Tag Archives: Filipino

Ginataang Bilo Bilo – Filipino Merienda Food

Ginataang bilo bilo by The Aimless Cook

Ginataang Bilo Bilo is a type of Filipino snack or dessert made by cooking root vegetables and fruit in sweetened coconut milk with chewy balls of mochi (bilo bilo). Taro, ube, and sweet potato make up the base of this incredibly unique tropical treat with jackfruit providing that touch of tartness. Finish that off with chewy mochi and tapioca pearls and you have something truly magical. I have enjoyed this dish since I was a child and now I want to share it with you!


 You will need:

  • 1 cup Mochiko
  • 2 cups taro, diced
  • 2 cups ube, diced
  • 2 cups sweet potato, diced
  • 2 cups cooked tapioca (small)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cans coconut milk + 2 cans water
  • *saba (banana) or jackfruit
  • *pandan leaves for aromatics


Mix the mochiko with about 11 tablespoons of water to make a dough. Once the dough is made, take a marble-sized piece and roll into a ball. Set aside.

In a large pot, add 2 cans of coconut milk and 2 cans of water. Stir in 2 cups of sugar and the pandan leaves (if you have them). Heat over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Bring to a simmer, then add 2 cups of diced taro, 2 cups of diced ube and 2 cups of sweet potato. Continue to cook, stirring frequently. Halfway through the cooking, add the bilo bilo (mochi balls), one at a time so that they don’t stick together. At this time, you can also add your saba or jackfruit.

When the bilo bilo are done, they will float to the top of the liquid. At this point, add 2 cups of cooked tapioca and continue cooking until the ube and sweet potatoes are tender.

Give a final taste and adjust the sweetness if needed. Ginataan can be served hot, or refrigerated overnight and served cold.


**this would be a great topping on shaved ice. Just sayin’.

Do you enjoy hot or cold desserts?

Pinakbet – Filipino Vegetable Stew

pinakbet by The Aimless Cook

Pinakbet is a rustic vegetable stew that comes from the Northern Philippines. As a child, I hated it because it included so many vegetables and acquired flavours that even adults find hard to handle including bitter melon, okra and fermented shrimp paste (bagoong). Throughout my life, I have had many versions of this dish, but after a little thought and research, I think I have a version that I like. When you make this dish your own, you can adjust it to your taste.

You will need:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, quartered and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • a handful of long bean, cut into 3 inch sections
  • 1 bittermelon
  • 2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons bagoong (*Filipino fermented shrimp paste)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6-8 oz leftover roast pork (lechon)


The first thing you need to do is prep the bittermelon and eggplant. To do that, all you need to do is cut the bittermelon in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and insides. Take a couple pinches of salt and sprinkle all over the inside of the bittermelon. Quarter and coarsely chop the eggplant and salt them as well. This will draw out excess moisture from the eggplant and the bitterness from the bittermelon, which can have a very overwhelming flavour if you don’t.

In a large pot, heat up some oil over medium heat and add 4 cloves of minced garlic. Stirfry til lightly golden, then add the eggplant and a chopped medium red onion. Continue to cook until the onion starts to turn transluscent and the eggplant begins to take on colour.

From there, add the rest of the veg in layers starting with a small kabocha, cut into bite-sized pieces, a handful of longbean cut into 3 inch pieces, the bittermelon, and a couple chopped tomatoes. Add about 4 teaspoons of the bagoong (Filipino shrimp paste) and about a cup (200ml) of water. Finally, add about 6-8 oz of leftover roast pork. Let the liquid come to a boil, cover the pot, turn the heat down to medium low and let simmer til the veg cooks down (about 10 minutes).

About halfway through cooking, give your pinakbet a good stir to combine the ingredients. Just be gentle so you don’t break up the kabocha.

Serve on top of freshly steamed rice and enjoy!



Is there a dish that you hated as a child that you enjoy as an adult?

J’s Pancit Bihon

Pancit Bihon by The Aimless Cook

Pancit Bihon is a very popular Filipino noodle dish throughout the world. It’s made with thin, rice noodles, or bihon and tossed with shredded meat and lightly sauteed vegetables. Today, we’re gonna make our pancit using some flavourful leftover Chinese steamed chicken and some cooked shrimp from the Asian market. We’re also gonna use that aromatic green onion and ginger sauce that came with the chicken in our base. So get ready for a really fun and easy recipe for Pancit Bihon!

You will need:

  • 250g leftover cooked chicken (Chinese, or one of those rotisserie chickens work well)
  • 150g cooked shrimp
  • 8oz bihon noodles (rice stick)
  • 200g shredded cabbage
  • 125g shredded carrot
  • 125g sliced onion (1 medium)
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic
  • 75g snow peas (or green beans)
  • 750ml good chicken stock
  • 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • some oil
  • S&P, to season

Start by soaking the bihon noodles in cold water for about 10 minutes. When that’s done, strain and set aside.

In a large pot on medium heat, heat up a couple tablespoons of oil and add the onions and garlic. Gently saute until the onions are starting to look translucent. One the onions are done, add the shredded cabbage, carrot, snow peas and cooked chicken. Cook and stir on medium high for about 5 minutes. When that’s done, season with salt and pepper and put all the ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Using the same pot, add the chicken stock and soy sauce. Turn the heat up to high and then add the bihon noodles. Let the noodles boil on high heat until the liquid is almost evaporated. When that’s done, put back the ingredients from the bowl and mix to combine. Serve warm with calamansi or lime wedges and fish sauce (patis) and enjoy!

Pancit bihon has a refreshing flavour with the calamansi and fresh, crisp vegetables. The better your leftover chicken, the more flavour it will impart to the finished dish. Experiment with different ones to see what you like the most. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Do you like Filipino food? Let me know what Filipino dish you’d like to see on The Aimless Cook and we’ll make it happen!

Chicken Tocino Recipe – Filipino Cooking


Tocino is bacon in Spanish and is traditionally made with cured pork belly. In the Philippines, it’s made with either pork or chicken. Old school practice for tocino uses sugar, salt and saltpeter with maybe a little pineapple juice for tartness. It’s then left to cure for at least 3 days. In some regions, the meat is actually fermented at room temp to achieve a sour flavour to the meat. In our recipe today, we will be making a marinade with a similar flavour signature, but with a lot less work.

You will need:

•2 lb boneless chicken, thinly sliced

•juice of ½ a lemon

•1 teaspoon soy sauce

•2 teaspoons annatto seeds, steeped in 1 tablespoon of boiling water

•½ teaspoon ground black pepper

•1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar

•1 teaspoon garlic powder

•¼ cup ginger beer

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken with the juice of ½ a lemon, soy sauce, annatto seed extract, black pepper, brown sugar and garlic powder. Cover the meat with some of the Jamaican ginger beer and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

Heat up a frying pan on high heat with a tablespoon of oil and fry the marinated chicken until browned. Since it’s so thinly sliced, it should cook fairly fast. As it cooks, the sugars from the marinade will caramelize and turn crispy.

This is one of many favourite choices in a typical Filipino breakfast called silog. A silog is a  breakfast consisting of garlic fried rice, fried egg, a slice of fresh tomato with your choice of meat. Since we’re having tocino, we would call it tocilog.

Today, I’m giving the classic tocilog a little twist by serving it as a sandwich with garlic yaki onigiri in the place of buns. I’m gonna top it with a nice fried egg and there you have it. A nice handheld tocilog.

Tocilog sandwich

If you want to pack it for a road trip or picnic, you can also use it as a filling for kimbap. This meat is very versatile. You can freeze the marinated meat and cook it when you need it, enjoying it however you like, be it on a simple bowl of rice or noodles. How will you enjoy your tocino?

So take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Filipino Sour Soup – Corned Beef Sinigang Recipe

Filipinos love their sinigang. It’s a very popular soup with a signature sour broth. If you’ve never had sinigang, you gotta try it. Most versions are made with seafood or pork. Today I have a beautiful corned beef brisket that I found at the market and I think the flavour of this meat goes quite well with the sourness of the broth. You’re in for a real treat today so get ready!

Start with a 2 lb piece of corned beef brisket and put it in a pressure cooker with about 5 cups of water and cook for about 45 minutes. If you’re cooking in a regular pot, you will cooking for about 2 hours. You can go longer if you want to make the beef really fall apart tender. (what I’m gonna do next time for sure is cook it til it’s really soft, then slice it thinly like a pastrami)

When the beef is cooked, take it out and slice into bite-sized pieces. Put back into the liquid and add 2 sliced carrots, 1 medium yellow onion cut into wedges, 2 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces) and 1 packet of sinigang sampolok seasoning. Stir well to dissolve, cover and cook until the potatoes are half done.

When the potatoes are half done, add about 300g of daikon, cut into quarter inch thick half moons and some fish sauce to taste (about 2 tablespoons). Continue to cook until the potatoes are done. When the potatoes are done, add 1 bunch of fresh spinach, cover again and let stand until the spinach is wilted. Give it a final stir and serve with steamed rice.

For the vegetables, you can feel free to use whatever you got. The more traditional versions of sinigang include taro, long bean, bok choy as well as cut up tomato to stew with the meat. The most popular versions of sinigang are made sour with the use of tamarind. Though tamarind can be found in North America, most people make this incredible comfort food with seasoning packets that you can find at most Asian grocery stores.

Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Filipino Style Spaghetti Recipe – Pinoy Spaghetti

Filipino spaghetti is a little different than the spaghetti that you’re probably used to. The sauce is a little sweeter and to make things interesting, someone went and added sliced hot dogs. Whatever the case may be, this style of spaghetti is a favorite among a lot of Filipinos everywhere. I hope you enjoy it!

Start by roughly chopping 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery and half a medium onion. Pop them into a food processor and give them a good buzz til they’re finely chopped. This key step will cut down a lot of cooking time when making the sauce. Heat up some oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the veg. Start to cook until they begin to get tender, then add the ground beef. Continue to cook until the beef is browned. 

 When the meat is browned, deglaze with a quarter cup of red wine. After that, add 720ml of strained tomatoes, 1.5t basil, 1.5t oregano and 1 bay leaf. Cover and simmer on med low for about 10 minutes.

 After the 10 minutes, add a 1/4 C of ketchup and mix well, but for an authentic flavour, use banana ketchup. Throw in 2 or 3 sliced hot dogs, cover again and continue cooking for another couple minutes until they are cooked. Finally give it a quick stir and a taste. Season with salt and pepper and you’re done! Serve on top of spaghetti and set the kids loose. Enjoy!

Filipino Dessert Lumpia – Turon Recipe

Turon is a popular Filipino street snack. It’s a fried lumpia, commonly made with bananas and jackfruit. Since we’ve made Lumpiang Shanghai before, you already have an idea of how to make them. The process is the same, all we’re doing is taking a sweet path instead of a savory one. 


All you need for the Aimless recipe is some spring roll wrappers, ripe bananas, brown sugar and a beaten egg for sealing the rolled lumpia. For some fun, I also made an Elvis inspired turon with peanut butter and a carnie version with some pieces of Mars bar.

Screen shot 2011-12-20 at 1.24.13 PM

To roll lumpia, all you have to do is place the banana along the middle of the wrapper, just below the equator.

Screen shot 2011-12-20 at 1.25.09 PM

Add a spoonful of brown sugar over top of the banana…

Screen shot 2011-12-20 at 1.25.41 PM

Alternatively, you can lay down a layer of peanut butter and banana. Top with brown sugar and roll.

Screen shot 2011-12-20 at 1.26.13 PM

To roll, simply roll up from the bottom, fold in the sides as you go then complete the roll. seal the end with beaten egg and you’re ready to fry. You don’t need a lot of oil to fry, just an inch or so in a deep skillet will do. Just heat your oil until you can dip a chopstick in and see tiny bubbles. Fry until golden brown, drain on paper towel and enjoy. Just make sure you wait a few minutes after cooking to eat because the filling will be molten hot. Have fun with this recipe, make it yours and let me know… What’s your favorite filling for this dessert lumpia? 

Be sure to visit The Aimless Cook Facebook page, like us and post your awesome kitchen adventures! I am looking forward to seeing your pics.

Filipino Chicken Adobo – Adobong Manok Recipe

Chicken Adobo is probably the most popular Filipino dish out there. The simplicity of this dish makes it one of the most complex as well because of the many variations depending on the ingredients and the cook. In the basic recipe, we used a simple trio of water, soy sauce and vinegar, seasoning with some crushed peppercorns and bay leaf. In this updated version, we are substituting the water with coconut milk. This will make the sauce very rich and flavorful, resulting in a silky texture as well. The addition of a red chili pepper will add a little bite, but not be too spicy. Try it and see for yourself.

You will need:

  • 1 chicken, cut up and skinned
  • 1 C coconut milk
  • 1 red Thai chili
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 1/8 C cane vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 crushed peppercorns
  • S & P, to season

Start by heating a couple Tablespoons of oil in a large pot and brown the chicken pieces. Once the chicken has been lightly browned, add the coconut milk, cover and simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes is up, remove the cover and add the chili, soy sauce, vinegar, peppercorns and the bay leaf. Mix to combine, cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so ‘til the chicken is tender. 

When the chicken is done, take off the cover and let the sauce reduce to the consistency you like. Some like it thick, some like it thinner. It’s a matter of preference. Some people, like my mom, take the cooked chicken liver and mash it into the sauce, adding another dimension of flavor. It’s simple and brilliant. 

What I usually do next is take out the chicken pieces and set them aside in a serving dish. Then, I take some freshly steamed rice and put it into the pot of sauce, tossing to combine and flavor the rice. Serve and enjoy!

*variations on chicken adobo

Like I said before, there are many versions of this famous dish. The basic recipe uses water as the cooking liquid versus this coconut milk version. There is also an adobo puti (puti meaning white) that is made without soy sauce. You can also achieve different taste profiles using different vinegars. When I first learned to make adobo many years ago, I used the regular white vinegar. Years later, I met a woman that made it with red wine vinegar and the taste was delicious. 

The point is, play with the ingredients and see what you like and create your own ‘signature’ adobo.

In the coming months, I will write more about adobo and create some more great recipes. Have fun in the kitchen!

Party Food Pt 2 – Kinalaw Inspired Salmon Cups

Last week, I asked what your favorite party food was. This week, I am taking the most popular request, or in this case, a challenge from Jason Telmo of NoyTube Stars. Jason wanted me to make a party food using raw salmon or tuna in a fresh new presentation. Well, to honor you, Jason, and the beautiful Philippines, I am making this fresh salmon with a little Pinoy inspiration. These colorful and delicious wonton cups are filled with a Filipino-styled ceviche with tropical notes from young Thai coconut and fresh cilantro. Add a little heat with red chilies and I think we got ourselves a winner.

Check it out and enjoy!

Test Kitchen: Chinese/Filipino Rustic Fusion

Tonight I made this super simple soup with a few ingredients I had lying around. It’s basically made up of cabbage, sweet corn, carrot, ginger, onion, pork ribs and tamarind paste. I also seasoned with fish sauce and S&P. So kind of a sinigang thing going on with this one. Took about half an hour or so to cook up and it tasted great. 

I always call these improv adventures, ‘test kitchen’. It gives me the opportunity to explore and concoct new creations. Sometimes I even come up with some happy accidents!