Anyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I rarely relinquish control of my kitchen. Several weeks ago, however, I broke my own rules and allowed my two dear friends, Lineka and Thea, to take over my kitchen and prepare a magnificent Filipino Brunch! The food was Devine, as was the company. The menu included cantaloupe juice, beef tapa, fish daing, ponsit, garlic rice, green papaya salad, several types of longanisa and various condiments and sauces.
It was my first time eating Filipino food and I will definitely be going back for more. Since the food of the Philippines has been influenced by many other cultures, you are never bored and the palate in constantly stimulated. So as not to forget this delicious food, and a super great day, I convinced Thea and Lineka to each contribute a family recipe so you too can have a Filipino Brunch!
(Left, Thea scooping out the contents of a cantaloupe with a fork for a refreshing juice. Traditionally only water and sugar are added, but we decided to also go with vodka which definitely got the party started.)
2 lbs London broil, sirloin or short ribs (short ribs are Thea’s preference).
Marinade: 1/3 cup soy sauce, 5 tablespoons of brown sugar and 4 cloves minced garlic. (Alternately you can use salt and regular sugar in 1 to 4 ratio but Thea finds its more flavorful with the soy sauce and brown sugar. I have also seen some recipes that call for the addition of plum wine and/or rice wine vinegar.)
Cut meat in thin slices at 30 degree angles and marinate for 24 hours. The next day grill or pan fry. Serve with garlic rice, longanisa, a fried egg and tomato-onion compote referenced below.
Lineka’s Garlic Rice: (image above) fry minced garlic (to taste) in olive oil and add pre-cooked rice. Stir to combine and add salt to taste. Lineka recommends adding some garlic powder to the water that you cook the rice in for extra kick. She warns that this version may best be eaten alone and definitely not before a first date.
Lineka’s Directions/Comments on Longanisa:
Longanisa can be found at any large Asian grocery store in the frozen section. Usually, they come in packs of 8 and you have a choice of regular, sweet, or hot and, if lucky, a selection of pork, beef, or chicken. Traditionally, longanisa is made up of pork (wild boar)...and with all the typical sausage cuts (cheeks, snouts, tails, etc). I've read that, because meat grinders were not readily available in the Philippines back in the day, all meat had to be chopped by hand, so a traditional longanisa filling should be chunkier than a kielbasa or a merguez sausage. That is really what gives longanisa its character.
To cook place frozen sausages in a sauce pan, fill with water, and bring to a boil (there's no need to let them thaw). Boil for about 8-10 minutes, depending on package directions. Then place in a non-stick fry pan with just a small bit of olive oil (the sausages will give off their oil as you cook) and cook, turning frequently, until browned, about 8-10 minutes.
Tomato-Onion Compote: Dice several ripe tomatoes and yellow/Spanish onions. How you make yours depends on your personal taste. Lineka's family likes a to 2:1 tomato to onion ratio, but it can also be 1:1 if you like onions. Place in a small bowl and add white or cider vinegar (or a mix of both) halfway up the bowl. Lineka also likes to add a little bit of patis (fish sauce) for saltiness. If you aren't hard core, you can just use a pinch of regular kosher salt. Let rest for at least 30 minutes so it can soak up the vinegar.
For additional Filipino Recipes please see, Memories of Philippine Kitchens. My friends say it's great and you can find it in my Amazon.com store below. It also is on my “Wish List,” hint, hint, if anyone is looking to buy me an early Christmas present.