the side.

Rating: simple pero effect! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A pandan kaya recipe, at last!

I love pandan kaya jam, originally from Singapore and Malaysia. Unfortunately, they're not so common in the Philippines as peanut butter or even matamis na bao or coconut jam. That's why I was glad when I attended a cooking event recently, spearheaded by "gourmetician" Chef Lisa Leong. One very funny lady. And some of the recipes she taught was making pandan cake in the recipe cooker and another called MCT Pandan Kaya. MCT is a brand imported from Singapore and is now available in the Tang City chain of restaurants in Manila.

Here's how to make the MCT Pandan Kaya. At least we'll have an idea how kaya is made:

You will need -

5 large eggs
120 g. warm MCT milk (hot water mixed in 1 sachet MCT powder)
1 tbsp. potato starch (mixed into 2 tbsp. pandan water)
130 g. fine sugar
100 g. hot water mixed in 3 tbsp. concentrated pandan stock
3 pandan leaves (knotted)
4 tbsp. COCOS Pandan coconut oil

1. Stir and whip eggs lightly. Add warm MCT milk and cornstarch solution.

2. Heat saucepan, add fine sugar, hot water and pandan stock. Bring to boil until sugar has well dissolved. Add in pandan coconut oil.

3. Remove pan from heat, whisk syrup mixture into MCT egg mixture quickly. Strain through a sieve. Pour pandan egg mixture back into a double boiler pot and continue to stir. Mix for 5 to 6 minutes.

4. Cover and steam over medium low heat for 6 minutes until slightly set. Continue stirring for every 5 minutes until mixture thickens.

5. When kaya is ready, discard the pandan leaves. Bottle kaya in jars and refrigerate.

- Thanks to Team Asia for the recipe