Happy day-before-Independence-Day, Philippines!
I know that most of us are probably going off on long-weekend trips (not me though, have work on Saturday!) so I thought now would be the perfect time to share with everybody the lovely afternoon I had a few days ago when I attended the second leg of FOOD Magazine Food Tastings. In case my account of the first class didn’t convince you to grab this awesome opportunity to learn new recipes in a fun environment, I guess I’ll just keep writing about it!
FOOD Magazine Food Tastings is actually a series of free cooking classes organised by FOOD Magazine Philippines to give foodies a good opportunity to learn different kinds of recipes straight from some of the Philippines’ most renowned chefs. Slots are limited so registration is required, and I was happy to see that the seats were filled this day as well.
Every class has a different theme and a different venue that fits the said theme. For this afternoon, the class was held at Sarsa Kitchen + Bar in Mall of Asia, which serves Filipino food with a little fusion going on, so the theme for that day was… Filipino food, of course! The class was aptly called, ‘Let’s Cook Pinoy!’
What better time to have added appreciation for Filipino dishes than during Independence Day, amiright?
And of course since we’ll be learning from Chef Sharwin Tee of Lifestyle, and Chef JP Anglo who actually owns Sarsa Kitchen + Bar, I was expecting nothing less than Filipino food with some unique elements added to the mix. Of course, my expectations were not wrong at all.
The afternoon began with some opening remarks from Ms. Associate Publisher Abby Pel, and I loved how the crowd was very much into it the moment the event began.
Can you spot Gilbert trolling in the picture again? Haha!
When Chef Sharwin Tee came out, the first thing he did was make the audience laugh. The humorous celebrity chef was the winner of the cooking show ‘Clash of the Toquen Ones’ back in 2010 and he currently hosts the cooking show on Lifestyle called ‘Curiosity Got the Chef’. For that day’s cooking demo, he began by saying something ridiculous like how he was nervous about making a dish for an audience of foodies. Oh don’t be so modest, Chef! 😀
Chef Sharwin shared with us a reinvented version of the burger which he calls ‘BB’. He opened the name to individual interpretation, but to describe the dish it is essentially Binagoongang Baboy in burger form. (Yes, with pork and eggplant and bagoong!) Still, BB could mean Binagoongang Burger, or maybe Bonggang Burger if you want.
To help him prep the dish, he called on a couple of volunteers from the audience to do the easy parts. I liked that Chef Sharwin kept cracking jokes the whole time to keep the mood light and happy.
To make BB that serves 4, first, you have to make the eggplant mash by roasting 5 whole eggplants with skin on in a 200-degree Celsius oven. Mash the roasted eggplant sans skin then mix in 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon pimenton, plus salt and pepper to taste.
For the patties, you just combine 250 grams ground pork with 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 2 tablespoons minced ginger, 3 Tablespoons bagoong, then some salt and pepper. This burger has a dressing you can drizzle or brush on the burger and to make that, you’ll need 2 egg yolks whisked with 1 tablespoon bagoong and salt and pepper. Add 125mL oil as you whisk before finally drizzling in juice of 1 calamansi.
And while all that was going down, this guy was busy eating a plate of Sarsa’s Palabok.
Finally, Chef Sharwin put the finishing touches on his burger, adding some sliced tomatoes and very thinly sliced green chilli which he pickled beforehand with coconut vinegar and sugar. Oh man. I am a fan of binagoongan and to not have that green chilli there would have been a sin!
Ta-dah! So it might be a bad idea writing this post at this late hour because that burger photo is making me want to get myself a midnight snack.
Everyone’s favourite part in any cooking class: TASTE TEST!
My apologies for any trauma the photo above might have caused. I couldn’t resist adding it to this post! Anyway, to get back on topic: I absolutely loooved the burger! The patty was so juicy with hints of bagoong, but the tomato really added a burst of freshness to the burger. The pickled chilli added just a touch of spiciness and tang that complements the flavourful patty so well. I am so going to make this burger at home!
Happy Jason with his yummy burger. I brought along one of my brothers this time! 🙂
The surprise of the day was when Chef Katherine Jao of Pepper.ph took the stage to share some food styling tips. I am an avid food photographer (duh!) and have been thinking about making a business out of it in the future after some more practice through this blog, so for me it was nice to get to see a pro in action.
Food presentation is important not just for food bloggers, but it’s also something I feel is crucial when you’re serving food whether in a restaurant or in your own home. It’s true that the eyes “taste” the food before the tongue does, and the more attractive your food looks the more likely people are going to want to eat it. That’s just a fact.
Chef Katherine pointed out that Filipino food is often hard to style because most of the dishes have a lot of sauce and are darkly coloured, especially dishes like the dinuguan, so it’s important to find a good “vessel” for the food. White bowls and plates are often the safest choice, as well as wooden plates topped with banana leaf.
And while people were swarming to photograph Chef Katherine’s styled set, Gilbert was having his Crispy Buko Pie ala Mode. This guy’s appetite is never-ending.
Finally we get to the last Chef for the day; a familiar face from MasterChef Pinoy Edition and the Junior Edition of the show as well. It’s none other than Chef JP Anglo, who will be preparing for us 3 recipes he made especially for today. I’m so ready!
To start, Chef Jayps made his rendition of an extra special Pancit Canton. It’s got all the trimmings, plus some rum! Never had pancit with rum before, and the addition of it kind of feels fancy.
First you simmer 1 kilogram of egg noodles for a bit, and while that’s going on sauté 200 grams julienned carrots, 200 grams julienned Baguio beans, 60 grams chopped onion, 60 grams chopped garlic, 200 grams sliced pork liver, and finally 3 cans of canned MaLing pork leg. Deglaze with 30mL light rum before adding in 30mL soy sauce and 15mL cane vinegar. Let it sit for 20 seconds.
Season with 15 grams hoisin sauce, then add in 200 grams sliced cabbage. Pour in 160mL pork stock and bring to a boil. Take out the vegetables and add in 30 grams gawgaw to thicken the sauce before returning the noodles into the sauce. Mix everything up, including the veggies, leaving some for topping. Add some leeks and tofu too, plus chicharon and Boy Bawang because why not?
So happy we get a generous plate of this to sample! This pancit has a really creamy sensation in the mouth apart from being saucy, and that creamy richness reminds me a little of coconut milk. All the flavours from the pork to the veggies mesh well with each other. The recipe above makes 5 servings by the way.
Oh, and the addition of chicharon and Boy Bawang on top adds a pleasant crunch! So good!
Next, Chef Jayps shared with us his recipe for Grilled Lapu-Lapu with Pinoy Sambal. It makes use of 800 grams lapu-lapu fillet and while the original recipe says baked, Chef has the lapu-lapu grilled in the kitchen while he makes the sambal sauce.
The sauce is made using a blender, and you basically just dump everything inside: 40 grams sili labuyo, 40 grams sili sigang, 30 grams red pepper flakes, 60 grams minced garlic, 80 grams onion, 45mL oil, and finally 20mL rice wine vinegar. Pulse until it turns into a thick paste, adjusting the amount of oil until the paste is as thick as you want it to be.
If you’re baking this, place the uncooked fish on top of a banana leaf, slather on the sambal sauce, then wrap everything inside. Bake inside a 180-degree Celsius oven for 30 minutes, and once cooked just unwrap the banana leaf and top with sliced onions, cherry tomatoes, and some spring onions. Or top with cream. Or yogurt.
Chef Japys served his grilled version with salted eggs and tomatoes. Yum!
We didn’t get to sample this dish though from appearances I can pretty much tell it’s absolutely delish!
For the last recipe of the day, Chef Jayps shared a recipe for Sinuglaw (singuba + kinilaw). Aka Filipino-style sashimi with grilled pork on the side. He also shared with us a story about where he learned his techniques for making kilawin– a sort of ceviche dish wherein raw meat is “cooked” in an acidic solution (usually starring loads of vinegar) for a time. He learned it from a master in Bacolod named Enting, which if you’ve noticed is actually the name up on the board behind him.
So to start, make the sinugba by marinating 300 grams pork liempo in a concoction of 40mL calamansi juice, 45mL soy sauce, 10mL liquid seasoning, 20 grams brown sugar, 4 grams salt, and 2 grams pepper. Let it sit for at least 2 hours before grilling the meat.
Next, make the kinilaw by cubing 250 grams of your preferred fish. In a bowl, mix together 20mL calamansi, 45mL vinegar, 10 grams sugar, 5 grams salt, and 5 pieces of ginger. Toss in the cubed fish for at least 3 minutes, but be careful not to over-cure them too. The most crucial part for this recipe is the freshness of your fish, because if you don’t have fresh enough fish and you eat this dish raw your stomach is going to rebel on you.
So once both are prepared slice up the sinugba and place side by side with the kinilaw, plus dipping sauce on the side.
Gilbert managed to grab each of us a piece of this fish to try. It was very fresh and tender; nicely cured without the vinegar being too overpowering. It was an interesting dish to include for this afternoon for sure as I know that not everyone eats raw food.
Going home with all these new ideas and twists for usual Filipino dishes has really gotten me into the mood for experimenting in the kitchen. Thank you to FOOD Magazine for making The Tummy Train a media partner for Food Tastings because attending these cooking classes has been such a golden chance for inspiration when it comes to my own food creations. I have been loving learning all these new recipes that I cannot wait to try here at home!
Thanks also to Gilbert for this group selfie (groupfie???) of us!
If you guys are interested in knowing when the next Food Tastings class is, just keep checking back here as I will announce it to you all so don’t worry! Also you can follow Food Magazine on Instagram or Facebook. Till’ the next Food Tastings class! Hoping to see more of you guys there! 🙂