Pork Binagoongan (fermented shrimp paste stewed pork)

Pork Binagoongan with coconut milk

This is Jade’s 2nd favorite Filipino dish.   I cooked this batch because she requested me to make it for dinner.

Just like the salty and fermented Korean Kimchi, the Filipino shrimp paste is a perfect match with pork.

This recipe is very flavorful and is best eaten with steamed white rice.

Here’s how I made it:

Boil 1 1/2-2 lbs. of pork shoulder (cut into small serving pieces) in a deep pot with 4 cups  water, 4 pcs. of bay leaf, 1 medium onion, sliced and ground black pepper.  Make sure to skim the broth to keep it clear and clean.  Once boiling, cover the pot and simmer the pork for 25 minutes until it is tender.

Uncover the pot and continue to boil until the stock evaporates.  We don’t want a lot of stock on this recipe.  When we see just enough broth, add in your favorite Filipino sautéed shrimp paste about 1/2 cup or more (depending on your taste), some sugar and 3 diced tomatoes.  Continue to simmer.  Add some green chili and a few tablespoons of coconut cream.  When chili is cooked, it is done!

Another variety for this is adding sliced eggplants into the recipe.  It’s like Thai curry without the curry 😊 but instead, it’s Bagoong (shrimp paste).

I hope you try this recipe.  By the way, you can buy Filipino fermented shrimp pastes at a lot of Asian stores.  You need to use the cooked/sautéed shrimp paste, not the raw (bright pink) kind.

Ginisang Bagoong Alamang (sautéed fermented shrimp paste)

Milk fish (Bangus) Pancake

I originally learned this recipe from a Korean recipe called Chamchijeon (Canned Tuna pancake) but instead of using canned tuna, I used leftover fried milkfish from the previous nights’ dinner.

Pan frying milk fish (bangus) pancake batter
Fried milk fish pancake
Fried milk fish pancake served with rice, seasoned tofu, roasted seaweed and my homemade Kimchi and Kkakdugi (diced radish Kimchi)

The make this, here are the ingredients:

1 cup flaked and deboned fried milk fish

1 medium onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 eggs

2 tbsp. regular flour

Sesame oil

Salt & pepper

Mix together all the ingredients.  Add more flour depending on the consistency you get.  Mix the batter well.  Heat a frying pan with vegetable oil.  Pan fry 1 heaping tablespoon of the pancake batter, 2 minutes per side.  Serve warm with rice.

I cook this mostly for my family’s lunchbox.  Easy recipe specially if you use canned tuna.

Enjoy cooking as much as I do!

Pineapple Glazed Ham

For Christmas Eve 2016, I attempted to make my first ever Filipino Style pineapple glazed ham.  I found a good small portion ham in Costco, probably about 2 pounds and I bought it for only $10.  I scoured the internet for classic Filipino style recipes and found Skiptomalou.net

I liked her recipe so I followed her step by step instructions on how to marinade my pre-cooked ham in pineapple juice, sprite, beer and some bay leaf.  After simmering for 30 minutes, I let the ham soak into the marinade overnight.  The next day, I removed the ham and cooked the leftover marinade to reduce for glazing.  I added sugar, some salt and a tablespoon of butter. When it was all reduced to about one cup, I prepped my ham by rubbing it with brown sugar then I brushed some of the glaze, I arranged some pineapple slices on the the ham using cloves to put them in place and baked the ham for 30 minutes in a 350 deg. Fahrenheit pre-heated oven. 

It turned out so good that my family and some after Christmas visitors really liked it.  Perfect with the Filipino quezo de bola and some hot pandesal.  

For New Year’s Eve, I made another one but this time I did not put pineapple slices on the ham. After cooking, I sliced the ham thinly and put it in the refrigerator.  My family enjoyed preparing their ham sandwiches using my homemade pineapple glazed ham slices.

This is not just a Holiday ham.  This recipe can be enjoyed anytime of the year, for any occasion even for daily school lunch box for the children.

Overnight Oats with RED BEANS (adzuki) 

I am betting that there are a lot of overnight oat recipes online.  I actually learned to make this by watching YouTube videos of people sharing different ways to make overnight oats.

I was inspired to make this in order to serve a quick morning meal to our children while my husband and I enjoy drinking our coffee.

Both my children love oats (specially my 4-year-old), that is why I worked with an ingredient that they love to eat for breakfast.  Since we do not really eat cereal at home because it’s too sweet, this jarred overnight oats worked really well for us.

As you can see, the simple ingredients I used are Old Fashioned Oats, unsweetened almond milk, greek yogurt (flavored or plain), chia seeds and agave nectar.

Using a small mason jar, I just put around 3-4 tbsp. of oats, add in a little bit of almond milk around 1/4 cup, 1 tbsp. of chia seeds, and mix some greek yogurt of our choice.  I cover the mason jar and shake it  to saturate the oats with the goodness of the greek yogurt and milk, then place it in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, each one of us mix in whatever extra ingredient we want such as honey or agave nectar or nothing sweet at all, some berries, nuts and fresh fruits but this blog is all about our new discovery.  I bought sweetened red beans (japanese adzuki beans) from an Asian store and because it’s already sweet, we just mix in a tablespoon or two with our overnight oats and it’s heaven in a mason jar!!!  You should try it!

If you love sweetened red beans like my daughter does, this is really a treat.



Tradition: Kimchi-Giving

It’s takes an entire day – yes, a whole day to make a batch of Kimchi that will last my family 2-3 months depending on our appetite and craving for this crunchy, perfectly spicy, salty & sweet homemade kimchi.  

Since I started making my own kimchi back in 2007 when I first met Maangchi, my family has learned to eat a lot of complementing Korean dishes with my home-made kimch.  

I am proud that I make a good balance of flavor with the best ingredients I can find.  Every year I make more kimchi not just for our consumption but also to give and share to special friends who are always in line waiting for my freshly made kimchi.  

It is becoming a tradition.  Making kimchi and giving it away 😊.  Sharing food is one of my favorite ways to show love, thanks and appreciation to a friend or a family member.

Can’t you smell my kimchi?

Individually jarred and ready to give away Kimchi


Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon (Ampalaya) Soup – Canh Kho Qua Nhoi Thit

I learned this recipe from a Vietnamese friend, Bok’s colleague Hieu (a.k.a. Kobe).  His wife cooks this Vietnamese soup for him and when I tasted it, it was goodbye to my traditional style of cooking bitter melon with eggs.  Thank you Kobe!! Thank you Mrs. Kobe 🙂

This soup is very light but “bitter” if you are not used to eating this kind of vegetable.  Bitter melon belongs to the gourd family.  It is usually used in Asian cooking or used for it’s medicinal properties.  When I was young, my siblings and I were served bitter melon sauteed in eggs, tomatoes and a little bit of pork.  It was a long… very long learning experience to get used to the taste.  I thought I’d never learn to eat it but now that I live in the U.S., I always recollect upon the old recipes we used to cook when we were young eating simple dishes in The Philippines.

To make this soup is economical, healthful and easy.


  • 5 Medium Bitter Gourd/Melon
  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey (Pork or Chicken can be used as well)
  • 1/2 cup chopped wood ear mushrooms (use fresh or dehydrated)
  • 1 cup glass noodle or vermicelli (soaked in warm water and chopped)
  • 2-3 large shallots (sliced, fried and seasoned with salt)
  • 4 stalks of green onions chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Salt, pepper, mushroom seasoning or fish sauce (optional)

In a large bowl, combine ground meat, chopped green onions, chopped wood ear mushrooms, glass noodle, and egg. Season to taste (salt and pepper) and mix well.

Cut the bitter gourd into 2-3 inch cylinder.  Removed the fibrous pulp using a teaspoon.  You may soak the prepared bitter melon in salt water for 20 minutes before stuffing to removed a little bit of the bitter taste.  Make sure to rinse it before stuffing.

Stuff the meat mixture into the gourd cylinders making sure it is not stuffed loosely or too tightly.

Fill a large stock pot with 3 liters of water.  Wait until rolling boil.  Slowly drop the stuffed bitter melon into the boiling water. Return to boil and removed the excess scum or foam with a skimmer.  Boil for 20-25 minutes.  Season with fish sauce… I don’t use fish sauce but I use mushroom seasoning or just plain salt.  When it’s done transfer to a bowl and garnish with the fried shallots and chopped cilantro leaves.  These will truly bring out a great flavor for your soup.

I hope you enjoy making this recipe.  I cook a large batch of this and Bok brings it to work for his lunch.  It’s very healthy and light you will enjoy this anytime of the year.

Hạnh phúc nấu ăn!  (Happy Cooking!)

Cua Pao (Gua Bao) – Lovingly learned from my Mom-In-Law

I first tasted Cua Pao when my mother-in-law visited us in California and she made her own version.  From then on, because of the savory, sour, sweet and nutty taste of Cua Pao, it’s become one of the family favorites.  Cua Pao also known as folded steamed sweet buns with filling is an authentic “Chinese” recipe.  Similar to when you order Peking Duck, stewed pork belly cut in slices are placed in a steaming hot sweet bun. It’s very easy to make and it’s a sure hit to anyone who loves to explore authentic Chinese meal.  Definitely NOT a vegan recipe but it’s a classic hand-me-down family recipe 🙂

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  • Pork Belly
  • Soy Sauce
  • Mirin
  • Cooking Sake or Rice Wine
  • Ginger
  • Star Anise
  • Cilantro
  • Sour Mustard
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped peanuts with white sugar or crushed peanut cake
  • Folded white steamed buns


First, prepare the stewed pork belly.  In a large pot, boil pork belly with crushed ginger for 30-45 minutes making sure to remove the scum for a clear/clean broth.  The broth should reduce then mix in soy sauce, mirin, and sake.  Reduce for another 15 minutes.

In a wok, heat oil and brown the chopped garlic.  Mix in thinly sliced sour mustard and stir fry for 5-7 minutes making sure you squeeze out the water from the mustard before cooking.

Prepare cilantro leaves.

Steam store-bought buns for 10-15 minutes.

Assemble your cua pao… and enjoy!

Gotgamssam Salgussam 곶감쌈 (Walnuts wrapped in Persimmon/Apricot)

One of my favorite snack recipe that I learned from Maangchi is Gotgamssam Salgussam.  I enjoy how easy it is to make these and I also love how healthy and filling it can be.

It’s been a couple of years since I last made some of these but last week, I was able to buy good quality dried persimmons at our local Korean Market (H-Mart).  I also purchased organic dried Turkish Apricots from a Persian market here in Laguna Niguel.

It is always best to use whole walnuts but I only found halves and pieces at Trader Joes.

When you try it, have it with your favorite Tea.  Enjoy!


Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake)


Another way to make my children eat vegetable is by making vegetable pancakes where I chop and mix all kinds of veggies into a pancake a mix and serve it with sauce to make it more appetizing.  In my older posts, I have shared my recipe of the Korean Pancake, my children’s ultimate favorite vegetable dish.

This time, I made Okonomiyaki, the Japanese way of cooking savory vegetable pancake.  I used yam flour, wheat flour and eggs for the batter.  The main ingredient is thinly shredded cabbage leaves, then I added fried tempura batter for texture and some chopped scallions.  After grilling the pancake on a non-stick pan, I topped the pancake with aonori (seaweed flakes), bacon (optional), katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and some Japanese mayonnaise.

It was another hit!  My kids love it ♥