Rice has always been the staple food in Filipino cuisine, but until recently, plain and fried were the only varieties we knew. It was only a few years ago that we started playing around with rice recipes such as java, garlic, chili, and Chinese. But what seems to be a hit among Filipinos is rice toppings, wherein meat and vegetable dishes are served on top of a box of rice. It’s the same old Filipino food, but packed in a light, convenient way. You’ve probably seen them in malls, sidewalks, and school cafeterias.
But although they come in handy on busy days, they’re often overpriced, especially considering that you can do them yourself at home. That’s right-you don’t have to run to the mall whenever you’re craving. What’s more, there are no long lines and you can mix and match toppings as you please. Here are some Filipino food recipes that make excellent rice toppings.
It’s more Indian than Filipino, but it fits in perfectly with other Filipino cooking recipes. Curry blends well with rice because of its strong flavors. Use it on plain white rice-flavored varieties will wash out the taste of the curry.
3 cups chicken meat, diced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp curry powder
1 small onion, chopped
½ tsp powdered ginger
¾ cup flour
¾ cup butter
2 ½ cups milk
garlic to taste
Procedure: In, melt the butter and sauté the ginger, garlic, onion, and curry powder. Set on low heat and let stand for about 1 minute. Add in the broth and milk and stir until the soup is thick. Stir in the chicken and cook until the chicken is done. Serve over white rice.
Stir-fried Beef Teriyaki
Filipinos love teriyaki dishes because of their distinct Asian flavor. They make excellent rice toppings because they’re easy to cook and personalize-you can make them all-meat, all-veggie, or a mix of the two like most Filipino recipes. This recipe can be prepared in advance, perfect for those hectic weekdays.
½ kg beef round, cut into strips
3 tbsps teriyaki sauce
2 tsps cornstarch
2 bell peppers, cut into strips
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
4 tsps vegetable oil
Procedure: In a bowl, mix together the cornstarch, teriyaki sauce, and half of the vegetable oil. Stir in the beef and refrigerate for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, stir-fry the onions and bell peppers in the remaining oil for about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan, then stir-fry the marinated beef for another 3 minutes. Stir in the vegetables and cook until the beef is done.
Honey Lemon Chicken
This tasty topping provides a good contrast to wild and flavored rice, especially the Chinese and garlic varieties. It also goes well with cold Filipino desserts recipes and salads. The dish is fairly easy to prepare; you can have it ready in less than 30 minutes.
4 pcs skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tbsp hot water
1 tsp seasoning
Procedure: Preheat oven to 325oF. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish with the bone side facing down. Sprinkle with seasoning. Set aside. Mix the honey and hot water, then add the butter and lemon juice. Pour over the chicken breasts and cover with foil. Bake until the chicken is just done. Remove the cover and baste with the remaining sauce. Continue cooking until the chicken is browned, basting occasionally to add flavor.
Sweet and Sour Pork
A favorite viand among Filipinos, sweet and sour pork is a perfect complement to almost any rice variety. It’s great for kids as it offers a nice blend of flavors and a balance of meat and vegetables.
¾ kg pork loin, deboned and sliced into bite-size pieces
2 ½ c pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
1 tbsp soy sauce
¼ c vinegar
¼ c packed brown sugar
½ c onion slices
1 pc green onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt
¾ c water
Procedure: sauté the pork in vegetable oil until it turns light brown. In a bowl, combine the water, pineapple juice, soy sauce, vinegar, salt and sugar. Mix until well dissolved. Pour over the pork andlet it simmer until the meat is soft. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water, then add to the pork. Turn down the heat and continue stirring until the mixture thickens. Stir in the pineapple chunks, pepper and onions. Simmer for another 10 minutes, then serve over rice.