Monday, December 3, 2012


Just as rich and creamy but without the cholesterol and slime of eggs...

LECHE FLAN is a traditional Filipino dessert originally made with eggs, milk and sugar, cooked with arnibal (caramelized sugar). Leche flan was introduced to us by the Spaniards in the 1560’s, along with other best known creamy rich Spanish custards such as tocino del cielo, yema or yemita and crema catalana.

Leche Flan dates as far back as ancient Rome when the Romans used egg whites as cement to build huge stone structures. The Romans had a huge surplus of egg yolks so they looked to the Greeks for inspiration on what to do with them. 

The Greeks had great culinary skills. Together they developed leche flan and other custard recipes served with sugar syrup.

During the fall of the Roman Empire, leche flan survived its heritage and found its way to Spain and then the Philippines as the sweet tasting flan we Filipinos love today. 

The word ‘flan’ is derived from the Latin word ‘flado’ meaning flat cake and the Spanish word ‘leche’ meaning milk.

When the Spaniards came, they applied the Roman tradition of using egg whites as cement. 

Some of the oldest church structures here such as the Baclayon church in Bohol (built by the Jesuit priests in 1595) and San Agustin church in Intramuros (built by the Augustinian priests in 1570), used millions of eggs as cement.

Hundreds of native Filipino forced labor were used (obras pias) to build them.The native Filipinos cut and dragged coral blocks from the sea, using only bamboos in moving and lifting the stones in position.

In fact, all stone structures ever built by the Spaniards were done this way. And the surplus egg yolks were made into leche flan and other delicious egg custards, served to and enjoyed by the Spaniards.

Here is my recipe for eggless leche flan.

1 big can condensed milk (300 ml)

1 big can evaporated milk (370 ml)

1 stick gulaman (yellow color)

4 Tbsp vanilla

1 1/2 c water


1 c brown or light brown sugar

1/2 c water

1. Prepare syrup: In a saucepan, boil sugar and water until mixture becomes thick. Pour syrup in leche flan mold (llanera) or baking pan. Set aside.

2. Pour condensed milk and evaporated milk in a pot (preferably cast iron to avoid scorching). Add vanilla. Boil.

3. In a separate pan, boil one stick gulaman in 1 1/2 water. Strain and pour into the boiling milk-vanilla mixture. Stir constantly for a few minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Pour mixture over syrup-lined pan. Allow to set. When cooled, invert pan and serve.

Note: if stick gulaman is not available, use 2 Tbsp seaweed jelly powder (Mr.Gulaman) or agar-agar, yellow or white color. In a separate bowl, gradually sprinkle seaweed jelly powder or agar-agar into 1 c water. Stir constantly until jelly powder is completely dissolved. Pour into the boiling milk-vanilla mixture. Proceed with the rest of the procedure.

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Friday, November 16, 2012


In the days of our grandmothers and their grandmothers before them, this was the standard 'ulam' (main dish) every Friday. 

Ginisang Munggo or sauteed mung beans is a very popular Filipino dish, a very common way to cook boiled mongo, also known as 'balatong'...

Monday, November 12, 2012


All over the Philippines specially in the Bicol region and in the south, in Mindanao island, green langka (jackfruit) is cooked in rich coconut milk with lots of chilis. This
 favorite vegetable dish is known as Ginataang Langka...

Sunday, November 4, 2012


An adaptation of Cantonese wonton soup that became popular in the town of Molo, Iloilo province. It is called 'pansit' but it has no noodles in it!...

Friday, November 2, 2012


Tofu Wonderfood 

Years ago, I was in Cagayan de Oro City, south of the Philippines, on a lecture trip. One of the students, Teresa Tiu, brought a tray of tofu to be cooked and fed to the guests. I learned that the tofu was home-made. It was made by Teresa’s family. It was their small family business. As a tofu-eating vegetarian I was impressed. Nowadays it is  rare to find whole families  working together to provide people with such a wonderfood as tofu...

Sunday, October 14, 2012


CAMOTE QUE - - is a popular Filipino snack food, a portmanteau of the words 'camote' (sweet potato) and 'barbeque'. In 1565, the Spaniards brought camote to the Philippines from Mexico via the galleon trade but they didn't know that camote could be cooked camote-que style. The native Filipinos cooked the early form of camote-que by roasting camote with the skin over open fire using bamboo skewers...

Saturday, October 6, 2012



A lot of friends write to me and say they would like to purchase my GULAY cookbooks online but they don’t have a credit card. For those who don’t have credit cards but would like to purchase my books online, you can pay with your regular Philippine bank account thru Paypal. Here are the easy step-by-step procedures:..

Friday, October 5, 2012


Pinakbet  or Pakbet is a healthy vegetable dish known all over the Philippines. It originated in the Northern and Ilocos regions. 'Pinakbet' comes from the Ilocano word "Pinakebbet' which means 'to shrivel' or 'dry up' as what happens when vegetables are steamed...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I would like you to have a taste of a favorite Filipino snack made from simple steamed kamoteng kahoy (cassava) and bukayo (sweetened grated coconut)...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


This is a one-dish meal - - a delicious and comforting soup. 

Arroz Caldo -- or 'Caldo de Arroz' is a Spanish name that literally means 'rice soup' or 'lugaw'. It is also known as 'congee' in many Asian countries which means 'rice porridge' from the ancient Tamil word 'kanji'. The original word comes from the Sanskrit root word 'Kaanjika'...

Monday, August 20, 2012


LETTUCE has a very long history stretching back to over 6,000 years to the time of the first known civilization who lived in what we know today as Southern Iraq. It was an everyday salad ingredient enjoyed by the ancient Greeks and Romans...

Friday, August 17, 2012


It's rainy season once again and therefore corn season, so it's time for me to cook 'ginisang mais' (sauteed shredded corn) using the traditional lagkitan (white glutinous open-pollinated) corn variety, sometimes called 'mais na puti' (white corn). In it I put malunggay (moringa) leaves and pieces of sliced tofu or tokwa...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012



Living in a farm is a wonderful experience. I know because I have lived in a farm for so long. In fact, I still do. You wake up to a hearty breakfast of steaming hot rice and sauteed garden-fresh vegetables. Nothing beats freshly-picked vegetables. They are
sunshine sweet and mountain crisp...

Saturday, August 11, 2012


In culinary terminology, a ‘gourmet’ is someone who is a connoisseur , a fastidious eater--someone who has a very high standard in food and drink. When choosing what to eat, he shows excessive delicacy and care. He enjoys eating but with discrimination. He has an appreciation of subtleties. When he eats, he eats only the finest food and drink, and only in moderate amount...

Monday, August 6, 2012


In my cooking classes and lectures, I have been asked many times about cholesterol - - the most common question being, ‘how can I lower my cholesterol level?’...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


When I became a vegetarian many years ago, I became aware of protein. Before that, protein was just something that I came across in elementary science class. I guess it automatically follows that when you are changing to a non-meat diet, ‘protein’ begins to have an important meaning to you. So now that I hope you are considering a possible change of diet too, it will help to know a little bit about protein...

Monday, July 9, 2012


A steaming hot bowl of lomi is a good therapy when you're tired from work or school. Lomi is originally made from egg noodles but there are also eggless lomi noodles available...

Friday, July 6, 2012


Suman is an old-fashioned comfort food that never fails to bring back fond memories of childhood days spent with our mothers or lolas (grandmothers) who were experts at making them.

There are many as many varieties of suman in the Philippines as there are regions. 

This one is called Sumang Malagkit. It is a traditional Filipino malagkit  (glutinous) rice cake, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, served with sugar or some kind of bucarillo sauce made from panocha.

In the olden days, women simply cooked dishes and wrapped and cooked everything in banana leaves. Banana trees were found everywhere. Here is a basic sumang malagkit recipe that is commonly cooked in the Tagalog region.


1/4 k malagkit (glutinous) rice

1 c thick coconut milk

1 c thin coconut milk

pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
wilted banana leaves

1. Wash malagkit rice. Drain and set aside.
2. In a pot boil 1 c thin coconut milk. Add a pinch of salt and sugar. Add washed rice. Cover and cook over low heat.
3. When liquid has absorbed, add 1 c thick coconut milk. Cook some more until liquid evaporates. Remove from fire.
Allow to cool.
4. Scoop 1-2 Tbsp of half-cooked rice into wilted banana leaves. Roll . Fold ends. Arrange in a pot. Fill the pot with water. Boil. When done, arrange on a platter. Serve with sugar or matamis na bao (coco jam).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


LANGKA - -also known as 'nangka', 'kanun' and 'mit' is commonly called 'jackfruit' in English. It originated in southwestern India 6,000 years ago in the rainforests of present-day Kerala, coastal Karnataka and Maharashtra. Langka played a significant role in Indian agriculture for many centuries. It is called 'panasan' in Sanskrit. In the 1800's it was named after William Jack, a Scottish botanist who worked in India, thus, the name 'jackfruit'...

My husband and children love to eat ripe langka fresh--they can finish up a giant fruit if you give them the chance! Well, that's maximizing on it's Vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin and mineral content.

Langka is also super rich in energy (like durian, another exotic Philippine fruit) because it has a good supply of protein and carbohydrates, at the same time, contains no cholesterol or saturated fat. So this is a great health food for those who are trying to loose weight.

Langka is rich in potassium which is helpful in lowering blood pressure. It has high anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-ulcer properties. And to top all of that - -it has anti-aging properties too! - - it slows down degeneration of skin cells and makes the skin look young and supple.

In my cooking, I often feature ripe langka in desserts and snacks because it is so delicious and fragrant. And the green (unripe) langka can also be made into various gourmet vegetarian main dishes and salads.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012


This is not as sweet as a fruit jam, just sweet and chewy enough to enjoy that natural fruity flavor. I love it as 'palaman' (spread) to hot pan de sal. Salsa de Frutas means 'fruit topping sauce'. It is a simple fruit topping served on top of ice cream, cake, flan, pudding or as filling to rolls or as spread to any kind of bread...

Thursday, June 14, 2012


VEGGIE ‘PORK’ MARENGO – This is my meatless version of the classic French dish called Marengo, traditionally cooked with chicken, pork or beef.
Marengo was named in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte’s victory against the Austrians at Marengo, Italy in June 14, 1800...

Friday, May 25, 2012


I use tofu balls where meat balls are required in a recipe - - pasta, kofta, soups, sauteed veggies. Or, I simply make a bigger size ball, flatten it into a pattie, fry and serve as tofu burger sandwich.
Tofu balls is a basic vegetarian substitute for ground pork or ground beef meat balls...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012


If you live abroad or away from Lucban or Laguna, you can still taste this wonderful native pudding by learning to cook it yourself!...

Monday, May 14, 2012


For my family, normally I cook sitcharo as 'simpleng ginisa' (sauteed) but here is another interesting way to cook it - - with coconut milk. Ginataang Sitcharo is a fusion of Filipino and Chinese cooking. You can enjoy sitcharo with such fantastic creamy coconut flavor blending with its sweet and crunchy texture. I hope you like it...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Try my very simple mango salad recipe. Serve it with your favorite tofu or gluten dish. While summer is still here and it is still mango season, let's take advantage of this wonderful tropical fruit...

Friday, May 4, 2012


MANGO PARFAIT -- Parfait is an easy dessert. I prepare this for a simple, fast and 'perfect' breakfast or dessert. After all, 'parfait' is a French word that means 'perfect'...