Filipino food is one of my absolute favorite international cuisines.
A few weeks ago, I stopped by my local Filipino supermarket and found myself falling back in love with the flavors and ingredients that give the country's food culture its famous identity.
From lumpia and adobo to sisig and pandan, the native dishes of the Philippines are unlike that of any other country. Unfortunately, they also tend to be very meat and seafood-heavy, making it hard for vegans and vegetarians to try.
Below are some veganized versions of popular Filipino dishes written by vegans native to the Philippines. You should be able to find more regionally specific ingredients at your local Asian or Latin American market!
Fried Lumpiang Shanghai
(From Deena Prichep for The Oregonian)
MAKES ABOUT 20 ROLLS
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 poblano pepper (or more if you like heat), seeded and chopped
1 (12-ounce) package meatless ground round (I love using Smart Ground for recipes.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 package frozen lumpia wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying
For The Dipping Sauce -
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1) To make the filling, heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and poblano pepper until onion is translucent and garlic has browned, about 4 minutes. Add mock ground beef, reduce heat to medium and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool completely.
2) At least 1 hour before using, move lumpia wrappers from freezer to refrigerator to thaw. When thawed, slowly and carefully pull apart the wrappers. On a flat surface, place one wrapper in front of you like a diamond, with one corner pointed toward you. Place one heaping tablespoon of the filling in a horizontal line in middle of the wrapper. Lift the corner closest to you over the filling. Fold the left and right corners toward the middle. Starting from the side nearest to you, roll the lumpia up to 1/2 inch shy of the final corner. Dip your fingertips in a small bowl of water, moisten the final corner, press it down on the lumpia to seal. Transfer completed lumpias to a baking sheet, sealed side down, and cover with a moist kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out.
3) Fill a high-sided skillet or wok with enough vegetable oil to come 1/2 inch up the sides. Place over medium-high heat and heat oil until it's between 350 and 375 degrees. Working in batches of about 6, fry for 4 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally if necessary, or until evenly golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and allow to drain.
4) To make dipping sauce, combine vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
MAKES 2 SERVINGS
1 packet vegetarian chicken or any seitan-based mock meat
1 bunch water spinach or spinach, finely chopped
2 potato, quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns
1/4 cup vinegar
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1) Marinate vegetarian chicken in garlic, soy sauce, peppercorns, bay leaves and vinegar for 15 minutes.
2) Reserving marinade, transfer garlic into preheated vegetable oil and stir-fry until fragrant, being careful not to burn.Add potatoes and marinade. Simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add water if needed.
3) Add mock chicken. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the water spinach and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with bay leaves and lemon zest. Serve with steamed rice.
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
4 cups coconut milk
2 pandan leaves
2 ube (purple yam), peeled and cubed
2 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup light brown sugar
A pinch of salt
A pinch of anise seeds (optional)
2 saba (plantain banana), peeled and cubed
1 cup fresh jackfruit, sliced into thick pieces
1 cup cooked big sago (tapioca balls)
For Bilo-Bilo (sticky rice balls) -
1 cup glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 coconut cream (for garnishing)
1) To make the bilo-bilo, mix the glutinous rice flour and cup water in a mixing bowl. Mix well until you reach a dough-like consistency. With your hands, shape the mixture into small balls. Repeat until you have used up all of the dough.
2) Boil 4 cups of water in a pot and when it boils, gently drop the dough balls, stirring occasionally so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan or to each other. Cook until tender or until they rise to the top. By the time they are cooked, the water should be slightly thickened also. Set aside.
3) In a big pot, bring coconut milk and pandan leaves to boil. Add the purple yam and sweet potatoes. Stir in the brown sugar, salt and anise seeds (if using). Stir well to dissolve the brown sugar.
4) Add saba (plantain banana), jackfruit, and cooked sago. Simmer for another 4 minutes or until the purple yam and sweet potatoes are almost cooked.
5) Add the bilo-bilo and adjust the sweetness to your taste. Uncovered and cook over low heat for another 1 minute or until everything is tender but not mushy, stirring often to avoid sticking. Garnish with coconut cream.