(Warning, long post to follow. But there are yummy recipes involved, so be patient!)

(No, I didn't take one, though it's on the list of family/couple goals.)

How about a trip to the Philippines today? Faramir served a two-year mission in the Philippines and one of the unexpected joys of hanging with him was discovering Filipino food.

Filipino food is actually not the cascade of flavors that other southeast Asia country's cuisine can be. My brother served in Thailand and he came back with an appetite for all things hot and spicy. Another brother served in Japan and came back with the same thing. Another brother in Hong Kong. . .and. . .well. . . you get the idea. I was excited that Faramir served in a Asian country so that I could discover something new, and I did, but very different from the other countries. It's a bit amazing to me that each country ends up having their own unique flavor. (Can anyone say Scorpion on a stick?) Anyway, Filipino food is very different.

We've met several natives over the last few years and I always enjoyed dinner with them. There is always food to feed a small army. Waaay more than one family could ever eat. Faramir informs me that it can become a little competitive. We had two natives in our ward in Washington and they had a little unplanned/un-talked-about battle. One fed us dinner and I (unknowingly) raved about it in the presence of the other. Two to three weeks later we were invited to her house for dinner and there was an even bigger spread. I still couldn't tell you who was the better cook, but it was fun anyway.

My two favorite Filipino dishes are Lumpia and Chicken Adobo. Lumpia is the Filipino version of an eggroll. Chicken Adobo is. . .well. . .a chicken dish served over rice (oh wait, it's all served over rice, but maybe you didn't know that). I tried my hand at making them both last night, and the dishes actually got rave reviews. I took dinner over to my brother's house, because by the time I got done, I did have enough food to feed both families and I already have a fridge full of leftovers. Yummy. Since I'm still on a high from doing such a good job, I thought I'd share the recipes with you.

Chicken Adobo (not to be confused with the Mexican version of Adobo. Verrry different.)
1 whole chicken, cut up—or some 3 to 4 lb combination of white and dark meat. I actually used 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts and 2 leg pieces.
1 cup water
½ cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar. Most people recommend the wine vinegars. Frankly, knowing what I know of where my husband spent most of his time, they probably just used white vinegar. They were too poor for the expensive stuff.)
½ cup soy sauce (A note here about soy sauce. The Philippines has their own version of soy sauce, just like every other Asian country. Look for Silver Swan soy sauce at an oriental foods market. It has less sodium than most soy sauces. It's very nice, actually.)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp pepper
4-8 cloves garlic-smashed or minced. (I used 4)

Generally the natives would just cook this all up in a pot, but I used a slow cooker yesterday with fabulous results. Put the chicken in the pot. Mix the everything else together and pour over the top and let it simmer for 6-8 hours on low. Pull the chicken out and serve over white rice with soy sauce. You can pull some of the drippings out for sauce if you want. I know of some people who have thickened it with cornstarch to be like a gravy although that's not the Filipino way. I had the bizarre experience of having my garlic turn green. I think it was some chemical reaction with the vinegar, but it was weird so I didn't serve it with the chicken.

Easy. Yup. We love Easy.

Of course Lumpia is not nearly as easy as Adobo is.

Egg roll wrappers. (You can generally find egg roll wrappers in the refrigerated section of the produce department. You need about 30 wrappers so plan accordingly.)
1 lb ground beef (you could also do a ½ ground beef, ½ ground pork combo. Faramir never had it with anything other than ground beef—although his was usually from a water buffalo—no domesticated cattle in the Philippines.)
1 head cabbage—shredded
2 carrots—shredded
1 med yellow onion--finely chopped
1 bunch green onions—finely chopped
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

water in a bowl

oil for frying

Prep all your veggies. Put the onions and carrots in one bowl and the cabbage in another. Mix together the water, soy sauce, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

In a 4-6 quart stock pot, brown the meat over medium heat. Drain the oil.
Add the onions and carrots and stir-fry for 10 minutes.
Add the cabbage and stir-fry for 5 more minutes.
Add the water mixture and stir-fry for 2-3 more minutes.
Allow to cool and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Open egg roll wrappers, take one and place it on a plate so it looks like a square. Put 1 Tablespoon of mixture on the wrapper.

Oi! This is where I wish I had a video camera, because this part is far easier to watch than to explain. The water in the bowl is to seal the egg roll wrappers. Some people use egg. Water works just fine. I line the edge of the wrapper with water. Then fold the top over the filling. Fold in each side and then roll. I put water any place on the wrapper that is going to come in contact with other parts of wrapper. The object is to seal it so that the filling doesn't come out. So after I fold the sides in, I line everything with water and roll. In the Philippines they make them long and skinny. When I made them they were more short and fat, but the taste was the same.

If you get stuck, call me and I'll come over and help.

If I can.

Put 1/2-1 inch of oil in the bottom of a pan and heat on medium heat. Fry Lumpia until golden brown.
Hope you enjoy these dishes!
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8 Responses
  1. Wow, I've been stalking your blog but never knew about the Filipino connection. I was born and raised there. My family are all in the States now, but my Mom still cooks Filipino food. Your post is making me hungry for Filipino food so guess where I'm eating dinner tonight? :-) If it's not too invasive to ask, where in the Philippines did your husband serve? The reason I ask is the adobo recipe varies by island/region in the Philippines so I'm curious where this one is from. We add sugar to our adobo. I'm from one of the smaller islands. But thanks for featuring these recipes; I'm pretty proud of our own unique not so Asian cuisine :-) so I was delighted to see them on your blog :-)

  2. Thank you for taking the time to share the recipes! I love that you tried the crockpot - so easy, I'll just have to try it. I LOVE trying new foods! This is great.

  3. Eowyn Says:

    Marivic, Bacolod, mostly on a little tiny island which I can't remember the name of now.

    That's very cool that you were raised there. I saw some recipes that had sugar in them, but he never remembers having it in. I also saw some that added ginger, but unfortunately Filipino ginger tea taught faramir to hate ginger, so I don't add ginger to anything. Which is very sad as I really happen to like the flavor of ginger.

  4. Melanie J Says:

    I'm feeling the love for the chicken adobo. It looks easy and healthy-ish which moves it right to the top of my list. Thanks for sharing!

  5. charrette Says:

    I'm embarrassed to say I've never even tried Filipino food. You're opening up a whole new owrld for me here. I agree, the chicken adobo sounds delish, and I think I'll have a go at it. (And I actually love the idea of inviting you over to help make it.)

  6. EEEEMommy Says:

    I had a Filipino college friend and went home with him one weekend to attend a cousin's baby shower. All Filipio, so much fun! They were a delightful family and took me in immediately, and I was really just a friend. LOL
    I'm a bit intimidated by the second recipe, but I'll definitely have to try the first. And I laughed when you said call me and I'll come over. Indiana's just a short jaunt, right? Anytime you're passing through...;)

  7. Abra Says:

    I LOVE chicken adobo.

  8. This post is making me hungry!