Saturday, April 30, 2011

#293_How to Steam Sticky Rice

No rice steamer? No problem!!
If you don't have one of those conical-shaped woven basket rice steamers that sits in a metal urn-like vessel that folks in Vietnam and Thailand use, just look around your house and you might find something that would do the job as good as the store-bought gadget. Those set of steamers aren't really that expensive, but they are too bulky when storage is an issue. I for one don't have enough space to store another kitchen gadget in my little house. On the other hand if I would use it regularly, then I would think twice.
The improvised steamer pictured above is composed of my much-treasured kawali (Philippine wok) and a hole-y pizza pan which to my amazement, fits so perfectly on top of the kawali (wok). They look like custom-made set.

Rice must be soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight

To steam rice, pour enough water in the wok about 4 inches below the pizza pan and bring the water to a boil.

Place a piece of flour sack or cheese cloth on top of the pizza pan, then spread the soaked rice on the cloth. I bet that if you would use something like a sieve or some footed colander that have smaller holes, you won't need to use a cloth....just a thought.

Fold in all the sides of the cloth towards the center and put lid on the wok.

I checked on the rice after 25 minutes of steaming and found the grains still hard and very dry. So I sprinkled some water on the rice and let it steam for another 10 minutes. I don't know if I were supposed to do that.

My first steamed Jasmine rice

My first steamed sticky rice

The improvised gadget works!

#292_A Disaster in the Kitchen

Yup, disaster happens!
....and it usually happens specially when you're stressing out!
I made these Angel Food cakes to take to a party. The first one was okay as you can see it's cooling on a rack upside down in a tube pan. The second tube pan doesn't have those "feet" so I had to cool it on a bottle neck. I just took the pan out of the oven, flipped the tube pan onto a bottle neck, and few seconds later... bang! the cake came falling out of the pan....onto the counter and to the floor!! O..M..G!!I had exactly 90 minutes to do another one including 20 minutes to get the eggs to room temperature....and I made sure I didn't drop any sweat on the batter!

I made it to the party, only 10 minutes late!! Arrived alive!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#291_Thai Mango-Sticky Rice

Thai Mango Sticky Rice
A guest at a dinner party I went to just recently brought this delicious dessert (picture above) with some coconut sauce in a separate container for the topping. The guest who brought it was actually a Filipina who grew up in Thailand, so there should be an authenticity in her dish. Too bad she left early so I was not able to ask for her recipe....maybe, she knew I was going to so she left early... just kidding.

I wanted to replicate that dessert so bad so I browsed the net and found many different recipes out there, so it was a little hard to choose which one would be close to the kind I tasted at the party. Fortunately, I am able to put a recipe together.....

This dessert is a "cousin" to our very own
"Biko" or is a variant of Biko or vice versa (click here for my post on Biko). The reason I said that is because they share common ingredients, i.e. glutinous rice or sticky rice, coconut cream and sugar, but the method of preparation is different from each other thereby resulting to different end products.

Here's what separates the two:

First, the consistency of the Thai sticky rice is so moist, as the rice is saturated with coconut sauce. Whereas the Philippine Biko is drier as we cook the rice a little passed "al dente" stage, which means the rice grains are soft and yet firm. Second, the Thai sticky rice uses coconut sauce for toppings, whereas the Philippine Biko is topped with "latik" ( "ganusal" in Pangasinan), or sometimes topped with toasted flaked coconut. In other words, Thai sticky rice is wet that you have to scoop the rice out with a spoon while the Philippine Biko is dry, and can be sliced. Both kinds are very good.

Thai Mango Sticky Rice, a.k.a. Biko con "Sabaw"

I made this dessert using both white glutinous rice and purple rice

and they turned out really good.
The purple rice is maybe another cousin...
maybe a third cousin. (*..")wink, wink!

Here's my take on this recipe which tastes
so close to the one I tasted at the party....

Rinse and soak 4 cups of glutinous rice in water overnight.

Cook sticky rice either by steaming method or rice cooker method.(to cook rice in rice cooker,
refer to my post on Biko, recipe #7, click

While the rice is cooking make the Coconut Sauce:
Sauce 1:
1-1/2 cans coconut cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Cook this mixture in a pan over medium heat,
stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract, a secret ingredient

Spread cooked rice on a dish and pour Sauce 1 over it.
Let the sauce soak into the rice.
(can also stir/mix sauce and rice together)

Sauce 2:

1/2 can coconut cream
1/4 cup sugar
dash salt
1 tsp Tapioca starch dissolved in a little bit of water.

Put ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring
until sugar is dissolved and sauce is thickened a little bit.
Add a 1/2 tsp of Vanilla extract....or a drop or 2...
that's a secret ingredient.

(Note1:this sauce won't get too thick, it is just slightly thicker than Sauce1. The 1/2 tsp of tapioca starch is just enough to give the sauce a little body to consistency of the sauce.

To serve the Sticky Rice, scoop up the cooked rice
with an ice cream scooper onto a platter,
then pour Sauce 2 over rice. Arrange mango slices along side.

Note: the amount of coconut milk and sugar to use in this recipe
is totally a personal preference.
If you want this dessert to be sweeter,
then add more sugar,

if you want to use more coconut cream,
there's nothing wrong with that either.

Another option on serving this dessert is to
put Sauce 2 in a separate bowl

and place it along side the plate.

Here's a simpler way to make the Coconut Sauce:
Pour 2 cans of coconut cream in a sauce pan, then add 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to simmer over medium high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Take out about 1-1/2 cups of the sauce into a bowl. Set aside....This is Sauce 1

Dissolve the Tapioca starch in a little bit of water and mix it in with the remaining coconut sauce in the pan, continue to heat it up, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened....
This is Sauce 2.
Don't forget to add in the secret ingredient!

Steamed Glutinous Rice
I will be posting "how to steam rice" in another entry.

FYI...this is the best kind of mango to serve with this dessert.

Update 5-2-11...See post on how to steam rice with an improvised steamer, click here.

Related post from this blog: other ways to serve Biko:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#290_Easy Creamy Chicken Casserole

Creamy Chicken with Broccoli

My niece, who recently became interested in cooking
requested that I post some chicken recipes.
So here it is... I'm posting an old family recipe here
which is very simple
and easy to make even with a beginner cook.
My American family enjoys this dish
over mashed potatoes as well as over white rice.

This dish is similar to the
Swedish Meatball Casserole recipe,
click here.

The chicken pieces after marinating them overnight....
I don't remember how many pounds of chicken
I made on this occasion,
but it is a bigger than the recipe I'm posting here.

The chicken pieces coated with Panko crumbs

Here's the recipe:
4 chicken breasts

1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. seasoned salt or garlic salt
1 tsp. Mrs Dash seasoning
Freshly cracked black pepper

1) Clean and rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Slice them into pieces (I like to cut mine into big chunks) and put them in a bowl.
2) Drizzle some cooking oil on the chicken.
3) Combine seasoned salt, Mrs Dash and black pepper and sprinkle on the chicken pieces.
4) Cover bowl and refrigerate for few hours or overnight.
5) Mix bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese and coat chicken pieces with this mixture.
6) Arrange chicken in a deep dish or deep pan. (
use a pan that is at least 2 inches high to avoid the gravy/sauce from overflowing).
7) Bake in a pre-heated 375 degrees oven for about 25 minutes. While chicken is baking,
make the Cream Sauce:

1 can Cream of Chicken
1/2 pint sour cream
3 cans broth or milk or water
salt, optional
Mix all ingredients.
(Note:Salt is optional...there's already too much salt in the cream soup and Parmesan cheese)
8) Take the chicken out of the oven and pour the sauce over it.
9) Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees then put back the chicken to bake for about 1 hour or until the chicken are fork tender.
Serve hot over rice or mashed potatoes.

Adding broccoli in this recipe is optional, but a very delicious idea.

I don't particularly want to bake the broccoli with the chicken as they can become over cooked. I like my broccoli nice and crunchy.
If you want to add in some broccoli, the best way is to cook the them separately.

About 1/2 hour before the chicken is done baking, steam the broccoli, then melt some butter in a pot and toss in the steamed broccoli. Before serving, either mound the steamed broccoli on the chicken or stir them in with the chicken.


Notes from MaMely: If using the Panko flakes, you need more broth or water in the dish. Panko flakes absorb a lot of liquid, therefore you'll have a thick sauce or gravy. Also easy on the Parmesan cheese because it contains a lot of salt.

Some of the ingredients used in this recipe

Monday, April 25, 2011

#289_Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake
I'd simply call this Banana Pineapple Cake

This cake is very similar to the Carrot Cake recipe #237, click here,
the main difference is that the Carrot Cake has of course, carrots
while the Hummingbird, it does not have hummingbirds in it,
but has pineapple and bananas! Amazing!
Then why is this cake called Hummingbird cake
if it's not made with the bird?

To read about the legend of this cake go to this link below:

A bite of this cake will make you want to sing/hum
like a Hummingbird (^..*)

I usually don't brag about the outcome
of my cooking or baking adventures,

but I can't help to tell my readers here that this one came out so good.
Yes, so good that my dear hubby was so delighted with it that
he was the one who bragged how good it was
to the family and guests at our Easter dinner.

Now, he has listed this dessert on his top 3 favorites.
His other favorites are No-Bake Cheese Cake and the Carrot Cake.

I adapted this recipe from from
with a little bit of plus and minus in the ingredients.
In other words, I modified the recipe
and made it a little like a spice cake. It's really an easy recipe to make,
basically combining the wet and dry ingredients together.

Toasting the Nuts
Spread 2 cups of nuts (pecans or walnuts) on a baking sheet and
bake in a 350 degrees pre heated oven until they become fragrant,
about 8-10 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop. Set aside.

Preparing the pans:

Grease bottom of two 9" round pans with shortening,
then line with parchment paper. Grease the papers.

Dry ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl,
then stir using a wire whisk (or sift them together)
to blend the ingredients together.
Set aside.

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 can pineapple tidbits, drained,
then reserve 1/2 cup of the juice

2 large bananas, chopped

In a bowl, combine the bananas and pineapples. Set aside.
In another bowl, cream together canola oil and the sugars,
then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the reserved pineapple juice and the vanilla extract.

Mix in the dry ingredients and 1 cup nuts.
Stir until everything is just blended together.
Blend in the pineapple/bananas.
Do not over mix.

Pour batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven for 35-40 minutes.
Let cool completely before frosting the cakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 stick butter, room temperature
1-8oz. cream cheese, room temp.
4 cups powdered sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2-3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
(add more milk if necessary to achieve a spreading consistency)
Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and gradually add milk and vanilla. Continue to beat until creamy and spreadable.

To assemble the cake:
Place one cake, top side down, onto a serving platter. Spread with about 1/3 of the frosting. Place the other cake layer onto the frosted cake and spread the rest of the frosting over top and sides of the cake. Garnish with the rest of nuts. Chill for a few hours before slicing the cake.


Note from MaMely:
I want to make sure there's not more than 1/2 cup of pineapple juice used in the mixture, so I thought draining the pineapple then saving 1/2 cup would be playing safe.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

#288_LolliCakes for Easter

A CakeBall within a CakeBall...

This Cake Ball pictured above is a combination of
Banana Cake and Chocolate Cake,
where I encased a little ball of chocolate cake with banana cake,
and then dipped in melted chocolates.

These are Cake Balls and LolliCakes or CakePops
I made for Easter this year.
If you want to check out the recipe or procedure on
how to make these fun treats,

please click on the link below:

Monday, April 4, 2011

#286_Kung Pao Sauce for Stir Fries

Kung Pao Sauce can be made ahead of time then refrigerated until needed. I like to double the recipe so I always have the sauce ready anytime I want to make stir fries. You can find plenty of different versions for this sauce on the web, there's the authentic Chinese version and Westernized version, but here's my sister's version which I find perfect for my taste. I don't know exactly where this recipe falls under, whether Chinese or Western version, but its the way I like it.

1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
1/4 cup regular soy sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup Sweet Chili sauce*
1 Tb. peanut oil or sesame oil
1/8 tsp Chili paste**
Dash of Five Spice Powder
Ground pepper
3 Tbs. cornstarch
dissolved in 1-1/2 cups water

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened,
but pourable, meaning not so thick.

That's it!!
Now you have the Kung Pao Sauce! You can use it on stir fry right away or....

Store sauce in jars or plastic containers and refrigerate for later use.

Recipe for Beef and Brocolli Stirfry with Kung Pao Sauce
coming up....also Kung Pao Chicken.
Notes from MaMely:
Sweet Chili Sauce is the lumpia or egg roll dipping sauce. My favorite brand is "Pantai".
Chili Paste is the bottle pictured on the left. The brand name (I think) is Sambal Oelek. It is very concentrated, so if you're like me, start with just a little bit, about 1/8 of a teaspoon then add some more if you want a spicier sauce.

#285_Fruit Salad with Buko

Fruit Salad with Buko
(Buko is young coconut)

My friend, Lisa made this fruit salad for her dinner party
last weekend and
she sent with me a big bowl of it
so now I have pictures to post here.
I didn't bother to ask her how she made it because
I was pretty sure she made it the same way I do.

It's really good! Thank you, Lisa!!

This is an all-time Filipino favorite dessert and is prepared by combining different kinds of canned and bottled fruits. Some people add some cheese to it, which I don't care for at all.

Here's my favorite fruit combination:
2 cans (15.25 oz. ea.) Fruit Cocktail, well drained
1 bottle Nata de Coco, well drained*
I can Buko, well drained (young coconut)**
Fresh green grapes
Fresh peaches, cubed
(ripe Manila mangoes instead of peaches would be great if available)

For the Fruit Dressing:
Mix 1 can of condensed milk and 1 can of Nestle Cream
then lightly stir in with the fruit.
Chill for several hours before serving.

Here's my husband's favorite Fruit Medley:
Mix and match:

Fresh peaches
Fresh strawberries
Fresh red and green grapes
Fresh raspberries
Fresh cantaloupe
Fresh Honeydew
Fresh bananas
or mix and match any fresh fruits available or in season.
Topped with freshly-whipped cream (heavy cream + sugar)

Another option for Fruit Dressing for fresh fruits:
2 cups fresh orange juice + 2 Tbsps. cornstarch.
Cook until thick enough to pour over fruits.

Notes from MaMely:

*Nata de Coco are available in red, green colors and natural.
Of course if you're in the Philippines or a place where Buko or young coconuts are available, you don't need to use the canned ones.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

#284_Hors d'Oeuvres, Appetizers or Finger Foods

Hors d'oeuvres/ Hor'derves/ Horderves....
In plain language, PARTY FINGER FOODS

Here's some Finger Food recipe ideas to feed and please a crowd.....

1) Pinoy Style Chicken Sandwich Fillings
on Ritz Crackers.
(For the Chicken Sandwich Filling recipe, click here)

2) Chicken and Cream Cheese Fillings
on Ritz Crackers

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or chopped
mix with softened 1 bar of cream cheese.

Spoon fillings on top of crackers, then top with sliced green or black olives.

just an idea:
Slice some cheddar or American cheese about 1-1/2 inch squares.
Place a piece of cheese on top of crackers,
then spoon a dollop of chicken fillings on top of cheese,
then place an olive ring (either black or green olives) on top.

3) Tuna Fish Sandwich Fillings
on Ritz Crackers
(not shown)
1 can tuna fish, drained well

1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tb sweet mixed pickles
1 tsp. white sugar (optional)

Mix everything together.
Put a little slice of cheese on top of crackers,
then top with the Tuna fillings.
Garnish with sliced olives.

4) Ham and Cheese on crackers
Slice ham and cheese into little squares and
stack them the way you want on top of crackers.