Pinoy cuisine is ripe with all kinds of recipes. There’s so much diversity in the cuisine, thanks to the innate resourcefulness of Filipino cooks, as well as the countless culinary influences in the country: Spanish, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, etc. It can get intimidating to learn how to cook Filipino food, given all of these dishes. But a great starting point is the regular menu of locals—that is, the dishes that Filipinos enjoy day-to-day. Here are some examples of Pinoy recipes that you should try when getting to know the cuisine:
Champorado is a rich, chocolatey rice porridge dish that Filipinos enjoy for breakfast. This easy recipe involves cooking glutinous rice in a soup flavored with tablea (Philippine cacao tablets), sugar, and, occasionally, milk. The result is a thick, sweet porridge that can be adjusted when serving with condensed milk based on your preference.
Usually, Filipinos enjoy champorado with dried fish. It’s an odd combination, but the saltiness of the fish perfectly matches the dark sweetness of the tablea.
Bistek is a simple Filipino beef steak dish (hence the name) made of very soft and tender strips of beef smothered in a light, savory sauce. It’s very easy to make; at its most basic, you simply cook the beef and build the sauce on top of it. But you can very well end up with very tough meat and a sauce that’s too salty. It’s important, then, to master the right balance to get the best bistek.
Merienda: Ginataang Mais
Ginataang mais is a sweet porridge that’s similar to champorado. It uses glutinous rice, as well. But instead of chocolate, it’s flavored with coconut cream or coconut milk (most likely the latter, or a combination of the two). Plus, it has the added element of corn. You can eat it hot or cold, and it’s often enjoyed as breakfast, as well.
Dinner: Beef Pares
Beef pares is a Filipino meal that consists of two main dishes: saucy beef and beef soup. They’re always served together with rice, which explains the name pares (Filipino for “pair”). The beef is braised or pressurized to make it tender, then it’s tossed in a sweet-savory asado (Chinese barbecue-like) sauce. When it’s done using the latter method, the liquid used for braising is repurposed as a clear soup that’s served to complete the meal.
The most famous beef pares is pares sa Retiro, which calls to the original version made in Retiro (now N.S. Amoranto Street) in Quezon City.
And So Much More…
These four dishes are just some of the basic Pinoy recipes that anybody getting to know how to cook Filipino food should know about. To know more about Pinoy cuisine, visit Pepper.ph, a cooking resource from the Philippines that provides information about Filipino and Southeast Asian cuisine, including classic and fusion Filipino recipes!