Thursday 28 June 2012


Food connoisseurs are predicting that fusion food will soon bow out like nouvelle cuisine did a few decades back. People will apparently get tired of this food trend and new ones will emerge in place of it.

Monday 25 June 2012


I remember the long hot summers when I was growing up. Sometimes the only thing I want to eat are cold chunks of watermelon. Watermelons used to come in different colors: bright yellow, red and salmon pink. Where are they now?

Thursday 21 June 2012


As a Filipino, I naturally love Filipino food. It is the food my tastebuds have been honed on. Although it is one of the lesser known Asian cuisine, those who have tasted it, rave about it. Not much herbs and spices are used but the flavour comes from the natural taste of the best ingredients. A lot of our food are simple and probably doesn't have an edge in terms of presentation. I think for our food to have a wider multicultural fan base, we have to present them in a way which is more universally appealing.

Our Kulinarya Cooking Club theme for this month of June, courtesy of our gracious hosts Tina of Pinay in Texas Cooking Corner and Cherrie of  Sweet Cherrie Pie is native Filipino cuisine. A recent revival of Filipino heritage dishes has brought to the fore old recipes that through the years have been eclipsed by modern and foreign cuisine. Although a lot of Filipino dishes has Spanish or Chinese influence, there are also a lot of indigenous Filipino dishes that truly originated from the Philippines. 

Kari kari, also called kare kare, is one of the all time favourite native dishes. It is a stew, usually made with oxtail or tripe or a variety of meat cuts (I used oxtail and shin of beef with marrow bone), with a rich peanut gravy that derives its characteristic yellow color from annatto seeds. Ground fried or roasted peanuts and ground toasted rice grains provide richness to the sauce. Although modern cooks use peanut butter, ground peanuts is the traditional and correct ingredient for making the traditional recipe. Kari kari is not complete if not served with a side dish of ginisang bagoong (sauteed shrimp paste). 

Kari kari apparently originates from the Southern part of the Philippines. It was brought to Manila by the Moros (the Southern natives) where it was embraced as a national dish. The flavour is very characteristically Malay, owing to the Southern tip of the Philippines' proximity to the other Southeast Asian countries. Although there has been mention of the name being derived from the word curry, I think the more logical explanation is that the Malay term for dishes with sauce is kari which simply means sauce.

I have interpreted this dish in a way that can be better appreciated by Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. It is one of those Filipino stews that becomes uniform in colour when cooked. Filipinos say that our food is unappealing because it is usually brown. In this case, it is yellow. I have cooked the vegetables separately and just added them to the dish in the end. This way, the sauce remains pure and rich, undiluted by the juices of the vegetables. The vegetables have retained their original colour too because they were not cooked in the yellow sauce. 


1 1/2 kg. oxtail and shin of beef meat
3 large onions, sliced
cooking oil
3 tbsps. of annato (achuete) oil
1 1/2 tbsps. crushed garlic
1/4 c. ginisang bagoong (sauteed shrimp paste)
3 tbsps. toasted store bought ground rice
2/3 c. ground fried or roasted peanuts
8 snake beans (sitaw)
6 eggplants or 10 baby eggplants
1 fresh banana heart, split into 6 wedges and soaked in salted water (or use tinned cooked banana heart like I did here)
ginisang bagoong to serve


Cut the shin meat into big chunks, similar to the size of the oxtail pieces. 

Pan fry all the meat pieces, a few pieces at a time in the cooking oil until well browned all over. 

Transfer the browned meat and 1/3 of the onion slices into a big pot and cover with water. 

Bring to a boil and simmer until tender (about 2 hours). This can also be done in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes.

Take the meat out of the stock and set aside. Strain the stock and skim off the fat from the surface.

Toasted rice and ground peanuts.
Heat up a big pan or wok and add the annato oil. Sauté the garlic on low heat until fragrant and starting to crisp. 

Add the onions and sauté until very soft. Add the peanuts and bagoong and stir for about 2 minutes. 

Add 5 cups of the stock and bring to a boil. 

Add the ground rice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. 

At this stage, I pureed the sauce with a hand blender because I like my sauce smooth. 

Return the meat to the sauce and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Store bought ginisang bagoong.
Split the eggplants into halves, lengthwise, and fry until cooked. 

Boil the snake beans and banana heart separately.

Add the vegetables to the kari kari and simmer for 3 minutes. Serve with ginisang bagoong.

For the annato (achuete) oil:

Heat up 1/2 cup of cooking oil. When hot add 2 tbsps. of annato (achuete) seeds. Take off the heat and leave to steep and cool. Strain the seeds off. Use the oil in recipes.

All rights reserved ©Adora's Box Copyright 2011.  

                        See the other posts for this month's theme:

Palitaw  from Day of Chef by Day 
Avocado Shake from Malou of Skip To Malou
Pinais na Isda from Iska of
Tapsilog from Cherrie of Sweet Cherrie Pie
Kulawong Talong from Elizabeth of Asian In America
Kalamay na Pinipig from Jun of Jun-blog

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Monday 18 June 2012


I was in Singapore recently, very, very briefly_ as in on a stopover en route to Manila. Having five hours to spare, I was hoping that my daughter and I could join the free two hour city tour. Unfortunately, we landed there in the early hours and the first available tour started at 9 a.m. and would finish 10 minutes before we were due to board our connecting flight. So that was that, it was just the airport we got to see.

Thursday 14 June 2012


 I don't know how long people have been enjoying dim sum. Despite the change in food trends, the dawn of food trucks and the inundation of fast food, dim sum has remained a favourite. People all over the world are still fanatics and are always on the quest to find the best dim sum houses in town. We are lucky to have a good one nearby and it never fails to give us pleasure and satisfaction.

Monday 11 June 2012


People bask in the sunshine in the summer and think that that's just a given. Alas, such is usually not true in ye old Britain. A soggy summer seems to be in the stars (again). I am not altogether sad about the rain. It is ironical that it didn't rain as much as it should have in the past months so the water reserves is now deemed inadequate for the "summer months". As a result, a nationwide hosepipe ban has been declared as early as spring which means we are not allowed to use our hosepipes for whatever watering activities we had in mind. Thus my gratefulness for a spot of rain every now and then. I won't need to lug buckets of water to the back of the garden.

Thursday 7 June 2012


It is good to connect. My father was one to nurture old connections, as in he was still in touch with his high school friends from 63 years back up to the last of his days.

Sunday 3 June 2012


This weekend until Tuesday next week, the whole of Great Britain is celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Queen Elizabeth has been the reigning queen for 60 years. Although her face and persona has been regarded as an icon for being the queen, much is to be admired of her personal self Elizabeth. 

No one can come up close to the queen but glimpses of her life has always been shown in film and put to writing. Despite the formality and elegance that her duty calls upon, there still is a sweet, warm person that comes to the front in her unguarded moments. She still is, after all, a wife, mother and grandma. She was part of a normal (albeit royal), loving family until her father reluctantly became king after her Uncle Edward abdicated the throne. A further twist of fate, the early demise of her father, made her a young queen at the young age of 25. How many people on earth would have a life story to compare to that?