Bacalhau (Dried Cod Fish) Con Olive Oil and Tomato

Bacalhau (Dried Cod Fish) Con Olive Oil and Tomato

Cavite (FilipinoKabite) is a province of the Philippines located on the southern shores of Manila Bay in the CALABARZON region inLuzon, just 30 kilometers south of Manila. Cavite is surrounded by Laguna to the east, Metro Manila to the northeast, and Batangas to the south. To the west lies the South China Sea.

Cavite got its name from a Tagalog word kawit (which means hook) owing to the hook-shaped land on the Old Spanish map. The land was formerly known as “Tangway” where Spanish authorities constructed a fort from which the city of Cavite rose. Archeological evidence in coastal areas show prehistorical settlements. According to local folklore, the earliest settlers of Cavite came from Sulu or Borneo. In the 17th century, encomiendas or Spanish Royal land grants were given in Cavite and Maragondon. Jesuit priests brought in settlers from Mollucas. These settlers, known as “Mardicas,” set Other settlements grew and by the turn of the century, Cavite towns were already trading with one another.Traditional industries began to thrive as Manila’s commerce grew. The main languages spoken are  TagalogChabacano and English. Chabacano, sometimes spelled as Chavacano, is a creole originally spoken by majority of the Caviteños that lived in  Cavite  City and  Ternate after the arrival of the Spaniards three centuries ago. Around 30000 Caviteños speak Chabacano.

Well, I am sorry I don’t mean to bore you.I don’t know but every time I post my recipe I cant help but to proceed telling history or stories. Now this recipe, the Bacalhau is very rich with history and colored with flavors from our ancestors. I spent some years living in Cavite City because my sister lives there. Naturally the best place for us Filipinos is to live with your relatives. Later on, I met my future husband ( my hubby now) through our mutual friend. So, Cavite is somehow a memorable place to me because I lived, worked and in the end found my partner. Part of my memory in this place were my friends and the kind of food that I enjoyed a lot… pancit, tacos, cripsy pata, halayang ube and a lot more… Oh my what a memory!

Now lets go back to Bacalhau.The Cavite Chavacano of preparing bacalao is a confluence of tastes formed by long arduous journeys across seas and continents. No one can claim to possess the original recipe, but because of adaptation (to available ingredients) and transformation (of taste and economy), change is inevitable. I read also that several restaurants in another town of the Philippines called Masbate are still serving Bacalhau the Portugal way. It is very interesting to me because years ago I discovered my surname is a name of a city in Portugal but thats a different story

The fish is cooked by gently moving the pan in a circular motion over a low fire, until the oil takes on a dull matte yellow color. The end result should have the consistency of a light mayonnaise. The fish is then set aside to cool. In the same pan, garlic, onion, tomato, bell pepper, chili peppers (siling labuyo) and bay leaf are sauteed in olive oil. Once the garlic turns brown, the pre-cooked garbanzos and olives are added. When the flavors have blended, the mixture is poured onto the fish and served with steaming white rice and freshly grated green mango in salted brine or better yet, burong manga (fermented green mango on rice washing and salt).Over the years, the dish has evolved with the use of repolyo (cabbage) as an extender. The extender was an economic necessity but it makes the bacalhau watery because the salt from the fish draws out the moisture from the vegetable. Other innovations included adding tomato sauce, or in its absence, colored with achuete (annatto seeds) to simulate the red color of the tomato.

My version of Bacalhau is cooked with olive oil, crushed tomato, roasted bell pepper, bay leaf, onion, garlic and ever dependable Tuna Chunks in Brine or preferably in Water. 


6 cans of Tuna Chunks/Flakes in Brine/Water, drained

1 cup yellow onion chopped

6 to 12 cloves garlic (and more is  the best) grated

3/4 cup olive oil + 1/4 cup olive oil

2  cans of 28 ounce crushed tomato

2 pcs bay leaf

1 12 ounces can or jar of roasted red pepper, chopped or 1 large roasted red bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp dried chili flakes

1 1/2 tsp salt 

1  tsp sugar

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Start by draining tuna and set aside..
Heat a sauce pan, put 3/4 cup olive oil.
Put the chopped garlic followed by chopped onion.
Saute the mixture until it smells so good and the onion caramelized
Then add crushed tomato, bay leaf and mix well.
Once it boils,turn the heat to simmering mode.
Simmer for abour 10  minutes then add Tuna, mix, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Then add 1/4 cup olive oil chopped roasted bell pepper, chili flakes, salt, sugar and pepper.
Simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
Here’s the precious Bacalhau, the very expensive dried cod fish in the Philippines and apparently cheap in Spain. But these days, you can actually substitute and use another type of dried fish as long as it can taste and look like Bacalhau once its cooked. For me since I wanna play safe and I wanted to avoid salt, I decided to use Tuna in can. Aside from the fact that fresh tuna is somewhat expensive and most of the time when youre working,you dont have time. So, Tuna in can is the best friendly option..easy to find and easy to cook.
What I love in this dish is that its simplicity will just bring you to appreciate eating it with rice, or bread or even salted crackers or plain crackers. If you plan to lose weight, its also a good substitute with the usual meal that you love, just dont forget to eat fruits and veggies. Come to think of it.. its tuna, olive oil and its really good.
During Spanish occupation in our country, Spain recruited its forces from Portugal. Basically these joint forces of Spain and Portugal created a mixture of cuisine influence to our country. No wonder, if we trace the roots of Bacalhau, then it will lead us to Portugal. Hmmmnnn… I could only praise this influence. Theres war, theres pain, theres confusion, theres hunger but in the end we come up to still appreciate and embrace what is good and thats history..the reality. Anyway, come  one, come all, lets eat, lets giggle and lets be merry..Have a great week  to all..
Pork With Prawn Dumplings

Pork With Prawn Dumplings

Last night I made some prawn dumplings again. Both my children loved it although serve them prawn with skin and head still intact, they will surely run away from the table. My two monsters find crabs and shrimps quite scary especially my daughter who cried a lot when she was little. We went out to dine in a Chinese restaurant ( David’s Tea house) somewhere in Silang Cavite. There was a corner for seafood creatures wherein the customers can pick their choice, weigh after the selection and ask the staff to cook for them. Well, I know my daughter is scared but I never thought that she is really that scared. My husband  took her hand and brought her in the seafood corner. My daughter really freaked out and cried aloud. We all laughed  afterwards and I warned them not to tease her again. So, here in Singapore I wanted to try Singapore Chili Crab but I cant because my three monsters wont dare, they don’t want to join me. Perhaps when my mother-in-law visit us, then I will ask her to join me and I know she wont say no because she loves seafood.
4 packs of dumpling wrapper,round and vacuum packed ( app. 14 pcs per pack)
1/2 kg minced or ground pork meat
1/2 cup water chestnut ( singkamas) grated
1/4 cup young spring onion leaves , finely chopped
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
Pinch of salt,sugar and white ground pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch
46 pcs shrimp slices or you can use single small prawn.
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
In a bowl,mix together the ff: minced/ground pork, water chestnut,spring onion,light soy sauce, sesame oil, pinch of sugar,salt and pepper and cornstarch.
Mix evenly and set aside in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Place 1 tsp of meat mixture in the centre of the dumpling skin then add 1 prawn/ a cut of prawn in the center of meat mixture.Make sure the prawn is covered with meat mixture. 
Wet finger tips with some water and wipe around the edge of dumpling skin. 
Just fold the dumpling by half. Use finger tips to lightly pinch the edge of the skin to make it stick. 
With a little help of water at the edge of the skin,  dumpling will be sealed tightly.
Heat wok or pan with oil over high fire.Reduce heat to medium fire. 
Place no more than 5 dumplings at a time in the wok or pan, and fry till golden brown. 
Drain fried dumplings on kitchen towel/ table napkin. 
Now, its ready. Serve with dumpling sauce.
Golden brown, crispy and crunchy yet soft and meaty in the middle. The aroma of sesame oil when used with dumplings is perfect. I read that there are about twenty types of dumplings in Chinese cuisine that are popular. Wow! what about the not so popular ones…I wonder how many types of dumplings in all. Hmmnnn… I don’t want to count, for now let me enjoy and savor the taste of my home made dumplings.
Camaron Rebosado:Filipino Tempura

Camaron Rebosado:Filipino Tempura

Here’s another lovely recipe.I have made my favorite dish back home.My husband and his family love Chinese Food and during family celebration we would go to our favorite Chinese restaurant nearby.My husband introduced me to Camaron Rebosado or Overflowed Shrimp in English Term. Camaron Rebosado is deep-fried battered shrimp (Shelled prawns battered and deep fried with tails left on) served with sweet and sour sauce. It is known as the Philippine version of tempura except tempura has a light batter and served with soy sauce.
Portuguese introduce tempura to Japan and today it is known as Japanese dish.It was cooked for the first time in a coastal restaurant of Tokyo which later got the popularity.How did it get here in our country?We can conclude that its brought to us by the Spaniards handed down to them by the Poruguese. Its the Filipino version of the Japanese tempura but how we cook Camaron Rebosado is more similar to the Chinese way of cooking this crispy batter coated shrimps.Well its funny and how its mixed up is such a trademark of Filipino Food…a fusion. Here’s the recipe:
30 pcs medium prawn:cleaned,deveined,cut with 3 incision inside
2 tsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp rice wine
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground pepper
For the batter:
1 egg
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
For the dipping sauce:
I suggest use the same tried and tested sweet and sour sauce that we use for Sweet Sour Pork.I wont settle for less,its the best.
Clean, devein and cut incision with the prawn.
Wash them, drain and sprinkle 2 tsp sugar.
Mix well and let stand for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, wash and drain, put them in a bowl.
Add the ff ingredients:salt,rice wine,lemon juice and ground pepper.
Marinate for at least 30 minutes.Set aside in the fridge.
After 30 minutes,start making your batter.
In a bowl,whisk cold water and egg together.
Add in flour,baking powder and salt.
Whisk them until well combined.
Now you can start frying.Make sure the oil is hot.
Fry them by batches, do not over crowd the prawns.
Note: this is very important, add an ice cube to the batter while frying, at least one or two cubes at a time.We do this in order to have a soft,crunchy texture of fried Camaron Rebosado.Serve and enjoy while its hot.
Hmmnn…now look at that..come and eat while its hot. That’s how we enjoy Camaron Rebosado               

My tried and tested dipping sauce for Shanghai rolls, Sweet and Sour dishes and Camaron Rebosado too       

Oh see the giant hand, its my son’s, we all love this dish at home.Its an appetizer or a starter but my children eat this with you know what…. RICE! 

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Welcome to Kocina De Pinay
Come and join me in my blog as I discover the world of Filipino Fusion Cuisine.These are all tried and tested recipes in my kitchen, a fusion of cuisines that intrigues me and my palate.Everything I write, post and share is a product of my exploration, my research, and done in my kitchen. Please Come in. Enjoy and Have a nice stay. You are all welcome.