Category Archives: Recipes

maja blanca vegan with text

Ready for Spring: Maja Blanca Recipe

During my early vegan days, I wasn’t sure if I would ever meet another vegan let alone find myself in a community of vegans. Much to my surprise, not only did I find myself in a community of vegans, I found myself in a community of vegans that could cook! And because my friends and I love to cook, we would throw potlucks every once in a while. 

Recently, we gathered together for yet another potluck. My friend Jenn at @Jenncooks hosted a spring vegan potluck at her lovely home in Lafayette. The potluck theme was spring so i thought of bringing something light like my Citrus Kinilaw and Maja Blanca pudding.

maja blanca med side shotMaja Blanca is a Filipino dessert made mainly of coconut and sweet corn. It’s light yet rich, creamy, and sweet. I topped my Maja Blanca with the traditional “latik” or toasted coconut milk curds which I achieved by simply reducing the coconut milk until it turns into brown crumbles. 

Making Maja Blanca is very simple because it uses only few ingredients. If there’s any hard part, I would say it’s achieving the right thickness of the pudding before cooling it down. Another key to a great Maja Blanca is using high quality ingredients.  I made my coconut milk from scratch instead of using canned coconut milk and resorted to corn on the cob instead of using canned corn. I ended up running out of fresh coconut milk for my latik however, so I used canned coconut milk. 

 

MAJA BLANCE RECIPE: 

Serves 10-12

Cooking time: 35 minutes, plus one hour for cool down

maja blanca overhead shot

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cups of coconut milk
  • 2 cups sweet corn kernels
  • 2 cups evaporated cane sugar, plus more to taste 
  • 3/4 cup corn starch mixed in 1 1/2 cup water or coconut milk. You may need more depending on the brand of your corn starch. See my notes below for details.

For the latik:

  • 1 cup coconut milk or coconut cream

NOTES:

  • White sugar is not vegan because it uses animal bone char in its filtration process, so I used evaporated cane sugar for this recipe.
  • You may use fresh or canned coconut milk. I used coconut milk made from scratch which produced better flavor, but I also understand it’s more convenient to use canned coconut milk. I’ll leave it up to you.
  • Traditionally, Maja Blanca calls for yellow sweet corn but white corn works fine as long as you cook it thoroughly so it will not have much bite.
  • The amount of corn starch needed may differ from brand to brand. You may need only 3/4 cup or you may need 4 cups! Rule of thumb is to keep adding the corn starch mixture bit by bit to the coconut milk so you could control the consistency. The goal is to have a thick paste. If you end up adding a lot more corn starch than anticipated, add more sugar to adjust the flavor. 

maja blanca vegan

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. Pour the coconut milk in a pot over medium heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the corn and let it cook until the corn softens throughly. You may taste test the corn every 5-8 minutes to see if it’s cooked and soft enough.
  3. Add the sugar and mix well.
  4. Pour the corn starch mixture bit by bit. Do not pour all at once. Keep stirring to avoid any lumps. Keep adding more corn starch mixture until you’ve gotten a thick paste. The consistency should be gooey like glue. 
  5. Taste and add more sugar if desired. 
  6. Turn off the heat then transfer the pudding to a serving container, preferably a mold like a pyrex glass. 
  7. Let it cool down to solidify (about 45 minutes to an hour).
  8. Serve with toasted coconut milk curds or latik on top. 

maja blanca side shot

HOW TO MAKE TOASTED COCONUT MILK CURDS OR LATIK:

  1. Using a medium-size pan over high heat, pour the coconut milk.
  2. Put it into a boil without stirring until it reduces in half. 
  3. Lower the heat then lightly but constantly stir the coconut milk until it forms into curds and eventually into brown crumbles, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and top the latik on Maja Blanca.

 

My Maja Blanca was a success. My friends seemed very curious of the dish. They also seemed to enjoy eating it along with the rest of the delicious food everybody brought to the potluck.

Below are some of the highlights of the event. I snapped only few photos because I was in the moment, enjoying the company of my friends. Believe it or not, I met them all through Instagram! So if you think you’re the only vegan in your group, feel free to start your own vegan meet up and who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself at the presence of talented vegan cooks!

 

 

SCENES FROM THE LADIES’ SPRING VEGAN POTLUCK:

spring vegan potluck the spread

The delicious spread, and this is not even everything. We ran out of space so we set the desserts on a different area.

 

my plate spring vegan potluck

 

 

vegan asian meatballs

Vegan Asian meatballs brought by Jen at @whollyvegan

 

 

eggless egg salad

Eggless Egg Salad by Kimberly at @mylifeinpic

 

spring vegan potluck artichoke crab cakes

Artichoke crab cakes made by the host, Jenn at @jenncooks, from the cookbook “But I Could Never Go Vegan!”

 

vegan nachos

Nacho combo spread by Rosie at @rose_petalz from the cookbook, “Isa Does It”. 

 

tempeh crackers

Tempeh crackers by Roshi at @roshibrian

 

vegan kahlua cake

Vegan Kahlua Cake by Jen at @whollyvegan

 

vegan cinnamon rolls

Vegan cinnamon rolls also by Jen at @whollyvegan

 

vegan spring potluck dessert 1

Vegan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake by Cassie at @cassiedlr

 

vegan meringue

Vegan Meringue (from the magic of chickpea brine!) by Eve at @evesfca

 

maja blanca

My tray of Maja Blanca served on banana leaves

 

vegan spring potluck dessert

Another delicious dessert by Kimberly at @mylifeinpic

 There are many more dishes not pictured such as the scrumptious “Quinoa-stuffed Squash” made by Brandi at @brandirevisited, “Strawberry Quinoa Salad” by Lauren at @laurenbyogi from the cookbook, “Oh She Glows”, Vietnamese Salad with “chick-un” (made from scratch) by Kathy at @ktkinoakland, and the “better-than-Reese’s” peanut butter cups (in my humble opinion), by Charlie at @thedoughgirl, from the cookbook “But I could Never go Vegan!”, and many, many more!

 

spring vegan potluck with friends group photo

 

spring vegan potluck

As you could imagine, I went home stuffed to the gills -and with two containers of to-go food. Good times indeed.

Now that the weather is warming (even more) here in California, I look forward to more potlucks and gatherings. Feel free to make and bring Maja Blanca to your own get-together. I hope you’ll have a lovely time at your event as much as I did. Happy Spring!

 

 

 

malunggay close up

Moringa, the other Superfood

Way before I discovered and tried kale, goji berries, maca powder, and hemp seeds, I was munching on these tiny, green leaves called Moringa or in Tagalog “Malunggay“. I fondly recall the name Malunggay because that’s what my aunts would call my mom -her name is Malou so hence the nickname, “Malou-nggay“.

Growing up in the Philippines, I used to take Moringa for granted as just another leafy green accompanying the main meat ingredient on the plate. Little did I know Malunggay is potent with nutrients such as Vitamin A, B, and C, protein, calcium, and eight of the essential amino acids. Moringa is praised for benefits such as mental awareness and healthy skin. Nowadays, superfoods are the latest craze so lo and behold Moringa re-introduces itself with a much stronger reputation.

In the Philippines, you could now spot all kinds of Moringa products from herbal teas, to Moringa-infused pan de sal bread, to vitamin supplements. I saw this first hand from my trip to the Philippines a year and a half ago. You name it and you could bet it has Moringa in it. But why wouldn’t Filipinos just skip the supplements and eat the fresh Moringa plant itself especially when the plant grows there abundantly? I have no clue. 

malunggay wide shot

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I could still access fresh Moringa. I think they are imported from Hawaii. I would spot Moringa sold at Asian grocery stores at $2.99 a pound. I know, expensive! Still, I think it’s wise to spend my money on nutritious food so in the end, it’s not a waste of money at all. Hopefully I could find my way into growing my own Moringa plant.

So how do you prepare and eat Moringa? First, you have to thoroughly wash it. When cooking with it, remove the leaves from the stem. Only the leaves are desired. The stems are not poisonous or toxic or anything like that, they’re just too tough to chew because they don’t break down easily. You could put Moringa leaves in soups, stews, even in smoothies. Moringa leaves have a mild earthy flavor when cooked, sometimes I couldn’t taste them at all.

malunggay close up

Filipinos traditionally put Moringa in a dish called “Tinola“, a savory soup with chicken, rice washing, and vegetables such as Moringa, string beans, and papaya. I veganize it by using vegetable broth and mushrooms.  You could find the recipe for it hereTinola is best enjoyed with a side of rice (as most Filipino dishes are).

tinola with malunggay moringgaIf you couldn’t find fresh Moringa leaves, you could get dry powdered versions at health stores, specialty stores, and online. The powdered versions are great in smoothies. 

malunggay powder

malunggay smoothie wide ingredients

Just add a teaspoon or two of Moringa powder and blend away. I’ve tried making a Moringa smoothie with 1/4 cup of raw almonds, 1 banana, 1 apple, and a teaspoon of maca powder.

malunggay smoothie wide

 

Of course you could also try fresh Moringa leaves in smoothies. Just add one cup of fresh Moringa leaves along with the same portion of fruits and vegetables you would usually use in your smoothie recipe.

Take heed though that raw Moringa leaves have a more earthy flavor than cooked ones. Feel free to add sweeteners like dates. For me, bananas and apples did the job of adding sweetness but I know some people may still want to make their smoothies sweeter.

I did try making a Moringa smoothie with coconut water and pineapple and the combo was not good. The flavor was a bit off. I think it’s best to stick with apples, bananas, almonds, and the like, instead of going with a tropical flair.

Have you tried Moringa before? In what dishes have you tried it with? 

 

steamed dumplings med shot

Vegan Adobo Dumplings for the Chinese New Year

For the longest time, I thought making Chinese dumplings requires a special skill only dumpling masters have a talent for. I would have skipped making dumplings any other time but the upcoming holiday, Chinese New Year, has inspired me to finally give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I could make dumplings at the comfort of my kitchen using simple ingredients and attainable cooking techniques.

I may not be Chinese (although a lot of people say I look like one) but I thought making dumplings for the Chinese New Year would be fun. To change things up a bit, I infused a Filipino flavor by adding seasonings I would usually put in my Filipino vegetable Adobo such as soy sauce, vinegar, and lots of garlic.

I used store-bought dumpling wrappers to make things easier and simpler. Maybe someday I’ll make the wrappers from scratch. For now, I’m in no hurry. I’ve learned that starting slowly but surely is the key to getting Chinese dumplings right (or in learning any skill for that matter).

steamed dumplings wide shot

steamed dumplingssteamed dumplings med shot

Compared to my prior post about Suman Moron, I thought of posting more photos this time to describe the ingredients I used as well as the procedures I did -particularly the pleating and sealing of the wrapper.

 






Spinach and Tofu Adobo Dumplings

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 3-5

Spinach and Tofu Adobo Dumplings

Making dumplings at home couldn't get any easier. Celebrate and welcome the Chinese New Year with a touch of Filipino flair by making Spinach and Tofu Adobo Steamed Dumplings, with simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and fridge.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch spinach, thoroughly washed, cut in half
  • 1 extra firm tofu, minced
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoon organic sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch mixed in 6 tablespoons of water
  • 1 pack dumpling wrapper
  • water, for steaming
  • For the dipping sauce:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • drizzle of chili oil
  • Equipment:
  • medium size pan
  • tongs
  • steamer (bamboo steamer preferably but not required)
  • parchment paper, cut holes so the steam could get through (you may also use banana leaves )

Directions

  1. Heat a medium size pan over low heat, pour the sesame oil.
  2. Saute the garlic for a minute or two
  3. Add the spinach, tofu, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, white pepper, and sugar. Mix well and let it cook until the spinach wilts and reduces its size in half. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Pour the corn starch mixture and stir to fully incorporate. Let it cook until the consistency turns thick (about 5 minutes). Then turn off the heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes.
  5. Take about a teaspoon of the filling and place it on the center of a dumpling wrapper sheet
  6. Lightly form a half circle, like a taco.
  7. Using your hands, fold a small pleat on only one side of the wrapper (preferably the side closest to you) and press the pleat to the other side. Remember, you do not need to form pleats on both sides, just the side closest to you.
  8. Keep forming small pleats until you've sealed the whole wrapper. Then gently press down all over the dumpling to tightly seal and release any air.
  9. You'll notice that once you're done with pleating, the top part has curved up a bit (because you've pleated only one side of the wrapper).
  10. Now you're ready to steam the dumplings! Place a piece of parchment paper (with holes on them) on the steamer basket. Pour water in the steamer and put the water to a boil.
  11. Steam the dumplings for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Remove from the steamer and serve immediately.
  13. Alternatively, you may also pan fry the dumplings to make them into potstickers. Just heat a pan over medium heat. Pour two tablespoons of oil and let it heat for 3-5 minutes. Fry the dumplings on one side until golden brown. Turn off the heat. Keeping your distance away from the pan, pour about 1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth to steam the dumplings for about two minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pan and serve hot with soy sauce dipping.

Notes

It's best to use top quality extra-firm tofu. I like to use the brand, Hodo Soy. I could honestly eat Hodo Soy straight from the package.

Some dumpling wrappers have eggs in them. Just read the label to make sure there are no animal products. You could find dumpling wrappers at most Asian markets and grocery stores.

It'll be easier to wrap dumplings if you go slow at first; you'll get the hang of it by the third or fourth dumpling.

Do not put too much filling or else the dumpling will be hard to seal.

I find it easier to use both of my hands when pleating the dumplings and gently pressing the filling down if I need to make more room for pleating.

You could either steam or pan fry the dumplings. Here, I tried both ways and both are absolutely delicious!

http://www.astigvegan.com/vegan-adobo-dumplings-for-the-chinese-new-year/

As it turns out, making Chinese dumplings was not only doable, it was fun too! After steaming the dumplings, I also pan fried them to make potstickers.

Did you know that legend has it that potstickers were invented by accident? A chef in China’s Imperial Court left the dumplings on the stove for too long. He ran out of time to make another batch so he served the “burnt ones” anyway announcing they were his new creation. The court members loved them and the rest they say is history!

pot sticker3pot sticker1

pot sticker cu

I suggest serving the dumplings immediately while they are still hot and with hot tea on the side -preferably jasmine green tea or Dragonwell (my favorite!).

Gung Hei Fat Choy!

 

susan moron medium shot

Suman Moron for Valentines Day

The name itself is a conversation starter. After all, it sounds like you’re referring to “moron” as in “idiot” in the English language. Perhaps you could make it a clever way to break the ice on a date and have a good chuckle. Or to spite Valentines Day when it is not your preferred holiday. After all, just like that Kaiser commercial says, Valentines Day is one of the most polarizing holidays of the year -either you love it or you hate it. 

But my favorite reason to make Suman Moron for Valentines Day is to have something else aside from the usual heart-shaped chocolate bars. Don’t get me wrong; I love a dark chocolate bar as much as the next vegan girl, but it’s good to try something new every once in a while.

suman moron medium shot

susan moron side shotSuman Moron, or Mor-on, or Muron is a type of Suman, a Filipino sweet rice dessert wrapped in aromatic leaves. Suman Moron is made of two sweet layers -vanilla and chocolate. The vanilla layer has sweetened glutinous rice flour while the chocolate layer has the same thing but with chocolate and brown sugar. Both layers are twisted together then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed for flavor infusion. The result is a heavenly combination of sweet flavor and chewy texture. 

By the way, you pronounce “Moron” swiftly in one breath, NOT “more-on”, unless you’re cracking a joke or giving it to one (just kidding!).

 

Suman Moron for Valentines Day

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 3-4

Suman Moron for Valentines Day

A two-layer sweet treat with ground chewy rice and chocolate.

Ingredients

    For the vanilla layer:
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • For the chocolate layer:
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • For assembly
  • banana leaves cut into big squares (or any desired size for wrapping)
  • oil for greasing the leaves
  • strings (I used twine)
  • water for steaming
  • steamer
  • 2 small pots for cooking the two layers
  • For topping (optional)
  • grated coconut
  • brown sugar
  • toasted crushed nuts

Directions

    Prepping the vanilla layer
  1. Before heating a small pot, add in the rice flour, glutinous rice flour, and organic sugar. Mix well.
  2. Pour the coconut milk and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  3. Turn on the heat to low heat and keep stirring (about 10-15 minutes) until the mixture turns into a thick paste. The result should be smooth with no lumps. If there are still lumps, it's not ready yet.
  4. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
  5. Prepping the chocolate layer
  6. Repeat the process of combining all of the ingredients in a separate small pot then heat and stir well until the mixture turns thick and smooth.
  7. Turn off the heat and let it cool down completely.
  8. Rolling
  9. Cut out banana leaves to desired sizes, as long as you make space for at least four inches top and bottom of the suman cake and at least an inch on the left and right sides of the suman cake.
  10. Lightly oil the leaves using your hands or a pastry brush.
  11. Roll the vanilla layer and chocolate layer separately. Designate a separate banana leaf for rolling the vanilla layer and another for rolling the chocolate layer.
  12. Take a tablespoon or two of the vanilla layer (or whichever layer you want to roll first), then place on the center of the banana leaf. Instead of rolling using your hands (which could get sticky and messy), roll the cake with the oiled leaf by rolling back and forth to form a cylinder.
  13. Repeat steps of rolling until all of the cake mixture are done.
  14. Repeat steps of rolling for the other layer.
  15. Wrapping
  16. Place both the vanilla and chocolate cakes side by side horizontally and twist them together to form a bigger cylinder.
  17. Position them on the bottom part of the oiled banana leaf and roll over to wrap tightly.
  18. Secure the ends by tying a string
  19. Repeat steps until all of the rolled cakes have been wrapped.
  20. Steaming
  21. Using a steamer (or an improvised one using a colander and a pot), fill with just enough water, making sure the water is not going to get inside your steamer basket or colander.
  22. Bring the water to a boil then bring down to a simmer.
  23. Place your wrapped suman cakes in the steamer and cover with a lid.
  24. Steam for 30-40 minutes.
  25. Turn off the heat and serve.

Notes

Glutinous rice flour is different from ordinary rice flour because it has a chewy texture. Think mochi.

Despite the name, glutinous rice flour does not have gluten.

You may buy both kinds of flour at any Asian grocery stores. If you cannot find them anywhere, you could make them from scratch by using a food processor or high-speed blender and ground up regular rice to make rice flour and ground up sticky rice to make glutinous rice flour.

You may buy banana leaves at the frozen section of Asian grocery stores and at the produce section of Hispanic grocery stores.

You may need to thaw the banana leaves if you bought them frozen. You may also wilt them slightly in the stove to release its aroma and to make the leaves more pliable for wrapping.

http://www.astigvegan.com/suman-moron-for-valentines-day/

 

susan moron wide shot

susan moron medium close up

As you could tell, the ingredients are very simple. The process -stirring, rolling, wrapping, and steaming, could seem overwhelming but it’s really not that complicated. Basically, after forming the ingredients into a smooth paste, you roll, wrap and steam. The result is worth it.

Suman Moron could be served with a variety of toppings or as is. It’s great with a hot drink like coffee or tea. You could store it in the fridge for up to a week but I suggest to warm it again before serving for best results.

I hope you enjoy making and eating Suman Moron whether you’re celebrating Valentines Day or not. Kain na, let’s eat!

crispy kale chips 2

The Perfect Kale Chips

I had always been unlucky with making kale chips; they were either soft and chewy or burnt and bitter. I could skip the hassle and just buy a package of kale chips at the store but the ones at the store are not as crunchy and crispy as I wanted them to be. Plus, I was convinced I would save tons of money if I just make my own kale chips, but how?

I looked at different kinds of recipes online and in cookbooks and finally found one that worked. And by “worked” I mean the result was crispy, crunchy goodness in every bite. I found the recipe on Food Network’s website of all places. I usually don’t like to go there because I rather check out a vegan site first, but I made an exception for the kale chips.

crispy kale chips 5First, I thoroughly washed the kale to get rid of dirt. By the way, I used curly kale, and NOT lacinato kale. I ripped the leaves out of the stem and saved the stem for later use, like for green smoothies. I thoroughly dried the leaves to get any water out. I placed the kale leaves on a baking sheet that was covered with parchment paper. Then I lightly coated the leaves with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled a pinch of sea salt.

The secret is to bake at a low oven temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit. I used to turn up my oven to 375 degrees, no wonder my kale chips don’t come out right!

Instead of setting a timer, I just kept a watchful eye to find out if the kale chips are getting crisp. I didn’t mind watching and waiting because they don’t take long to bake anyway, roughly less than 20 minutes. I would flip the leaves halfway through for an even texture.

crispy kale chips 2

The result came out to be perfect! And they stayed perfect even hours later. Next time, I’ll make a whole bunch and keep them around for later snacking. Keeping a stash would save my sanity from rummaging through the kitchen looking for something to eat when I’m starving.

Kale chips are not only a convenient snack, they’re healthy too. They’re a healthier option than potato chips and other kinds of junk food. I did use some fat but a bit of olive oil goes a long way. I also didn’t go crazy with the salt. If you have a dehydrator, feel free to use it instead of an oven. I encourage you to spread the healthy vibe to your loved ones by sharing your kale chips with them.  I look out for my dad’s health so I make kale chips for him, which comes in handy when he’s snacking in front of the tv. My dad especially loved the crispy version.

I also didn’t have to spend a fortune for my kale chips. I saved money by skipping going to the store, buying packaged kale chips, and risking buying other things that I don’t need but definitely want (hello vegan cheese).  Evo Vegan Gal would be proud of me.

 

 

vegan polvoron

Superfood Vegan Polvoron Recipe

“Super foods” used to be so foreign to me.  Back then, I wouldn’t even touch hemp seeds, maca root powder, chia seeds, and the like with a ten-foot pole. I was sticker shock by the price! They’re usually double if not triple the price compared to other vegetables and fruits in season. I just didn’t understand what was the big deal about them.

Next thing I know, I’m putting maca root, hemp seeds, chia seeds in my blender every time I make green smoothies. Oh no! What has become of me?! What happened to creating comfort foods that feed the soul? (Btw, I’m sipping my superfood-charged green smoothie as I’m typing this).

As it turns out super foods are not that bad tasting. I used to think hemp seed milk tastes nasty but the plain hulled hemp seeds themselves actually taste nutty and buttery. I was putting a teaspoon of maca root straight to the blender when I thought of tasting it first -it tastes nutty and buttery too! Hmm, I could put hemp seeds and maca root powder in a desert or snack, but what could it be? Something nutty, buttery, aha , polvoron!

Polvoron is a Filipino sweet treat traditionally with flour, powdered milk, butter, and sugar and sometimes crushed peanuts. I used to devour Polvoron when I was a kid; it had tons of powder that would leave my mouth dry and throat choking but I didn’t seem to mind because it was that good. Elders would advice to have a drink in hand when eating Polvoron. I remember powder would come out of my mouth every time I would speak after eating Polvoron. My friends and I would chuckle and make fun of ourselves.

Fast forward to today, I could have my vegan Polvoron and eat it too. I have made a vegan version before but it had soy milk powder and vegan butter, still processed and unhealthy. This new recipe is packed with nutrients. I needed to put only a bit of the maca root powder and hemp seeds so the price I paid for them turned out to be a good value after all.

 

SUPERFOOD VEGAN POLVORON
vegan polvoron

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup rice powder
  • 2 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1 teaspoon maca root powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons organic sugar (or date paste or date sugar for an even healthier alternative)
  • 3 tablespoons cashew cream (see recipe below)

Notes:

  • You could buy maca root powder and hemp seeds at health food stores or online. I got mine at the bulk section of Rainbow Grocery.
  • White sugar is not vegan because it uses bone char in its filtration process. Organic sugar or evaporated cane sugar is vegan and very affordable. You may also use date sugar or date paste if you’d like to stick to a whole food diet. If you’re watching your sugar intake or if you’re diabetic, you may use stevia -although that would yield to a mild earthy taste.
  • You’ll need a Polvoron molder which you could buy at any major Asian grocery stores or Filipino grocery stores, just ask the staff. You could also get one online but it’s usually more expensive than buying at the store. If you couldn’t find any, you may use a silicone molder or simply your hands.
  • If not consumed right away, keep the Polvoron cakes in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to two weeks.

polvoron molder wide shot

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat a medium size pan over low heat. After a minute or two, add the rice flour.
  2. Keep stirring to toast the rice flour. Once the flour is lightly toasted (you could tell by the smell of its aroma), add the hemp seeds and maca root powder. Mix well to combine all the flavors and textures.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the organic sugar. Mix well then transfer to a bowl.
  4. In a bowl, add the cashew cream and whisk to form thick crumbs. If the mixture needs more binding, add more cashew cream bit by bit. Do NOT make it creamy, otherwise it would be hard to mold.
  5. Using a Polvoron molder (or your molder of choice), tightly fill the mold with Polvoron mixture then push the handle down to release the Polvoron. Repeat steps until all the cakes have been shaped.

CASHEW CREAM RECIPE

Note: Usually a blender wouldn’t be able to blend just three tablespoons of cashews so I recommend to make more and save the extra for later use. Cashew cream goes well in soups and sauces.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least four hours then rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Using a high-speed blender, puree everything together until thick and creamy.

 

vegan polvoron 2

You could wrap the Polvoron individually using parchment paper or cellophane and give them as gifts.  Superfood Vegan Polvoron is perfect as a Valentines Day gift because it shows that you care for your loved one’s health as well as his/her taste buds. And don’t worry, this version won’t make him/her cotton mouth with dryness like the traditional ones.

I love that I don’t feel guilty eating these sweet treats because they’re good for me after all. Thank goodness I discovered maca root and hemp seeds! I would still be missing out had I stayed snobby about superfoods. Now my pantry couldn’t exist without them.

 

vegan filipino kinilaw canape med shot

Vegan Filipino Finger Food, Part 3

Who would have thought of making vegan Filipino hors d’oeuvres? I certainly didn’t think of it until I learned about plant-based entertaining on Rouxbe Cooking School. Well, Rouxbe didn’t exactly tell me to make the hors d’oeuvres Vegan Filipino but the assignment gave me some freedom to experiment. I was brainstorming for ideas and next thing I knew, I was shopping for ingredients for vegan Bistek Canape, vegan Bibingka Bites, and Vegan Kinilaw Canape.

Kinilaw is a Filipino dish typically with something raw that is marinated in acid like vinegar or citrus. It’s similar to Ceviche but using ingredients easily found in the Philippines. It has many versions including Oyster Kinilaw, Fish Kinilaw, Squid Kinilaw, and many more.

Interestingly, I never liked Kinilaw as a kid. I thought it was too sour and malansa or fishy  -I guess just like how any kid would react to Ceviche. It wasn’t until I became vegan that I grew curious and wondered whether I could make it vegan with the same flavor and texture.

I’m making Kinilaw into Canape or bite-size food because… why not?! I think putting the marinated ingredients in tomato cups makes it fun to eat. Not to mention, it’s pretty too!

Vegan Kinilaw Canape would go great at parties and social gatherings. It has vibrant colors for presentation and its flavors are refreshing, mildly sweet, and mildly fatty (you’ll know why).

 

VEGAN FILIPINO FINGER FOODS, PART 3

VEGAN KINILAW CANAPE

The recipe is simple but keep in mind the marinating time will be at least 30 minutes.

vegan filipino kinilaw canapeINGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can hearts of palm or “ubod” (14oz.), drained, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 grapefruit, segmented, deseeded, and cut into small chunks
  • 1 orange, segmented, deseeded, and cut into small chunks

MARINADE:

  • Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (or calamansi juice)
  • 2 tablespoon flax oil, or more to taste
  • salt to taste

GARNISHING:

  • 8-10 tomatoes, deseeded, cut in half
  • 3-5 red radish, cut into strips
  • 3-5 chives, cut into one-inch slices

NOTE: I didn’t put the exact measurements for the marinade because the recipe depends on how tart or how sweet the oranges you got. It’s ultimately up to you to balance out the flavors, which is definitely easy and attainable.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a bowl, combine and mix the marinade.
  2. Add palm hearts, orange, and grapefruit. Mix well and marinade for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Assemble by scooping a tablespoon of the marinated ingredients in the tomato cups.
  4. Place two radish strips forming the shape of a “V”.
  5. Fold the chives in half to also form a “V” and place next to the radish.

 

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This Vegan Kinilaw Canape is incredibly simple yet deliciously complex. It carries a fatty sea taste even though none of the ingredients came from the sea. The secret is in the flax oil. What’s great is that flax oil is high in essential omega-3 fatty acid, adding more health benefits to this already highly nutritious dish. Kain na, let’s eat!

 

See also:

Vegan Filipino Finger Food, Part 1

Vegan Filipino Finger Food, Part 2