Monday, January 28, 2013

More Filipino Food and Fun!

Oooops, I almost forgot!

We had such a busy weekend I almost forgot to finish our week on the Philippines!!  Sorry.  I'll keep it short because I have to START our week on Peru today also!  First let's start with the fun!

Kids in the Philippines spend a lot of time outside playing games.  Basketball is very popular and so are many versions of tag,  Here is a version of tag that also includes "hide and seek".  It's called...

Tagu- taguan
This game is probably best played outdoors in the park or schoolyard, or if you are lucky enough to have a big backyard you can do it there.  One player is designated "IT" and a spot is designated "HOME".  The rest of the players hide while "IT" counts to whatever number.  Then "IT" goes on the hunt.  If he spots someone he/she says "BOOM and the name of the person" and has to try to tag them before they make it back to "HOME".  If the player makes it to home, "it" keeps looking, but if the player gets tagged, he/she becomes "it" and looks for the others.  Sounds like fun and I hope to play it one day but we haven't had the chance yet!  It would be great for a school recess :)

Now for the feast we had to celebrate the end of a busy week!  I wanted to try cooking one more dish and since beef brisket was on sale I made a dish called Pares.  Pares is, apparently, a famous street food traditionally served with garlic rice.  One of the spices in the dish is star anise.  I have seen that at the store and always thought it looked so interesting but have never tried it before.  Well, I should have because it is a super-food!  It has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and is supposed to be really good for coughs and asthma.  It's also supposed to be a natural sleep aid and give you fresh breath! (Which you will need if you eat the garlic rice)  So now I need to find more recipes that use this wonder herb!!  Anybody have any they'd like to share???  Well here is at least one...

Beef Pares
For the recipe you will need:
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2-3 lb beef brisket - cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 1 lg. onion - sliced
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 pieces star anise
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 1 stalk of celery - whole
  • 2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger - crushed
1.  Boil the beef with the water, star anise, soy sauce, vinegar, celery, brown sugar and pepper.  Boil about 45 minutes.
2.  Set the pot aside and let it cool so that you can remove the fat that comes to the surface.  I did the first step in the morning and put it in the fridge.  When you remove the fat discard the celery too.
3.  In a saucepan heat the oil and cook the ginger, garlic and onions until onions are soft.  Add Hoisin sauce and then add whole shebang to the beef pot.
4.  Bring the beef pot back to a boil and cook until sauce is reduced and the beef is tender.
5.  Serve with rice. 

Garlic rice is the traditional pairing so we ordered some from our local Filipino restaurant, along with some pancit (a noodle dish) and a vegetable dish made with squash, green beans and coconut milk.  My husband and the kids really liked the meat.  It had a great flavor from the star anise and the ginger.  It wasn't all that tender but it was yummy.  The kids and my husband didn't care too much for the garlic rice or the pancit and the kids didn't even try the squash and green beans.  For dessert we had some assorted cakes from the Red Ribbon bakeshop, a famous Filipino bakery chain.  We tried both a butter and ube mamon. They were delicious- sweet, light sponge cake!! 

 All in all, Philippines week was great!!  Now onto Peru!!!

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