Sunday, May 27, 2012



Here's my first ever post on a truly, authentic and originally pinoy (filipino) food-- Binagoongan, (Pork in Shrimp Paste).

It was noteworthy to mention that this is the first time I ever tried making this dish. My husband begged me to write it down immediately or else I might forget how I made it and I won't be able to duplicate the dish. It's gonna be an "adobo story" all over again and my husband wouldn't want that, oh no, no no! I'm still trying to find what I put in the adobo that he fell in love with, still trying to find that long lost love. Pots by pots of adobo and he still ends up brokenhearted... she is not the one. Hence, the reason why I'm blogging. I told myself never again will I cook a dish and forget about it. I owe it to the people who falls in love with it to revisit and rekindle that love over and over. So they may live happily ever after. The...what?! Ok, enough with the drama, and the adobo, let's talk about binagoongang baboy or just simply binagoongan.

I made this dish over the weekend. I searched the bloggesphere and watched several videos and none of them seems to be the "right" recipe. If you're a cook, you KNOW what I'm talking about. Once the food touches your taste buds, you know it's anatomy, you can dissect it in your mind, and can vividly imagine how it was put together... even if you haven't made one yet. I've been wrong before but I'm usually right! So, what a girl to do? Well, experiment of course! Just don the apron and get cookin'! And boy! was it a success. My husband found his new love!

As for me, I have learned my lesson, I'm penning this baby down before I forget. Let me know if this rocks your world the way it did my husband ;-)

Difficulty: Medium

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1hr + 40 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs, 30 min
Note: You can cut total time in about 1 hour if you prep during the initial cooking time and inactive time.


1 kg pork belly, cut into 1 inch strip.
1 head garlic, minced
2 large, red onions, diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
2 eggplants, cut lengthwise then sliced into 1 cm thick
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly sliced, set aside a few slices for garnish
1/2 cup, Barrio Fiesta Sweet shrimp paste
1 cup pork broth*
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
2 pork cubes, crushed, (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup oil + more for deep frying the pork (approximately 4 cups)


1. Boil the pork in water with salt, pepper and 1 pork cube. After boiling for 5 minutes, turn down the heat and continue cooking for 30 to 40 minutes until the pork is tender and the fat is really soft and has a buttery texture. Fish out the pork and set aside 1 cup of pork broth* for later. Slice the pork into 1 inch cube and pop in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
 Note: You may want to prep while you wait for the pork to cook.

2.  Heat the oil for deep frying.

3. Fry pork per batch until golden brown Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or the pork will stick and the temperature of the oil will drop. Drain and Set aside.
*Caution: Watch out for the oil splatters!

4. In another pan, saute garlic, onion and tomatoes. Then add the shrimp paste, the remaining pork cube, sugar, vinegar and pork broth. Let it simmer for 5 minutes then add the eggplant and jalapeno. Finally, add the pork and toss until well combined. Taste for seasoning. Simmer for another 3-5 minutes. To serve, garnish with jalapeno slices on top. A perfect compliment to rice.

Makes: 6-8 servings

Home-cooked Meals
26 May 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Low Sodium Vegetable Stock

fresh vegetables, herbs and spices

What I love about Bahrain is the availability of the vast array of fresh produce, herbs and spices. And any good supermarket will have aisles for cured meat, pickled veggies and of course fromagerie! Oh those smelly cheeses. My trip to the supermarket is not complete without spending time in that section and sampling those pungent treats.

But I guess you can't have it all as there are some kitchen basics that I can't find in any of the stores in island. Among those are buttermilk, half and half and stocks. Yes, chicken, beef, vegetable stocks can't be found in any supermarket. If you have seen these in the country, please feel free to correct me and point me to the right direction.

So, what's a girl to do? Use broth cubes instead? Haram! (as they say in arabic), there is no need to resort to such sacrilegious act. There is another way, in fact a better way-- you can make it yourself!

And I find home-made stock better than store bought because (1) it's all natural, no preservatives, (2) I have full control of what's in it, and (3) I can make a big batch and store it in the freezer and it will keep for months! How good is that?

For my version of the basic vegetable stock, I opted not to use oil and I only seasoned it with a bit of salt and pepper. With this low sodium base, I can be more flexible with the dish I will be making with it.

So here's my Low Sodium Vegetable Stock:

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hr, 15 mins


4 liters water
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
2 large white onions, roughly chopped
1 cup roughly chopped parsley, stalks included
1 head garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 dried bay leaves
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


1. Put all the ingredients in a large pot or dutch oven. Pour over the water to cover the ingredients. Bring up to a boil over medium heat, (but don't let it boil or else you'll get a cloudy stock!). About 10 minutes.

2. Reduce to low heat and cook for another 50 minutes.

3. Let cool and strain the vegetables and herbs. Transfer stock to individual containers about 4 cups each or as desired. Keep in the freezer until later use.

Side Note: Because I hate to throw the strained vegetables, I put it in a ziploc bag and keep it in the freezer. I use the same veggies to make stock by adding 1.5 to 2 liters water and salt and pepper to taste. Now that's a great way to recycle.

Makes approx. 3.5 liters of stock.

01 May 2012
Home-cooked Meals