For Filipinos around the globe, Christmas is not just about religious traditions, giving and receiving regalo or caroling, parols, the belen and Christmas lights. The fact is, a large part of our holiday celebration revolves around the dinner table – Christmas can never be truly Christmas without the festive food!
Of course, the farther you are away from home, the more you miss the delicacies and treats that you have grown up with. Remember the bibingka and puto bumbong you used to eat while sipping tsaa with pandan after simbang gabi? Or hamon, queso de bola, morcon, paella, buko salad, all sorts of sweet and sticky kakainin at marami pang iba? Pair all that with a teeming cup of rich traditional tsokolate drink, and the heartwarming feeling of our most awaited holiday in the year is basically complete.
To help you prepare that taste buds-inspiring Pinoy Christmas table, we are sharing with you some well-loved dishes from our foodie contributors from around the world. From firm favorites morcon, callos and embutido, inspired takes on paella, baked and smoked chicken a la Aristocrat, and sweet treats like bibingka, biko brazo de Mercedes, buko salad, sans rival and tsokolate, this Christmas spread is sure to take you back home.
Festive Food Recipes
Let these recipes inspire your Christmas cooking!
700 g rib eye of round, whole then sliced into 1/3 inch thin single sheet
150 g beef liver, ground
2 pcs pickles, cut lengthwise divided into 4 pieces
6 pcs streaky bacon
4 pcs hard boiled eggs, sliced half lengthwise
4 pcs 1/2 in x 5 in strips tasty cheddar cheese
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup flour
FOR THE MARINADE
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp soy sauce
FOR THE SAUCE
2 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
2 large red onions, cubed
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 red capsicum
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp chopped basil
Freshly ground black pepper
Marinate beef in lemon juice and soy sauce for at least 3 hrs. In a flat surface, lay down the beef and start placing your ingredients, starting by spreading the ground liver over the beef. Place the rasher bacon. Line up the cheese and pickles. Place eggs on top of the lined strips and drizzle raisins on top. Start to roll the meat enclosing the contents in the middle, making sure that all the fillings inside are intact and that the meat will not open. Now using a cooking yarn or a thick thread secure the meat vertically and horizontally. Sprinkle flour all over the beef then set aside. In a pan add oil and brown the beef roll. Remove the beef and set aside. In the same pan, sauté garlic, onions and capsicum. Add wine to deglaze. In a pot, place the deglazed wine, beef stock, chopped tomatoes, bay leaves and the beef. Make sure that the beef is covered entirely with liquid otherwise add water, bring it to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the tomato paste, black pepper and salt (according to your taste) and simmer for additional 30 minutes. Remove the beef then set aside, remove the bay leaves then using a hand blender blend the remaining sauce to make a thick gravy, if it’s too runny because of the water then reduce it further by simmering in medium heat uncovered, if you find the sauce is rich then add some water. Season with salt and pepper then turn off the heat.
Slice the beef roll crosswise at least 1.5 inch thick and place them on a plate, then pour tomato gravy on top. Garnish with olives and cherry tomatoes.
500 g Ox Tripe, precooked, cleaned and cut into 1.5 x .5 in strips
1 small pork leg, cut into sections
3 pcs chorizo, sliced
1½ cups chickpeas, cooked
2 red capsicums, cubed
½ cup tomato paste
4 pcs tomatoes, diced
5 cups of beef stock
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp paprika
1 whole garlic, minced
1 whole red onion, chopped
3 pcs bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
In a pot sauté garlic and onions in olive oil, cook until garlic is golden brown. Add pork then brown on all sides. Add tomatoes and 4 cups of beef stock. Bring to a boil and slowly simmer for 1 hrs. Add more beef stock if necessary. Remove the pork leg, separate the bones and slice meat into strip. Place meat and bone back into the pot. Add the tripe, chorizo, tomato paste, bay leaf, chickpeas, soy sauce, paprika and simmer in low heat for 30-45 more minutes or until meat is really tender. Remove the bone then add capsicums, season it with fish sauce and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve and top with fried garlic.
More Filipino Recipes!
PAELLA CON CHORIZO Y PULPO
500 grams small octopus, cleaned
8 ounces Spanish Chorizo, sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias
8-9 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut pole to pole in 1/2 inch-wide strips
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (14-1/2 Oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained, minced, then drained again
2 cups Calasparra rice (may be substituted with Bomba, Valencia or Arborio rice)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crumbled then steeped in hot water
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 cup frozen peas,
Thawed Pimenton, to season octopus
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsps fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium bowl, toss octopus, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp pimenton, and a squeeze of lemon then cover with plastic wrap and set aside in refrigerator. In a paellera, heat 2 tsps oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add red bell peppers and cook, while stirring occasionally, until skin begins to blister and turn a spotty black (about 3-4 mins). Transfer peppers to plate and set aside. Reduce heat to medium then add chorizo. Cook, while stirring frequently, until deeply browned and fat begins to render (about 4-5 mins). Transfer chorizo to bowl and set aside. Add enough oil to fat in paellera to equal 2 tbsps, then heat over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onion and cook, while stirring frequently, until softened (about 3 mins). Stir in remaining garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 min). Stir in tomatoes and cook until mixture begins to darken and thicken (about 3 mins). Stir in rice and cook until grains are well-coated with mixture (about 1-2 mins). Stir in chicken broth, wine, saffron, bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add chorizo to paellera, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, uncovered, while stirring occasionally. Scatter octopus. Cover paellera with aluminum foil and transfer to oven. Cook until rice absorbs almost all liquid (about 25 mins). Remove paellera from oven. Arrange red bell pepper strips in pinwheel pattern and scatter peas over top. Cover again with foil and return to oven for about 5 mins. Allow paella to stand, covered, for another 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges separately. Tip: If soccarat is desired (toasted, browned portion of rice at bottom of pan), then return paellera to oven for about 5 more minutes once the paella has finished baking.
1 (4 to 5 pounds) whole chicken, deboned
3 hardboiled eggs, peeled
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons butter, melted
FOR THE MARINADE
½ cup calamansi juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
⅛ teaspoon pepper
FOR THE MEAT STUFFING
1-1/2 pounds ground pork
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 onion, peeled and grated
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup raisins
¼ cup banana ketchup
¼ cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
In a large bowl, combine calamansi juice, soy sauce and pepper. Marinate chicken in mixture for about 1 hour (under refrigeration), turning chicken occasionally. Drain chicken well and pat dry. In a large bowl, combine ground pork, pineapple, onion, carrot, bread crumbs, cheese, raisins, ketchup and beaten eggs until well-distributed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Through the lower opening, spoon half of the stuffing into the chicken. Insert the boiled eggs, positioning at the center line of chicken. mixture. Fill the chicken with the remaining half of the stuffing mixture. Sew the neck and lower openings of the stuffed chicken. With a paper towel, gently wipe down surface of chicken to remove stray bits and pieces of the meat stuffing. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Liberally brush surface of chicken with mayonnaise. Carefully transfer onto a lightly-greased roasting pan, tucking wings close to the body of the chicken to prevent them from burning before chicken is cooked through. Roast in a 375 F oven for about 1-1/2 hours, occasionally brushing with mayonnaise. At the last 20 minutes of cooking, liberally brush skin with butter and continue to roast until internal temperature reaches 165 F and skin is golden brown. Remove from heat and let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. This will help re-distribute flavorful juices and to allow stuffing to set. Serve with ketchup or gravy.
800 g beef sirloin or tenderloin, cubed
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Fried crispy garlic, to garnish
Season beef cubes with salt, pepper, and garlic then set it aside for 5 minutes. Add olive oil to the meat then mix it to distribute evenly. Prepare a heavy cast iron pan then place in high heat. Once pan is really hot add and sear the beef until beef one at a side until turns brown. Do not over crowd the pan. Add the butter and Worcestershire Sauce and mix it well to coat the beef pieces evenly. Place in a sizzling plate or serving platter then top with lots of fried garlic.
Embutido – Angsarap.net
800g minced pork
8 pcs Vienna sausages, chipolata or cocktail hotdogs, sliced
2 boiled small cardaba banana, mashed
4 tbsp flour
2 sweet large pickles, chopped
1 carrots, chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
½ cup raisins
¼ cup green peas
2 eggs, beaten
4 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
In a mixing bowl mix all ingredients together except for the hard boiled eggs and sliced sausages. Mix well. Place mixture in an aluminum foil then place eggs and sausages on the middle. Form a cylindrical shaped roll then wrap it tightly with foil. Place it on a steamer then steam for an hour. Remove from steamer and let it cool for 15 minutes, slice with foil on, remove the foil individually then serve as is or shallow fried with ketchup.
ARISTOCRAT-INSPIRED BAKED & SMOKED CHICKEN WITH JAVA RICE
5 boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1/4 cup of Sprite or 7-Up
1/2 cup kecap manis or sweet soy sauce
4 cloves of crushed garlic
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
A squeeze or two of calamansi juice
2 Tbsps vegetable oil
FOR JAVA SAUCE
1/4 cup kecap manis or sweet soy sauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter or finely ground peanuts
1 garlic clove
FOR JAVA RICE
4 cups cooked rice (cooked a day earlier and left in the refrigerator to cool)
1/4 cup margarine
1 tbsp annatto seeds
3 cloves crushed garlic
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps tomato ketchup
1 piece all-natural charcoal, about the size of a lemon
1 tsp of oil
Half of a large onion, sliced horizontally
Combine chicken marinade in zip lock bag and leave to marinate in refrigerator for at least 12 hours. For best results, marinate for 48 hrs. Let chicken come to room temperature when about to cook. Meanwhile, prepare java sauce by processing all ingredients in food processor until well-blended and they’ve reached desired consistency. Adjust by adding a little water if you want it thinner or more peanut butter and kecap manis if you want it thicker. Set aside. When ready to cook chicken, thread pieces into skewers and place on rack on top of jelly roll pan lined with aluminum foil and filled with around 1/2 cup of water. Bake chicken in 200C/400F oven for about 20 minutes, basting once with some java sauce, either halfway through cooking or right before baking. Check for doneness and remove. Prepare wok for smoking process. Arrange cooked skewers in wok, leaving space in center. Put onion-half on small, hard ceramic or metal bowl and place in center of wok. Heat charcoal over flame until smoldering and red, then put on top of onion. Pour a little oil over live coal and as soon as it starts to smoke, cover wok immediately, making sure smoke does not come out. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. The longer you let it sit, the more smoke will be infused into meat.
Prepare java rice. Heat margarine in small saucepan and add annatto seeds. Heat gently over low heat until oil turns golden orange (about 5 minutes), swirling seeds several times. Strain oil then discard seeds. Pour oil into large wok and heat. Add crushed garlic and saute until fragrant. Add rice and fry for a few minutes, until all grains are coated with oil and have taken up color. Add soy sauce, then ketchup, then fry for another two to three minutes. Remove chicken from wok, discard coal and onion, and serve with java rice, java sauce and some pickled vegetables.
Bibingka – Angsarap.Net
2 cups rice flour
2 cups sugar
2½ cup coconut milk
6 eggs, beaten
5 tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tbsp margarine, melted
2 pcs salted duck egg, sliced
Sift together rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using a hand mixer beat eggs until frothy, add sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and start mixing together. Add melted margarine and coconut milk. Mix evenly using a hand mixer at low speed. Prepare some moulds lined with banana leaf. A muffin pan was used for this recipe. Pour in batter into your moulds up to ¾ full. Bake in a 190C preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven then place salted egg slices. Place back into the oven and bake for 15 more minutes or until cooked (top should be a bit brown, like the photo above). Remove from oven then brush with margarine and top with grated coconut. Serve while hot.
2½ cups glutinous rice
4 cups coconut cream
¾ cup sugar
For the topping
2 cups coconut cream
250 g palm sugar or dark brown sugar
In a pot combine all rice cake ingredients apart from the banana leaves, bring it to a boil while constantly stirring, then continue simmer while constantly stirring for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed by the rice. Line a rectangular dish (11 x 7 x 2 in) with banana leaves then pour the cooked rice mixture, flatten and distribute evenly across the dish. On a sauce pan over combine the coconut cream and palm sugar, cook in medium heat wilt constantly stirring until the liquid has reduced in half. Pour and spread the topping evenly into the rice mixture and bake on a 180C pre-heated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Let it cool before serving.
BRAZO DE MERCEDES
For the Meringue
10 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar
¼ cup powdered sugar
For the Custard Filling
10 egg yolks, beaten
1 (14 ounces) can condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
In a double broiler over low heat, combine milk, vanilla extract, egg yolks and lemon zest. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 30 to 40 minutes or until mixture thickens into a spreadable paste. Transfer custard into a bowl and cover with wax paper until ready to use.
In a bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat at low speed. As the egg whites start to turn opaque and begin to fluff into a thick foam, gradually add the sugar in small amounts and continue to beat while gradually increasing speed of mixer until stiff peaks form. The whipped whites will be smooth and glossy, with no sugar grains.
Line a 14 x 16 baking sheet with wax paper and lightly grease surface of paper. Transfer meringue onto prepared baking sheet and using a spatula, spread evenly across into about ¼-inch thick. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 20 minutes or until meringue is set and top has turned to light brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Using a fine mesh sieve, light dust top with powdered sugar. Place another layer of greased wax paper and another baking sheet over meringue. Gently invert meringue onto the new baking sheet and peel the wax paper on top. Spoon custard on top and spread evenly on cooked meringue, leaving about ¼ without filling. Starting on the filled side, carefully roll meringue into a log. Cover both ends of the brazo de mercedes with wax paper and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. To serve, cut into desired thickness.
4 cups young coconut, shredded
1 (30 ounces) can fruit cocktail, drained
1 (15 ounces) can sweet corn kernels, drained
1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (12 ounces) nata de coco
1 (12 ounces) kaong
1 cup Eden or Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 (14 ounces) can table cream
In a large bowl, combine young coconut, fruit cocktail, pineapple, corn, kaong, nata de coco, cheese, condensed milk and cream. Stir gently to distribute.
Chill for a few hours or freeze until firm.
For the Meringue
8 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
1½ cups toasted cashews, chopped
320g butter, softened
8 egg yolks
1¼ cup white sugar
⅔ cup water
4 tsp rum
2 cups toasted cashews, chopped
Meringue: In a mixing bowl add egg whites and beat until foamy. Add cream of tartar and gradually add sugar, continue beating until it forms stiff peaks.
Fold in the cashew nuts. Prepare 3 round pans (9 in) and line them with baking paper. Divide meringue equally into the pan then bake in a 160C preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until top is light golden brown. Once time is up turn heat off then leave meringue in the oven to dry it out, if you want a chewy texture you can leave it in the oven for 30 minutes but if you want it crunchy leave it in the oven for 2 hours, do not open the oven door.
French Buttercream: In a large bowl cream butter using a hand mixer until light and fluffy. In another bowl beat egg yolks until light in color. In a saucepan add sugar and water, place it in stove top and bring it to a boil, continue to boil until it becomes thick like syrup. You can also test it by dropping a small amount of the sugar mixture in cold water it should form into a soft solid drop. Back to your egg yolks, beat them in high speed while pouring a very thin thread of the sugar mixture. Add the butter and rum while beating in high speed. This stage your Buttercream might be a bit runny, if that’s the case refrigerate until it hardens but still easily spread.
SANSRIVAL: Remove meringue in the oven then place them into a cake stand. Place one meringue in the bottom then spread a layer of butter cream on top, sprinkle ¼ cup of chopped cashews on top. Place another layer on top and repeat with the remaining meringue until all layers are used. Cover everything with the buttercream, smooth sides with spatula then sprinkle the remaining cashews. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. Don’t worry the cake will not harden.
1 (7 ounces) roll tablea cacao
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
In a pot over medium heat, heat milk just until bubbles begin to form around the edge and steam begins to rise from the milk. Stir regularly to prevent film layer from forming.
Add the tablea and continue to cook, stirring regularly, until completely dissolved. Add peanut butter and stir until dissolved. If using sugar, add at this point. Transfer into a serving pot. Twirl batidor in chocolate mixture for about 2 to 3 minute or until frothy. If using a mechanical frother, insert frother whisk into serving pot and holding at a slight angle, turn on and move up and down for about 30 to 40 seconds or until frothy. Serve hot. For this recipe, Antonio Pueo Tablea Cacao brand which contains sugar was used. If you are using pure tablea, sweeten the drink with sugar to taste.
Meet our foodie contributors!
Raymund Macaalay is an IT professional living in New Zealand. He says, “I’m neither a cook, nor a chef, but I love cooking and it is my passion. My brain is abused at work on a daily basis so cooking at the end of the day acts as my therapy for stress release. I have been cooking since I was 7 years old. I learned mostly by observing my Aunt. I learned to bake by assisting my mom during my younger years, and for the native dishes I learned it from my grandmother.” Raymund’s other passion is photography which explains the mouth-watering food shots in his blog. Together with his wife and daughter, he launched Ang Sarap in March 2010 to share their love for food with the rest of the world.
US-based Lalaine Manalo, creator of the blog Kawaling Pinoy, is a Food Service Director in a skilled nursing facility. She manages the daily operations of a full-scale kitchen that produces hundreds of mostly-from-scratch meals a day. But on Saturdays, Sundays and nights, she develops recipes, shoots food photos and writes about her culinary experiences for her blog. She shares, “I guess you can say, I do for fun, what I do for work.” She furthers, “My family meals are mostly the simple and basic afritada, adobo or sinigang, but I certainly do not shy away from balut, isaw, adidas and such things that make Filipino cuisine unique. One of the dishes I terribly miss from home is ginisang camaro or sauteed crickets in tomatoes. Yes, crickets!” Through Kawaling Pinoy, Lalaine showcases her passion for Filipino and Asian-inspired cuisine one-pot-at-a-time.
JB & RENEE MACATULAD
What started out as blog about nothing in particular blossomed into a food and travel blog for “traveleaters” husband and wife team JB and Renee Macatulad. Now, Sushibytes.com provides the best of both worlds for global nomads and foodies alike with sections such as ‘When We Wander’ – the travel section, ‘I Ate Manila’ – reviewd of new Manila restaurants, as well as Renéelicious Recipes where Renées mouth-watering culinary creations, such as this month’s featured take on paella, inspired by their travels are featured.