Archive for the ‘Food’ Category


Wombok /Chinese Cabbage (Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis) – Wombok’s sweet, mild flavor and crunchy texture make it ideal for many uses. Try it shredded in coleslaw or use the leaves as wrappers during steaming. It can also be stir-fried, steamed or added to soup. Pickled wombok is popular in many countries and makes a wonderful relish. Keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Pak Choy or Baby Pak Choy (Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis Green stemmed variety) – Pak Choy has a sweet, mild flavor and a firm texture. Separate
the leaves, wash and chop leaves and stems roughly before cooking. Pak Choy is great in a stir fry, added to soup or simply steam then drizzle with soy sauce or sesame oil. Keep for up to a week in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Baby Buk Choy (Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis dwarf variety) – It is usually has a slightly stronger flavor than Pak Choy, but is similarly great stir fried, steamed or added to a soup or casserole. Divide the leaves, wash and chop roughly before cooking. Keep for up to a week in a plastic bad in the fridge.

Buk Choy (Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis) – Buk Choy is like two vegetables in one – juicy, crunchy stems and mildly peppery dark green leaves. To prepare, separate the leaves from the stems. Cut the stems diagonally so that they soak up more flavors from the sauce. Add the stems first when stir frying or steaming as they take a little longer to cook.

Gai Lan / Chinese Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra) – It may taste a little like head broccoli but it’s crunchy stems and thick leaves give it a texture all its own. The stems, leaves and flower buds can all be stir fried, steamed or added to soups and casseroles. Thick stems should be cut in half and added before the leaves as they take longer to cook.

Gai Choy (Brassica juncea) – It is sometimes known as Chinese mustard, has a definite spicy, mustardy flavor. There are many varieties. Some have thick sets and large, crinkly leaves, others are small and delicate. Mature gai choy needs to be cooked by stir frying, steaming or pickling. Fresh, young gai choy leaves can be added to salads for a peppery bite.

Baby Choy Sum (Brassica rap a subsp. parachinensis) – Baby Choy Sum is extremely easy to prepare and cook. Rinse and roughly chop the whole bunch then stir fry, steam or boil for only a few minutes before serving. Its mild flavor and crunchy texture go well with many meals.

Choy Sum (Brassica rap a subsp. parachinensis) – Choy sum’s mild flavor, crunchy stems and soft leaves go well with many different foods and flavors. Simply wash and roughly chop the whole bunch then stir fry or steam or add to soup, stew or even curry. Keep for up to a week in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Kangkong (Ipomoea aquatic) – It is a common vegetable in many parts of Asia particularly in the Philippines. The hollow stems have a crunchy texture which contrasts well with the tender leaves. The flavor is mild to slightly sweet making it great in salad or lightly stir fried with chili and garlic. Cook on a high heat until the leaves are just wilted. Use immediately or store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 days.

En Choy (Amaranthsus tricolor) – En choy’s bright red color comes from antioxidants called betalains, similar to those found in beetroot. Its flavor and texture is similar to English spinach and the combination of red and green adds interest to any meal. The leaves and shoot tips should be lightly steamed or stir fried until just wilted. Use immediately or wrap damp stems in paper or plastic and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Tung Ho (Chrysanthemum coronarium) – There are many varieties of Tung ho or ‘chrysanthemum greens’. Some have deeply lobed leaves while others are more oval and rosette. It is strongly aromatic with a pleasant texture and somewhat bitter flavor accentuated by overcooking. Steam, blanch, stir fry with other vegetables or add to stew or soup. Keep up to 3 days in the fridge wrapped in plastic.

Chi Qua (Benincasa hispida var. chieh-gua) – Chi quas are sometimes called “hairy melons” because of their coating fine hairs. Their flavor and texture is rather like zucchini but with much thicker skin. Peel and slice before adding to a stir fry, soup, casserole or even grilling on the BBQ. Alternatively cut the chi qua in half, scoop out the center, stuff with mince or rice and bake. Store in a cool place for up to a fortnight (14 nights).

Sin Qua (Luffa acutangula) – It has a spongy texture and mild flavor a little like zucchini. The hard ridges which run its length are usually peeled off before the sin qua is sliced and added to a stir fry, soup, curry or casserole. Grated sin qua can be added to an omelette. Choose firm, young sin quas and store in a cool place wrapped in paper or plastic for up to 5 days.

White Radish (Raphanus sativus) – White radish is usually milder than red radish, but can still be quite hot and peppery. Japanese varieties are called daikon, while Chinese call them lo bok. White radish can be grated and added raw to salads, pickled, stir fried or steamed in savory cakes and omelets. Keep for up to a fortnight (14 nights) in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Shui Qua (Luffa cylindrica) – The shui qua or ‘sponge luffa’ is closely related to the sin qua and has similarly mild flavor and spongy texture. Young, tender shui quas can be cut in half, the seedy centre scooped out, then stuffed with a mince or rice mixture and steamed or baked. Overmature shui quad can be made into the ‘loofahs’ we use in the bath or shower.

Fu Qua (Momordica charantia) – Fu qua is also known as bitter melon’, and for good reason! Excess bitter flavor can be removed by soaking thin slices in salt. Remove the seeds and pith. It can also be used fresh in salads, stir fried, added to curry or pickled. Choose fu quad which are firm and bright green and store in a cool place (not the fridge) for up to one week.

Lotus Root (Nelumbo nucifera) – Delicate lacy slides of lotus root keep their crunchy texture even after cooking, so they are a wonderful way to add texture and interest to a stir fry, soup or stew. Lotus is juicy with a slightly sweet but rather mild flavor, best served with other ingredients and sauces. Scrub or scrape the skin to ensure it is clean then slice finely before cooking.

Snake Bean (Vigna unguiculate ssp. Sesquipedalis) – Snake beans are similar to green beans but with a stronger flavor and denser texture. They are simply cut into short lengths and cooked the same way as other beans; boiled, steamed, stir fried, added to casseroles etc. Keep for up to 5 days wrapped in plastic in the fridge.

Seng Qua (Benincasa hispida spp.) – It is also called ‘long melon’. It is similar to chi qua but tends to be lighter colored and smooth skinned instead of hairy. Peel and slice thinly or cut into chunks. Try basting thin slices with chili, garlic, and soy and grilling on the BBQ. Store in a cool place for up to a fortnight (14 nights)


Philippines' Most Nutritious Vegetables and Fruit

The Philippines is a tropical country that is rich in nutritious vegetables. The vegetables are prepared raw, pickled, steamed, boiled or fried, depending on the dish. Filipino vegetables offer a variety of benefits, providing nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

AMPALAYA / BITTER GOURD (Momordica Charantia)

PAPAYA (Carica Papaya)


KANGKONG / WATER SPINACH (Ipomoea aquatica)

MALUNGGAY (Moringa Ollefier)

SALUYOT (Corchorus Olitorius)

GABI / TARO LEAVES (Colocasia Esculenta)

OKRA / LADY FINGERS (Abelmoschus esculentus)

SILING LABUYO / CHILI PEPPERS (Capsicum Frutescenes) — with Jhazz Xyra Manuel, Idadaha Sixtus Okpa, Jal Lakibul, Jeonel Pacuit, Shyrel Rose Rivero, Luis Nazarite Seromines and Edwin Del Rosario Gamat.