Being considered a holiday dish in the Philippines, you will often see morcon served during the festive season of Christmas and New Year. It is a meat-roll stuffed with egg, cheese, pickles, carrots, hotdogs or sausages.

Filipinos believe that serving round-shaped foods during the New Year will bring luck and prosperity. So that explains why morcon is ever-present on most tables when families welcome the arrival of yet another New Year because it is round-shaped when sliced.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo beef (thinly sliced)
  • 4 slices pork fat
  • 2 slices ham
  • 2 pcs sausage (Bilbao or Vienna)
  • 2 eggs (hard-boiled)
  • 10 pepper-corns
  • 12 olives
  • ½ bay leaf (Laurel)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 whole onion
  • 2 segments garlic
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt (to taste)

Cooking Instructions:

  • Cut the beef thin about 12 by 16 inches then pound to flatten it. Pound the garlic and peppercorns then add the vinegar. Soak the beef in the vinegar mixture for a few minutes.
  • Cut hard-boiled eggs into halves. Cut the ham, sausage and pork fat into long strips and chop the olives.
  • Spread the beef on a wooden board. Arrange the ham, sausage and pork fat in alternate rows. Arrange the eggs and add the olives. Roll and tie with string.
  • Fry in deep hot fat until brown.
  • In the vinegar mixture used to soak the beef, add water, bay leaf, onion, tomatoes and salt. Add the deep-fried beef roll. Simmer until tender.
  • Add the tomato sauce and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Remove the roll and cut into slices.
  • Arrange on a platter and pour the sauce over the meat. Garnish and serve.

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Binagol, also called binangol, is a sweet delicacy originating from Leyte, an island in the Visayas. There are several versions of this recipe, some uses chocolate flavors and some with nuts and butter. This recipe is the simpler version, though.

The Taro root mixture is contained in polished coconut shells, thus the name binagol from the root word “bagol”, a visayan term which literally means coconut shells. Because of the abundance of coconut trees in this tropical country, you will surely find many kinds of delicacies using coconut shells as packaging. Cooking this recipe may be a tedious process but the finished product is worth the effort.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rich coconut milk (from 2 medium coconuts)
  • ¾ cups raw gabi or Taro root (shredded)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ can full cream condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • wilted banana leaves
  • 4 medium coconut shells (cleaned)
  • string for tying

Cooking Instructions:

  • Combine shredded Taro root, coconut milk and brown sugar. Place in a thick-bottomed pan and cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes while stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and go on cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the condensed milk and cook for another 20 minutes over low heat, stirring continuously.
  • Fill the coconut shells with the cooked mixture. In the center, make a well and drop 1 raw egg yolk for each. Cover top with the cooked Taro mixture and spread smoothly. Fill very close to the coconut shell’s brim.
  • Use two layers of the wilted banana leaves to cover the filled coconut shells and use the strings to tie securely.
  • Steam for half an hour.

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Being the staple food of Filipinos, rice is cooked several ways and Arroz Valenciana is just one of the most favored because you don’t have to think of any other dishes to pair it with. It is rice and mixed meats mold into one dish. It is a special rice recipe commonly served during fiestas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 young chicken (cut into regular pieces)
  • ½ kilo pork (cut into regular pieces)
  • 2 pcs Chorizo de Bilbao (sliced)
  • 6 potatoes (quartered)
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 segments garlic (macerated)
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • 1 cup sweet peas
  • ¼ cup olives
  • 3 cups rice (boiled in 2 cups coconut milk and 3 cups water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Slices of hard-boiled eggs
  • Slices of sweet red pepper
  • Salt, pepper and paprika (to taste)

Cooking Instructions:

  • Season chicken and pork meat with salt and pepper. Fry until color is slightly brown.
  • In a deep pan, sauté the garlic, onions and tomatoes. Then add the potatoes, chicken, pork, and chorizos. Mix well then cover the pan and allow to cook until the potatoes and meat are tender. Add water if needed.
  • Add the sweet pepper, sweet peas and olives. Take out some of the stock from the pan and set aside when the vegetables and meat are done.
  • Add the cooked rice to the meat mixture and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until well blended. Add the remaining stock and seasoning to taste. Cook on low heat until the mixture becomes quite dry.
  • Garnish top with sliced hard-boiled eggs, stuffed olives and red pepper slices.

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Guinataang Puso ng Saging or banana blossom cooked in coconut milk is a popular dish known all over the Philippines. Being one of the most common tropical plants, banana is found anywhere you go in the country. And since the bud of the banana blossom will no longer be used after the banana fruits are harvested, Filipinos have looked for several ways to put the banana blossom into good use and several delicious recipes can be prepared out of it.

Of the wide range of banana blossom recipes that one can choose from, I find it best cooked with coconut milk. The fact is: I love anything that is cooked with coconut milk. It is one of the ingredients that never fail to fascinate my taste buds. You can try this recipe for yourself and you will know what I mean.

Ingredients:

  • 2 banana blossoms
  • 1 cup pure coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • ¼ cup sliced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup sliced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Cooking Instructions:

  • Remove the tough covering of the blossoms. Slice thin crosswise. Add 2 tablespoons coarse salt and squeeze off bitter juice. Rinse with water and squeeze dry. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a skillet and sauté garlic until light brown. Add the onion and tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes. Add vinegar and banana blossom and bring to a boil. Don’t stir. Simmer for another 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir. Continue cooking until banana blossom is tender. Add pure coconut milk and turn off the heat.
  • Serve and enjoy with plain white rice.

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Often topped with a pie crust, chicken pastel is a truly satisfying dish that is served during fiestas in the Philippines. It is a tasty combination of flavors that would please even someone with a very picky palate. I tried cooking it myself during my son’s birthday last April and a friend approached me asking if I could share the recipe with her. Of course, I gave her a copy and she said that it became an instant favorite among her kids.

If you are looking for a special chicken recipe, this is something that you should try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 young chicken
  • 1 Spanish sausage (Chorizo de Bilbao)
  • 1 can Vienna sausage
  • 1 can drained peas
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 5 cups cold water
  • pie crust
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Cooking Instructions:

  • Dress and debone the young chicken. Slice into small pieces and place in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon into the chicken and add the soy sauce. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  • Place the chicken with marinade in a saucepan with water, salt and pepper. Simmer until the chicken is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Slice the hard-boiled eggs, Vienna sausage and chorizo. Fry cooked chicken and chorizo in butter until color turns brown. Remove from the pan and place in a Pyrex serving dish with the remaining sauce.
  • Arrange the sliced Vienna sausage, peas and eggs on top of the chicken and let cool.
  • Cover top with pie crust. Press edges. Bake in moderate oven until brown. Serve hot.

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