COOKING UP NOCHE BUENA…THE BEST OF FILIPINO COOKING WITH CHEF SANDY DAZA
By Ana de Villa – Singson
On October 18, AAA CLUB-BING hit a new milestone! It brought its cooking session back home…to Assumption, in the almost newly minted ANI Kitchen in the Henry Sy Building. We had a hybrid session with live cooking and online zoom participation. When I entered the Assumption campus, it hit me…that I had not been in school for almost 2 years. The last time I had been there was for a face-to-face AAA meeting in January 2020. Then the pandemic happened.
I was determined to be early. Celebrity chef and TV host Sandy Daza was teaching us the best of Filipino Fiesta food…right in time for Christmas noche buena. I wanted to make sure that the ovens were firing, the grill was heating and that the ingredients that I had measured and prepared very early in the morning were all laid out a la mis en place…the culinary parlance for having everything laid out in advance and ready to cook. At 10 a.m., a noisy gaggle of alumnae started streaming in. I was so happy to see classmates and was gingerly wondering if I should shake their hand or blow them kisses from afar. But they must have been as overcome with the forced pandemic incarceration, that in no time at all we were hugging and laughing and talking a mile minute, everyone chatting away at the same time…the way Assumptionists always do!
Chef strolled in casually. He had just arrived from a food tour which he hosted in Japan. And he was leaving again the next day. So it was really a treat and a bonus to have him join us. We spoke over the phone a few days before, coordinating about ingredients and preparations. He was on a train somewhere in Europe but he took the time to call when I texted him some questions He was gracious and easygoing and he started off by telling us that he wanted to make cooking as easy and as accessible as possible. He told us to get the most common ingredients, not the inaccessible ones. He laughed when I produced a giant tub of Skippy’s peanut butter. He had requested for homegrown Lily’s. When I was ready to buy Aperol for the lemon soda, he said to just buy Sprite. And when I wanted to buy cider vinegar, he countered with Sinamak or any local coconut-based vinegar. That’s practical cooking…and we saw it as its best!
The Kare-kare Sauce…so rich. And the Brocolli Salad, thrown together in a matter of minutes, is divine! Make it your go to salad too.
Chef Sandy, perhaps because he is so seasoned from being part of such a rich cultural heritage (the famed Nora Daza is his mom) and from having being a Parisian restauranteur, did not need any measuring spoons or cups. He would pick up the ingredients and pour them in and somehow…it was the exact amount needed and the dishes were amazingly good. For the kare – kare, he taught us to make the sauce first. The kare-kare sauce was luscious and thick because of the toasted rice powder (dry roast uncooked grains of rice until they are toasted…then pound with a “dikdik” or grind in a processor) and richly-flavored because of the combination of both peanut butter and ground peanuts (I was ready to roast peanuts then crush them but he advised me to just buy Growers and pound them…the much easier option!). The kare-kare sauce…laced with both sugar and patis (his preferred salting ingredient) was so good! I was spooning it up and drinking it like soup! We also cooked Chicken Inasal and the class was told not to do what I had done while preparing the chicken. Do not baste the chicken while baking. Baste it after it is baked or grilled and use Star margarine only. Why not use butter we asked, isn’t that healthier? Chef said that we could, but we would not get that beautiful yellow golden glaze and aroma of authentic Inasal chicken…so Star margarine it is! A reminder: dip your barbecue skewers in water before baking or grilling. Otherwise, you will have blackened sticks! Chef also threw together, in a matter of 2 minutes, a really fresh take on broccoli salad. The broccoli was left uncooked! Yes…no steaming nor boiling. We just cut the brocolli into florets, then drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise, Japanese vinegar, all – purpose cream, seasoned with a tad of sugar and showered in a generous dose of crispy bacon bits and raisins! That broccoli salad is now a go-to dish at home; make it yours too. It is truly easy and quick to whip up and is such a crowd pleaser. Also on the menu was Bagoong Alamang and for dessert, a personal favorite, Sticky Rice slathered with coconut cream sauce and topped with golden mangoes. Once the malagkit rice is boiled, the sauce and assembly can be done in under 3 minutes!
Sounds good? They were very good! And you can make all of them for Noche Buena. From the AAA family to yours…we are posting Chef Sandy’s recipes and even posting the video of our cooking class. Watch and cook along with us as you prepare your Christmas buffet.
As we wrapped up the class, some of us made a pact. When Japan opens up, we will join one of Chef Sandy’s Japanese food tours. We will taste and eat and eat some more. That promises to be a fun adventure. What a noisy gaggle of tourists Chef Sandy will have!
From AAA CLUB-BING’s Cooking and Baking Club…Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon! May you cook up a barrio fiesta and may you and yours be blessed abundantly always with hearty, abundant and yummy table fare! We’ll be back soon with more cooking and baking adventures! See you in 2023!
RECIPES of chef sandy daza's Filipino Favorites
½ cup soy sauce
2 cups coconut vinegar or sinamak
½ cup garlic, crushed
2 tbsps. ginger, grated
¼ cup calamansi juice
¼ cup lemon grass, crushed
6 chicken legs
6 thick BBQ sticks
2 cups Margarine
2 tsps. Acuete powder
1 tsp pepper
¼ cup chicken fat or oil brush
Make slits on the chicken meat near the bones. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, calamansi, and lemon grass. Mix well. Add in the chicken and marinade over night in the friedge.
Stick the chicken in BBQ sticks. Prepare the basting sauce by mixing all ingredients from margarine to chicken fat.
Grill chicken over charcoal while basting it with the basting sauce. Grill until done.
Make fried rice by sautéing some of the basting sauce and adding cooked rice. Season with salt.
Serve with sinamak or coconut vinegar with soy sauce, sili and onions on the side.
Boil oxtail in advance
2 kilos Ox tail, boiled in 10 cups beef broth covered for 2 to 3 hours( 10 cups water 5 beef cubes)
1 kilo beef face( include in boiling)
¾ kilo beef tripes ( boiled in ¼ cup vinegar, 1 tbsp baking soda and 6 cups water for 30 minutes, drained and add to ox tail) Cut into strips when done
½ cup cooking oil
2 tbsps. achuete or 1 tbsps. acuete powder
¼ cup garlic, chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup sticky rice, dry toasted then ground
2 tsps. White pepper
½ cup peanuts mashed
1 cup peanut butter
7 cups beef broth
2 to 3 tbsps. Sugar
½ cup Patis
2 pcs. egg plant
6 pcs. Pechay
14 pcs. sitaw cut into 2 inch lengths
In a large skillet, sauté garlic and acuete in oil. Add in onions and fry until wilted. Add bay leaves, ground toasted bigas, pepper, peanuts, peanut butter, beef broth and suger. Mix well and simmer for about 15 minutes until liquid reduces. Taste.
After 15 minutes, add in the ox tail and tripes. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Lastly, add the patis and taste. Add in egg plant and simmer for 10 mintes. Then add in sitaw and pichay. Serve with bagoong alamang guisado
BAGOONG ALAMANG GUISADO
3 tbsps. Oil
3 tbsps. garlic, chopped
½ cup onions, chopped
½ cup tomatoes, chopped
1 cup pork kasim,( with fat) finely chopped
1 tbsp. soy sauce
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup lemon soda
1 tsp. sili, chopped
2 cups alamang
Saute garlic in il. Add in onions and tomatoes. Add in pork and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add in the soy sauce, vinegar and soda. Add in the sili and tatse. Lastly, add in the Bagoong alamang and mix well. Simmer for about 10 mintues. Serve with the Kare Kare
MANGO STICKY RICE
3 cups sticky rice
3 cups water Pandan leaves
2 pcs 3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp fine salt
1 cup coconut milk Sauce
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
Wash rice in water until water is clear. Add 3 cups water and cook in a rice cooker. In a bowl combine mix sugar, salt and coconut milk. Add in folded Pandan leaves. Boil mixture until sugar melts. Combine cooked rice and coconut milk mixture. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Mix. Then cover again for another 1 hour. To make sauce. Combine coconut milk, salt and cornstarch . Simmer until cornstarch dissolves or thickens Serve in the side with sliced mango. Assemble
1/2 kilo broccoli flowers, cleaned
3/4 cup bacon, fried crispy and chopped
1/4 cup cream
3/4 cup Japanese mayonnaise
2 tbsps Japanese sushi vinegar
2 tbsps honey
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup red onions, chopped
In a bowl, combine cream, Mayo, vinegar and honey. Mix well. In a bowl; put broccoli flowers, raisins and onions. Pour sauce over and toss well. Serve chilled