Monthly Archives: June 2012

Kare-kare, Vegan

Kare-kare is a Filipino stew with ox tail, tripe, and vegetables in thick peanut sauce. It’s usually served during special occasions perhaps because the procedure is painstakingly delicate. With the help of my mom, we both re-invented Kare-Kare to a vegan dish full of soulful flavor and familiar taste.

Kare-kare is best served with shrimp paste or bagoong and steamed rice on the side. As alternative to bagoong, you could used fermented black bean sauce with garlic, which worked out well.

As opposed to the traditional version, this vegan recipe doesn’t cost much to make. Also, Kare-kare is notorious for going bad right away. The vegan version, however, can stay outside the fridge without getting spoiled instantly.

To replace the beef tripe, I resorted to something innovative found at vegan Vietnamese restaurants: Chinese Snow fungus. After soaking it in water, the chewy fungus provides the same texture as tripe minus the cruelty. Not to mention incorporating Snow fungus provides tremendous health benefits. In fact it is used as an herb in Chinese medicine. Win-win all around.

vegan tripe

Here’s what the package looks like:

vegan tripe package snow fungus

Makes 6-8 servings


  • 2 tbsp garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 banana blossom, sliced
  • 2 pcs eggplant, sliced
  • 1 bundle pechay or Filipino bokchoy
  • 6 pcs of Chinese Snow Fungus, soaked in water
  • 1 cup toasted peanuts, powdered using a food processor
  • 1/2 cup toasted white rice, powdered using a food processor
  • 1 small bunch string beans, cut to 2 inch slices
  • 2-3 tbsp. achuete or annato powder, fully dissolved in a 1/2 cup water
  • 1 /2 cup  vegetable broth or 4 tbsp vegetable buillon broth powder
  • cooking oil
  • 3-6 tbsp fermented black bean garlic sauce (as condiment), available at most grocery stores

vegan kare kare with rice

  • On cutting the banana blossom, first peel the 3-5 outer layers. Smear your knife with lemon or lime juice then slice the bud in six portions. Quickly soak the banana bud in water with salt, otherwise its sap will turn black.
  • Toast the rice and peanuts on a pan over medium heat. Constantly stir for about 15 minutes or until rice and peanuts are fully light brown. Pulverize in a food processor. Set aside.
  • The annatto powder doesn’t dissolve instantly in water so soak for about 20 minutes before using (or you may whisk it to constantly dissolve).

vegan kare kare close up


  1. In a large pot, saute the garlic with oil until fragrant. Followed by onions.
  2. Add the eggplant, 8 cups of water, and vegetable broth and put to a boil to soften the eggplant.
  3. Once the eggplant is soft, add the banana blossom, string beans, and snow fungus.
  4. Add more water (about 4 more cups) then add the ground rice and peanuts. Mix and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Adjust the taste and consistency of the sauce by adding more vegetable broth or ground peanuts. The sauce should be thick but not too gooey. If it gets too thick, add more water until it loosens up.The taste should be savory but not overpowering. Simmer until boiling.
  6. Add the bok choy or pechay. Mix to incorporate all the ingredients.
  7. Turn off the heat. Serve hot with black bean sauce and rice on the side.

Halo-Halo, Vegan

I ran out of ice cream in the fridge and I found myself craving for something cold and sweet to beat the weather.

“What else can I make?” I wondered. “Oh, but of course, Halo-halo!” (pronounced ha-loh ha-loh and NOT halo like angel halo).

Growing up in Digman, where Halo-halo originated from, I terribly missed this drink. Not that it’s hard to re-create. Most Asian and Filipino stores carry the ingredients. So without much contemplating, I drove to the store and bought the ingredients as well as an ice shaver (only $8.99 for the shaver, Score!).

By the way “halo” is Tagalog for “mix”, which pretty much describes the drink: a mix of sweetened tropical fruits, milk, and ice.

Halo-halo is similar to the Vietnamese jelly drinks except the Filipino version has more ingredients mixed with evaporated milk and topped with purple and yellow flan.  To veganize it, I incorporated the Vietnamese component of using coconut milk. Soymilk and Almond milk can also be used. For the purple flan, I used Will Peji’s recipe for “Ube Halaya“.

Instead of having to buy all the sweetened fruits separately which can be expensive, I found a Halo-halo mix that has all the needed fruits in one jar. The fruits were sweet coconut jelly, red beans, jackfruit, bananas, and white beans.


Makes 1-2 servings, Ready in 5 minutes!


  • 5-6 tbsp. Halo-halo sweet fruit mix
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (or soymilk or almond milk)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup shaved ice
  • 2-3 tablespoon toasted rice flakes (or rice crisps)
  • 1 slice of Ube Halaya (optional) (see below for recipe)

halo halo ingredients



  1. Add about 3 tablespoons sweet fruits in a glass.
  2. Add a little bit of shaved ice
  3. Add another 3tablespoons sweet fruits
  4. Add the rest of the shaved ice
  5. Carefully pour the milk all over the drink
  6. Add the rice flakes/crisps
  7. Top with Ube Yam
  8. Enjoy!

vegan halo halo
After carefully putting the ingredients in layers, now you can destroy by mixing them well! hehe The layering is for the eyes, the mixing is for the tummy.

And here’s Will Peji‘s recipe for Ube Halaya Yam:

4-6 Servings


  • 1 lb frozen grated Ube (Purple Yam) Thawed
  • 1 cup Turbinado Sugar/Brown Sugar
  • 1 can Coconut Milk (I used light one for this)
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Butter


  1. Heat cooking pot then put in butter and let it melt
  2. Add coconut milk and let it boil
  3. Add Brown Sugar stir well
  4. Lower the heat then add the ube mix well
  5. Stir occasionally until the ube becomes thick about 15-20 mins.
  6. Put Ube in a mold or container and let it cool  I used soup bowl for this one
  7. Refrigerate to 2hrs and serve

OR You can also try Allyson’s delicious VEGAN UBE ICE CREAM to top your Halo-halo. Enjoy!!!


Where to eat Vegan: Central Vegetarian, Alameda

Aside from Hayward, another unexpected Bay Area city that has pockets of vegan goodness is Alameda. In here, you can find, “Central Vegetarian Cuisine“, an Asian restaurant that offers wide selection of vegan dishes.

For appetizer, we ordered Lotus Salad. I loved the crunch, the refreshing sweetness and the slight tang, not to mention the spicy kick in the end. This dish became my instant favorite.

For entree, we ordered Jalapeno Tofu with rice on the side. I had no idea it also came with vegetables, definitely a nice surprise. Another instant favorite.

We also got Tamarind “Beef”, which I found a little too tangy even with some rice. I should have known better, it’s called Tamarind for a reason (duh!). But the bland crunchy pita bread on the side gave good balance in taste and texture.

Aside from the delicious food, the server was prompt and friendly. She made sure we were having a good time. In fact,  after our meal, she served us a vegan chocolate mocha cake-on the house!

While Chris and I were enjoying our dessert, we couldn’t help but notice the Tagalog conversation next to us. We weren’t trying to eavesdrop. We were just in awe to find out there were other Filipinos in the restaurant (spotting a Filipino in a vegan restaurant is like spotting a shark that eats only vegetables-which also does exist!).

I mustered up some courage and went up to them. I politely introduced myself and Chris. Thankfully, they were just as glad to meet us. One of the two, Tuesday (yup that’s her name!), said she was visiting the US for only few weeks. She said if we ever visit back Manila, she got some vegan recommendations for us.

So far, Tuesday recommended:

She also tweeted:

And oh, no, she’s not a 3 year old girl like pictured. She looked more like she’s in her twenties. Anyway, I’m glad I had a wonderful meal and met new friends and vegan connections that day. Thanks Central Veg!


My nephew Christian turned 3 this weekend. Of course his auntie got him some yummy vegan goodies. He was so excited at the sight of his cake that he immediately poked it.



I got the vegan cake from the bakery, “The Sweet Art Of Cake” in Hayward.  Yes, Hayward! For those who may not know,  Bay Area vegans usually find vegan restaurants and bakeries in Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco, and definitely not in small towns like Hayward-until this weekend.

“The Sweet Art of Cake” is not all vegan but they do offer a wide variety of vegan baked goods. In fact, the baker admitted she removed some labels that says “vegan” because folks would turn them down right away. She would eventually disclose that they were vegan after the customers keep going back for more. There, myth busted!



Learning that this bakery exists in Hayward is music to my ears because the bakery is only 10 minutes away from home. My only regret was I wish I learned about this place sooner.

Chris and I then headed to another spot for the other goodies we ordered, Sesame Chickum and Sauteed green beans.



Christian’s birthday cake had colorful vegan fondant on the outside, and vegan Red Velvet inside, layered with vegan vanilla icing. Heaven I say.

The cake was good for 12-15 people, priced at only $35!



The party was not all vegan considering I’m the only one in the family who has the lifestyle. Nevertheless, they prepared something for me and Chris like Ginataan, and tons of fresh fruits. In return, they also enjoyed the vegan goodies I brought and made.



Christian and his big brother (Kuya) Charles, with their vegan red bean popsicles!!!


With the grandmas, grandpa:


The whole gang!




I’d like to take this chance to invite you to an upcoming potluck AstigVegan is collaborating with KapaMEALya.  I’d love to see you there and hang out over good food and good vibes under the sun.

Please RSVP so we can have a headcount.

I’m looking forward, see you then!


Ice Cream Love: Homemade Mango Ice Cream & Red Bean Popsicle

Although it’s easy to just buy ice cream at a store, there’s something about it being homemade (or anything really) that makes it more special.

To decide on the flavors, I went for my ultimate childhood favorites: mango and munggo (red mung beans). These two flavors are the most popular ones in the Philippines, along with jackfruit, macapuno, ube, corn, and cheese (yes corn, yes cheese).

When the bloghop challenge this month was announced to be ice cream, I jumped on the chance to recreate my childhood favorites-vegan.


  • The mango ice cream recipe requires an ice cream maker, the red bean popsicle doesn’t.
  • I used coconut cream as the base instead of soy or almond, which resulted to a gelato like texture: creamy!





  • 2 cans of coconut cream
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder or kudzu powder,  mixed in 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup (and another 1/4 cup agave to mix with the mangoes)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks (and another cup for garnish-optional), thawed


  1. In a medium pot, simmer the coconut cream over medium heat.
  2. Add the salt and and vegan butter.
  3. Add the arrowroot powder and stir until it’s well incorporated. Turn off the heat. Let it cool. After about 20 minutes, you could put it in the fridge to cool faster.
  4. In a separate pot, heat the agave and maple syrup. Reduce until it’s only 3/4 cup. Turn off the heat and let it cool. Like the coconut cream, after about 20 minutes, you could put the syrup in the fridge to cool faster.
  5. Use the other 1/4 cup agave to mix with the mango chunks. Grind the sweetened mangoes in a food processor (don’t pulse, you’d still want bits for some texture).
  6. Add the coconut cream to the food processor and continue to grind or chop. You should have a smooth, creamy texture.
  7. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and freeze for 2-3 hours.
  8. Put the mixture in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  9. You’re done! You should end up with a gelato style homemade vegan mango ice cream!

If you don’t have the time or an ice cream maker, or if you want to try a new and exciting flavor like red beans, feel free to try this recipe:




  • Same ingredients as the mango ice cream except instead of mango chunks, you’ll be using sweetened red beans. You could get the red beans at any Asian or Filipino grocery stores.
  • Popsicle mold (available at any grocery stores especially this season)



  1. Follow the directions above from steps 1-4.
  2. Put about a tbsp of red beans on each of the mold.
  3. Then pour the coconut cream to the mold.
  4. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
  5. Enjoy!

red beans  popsicle

This month is Ice Cream Blog hop month. Please join in on the #icecreamlove fun by linking up any ice cream/frozen treats recipe from the month of June OR July 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #icecreamlove event! The twitter hashtag is #icecreamlove :).


The blog hop is being co-hosted by

AstigVegan – Richgail – @AstigVegan | Baker Street  – Anuradha – @bakerstreet29 | Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves – Becky Higgins | BigFatBaker –  Erin Meyer – @bigfatbaker | Bon à croquer – Valerie – @Valouth | Cakeballs, cookies and more – Sue Alexander | Cheap Ethnic Eatz –  Evelyne cethniceatz | Georgiecakes –  Georgie Kubarych – @GeorgieCakes | Hobby And More –  Richa -@betit19 |
Mis Pensamientos – Junia – @juniakk | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies  – T.R. – @TRCrumbley | Pippi’s In The Kitchen Again  Sheila – Lais – @shlylais | Queen’s Notebook –  Elizabeth Besa Quirino – @Mango_Queen | Rico sin Azúcar –  @ricosinazucar |Simply Reem –  Reem Simplyreem | Soni’s Food for Thought –  Soni – @sonisfood | That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!! – Liz – @thatskinnychick |The Spicy RD – EA Stewart – @thespicyrd | Vegetarian Mamma – Cindy – @vegetarianmamma | You Made That?  – Suzanne – @Youmadethatblog

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