Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Banh Mi (Vietnamese Baguette Sandwich)

Banh Mi, is a popular Vietnamese sandwich, usually made on a wheat and rice flour baguette bread. Inside are thinly sliced carrots, daikon, cucumbers, onions, cilantro, jalapeno peppers -- then filled with a variety of meat or tofu fillings (grilled pork, ham, head cheese, etc.)

There are many types of fillings that can be put into Banh Mi but the most popular version includes cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, onion, cilantro, pate, butter, roasted or grilled pork, Vietnamese sausage, ham.  The Banh Mi is a popular Vietnamese fast food because of its low price and delicious taste.  Banh mi are not your ordinary sandwiches; they’re crunchy, filled fusion baguettes, stuffed full of fresh, fragrant and tasty Vietnamese ingredients.  This popular street food originated after French settlers first introduced bread to Vietnam back in the late 18th century.  But as the years progressed and the French rule eventually ended, the Vietnamese began to introduce their own fragrant and spicy flavors, including marinated grilled meats, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs and lots of chili peppers.


1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup grated peeled daikon radish
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
2 (20-inch) baguettes (about 8 1/2 ounces each)
16 thin cucumber slices (about 1 cucumber)
16 cilantro sprigs
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 2)
1 seeded and thinly sliced jalapeño pepper


1. Combine the first 5 ingredients; cover and let stand 15 minutes to 1 hour. Drain.
2. Preheat oven to 400°.
3. Combine the chili garlic sauce and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar; stir well. Place pork on the rack of a small roasting pan or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Spread 2 tablespoons chili garlic mixture evenly over pork; sprinkle the pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155° (slightly pink). Cool; cover the pork, and refrigerate.
4. Combine mayonnaise and remaining chili garlic sauce mixture; cover and refrigerate.
5. Cut each baguette horizontally, cutting to, but not through, other side using a serrated knife. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly on cut sides of baguettes. Thinly slice pork; divide pork evenly between baguettes. Top evenly with carrot mixture. Arrange 8 cucumber slices and 8 cilantro sprigs on each baguette. Top evenly with onions and jalapeño. Press top gently to close; cut each baguette into 4 equal servings.

In Hawaii there is a local Vietnamese bakery and restaurant named Ba-Le Sandwich and now a huge full scale bakery operation in Honolulu called La Tour.  My favorite type of banh mi is the pate and steamed pork version.  Lots of cilantro, jalapenos, sriracha, mayo, and hosin!  
My favorite pate and steamed pork!!  Heaven in baguette!!

Winnahz!!  I like kaukau!!  :D

Pork Sarisari (Pork with Mixed Vegetables)

Here is a dish my grandfather would cook for us when we were little. It brings back so much memories. The pork is soft and tender with the sweet taste of the squash. The broth is rich and delightful on a cold night. Heat the soup and add cold rice and you got a typical Ilocano dish easy to cook and prepare.
This dish is locally also known as "Pork Sarisari" as in a mix of vegetables.  The local Ilocano restaurants make a shrimp version also.  Also a word of note.  This dish is only indigenous to Hawaii from the local Ilocanos which migrated to Hawaiian Islands during the plantation era of the 1900's.  Try go Philippines and ask them you want to order this dish or go to Max's Restaurant and they'll look at you funny.  :)


2-3 lbs fresh pork chops, sliced thin (pork ribs is also good)
1 2 lb small Chinese long squash, peeled, cut lengthwise, then cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 round yellow union, sliced thin
1 whole red ripe tomato, halved and sliced thin
2 fresh cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled, and minced fine
1 whole bay leaf, ripped in half
2-4 Tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam or patis)
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
dash MSG to taste (optional)
1 Tbsp white vinegar
fresh cold water
vegetable oil for frying
Optional vegetables :
2 long eggplants, diagonal slant slices
1-2 lb. Chinese long beans or sitaw, cut in 2 inch length pieces
1 bunch of ong choy or water spinach, cut in 2 inch length pieces.  Separate leafy part from stems.
Add stems first to simmering broth then add leafy part last.  Try not to overcook it.


Heat a 6 qt pot with cover. Add 2 Tbsp oil and heat til smoking. Add pork and stir fry. Brown and cook pork well done about 10-15 mins on high heat. Season with pepper and bay leaf while frying. Add onions, tomato, and garlic. Continue to stir fry until vegetables are translucent and wilted. Add additional oil if needed. Add 4-6 cups of fresh water to pot, cover and bring meat to a nice boil then lower heat to simmer. Simmer til meat is tender. Add fish sauce, MSG, and white vinegar to soup. Add squash to pot and cover. Cook til squash is soft. Add more pepper and patis to adjust to your taste. Serve with white rice.

This dish is closely similar to Pork Sinigang but without the tamarind powder mix.  The broth or sabaw is not tangy.  Also I add a Tbsp of vinegar to the broth so the dish keeps and doesn't "turn" or spoil quickly on account of the tomatoes.  It makes the sabaw acidic like how adobo doesn't spoil without refrigeration.

Serves 3-4

Ok I hungry let's kaukau!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Secret Cebu Whole Lechon Baboy Recipe

A secretly guarded recipe for many generations lechon is the Filipino version of the roast pig and is a highly popular main dish during events holidays and festivities.  Especially sought for is the craving for the lechon's crispy skin and soft juicy flesh.  But among many varieties, the Cebu lechon is tagged as the Philippines finest and probably the whole of Asia.  It is so widely popular that even domestic airlines have accepted it as normal freight straight from the oven to various parts of the country.  What makes the Cebu lechon distinct is the arousing flavor that the Cebuanos have carefully tendered for so many generations.  Historically, the word lechon is literally leche, a Spanish word for milk.  So called because young pigs that are not yet mature enough are cooked over low coal fire during colonial times. Thus, the colloquial for suckling pig among other popular terms. The first known recorded fact of such method was practiced by the tribes of Papua New Guinea, who hunted wild boars for offering and cooked them over deep pits of burning hot stones. Eventually, Spanish adventurists in the Pacific began to import the method back to Europe and its Spanish colonies like Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.  But the Filipinos actually inherited the method from its Chinese trading partners and eventually perfected the technique after World War 2, soaring into popularity by the 1980’s, a time of great political upheaval and celebration after the fall of the Marcos regime.  It was during this decade that the Cebu lechon started to flourish and spread to all over parts of the Philippines.  It even gave way to festivities celebrating lechon as a tradition of rich cultural values like the Parade of Roasted Pigs in the Balayan Festival of Batangas, Philippines.  But the original Cebu lechon recipe still remain the most popular to this day, still sought by Filipinos and foreigners alike.  And here’s that original secret Cebu lechon recipe that everyone of us has been so eager to learn.


1 whole native pig (live weight 18 – 20 kilos)
salt and black pepper to taste
soy sauce
For the glaze:
1 liter of Sprite or 7up
For the stuffing:
10 bundles lemon grass (tanglad)
1/4 cup star anise
6 pieces of laurel or bay leaves (cut into small parts)
5 cups of crushed garlic
2 kilos green onion leave
8 pieces of halved saba bananas. (half-cooked through boiling)


  1. First, shave hair follicles of the pig and remove the innards.  Rinse the pig and make sure there’s no more lumps of blood inside the stomach.
  2. Then rub the insides with salt and pepper including the body.
  3. Rub a little soy sauce on the inside belly of the pig.
  4. Stuff the belly with saba bananas, anise, green onion leaves, crushed garlic and laurel leaves.
  5. Next, stack the lemon grass the center stomach, and stitched the belly, making sure that no ingredients slip out.
  6. Skewer the pig with a mid-size bamboo and split roast over hot charcoal. Do not put the charcoal directly underneath the belly of the pig but over both sides, slowly churning the pig roast.
  7. While slowly roasting the pig, glaze it from time to time with sprite using a sponge. This will make the skin extra crispy.
  8. Roast for a couple of hours until the meat is tender. Do not overcooked.

The spices and the lemongrass makes the flavorful Cebu lechon aromatic aside from its rich succulent taste. When you visit the Philippines, try every carnivore's favorite dish, whole roasted suckling pig or lechon baboy!

The main reason of its great popularity is because it is a delicacy which is so versatile that it can be combined with all kinds of  ingredients and then come up brand new dishes.  These new dishes can be sometimes termed as the recycled or leftover dishes.  An example of these dishes is lechon paksiw (paksiw na litson) which consists of leftover meat soaked in a vinegary sauce.  The most popular part of the lechon which usually eaten by many is the crispy pig’s skin which is like brittle candy or broken glass.  I love it because of its crispiness and it is the most delicious part which can be dipped in a liver gravy sauce, ketchup/catsup.  But most times I prefer Tabasco sauce and shoyu or my fave sili labuyo a Filipino condiment in a jar consisting of vinegar, garlic, spices, and baby birds-eye chili peppers.  The Philippines consists of 7,107 islands throughout the country, so you can expect that every island has its own versions or processes on how to roast lechon with its selected variant (chicken, pig, turkey, or beef).  The best is the Cebuano version in my opinion because of the use of tanglad or lemongrass.  The Indonesians have their version which is another story.  ;)

Ok I'm hungry now!!  Shucks no 24/7 lechonan here in Hawai!!  :P
oh wellz for another day.
Let's kaukau!!  :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sata Andagi (Okinawan Doughnuts)

Andagi is an Okinawan deep fried doughnut. It is also known as "sata andagi." Andagi is the Okinawan term for all deep fried dishes, anda is Okinawan for oil. Although Okinawans in Hawaii use the term andagi only to refer to sata andagi, savory as well as sweet deep fried foods are all properly called andagi.


4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
Vegetable oil, for deep frying


Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Make a well in center
Combine milk, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup, then add enough water to make 1 cup of liquid. Add eggs. Pour into well the dry ingredients.
Mix by hand until barely moist. Preheat oil to 350 degrees then lower to 330 degree F.

Drop dough by hand, or use a large spoon or ice cream scoop. Fry until golden, about 8 minutes. Andagi is done when a skewer or chopstick poked into the center comes out clean.
Drain on paper towels.

Makes 4 dozen.

So ono when it's hot and crispy right out of the oil!!
Let's kaukau!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013



4 Japanese long eggplant
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 bay leaves (laurel)
2 cups water
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 whole yellow or red onion
2 inch finger piece ginger sliced in half crushed
1-2 tablespoon minced garlic  More the better!
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons bagoong (Filipino fish sauce) or harm ha (Chinese fine shrimp paste)
1/2 cup water 
2 cups long beans
1/4 lb sweet peppers
2 long bittermelons cut
1 pound whole okra pods
1/4 pound kabocha pumpkin
2 zucchini
1 can low sodium SPAM


Soak all big veggies in water then drain.  Cut all large veggies in diagonal cuts as this is a stir fry and you want the veggies to cook fast.  Heat a large pot or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil, onion, ginger, garlic and bay leaves.  Stir fry to release aromatic but do not burn.  Add tomatoes and continue to stir fry.  Add long beans and stir about 3 minutes.  Add bittermelon, eggplant, pumpkin, zucchini, and okra last.  Each layer of veggies about 3 minutes each.  Cut SPAM into 1-2 inch cubes. Add water if it get dry.  Add bagoong or shrimp sauce and a little more water, if needed.  TASTE!  Don't make it salty!  You may add sugar if you want it a little sweet.  It's up to you.  You're da cook!  

Ok this is for fast cooking.  Usually Ilocanos do not stir fry pinakbet but this is a adaptation.  Pinakbet is a stewed veggie dish but this is a stir fry version like how Max's of Manila Restaurants make their version.  But mine is not as pretty.  hehehe  :P  
You can keep this vegetarian and not add the SPAM but since I had a can smiling at me in the cupboard.  
oh wellz.  ;)  
In Hawaii you make with what you got in da house.  You cook you improvise.  Get your Iron Chef on!!

Serves 8.

Get your inappoy or rice ready!!  Let's kaukau!!  :)