Home Made Siomai

I made siomai today. No, we, because my wife and our two kids helped. They were thinking of it as children’s play. A really enjoyable thing.

home made siomai

I my opinion, the only thing that set siomai apart from other minced meat products is the wrapper. The maker has a choice as to what ingredients to add, including proportions. As for mine, I only asked her to buy me molo wrapper and ground meat. I gonna add whenever I find fit in the kitchen. Things are different if we trace back its origin. Perhaps, China. It has defined set of ingredients and taste signature. Like our very own locals, adobo, menudo, mechado at kaldereta. However, it is changing depending on cook, locality and availability of ingredients. Mass production also has great effect.

I added chopped carrots and onions. Then black pepper, salt and oysters sauce. How did I knew all things were the right place? I used my sense of smell! I do not worry to much about this. the final taste can be adjusted with the sauce. Of course measurements are essential for commercial purposes. If you gonna sell it to someone regularly, in grocery shelves, kiosk or serve in restaurants and catering. You have to assure the uniformity of flavor profile. Do experiment on flavor combination and save note of the best.

No need to peel the carrots. Just remove the stalk portion and your good to go. The skin is thin. Barely noticeable when chopped. Imagine the quantity of food wasted by simply peeling it off. You may only need to remove the green part of potato if there is. I am patiently removing the camote skin because it taste bad. It ruins the  sweet delicious taste.

The last were eggs and cornstarch. The two serve as binder and help the product hold its shape. More cornstarch means more output of inferior quality. Mixing potato, cassava, camote and taro may also be added as extender. I only added enough to make the mixture tacky.

The molo wrapper is still in good condition after several days in ambient room storage. I just made sure it is wrapped properly to avoid any mold growth. It has sort of foul smell that dissipates after opening. Preservative maybe. I forgot to look if there was ingredient listing on label. It is food item so it should have one.

Wrapping session was a complete mess. Our two kids were wrapping siomai own their own accord. Whatever shape that came out their mind. Candy, lumpia, lollipop and other weird designs I cannot figure out. It made me think if I can still call them siomai. They were so happy eating what the made though. Those pieces I shaped have no proper wrapper folding but round enough to be called such. I gonna learn the art sooner or later if I continue with it.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Sour Tasting Hot Dogs and Other Processed Meat

Have you ever eaten a sour hot dog?  I have. Not once, but several times already. I thought it was okay. I was thinking there were brands formulated to have slightly acidic taste. Not to differentiate flavor but to extend its shelf life further.

I began suspecting after tasting a sour chicken nuggets. It shouldn’t taste like that.



I can’t find any article about sour tasting hot dog and other processed meats so I am posting my educated guess. Take not that it is not valid until scientifically proven.  I mean subjecting newly processed products under laboratory experiments.

Many have this common ingredient. The table sugar. It has three purposes. First is lowering water activity thus preventing microbial spoilage. Second, prevent the toughening effect of salt. That was what I learnt from my college professor. Third is act as flavor enhancer.

Accept the fact. Process meats that we love are made from scrap and low quality raw materials. Mostly trimmings, backfats, ligaments and poor tasting carabeef. Manufacturers need to add flavor enhancers to make it more appealing to us, especially kids.

Meat products, even though has preservatives, need to be in frozen state. They are unintentionally thawed when on display in public market stalls. Frozen after the day and thawed again the next day. This practice gives way to spoilage microorganism entry and growth.

Yeast converting sugars to alcohol. Then alcohol to acetic acid by certain bacterial species. Other probable cause of souring is growth of lactic acid bacteria under anaerobic conditions. Vacuum packed products are likely to suffer this spoilage type.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Grilled Pig Ear and Head Skin, Inihaw na Tainga at Balat ng Baboy

Ingredients:
1/2 pig ear and head skin, cut about 1 x 1 inch
1 tablespoon patis, fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon salt
3 tomatoes, sliced – can be replaced with tomato sauce
2 medium onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup banana ketchup
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup water

Procedure:
1) Cook the pig ear and head skin adobo style. Mix all the ingredients in a suitable cooking vessel. Cook over a low fire until the though skin can be prick easily by a barbecue stick. Do not overcook.

pig ear and head skin

2) Cool and transfer to a clean container. It can be stored in refrigerator for later use.

adobong teynga at balat ng baboy

3) Arrange the adobo pieces through a barbecue stick. Grill it over a charcoal stove for 3o minutes. Turn sides  and brush with adobo sauce every two  minutes.

inihaw ng teynga ng baboy

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

How to Make Chicken Intestine Barbecue, Isaw

Before the chicken intestines are thrown away, no use for it. Now, the intestines are cleaned and sold as isaw (chicken intestine barbecue) by street vendors.

Procedure:
1) Buy chicken intestine only from trusted retailer. Some vendors never clean it thoroughly. The remaining waste materials inside the intestines are not edible and will only add weight to your purchase.
2) Clean the intestines again by gently squeezing it with fingers to remove some remaining waste. Option 2. Open the intestines with scissors and clean it with running water. Option 3. Pass a running water through the intestine by using a small water hose.
3) Prick a desired length through a barbecue stick.

raw isaw on stick

4) Grill it over a medium temperature charcoal stove for 30 minutes. Turn and brush with marinade (a mixture of cooking oil, banana ketchup, soy sauce, oyster sauce and chili sauce) every 2 minutes.

5) Other ingredients of choice can be added to marinade. Grilling time can be shortened by increasing stove temperature. Take caution to prevent burning of barbecue.

grilling isaw

broiling isaw

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Inihaw na Dugo, Grilled Chicken Blood

I asked my mom to buy me chicken blood. I want to eat inihaw na dugo but I don’t want to buy from street vendors. I want to grill my own blood barbecue.

Chicken blood is preferred for grilling purposes because its texture is the  firmest among others.

Pre-cooked chicken blood can be bought from dressed chicken vendors. All you need to do is cut it do desired sizes and prick it through a barbecue stick. Take care not to break blood slices.

block of chicken blood

Grill the blood barbecue over charcoal stove for  5 to 30 minutes. High temperatures hasten cooking time.  Brush with mixture of  cooking oil, ketchup and soy sauce. I also add oysters sauce and chili sauce.

chicken blood on stick

I prefer a slow grilling over low temperature charcoal stove. It allows greater absorption of  sauce and development of flavors.

grilled chicken blood

Trivia : Is Blood Dirty, Not Safe To Eat?

I have been thinking about this question for a long time. Is blood safe to eat or Is blood dirty? I will not include explanation about religious belief. Its all about scientific explanations.

Animal blood has become one of the popular street food, the inihaw na dugo. It would be dirty if the process of animal slaughter is unsanitary, including the preparation and cooking.

Let assume that all processes are done in the cleanest way possible. Can we assume that blood is not dirty and safe to it?

What is blood anyway? It is similar to vehicle, carrying passengers from point to point. Blood as a transporter carries different substance through out the body. Blood might really be dirty depending upon the situation or their function:

1) It distribute oxygen to all tissues.
2) Take out carbon dioxide away.
3) Distributes nutrients to all body parts.
4) Take out all harmful substances or unwanted materials.
5) Fight infections and tissue repair (e.g. blood clotting)

The blood might really be dirty when it is doing function number “4” – taking out all harmful substances or unwanted materials. The hard part – we cannot separate blood according to five functions mentioned.

Is blood of some animals cleaner than others? It might be. Cows and goats only feed on clean grass. Grasses has almost no waste substances so their blood will carry less. Other animals feeding on decaying creatures could have a really dirty blood. The same is true for animals grown on commercial feeds.


update as of June 2018

Got another set of coagulated blood to try the marinade as suggested. However, before commencing, our good neighboor and sister-in-law gave another good recommendation. Cook the blood as adobo before grilling. This will allow flavors to sip in, in a short span of time. For only about 15 to 30 minutes. Vinegar maybe included but it should be last. It has undesirable toughening effect when added first.

Over the course, we decided adding clear cola and boiled it to dryness. It fend off the undesirable smell (malansa) to acceptable level. I think, it is enough. Grilling will improve it further. Or, maybe, we can do more. I set aside some and soaked it in our favorite sweet and sour sauce. I put it inside refrigerator and will wait for at least eight hours. I am hoping more flavor will sip in.

adobong dugo ng manok

Vinegar has the same toughening effect for sitaw. Perhaps, other vegetables too. For cooking sitaw (string beans), make sure the desired softness is attained before vinegar is added. Else, softening is hard to achieved.

Inihaw na Dugo/Betamax. I think it was coined based on shape and color similarity to betamax cassette. It is delicious and popular street food. However, its good flavor is only superficial. The boring dry and bland taste reveal after few chews.

Before, public market vendors were selling this as fresh red blood. Hardening it was buyer’s responsibility. Used to be my mom’s favorite buy. Hardening was done by dropping it in boiling brine water. Then, the coagulated items were chopped and mixed with tinola. I never liked it. It was flat and dry. Beyond compare with native chicken meat.

The adobong dugo never reached the grilling station. We ate them all during lunch and dinner. The part I stored in fridge exhibited better flavor. Perhaps it is going to suffer the same faith.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.