Add exotic flavors to your prepared foods with vegetable spring rolls in garlic-peanut sauce, oxtail stew and chicken and pork adobo.
By Joanna Pruess
Filipino cuisine reflects an exciting crossroads of cultures and blends of disparate ingredients creating tasty, satisfying foods. A few defining traits are shown in the dishes that follow.
The Malay and Chinese influences have helped to make spring rolls, or lumpia, a staple food. Filipinos enjoy both fried and “fresh” lumpia and pay great attention to the colors, shapes and textures of the filling, exemplified in the sariwa’ng lumpia.
Malaysian influence is seen in kare-kare, a tender oxtail stew. Vegetables are plentiful in this hearty dish. The sauce includes peanut butter, a popular ingredient, along with a garnish of bagoong, a traditional sauteed dried-shrimp sauce.
Garlic and black peppercorns are two essentials in adobo, known as the country’s national dish. Vinegar and soy sauce complete the flavors of adobo. The dish can be made with fish, poultry, meat and even simply vegetables, and leftovers are often mixed with rice for lunch and even eaten for breakfast. (Read more about the history of Filipino cuisine here.)
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Joanna Pruess is a regular contributor to Specialty Food Magazine.