Mother’s Day in the Philippines will always have food as one of the central elements of the celebration, so that’s a great excuse for anyone dieting or watching their food intake, to let go - and make it a glorious cheat day!
And of course, the day is about creating shared memories, and remembering just how important is the Mother’s role in the Filipino family. To connect these two together, we asked some of most renowned names in the local food industry to reminisce about their Moms, and give us a recipe that holds special meaning to them on this day.
Sandee Siytangco-Masigan and husband Andrew are the brains behind one of the best restaurants serving Filipino cuisine as a fine dining experience, XO46 Heritage Bistro at S Maison. . She picks her Mom Deedee’s Siytangco Chicken Curry as her comfort food choice for this feature.
Siytangco Chicken Curry
Sandee Siytangco and mother Deedee
“I chose this recipe because this was a favorite at our old house in Paco, Manila. Mom and our cook Gloria (Mamang) reconstructed this recipe from dad's memories of his stay in India. Chicken Curry signaled a special occasion at home ...or that visitors were expected. It was always paired with pork adobo and fried saba bananas on the side.
Mom always served it with those condiments on the side because thats what dad remembered. When mom was Press Secretary for Mrs. Aquino, she would have our cook prepare Curry and Adobo for the press corps on Fridays. That was how they bonded...over food. It was always a big hit. On the Fridays that we couldn't cook the curry, there would be a flurry of requests to please , please cook it the next week.
That's one of the recipes I've taken with me everywhere. When I meet mom's colleagues from that era, Chicken Curry is what they always remember.”
Siytangco Chicken Curry
2" piece of ginger ( peeled and sliced thinly)
1 medium onion ( chopped finely)
4 cloves of garlic ( smashed and chopped)
2 squares of Japanese curry paste
2 pcs red chili ( seeds removed and chopped)
1 can coconut cream
1 cup chicken broth
1 stalk lemongrass ( optional)
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 1.2 kilos chicken wings
1 large carrot ( peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds)
3 large potatoes ( cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 green and 1 red bell pepper ( seeded and cut into 1" pieces)
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper
Put chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Season water with a teaspoon of salt . Boil for 15 minutes on medium heat. Separate chicken from the broth.
Skim the top of the broth, taking away the brown and oil bits.
In a large, deep pan or casserole, heat the vegetable oil and sautee the onions, ginger, garlic, curry paste, powder and other spices. Cook for at least 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and deglaze the pan. Add the coconut cream. Let it come to a gentle boil then add the vegetables. Cover and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the chicken and let it simmer for another half hour on low heat. If the sauce becomes too thick, add more chicken broth. Season with, salt and pepper ... and more chili to taste.
The vegetables and chicken should be fork-tender and the sauce slightly thicker than soup consistency.
Serve with chopped hard-boiled eggs, crushed toasty bacon, chopped onion, guava jelly or chutney and chopped raisins.
Eric Teng is behind such restaurants as Mango Tree at SM City North Edsa, SM Megamall and SM City Baguio; Genki Sushi at SM Aura Premier, SM Megamall, SM City Baguio, SM Mall of Asia, and SM City Grand Central, and Tunglok Seafood at S Maison. Here, he offers up this recipe that’s been handed down from his mother.
Eric Teng and mother Lolita
“As Mother's Day draws near, let us pay tribute to the culinary prowess of our beloved mothers. Among the treasured recipes passed down through generations, there are dishes that hold a special place in our hearts, evoking memories of warmth and love. For my family, it was my mother's Pearl Meatballs that always graced the table on joyous occasions, filling our hearts and bellies with delight. Today, I share with you her recipe, a gift that she bestowed upon me, and a way to honor her enduring legacy.”
500g Ground Pork
2 T. Chopped Dry Shrimp
1 C. Chopped Water Chestnut/Singkamas
1 T. Chopped Green Onions
1 T. Chopped Ginger
1 T. Soysauce (light)
1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
2 C. Glutinous Rice
- mix the ground pork with 2T. of cold water. Place the pork in
a bowl. Add the chopped dry shrimp, (soaked first to soften before chopping), chopped water chestnut, chopped green onion, chopped ginger, soysauce, salt, 1T. of cornstarch, and an egg. Mix well until the pork is very sticky.
- Wash the glutinous rice and soak in cold water for about half an hour. Drain.
- Sprinkle 1 T. of cornstarch on a tray. Put the glutinous rice on the top of the cornstarch. Form the pork mixture into small balls about 1". Place pork balls on the glutinous rice. One at a time.
- Roll and rock the tray back and forth so that the glutinous rice will stick to all sides of the meat balls. Afterwards, roll each ball in your palm until it is round. Then place meat balls in a steamer on a damp cloth, carrot slice or nonstick steamer paper and steam for 20 minutes to 30 minutes over high heat.
Makes about 24 balls.
Gaita Fores is synonymous with Cibo at SM Megamall and SM MOA Square and Lusso that is soon to open at the Podium and making fine Italian cuisine popular with the regular Filipino. This will be a very bittersweet Mother’s Day, as Gaita’s Mom just passed away in late-March.
Margarita Fores with mom Baby and son, Amado
“My first Mother’s Day without Mom is probably the most painful and difficult. But celebrating her with happy memories of the best times she left us with, will make things much easier.
Sharing this very simple roast chicken recipe that was always part of our simple family dinners during our New York days, is very special to me. My Mom was a very relaxed parent, no rigidity and severity at all.
But a most vivid memory for me is when she scolded me the only time ever, while we were having this roast chicken for dinner at our New York apartment with my siblings, when I took so much skin from the chicken without any meat! She slammed the dining table with her hand and said, “There will be discipline in this house! If you take the skin of a chicken you must also take the meat underneath! “ We were all shocked, but will remember this priceless moment everyday.
To all of you whose mothers are still with you, make the most of your time with them. Love them, get inspired by them, and celebrate them always. In the meantime, I will bask in my warm memories of my Mom, and live the rest of my life the way she did. “
Hannah with mom, Marivic
733 PARK AVENUE ROAST CHICKEN
1 Whole Chicken
2 white onions, sliced
1 whole lemon
5 cloves garlic, mashed
1/4 cup soy sauce
120 grams salted butter
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper, and garlic, rubbing the inside cavity thoroughly.
Add 1 onion sliced, and 1 lemon, pierced thoroughly into the belly of the chicken.
Baste the chicken with half the butter and soy sauce.
Add the remaining onions, butter, soy sauce and water to the base of the pan.
Using a rack, roast the chicken at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then when browned, reverse the chicken for another 20-25 minutes so the chicken roasts evenly.
Save all the drippings in a pan, warm and season to taste.
Serve the roast chicken immediately with the sauce on the side, and enjoy! Lots of white rice and a beautiful vegetable will be perfect sides.
Hannah Ramos is behind ChizMozza, which has kiosks in over 30 SM malls. Some of her specialties involve mozzarella with ham or hot dog; but for this feature, she offers up a recipe for their signature,Breaded Mozzarella Sticks.
“My mom is the most supportive person in the world! Without her support, wala siguro akong negosyo ngayon. She's the first person to believe in me, pinahiram ako ng puhunan to start my own business. To my mom, thank you for everything! Now that I'm also a mother, I now fully understand all your sacrifices for us. You worked for more than 30 years, just to put a roof over our heads and food on the table.
She also helped me formulate the mozzarella sticks recipe for Chizmozza. This recipe helped me expand my business and operate more than 20 branches in SM supermalls.”
500 grams mozzarella cheese, cut into sticks
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup water
1 1/2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tap Italian Seasoning
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups oil for frying, or as needed
1) Stir water and eggs together in a small bowl.
2) Mix bread crumbs and seasonings (Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Italian Seasoning) in a medium bowl.
3) Combine flour and cornstarch together in a third bowl.
4) Dredge mozzarella sticks in flour; shake off excess. Dip into egg mixture. Lift up so excess egg drips back in the bowl. Press into bread crumbs to coat. Repeat with remaining mozzarella sticks.
5) Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium to high heat. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about 30 seconds per side.
Abba Napa with mom, Fe
Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Repeat to fry remaining mozzarella sticks.
Abba Napa is co-founder of the Moment Group, a food conglomerate behind such brands as Ooma, Manam, and 8 Cuts found in many SM Malls. She’s very hands on in the operations of the Group, and we were lucky enough to get this from her.
“To this day, my mom and I love discovering new cuisines and understanding flavors and palettes from different parts of the world. This was influenced by my years of growing up with my family abroad, and going to school where all of us kids of different nationalities would share our lunch boxes with each other. One of the lunch box meals I enjoyed a lot was rendang, which my mom learned how to make for me. This is the recipe of a beef rendang we grew up cooking and eating—a nostalgic dish I keep coming back to.”
- Abba Napa
of Fe Napa shared by Abba Napa
1 kg lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1-inch cubes
400 ml coconut milk, fresh or canned
200 ml water
¼ cup canola oil
3 tablespoons tamarind paste, bottled
2 tablespoon brown sugar or palm sugar
1/3 cup coconut, freshly grated (niyog)
5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
4 pieces star anise
2 5-inch sticks cinnamon
5 pieces whole cloves
6 large kaffir lime leaves, fresh (2 pcs reserved for serving)
2 teaspoons salt, kosher
1 cup shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
5 large cloves garlic, peeled
5 large lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped (white part only)
10 pcs dried bird’s eye chilies, or to your preference
- Pour a 1/3 cup of hot water over the dried chilies, allow to soften and rehydrate for at least ten minutes.
- Once the chilies are soft, put all the paste ingredients into a blender. Puree the mixture until you achieve a fine paste and set aside.
- Put the grated coconut into a dry pan and constantly mix over low-medium heat. Once the coconut is almost completely dry and lightly browned, set aside. Depending on how moist the coconut meat is, this takes between 6-10 minutes.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven or large wok. Add the purèed paste. Sautè the paste until it begins to lightly caramelize and the water has evaporated, about eight minutes.
- Add cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, coriander and cloves. Sautè for two minutes more.
- Add the cubed lamb and toasted coconut. Stir to distribute the spices and paste.
- Pour in the coconut milk, water, tamarind paste and four kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer.
- Stir about every 30 minutes to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. When the lamb has softened (1.5-2 hours), remove the lid and increase the heat. Stir constantly until the liquid evaporates. You want to be left with a dark rich stew with almost no sauce. The paste should cling to the lamb and the oil should split. Adjust for seasoning and turn off the heat.
- Finely julienne 2 kaffir lime leaves and stir into the beef. Serve hot with white rice.
Note: Feel free to substitute the lamb with beef short ribs or brisket.
SM Supermalls is one with all Filipinos in celebrating Mother’s Day and recalling how the Filipino mother is the proverbial cement that binds the family.