TBC: I <3 Chicken – Creamy Pesto Chicken

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/Baon/
Filipino noun
1. Provisions
2. Packed lunch or snack
I just love chicken (breast).  Mainly because it’s lean, it’s versatile and it’s cheaper than pork and beef.  That’s why I am making the I ❀ Chicken Recipe series and this is part une.
Ingredients:
Meat
1/2 kg boneless and skinless Chicken breast (cut into chunks)
Sauce
1 pack McCormick Pesto Sauce Mix
2 to 3 tbsp of chopped cashew nuts (cut into chunks)
Other
2 cups water
1 tsp of iodized salt
1 tbsp Canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose cream
Directions:
  1. In a rondeau/brasier, heat two cups of water until it boils.  Add the chicken and 1 tsp of salt.  Turn the fire to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the pesto sauce based on the instruction at the back of the pack.
  2. Set aside chicken and save 1/4 cup of the water (chicken stock) used for boiling.
  3. Heat canola oil then saute the cashew nuts until light brown.  Add the chicken, stock and pesto sauce and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add all purpose cream and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  5. Serve. Perfect with whole wheat bread with a side of salad greens.
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TBC: Cheesy Chicken Wrap

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/Baon/
Filipino noun
1. Provisions
2. Packed lunch or snack
This is an easy and quick Tex-Mex inspired recipe, for people on the go and who has limited time to prepare their own food.
Ingredients:
Meat
1/2 kg boneless and skinless Chicken breast (cut into strips)
Canola oil
Marinade
1 pack McCormick BBQ marinade
Wrap
Medium size Wheat Tortilla
Low fat/Non fat Cheese
Romaine Lettuce (cut into bite size pieces)
Tomato (cut into chunks)
Directions:
  1. Marinade the chicken for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat grill pan, add oil, then cook the chicken until it turns white and grill marks are visible.
  3. Place the tortilla on a plate and add the pieces of lettuce and tomato.
  4. Add grilled chicken on the tortilla, then add cheese.
  5. Wrap and Roll! You may toast in the oven until tortilla browns and cheese melts.
  6. Serve with a side of Tostitos and Salsa.
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TBC: Crispydobo

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/Baon/
Filipino noun
1. Provisions
2. Packed lunch or snack
Adobo is the unofficial national dish of the Philippines.  The process is simple:
  1. Marinade the meat in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and onion.
  2. Saute the meat in oil until browned.
  3. Simmer the meat in the marinade until tender.  Add pepper corn and dried laurel leaves a few minutes before turning off the heat.
Due to its simplicity, it has been subjected to “experimentation” and variations.  Some add potatoes, some add pineapple chunks, some add sugar, some add honey, some use salt instead of soy sauce, some add oyster sauce, etc.  It is not impossible that every household in the Philippines has their own version of the beloved dish.
This is my attempt to put my own spin to it, a drop of creativity to the vast sea of variety.
Ingredients:
Meat
1/2 kg Pork (Menudo cut)
Canola oil for deep frying
Marinade
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp iodized salt
Sauce
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp stevia powder
1 tbsp corn starch
1 medium size onion (diced)
Directions:
  1. Marinade pork with garlic powder, salt and pepper for at least an hour.
  2. Heat oil then deep fry pork until crispy.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients for the sauce, set aside.
  3. Once done frying, place pork over a paper towel to remove excess oil.  Saute onions until it caramelizes. Pour the sauce in the pan until it thickens.
  4. Toss in the fried pork. Coat the meat well and allow the sauce to slightly thicken some more.
  5. Serve! Perfect with steaming rice and a side of sliced tomatoes and salted egg.
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The Baon Chronicles: A Prologue

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I started working in Bonifacio Global City (Taguig City, Metro Manila Philippines) in July 2011.  The area offers a lot of great restaurants with varying cuisines, that will leave your taste buds satiated, but if done daily, will leave your wallets empty.  There are fast food chains nearby, but will definitely give you an express ride to Obesity City (or ObeCity *ba dum tss*).  There is a cafeteria at the ground floor of my workplace but there had been cases wherein freshness was compromised, so, .  Finding a budget-friendly, home cooked and healthy meal can be quite difficult. 

The only logical solution that I came up with was to start preparing my own meals. So I bought a three-piece cookware set, composed of a saute pan, sauce pan and rondeau/brasier. I was happy because I bought the pans at a discounted price. 🙂

3 piece

Then, I searched for recipes on the internet. I started with easy Filipino dishes such as adobo and bistek tagalog (derived from beef steak) and gradually tried intermediate ones.  Once I mastered a recipe I go master another.  I tried cooking with beef, chicken, pork, fish, pasta, vegetables, root crops, etc.  I opened myself to other cuisines such as Chinese, Indian, Spanish and Thai.  It has been a continuous learning experience ever since and I yearn to learn more (baking maybe?)

Cooking made me happy and gave me a sense of fulfillment.  I gained a new hobby/skill and at the same time an outlet for creativity.  

…And this my friends is the story of how I became an unschooled chef.

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TBC: Steamed Fish w/ Ginger

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/Baon/
Filipino noun
1. Provisions
2. Packed lunch or snack
Kung Hei Fat Choy! To welcome the year of the Wooden horse, I decided to try two Chinese recipes for my baon this week.  This is part er.
I got inspired by a recipe that I saw in taste.com.au.  It is a simple yet delectable dish. It’s so simple that I was comfortable enough to do it my way.
Here it goes, Steamed Fish w/ Ginger ala Unschooled Chef Carl
Equipment:
Rice cooker w/ steamer basket
Ingredients:
1 kg Cream Dory Fillet (cut into three-finger portions)
5cm piece ginger, thinly sliced
4 baby bok choy, quartered
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp stevia powder
1 tbsp sesame oil
4 spring onions, thinly sliced (for garnish)
Coriander (for garnish)
Directions:
  1. In a pot or a kettle boil 2 cups of water.  In the mean time, place ginger and cream dory fillet in aluminum foil.  On a separate aluminum foil, place bok choy.
  2. Transfer boiled water into the rice cooker.  Place fish fillet on steamer basket and place on top of rice cooker.  Steam for 15 minutes.  Once done, place bok choy and steam for another 5 minutes.
  3. While fish and bok choy are steaming, combine soy sauce, vinegar, stevia powder and sesame oil in a pan over medium heat until warm.
  4. Serve fish and bok choy with sauce, sprinkle spring onions and coriander
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TBC: Sweet and Sour Chicken

Standard
/Baon/
Filipino noun
1. Provisions
2. Packed lunch or snack
Chinese New Year is just around the corner and in the spirit of the Wooden Horse, I decided to try two more Chinese recipes for my baon this week.  This is part yi.
I saw this recipe on Simply Recipes.  My deviations were I used stevia powder instead of brown sugar and I used green pepper instead of red and yellow to add a different color to the dish.
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
  • 1/4 cup juice from the canned pineapple
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
  • 2-3 tablespoons stevia powder
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, sliced thinly
Procedure:
  1. In a bowl, combine the chicken with the egg white, salt and cornstarch. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. In the meantime, whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt, and stevia powder.
  3. Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates. Pour in the 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and swirl to coat. It’s important that the pan is very hot. Add the chicken and spread the chicken out in one layer. Let the chicken fry, untouched for 1 minute, until the bottoms are browned. Flip and fry the other side the same for 1 minute. The chicken should still be pinkish in the middle. Dish out the chicken onto a clean plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.
  4. Turn the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of cooking oil. Let the oil heat up and then add the bell pepper chunks and ginger. Fry for 1 minute. Add the pineapple chunks and the sweet and sour sauce. Turn the heat to high and when the sauce is simmering, add the chicken pieces back in. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Timing depends on how thick you’ve cut your chicken. The best way to tell if the chicken is done is to take a piece out and cut into it. If it’s pink, add another minute to the cooking.
Taste the sauce and add more stevia powder if you’d like.  Also, if the flavors are too strong for your taste, you may add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water.

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The Baon Chronicles: Kung POW! Chicken

Standard
/Baon/
Filipino noun
1. Provisions
2. Packed lunch or snack
It’s Chinese New Year next Friday. If you noticed, the recipes I tried this week are Chinese-cuisine inspired.  I got this recipe on Pepper.ph. This recipe is suitable for the health conscious as the main ingredient is chicken breast and does not require that much oil.
I put my Kung-Fu hat on (wait.. what?!) and made my own version (Or rather, I can’t find some of the ingredients.. *teehee*). I used red chili instead of dried red chili (it turned pao to POW!); apple cider vinegar instead of shaoxing wine; balsamic vinegar instead of black vinegar; and stevia powder instead of sugar.
Crouching Potato-Hidden Teddy Bear, Scene 2, ACTION! {Pardon the crazy talk (-_-)}
Ingredients for the Chicken
  • 500g chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/4 cup red chili
  • 1/3 cup peanuts, without skin (I used 5 packets of Happy Peanuts)
  • Sliced leeks, garnish (optional)
  • Canola Oil, for sautĂ©ing (about 2 tbsp)
Ingredients for the Marinade
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Ingredients for the Kung Pao Sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
Directions
  1. Marinate the chicken for at least 20 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce. Set it aside.
  3. In a wok, heat the oil and sauté the chill. Add the chicken and sauté for 3-4 minutes until almost cooked through.
  4. Add the peanuts and sauté for another minute.
  5. Add the kung pao sauce to the wok while mixing continuously.
  6. Serve.
Suggestions
  • Marinate the chicken overnight to make it more flavorful
  • If you are not that into spicy food, you may lessen the portion of red chili (ex.: 1/8 cup instead of 1/4)
  • Drink soy milk to neutralize the spiciness
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