1. This serves as a sequel to an earlier triptych of the same title I published back in September 2021.
The pandemic has been raging on for two years, and so is Manila’s lockdown. The Philippine capital remains under Alert Level 2 under a new quarantine classification system implemented in 2021. I’m pretty pessimistic that the capital’s lockdown status would ever be lifted at this point in time. However, it appears that with plunging caseloads – a downgrade to the more relaxed Alert Level 1 is in the works.
But still, we have to do what we have to cope. Just like before, the kitchen became a sort of sanctuary from the COVID-19 fearmongering and hysteria mainstream media outlets are peddling. These opportunities to cook hit two birds with one stone: They improved my culinary skills and provided me an activity to cope with cabin fever stemming from stay-home orders.
Without further ado, here are four dishes I whipped up while still locked in the house.
This dish was supposedly my take on the bistek, a Filipino beef stew that includes onions and potatoes. I tried using fried tofu as an extender, but it seems that it did not absorb the soy sauce responsible for the dish’s dark color. I also used rather thick cuts of pork steak, contrary to the traditional beef cuts used for this. It was warmly received, nevertheless.
A less-than-a-minute how-to video inspired me to make this luncheon meat salpicao. I already had the necessary ingredients – luncheon meat, garlic, and olive oil – to whip up this dish. Instead of seasoning liquid, I used a mix of oyster and soy sauce which we had abundant stocks of. Not a bad take for something that makes use of a stand-in for meat!
I quickly whipped up this vegetable stir-fry using the frozen stir-fry vegetable mix from Tesco, which the supermarket near me stocks. Leftover fried tofu was also added in, just to maximize the dish. A bit of shrimp – actual, not the powder – also added flavor to the entire stir-fry alongside oyster sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce. A small amount of sugar rounded out the mix, and it was ready for Sunday lunch.
This take on the traditional Filipino vegetable dish gising-gising required me to sharpen my knife. Cutting the sigarilyas (winged bean) and sitaw (long bean) was key as the vegetables cooked faster that way. A sharp knife also allowed me to cut red chili into small slivers for that extra kick. I added in some instant coconut milk, salt, and pepper and let it boil – and it was good to go.
How about you? What have you been whipping up in the kitchen amidst this seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic?
Until the next post, bon appetit!