Thursday, October 13, 2011


First of all, I'd like to say I'm so glad to have participated in this month's Daring Cooks' challenge because Shelley and Ruth are two of my favorite bloggers...I always read their posts and comment on their blogs. And secondly, I love anything Eastern/Asian because I am Asian..duh. So I knew that I couldn't and shouldn't miss this for anything in the world!
The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.
Hmm, interesting challenge...but what exactly is Moo Shu? According to our hosts...
Simply put, Moo Shu is a stir fry, containing thinly sliced or shredded vegetables, meat (traditionally) and scrambled egg. It is usually served on flat, thin, steamed pancakes, and is accompanied by a complementary sauce.
I decided to make Moo Shu Tofu as filling for my thin pancakes but I wasn't able to make my own Hoisin sauce so I just used the store-bought variety.

2 blocks TOFU, sliced

Handful Mung Bean Sprouts

1 cup Fresh Bamboo Shoots, boiled and strained

2 pieces Eggs

Spring Onions, sliced

1 tablespoon Soy Sauce

a few drops Sesame Oil

Black Pepper, ground


Preheat pan with oil, pan-fry sliced tofu until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, set aside. On same pan, saute spring onions until fragrant, add bean sprouts, bamboo shoots. Add beaten eggs and stir fry with the vegetables. Season with soy sauce, ground black pepper and a few drops of sesame oil to finish. Top with tofu. Use as filling for pancakes.
Makes 24-30 pancakes
Preparation time: about 10 minutes plus 30 minutes standing time
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes
4 cups (960 ml)(560 gr) ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
About 1 1/2 cup (300 ml) BOILING WATER
1 teaspoon (5 ml) VEGETABLE OIL
DRY FLOUR for dusting
1. Sift flour into mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Lightly dust the surface of the worktop with dry flour. Knead dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dishcloth to keep from drying out.
3. Roll each piece into a ball, then using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6-8 inch (15cm-20cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.
4. Place an ungreased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes one at a time, in the pan. Remove when light brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.
To assemble: Lay the pancake and spread a bit of Hoisin. Top with the Tofu Stirfry, roll the pancake, tucking in the bottom to prevent filling from spilling. Enjoy!
Thank you Shelley and Ruth for this month's wonderful challenge! I had so much fun making the pancakes and filling and eating them as well!
For the other Daring Cooks Moo Shu click here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Of Rice Terraces, Hanging Coffins, Waterfalls and Perfect Breakfasts...

I can officially cross out backpacking to the Mountain Province from my list of Things to Do... and I had fun doing it, okay not everything was fun (more than 24 hours on a bus isn't something I'd classify as fun). But most of it was really fun and adventure-packed. A friend once told me that I should visit the Mountain Province and experience spelunking (what?) hmmm...the official definition from Merriam-Webster dictionary is the hobby or practice of exploring caves, I wasn't too crazy about it, but hey I ended up liking it!

But of course this post isn't just about the sights of Sagada, which is the town we explored but more importantly the food. Sagada is still a sleepy mountain village with yet-unspoiled sights and the air was really cold, like 15 degrees colder than Manila. So instead of the usual shorts-shirts-bathing suit we had to pack jackets and scarves. I think the cold weather made us hungrier than usual, and we found a perfect place to hang out. The food was delicious, the waitstaff and the family who owned it were very nice and the price was not bad. Oh and did I mention they served perfect breakfasts?

Look how gorgeous and perfectly cooked the fried egg was! This is LONGSILOG which stands for Longganisa-Sinangag-Itlog (Homemade sausage-Fried rice-Egg). We ate all our breakfasts on their terrace with the morning sun warming us from the cold air while the town wakes up.
This was my first breakfast, Banana delicious and filling. Perfect with a steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee...yum!
So what else did we do in Sagada aside from exploring the caves (spelunking)? We also visited the famed Hanging Coffins. We walked to Echo Valley, shouted to our hearts content and walked some more. We visited about two more burial caves and then we hiked until I thought my lungs were going to burst...and my legs were about to give way.

We hiked to see the Bomod-ok Falls which was hidden by mountains. We had to hike to a village and then through the Sagada Rice Terraces...who knew this things were so huge. I thought they were just steps...and then we crossed a river, my thought bubble was this better be worth it.

When we finally arrived at our destination, it was awe-inspiring to say the least. It was huge and the water was so strong, it felt like it was raining. But we didn't stay too long because it started to rain, and we got worried that we might get stuck so we hiked all the way back across the river, through the rice terraces and the village again.
Sagada was a pleasant surprise for me but I don't think I would go back right away, not until they find a way to make the trip shorter. But it was a welcome breather from work and the heat and smog of city life. It's not hard to fall for the charms of Sagada...