Whole Wheat Pandesal

Pandesal is a Philippine bread typically made of four basic ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water. Hence, the name pan de sal or bread with salt. It’s baked like dinner rolls only topped with bread crumbs. 

A bit healthier than white flour, here’s a whole wheat version.

  • 1 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour. This makes the whole wheat flour dough soft. 
  • 1/4 cup non-fat powdered milk
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup or 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • Bread crumbs for dusting


  • If using a bread maker to make the dough, load all the ingredients in the order listed. Set to Whole Wheat Dough setting.   
  • If kneading using a stand mixer, mix using dough hook at low speed for 5 – 7 minutes until it forms a soft ball. Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let rise for 2 hours.
  • When complete, cut the dough in 16 pieces and arrange in a baking pan. Using store bought bread crumbs, sprinkle generously on top of the shaped rolls. Let rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. 
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Bake in the middle rack for 15 minutes.  If using white whole wheat flour, the color of the baked bread is golden. 

This is really good right out of the oven with butter or cheese. 



Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Homegrown anything is just amazing! We recently harvested these beautiful bananas from our garden. How cool is that.




Banana bread is just one way we enjoyed this bounty. I adapted this recipe from King Arthur’s Flour.  Double the recipe to make two flavors from the same batter.


  • 2 cups ripe bananas, about 4 medium size
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾  cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½  cup chopped walnuts  or ½  cup chocolate chips

Cinnamon Topping:

  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • ½ cup walnuts

Chocolate Espresso Topping. Make sure to use a good instant espresso coffee because this tastes absolutely delicious.

  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1 T espresso coffee
  • ½ cup chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the loaf pan.
  • Put bananas, oil, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla in a food processor with plastic blade, pulse until combined. Or using a large bowl, mash the bananas and mix the above ingredient stirring to combine.
  • Mix in the dry ingredients and continue mixing/pulsing  until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour half of the batter in a separate bowl. Mix nuts on one and chocolate on the other.
  • Pour the batter into the pan.
  • On one pan, spread the walnut on top, then spread the mixed brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • On the other pan, spread the chocolate chips on top and then with the mixed brown sugar and espresso coffee.



  • Bake for 60 minutes.  Test with a cake tester. Bake an additional 10 minutes if not done.
  • Remove from the oven, cool in the pan for 10 minutes and transfer to a rack to completely cool.

With walnut and cinnamon brown sugar topping.









With chocolate chips and espresso brown sugar topping.


Slice and enjoy! Just another way to spell H-O-M-E!




Last Friday was my turn to host the neighbors’ monthly get-together.  Inspired by the Chinese New Year celebrated this year on January 31, I decided to make it a dim-sum night.  These are the items I prepared.

Beef Sio-mai on spinach wrap

Beef Siomai on spinach wrap


  • ½ lb ground sirloin, I purchased the pack with the lowest fat content
  • ¼ cup chopped water chestnuts
  • ¼ cup chopped bamboo shoots
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame seed oil
  • 1 T rice wine
  • 1 t sugar
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 25 pieces spinach wonton wrapper.  The package suggests to use this type of wrapper to make vegetable dumplings, but I thought it would add some color and I decided to use green peas to complement the  spinach wrap.

Mix all the ingredients and refrigerate for an hour to overnight to meld the flavors.

Chicken and Shrimp Siomai

Chicken and Shrimp Siomai


  • ½ cup boneless chicken breast, chopped
  • ¼ c chopped water chestnuts
  • ¼ c Chinese black mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 T rice wine
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame seed oil
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 15 pieces shrimps, shell and slice in the middle to remove the black vein
  • 25 Siomai wrapper

Mix all the ingredients, except the shrimps and refrigerate for an hour to overnight to meld the flavors.

Wrap the siomai using 1 T of chicken top with half the shrimp. Make a circle using the index finger and the thumb. Put the siomai on the hole and lightly grab the ends to make the siomai pockets.

Chicken Siopao

Chicken Siopao

I have posted the recipe for Chicken Siopao. For this occasion, I just made them smaller, about 2 inches diameter.

Turkey Dumpling

Dumpling with Turkey

This is actually called Peking Kuo-Tieh Dumplings.

Dough Skin:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cup boiling water
  • 5 T cold water

Sift flour in a bowl, mix in the boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes, then add the cold water. Transfer into a mixer or knead manually until it forms a soft ball.


  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • 1 T chopped  fresh ginger
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped bamboo shoots
  • 1 T rice wine

Cut the dough into round the size of a pecan nut. Using a rolling-pin, flatten each and put 1 T of filling.  Make pleats on one side of the round and pinch on the other side to form the dumpling. This process really takes time but it is worth it.

Boil water in a pot. Drop the dumplings into the boiling water few pieces at a time. The dumpling will first sink into the bottom of the pan and then rise to the top when cooked. Scoop out each floating dumpling and set aside. Spray some oil to prevent from sticking to each other. Store in the refrigerator. This can be done the day before.

On the day of the party, fry the dumplings in a hot pan with little oil to prevent it from sticking to the pan. This takes about 3 minutes on each side.



Chicken Skewers With Philippine Inasal Flavor

Chicken Skewers With Philippine Inasal Flavor


  • 2  lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs, If you buy the ones with bones, simply cut around the bones. Cut in bite-size squares.

Marinade overnight in:

  • ¼ c vinegar
  • 1 whole clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric, finely chopped or 2  t turmeric powder if fresh is not available
  • ½ cup chopped lemongrass
  • 2 T salt

On the day of the party, put 3 or 4 pieces in small bamboo skewers.  With little oil to prevent sticking, cook the sticks in a pan for 5 minutes each side. Start with a really hot pan.

Egg Noodle Salad with Sesame Dressing

Egg Noodle Salad with Sesame Dressing


  • 1 lb egg noodles. udon noodles will work too
  • 4 pieces scallions, the white part only, slice lengthwise
  • 3 pieces of kirby cucumbers, or Persian cucumbers, or equivalent measure of English cucumbers
  • 1 sweet red pepper, slice into strips
  • 1 cup carrots, cut in sticks
  • Dressing: 2 t sesame  oil; 1 T peanut oil, 1 T peanut butter, 2 T rice vinegar, 1 T miso, pepper to taste .

Boil water in a pot and cook the noodles according to package directions.  Rinse and drain when done.

Make the dressing and toss everything. Serve immediately or keep cool in the refrigerator.

Siopao with Sweet Red Beans and Sweetened Coconut Filling

Siopao with Sweet Red Beans and Sweetened Coconut Filling


  • 1 can sweet red beans. I cooked mine using dried azuki beans, sweetened with little sugar
  • 1 cup  Philippine sweet coconut or macapuno, optional

Use the same dough as for siopao. Put 1 T filling inside and steam for 10 minutes.

Egg Custard Tart

Egg Custard Tart


  • 1 ½ c hot water
  • ½ c sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t white vinegar
  • Dissolve sugar in hot water. Allow to cool and add the remaining ingredients. Strain and set aside.


  •  1 ½ c all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 stick, plus 2 T cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Combine flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. Combine the egg and vanilla and add to the flour mixture. Transfer into a floured surface and knead for 1 minute.
  • Divide the dough into 18 or 20 pieces and press into 2 ½: tart pans. Since I don’t own the small  tart pans, I used the mini muffin pan.
  • Stir the custard mixture and pour into each tart. Bake in pre-heated 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Can be served hot or cold.

I offered different sauces to go with the dim-sums.

  • Soy-Vinegar.  ¼ cup soy sauce,  3 T rice vinegar, ½ t black pepper, finely sliced 1 scallion. Mix together. This is good for the dumplings. For variation, instead of scallions use, 1 T finely diced fresh ginger.
  • Hoisin-Sesame:  3 T hoisin sauce, 1 t sesame oil. Mix. This is good on Chicken Siopao.
  • Worcestershire: Also good used in the chicken siopao.

For drinks I served lychee juice,  jasmine tea and chilled sake.

Making each dumpling requires patience.  It’s been my habit to turn the TV on while I work in the kitchen. This time I tuned in to Netflix for my favorite old movies. I figured since I already saw the movies several times,  there is no need to pay attention much to the dialogues while making the dumplings.

Dim-sum night was a hit. My friend Isabel said to me, ‘this is over the top, you know I can’t match this’,  while her Italian husband said, ‘I am serving pizza on my turn!’.

To that I responded, ‘I would like that since I have been saying that the day I meet a pizza I like, is the day I become a true Floridian’.

Because right now, when it comes to food,  my heart still belongs to New York!

By the way, I completed the preparation of these good morsels while two of my favorite old movies played on the TV: School Ties and Last Holiday.  It provides me with the proper rhythm. Try it, it’s fun.

Baked Brie In Brioche


I just love Baked Brie and I make it every chance I have, which is mostly when we have company. Instead of  the traditional puff pastry, this time I used a brioche dough.  I also used every kind of dried fruits available in the  pantry. By the reaction of our guests, I’d say this is a hit.

I followed Julia Child’s recipe from a book Baking With Julia, Brie in Brioche. The recipe used baked onions with the Brie. Instead of onions I substituted my favorite nuts and dried fruit filling.

The Brioche

  • 1 T   active dry yeast. I used SAF instant yeast as suggested. I use the instant yeast in all my baking. I love it that  I can skip the proofing process.
  • 3 T non-fat dry milk
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 3  1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 c water
  • for the egg wash, use 1 large eqq
  • 1 round  wheel ripe Brie

The Nuts and Dried Fruits: Mix all and  ensure  each bit of nuts and fruits are well coated with maple syrup.

  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c chopped dates
  • 1/2 c chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 c maple syrup

Chilling the Dough

  • Mix and knead the dough and let rise for 1 hour. Put in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.
  • The recipe suggested to start the brioche at least 24 hours or up to 36 hours ahead. Well, I didn’t have the luxury of time as I just decided to make this last night.  I only chilled for a total of 12 hours.
  • Take the dough from the refrigerator at least 4 hours before you want to serve it. The resulting dough felt buttery so I also skipped buttering the  spring form pan.

Assembling the Pastry

  • Turn the cold brioche dough on to a lightly floured surface.
  • Roll into a cylinder and cut into 3 parts .
  • Roll a piece into a 12-inch diameter
  • Fit the dough into the bottom of the pan covering the sides about 1 inch around
  • Put the Brie in the middle and pour the nut mixture on top and sides of the cheese. Leave enough room around for the top and bottom dough to connect
  • Roll the second dough  12-inch diameter and cover the cheese. Pinch around to connect to the bottom dough
  • Roll the remaining dough into 30 by 3 inches rectangular strip. Make 2 cuts along the length trying not to separate the top end.
  • Braid the dough.
  • Put the braid around the  pan.
  • Let it rise at room temperature for  1 hour

Baking the Brioche

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425F.
  • Bake the brioche for  15 minutes, then lower the temperature to  375F and bake for another 30 minutes.
  • Tent it with a foil to prevent it from browning too fast.
  • Cool for 30 minutes before serving.




The braids didn’t come out as good as it should be but the brioche itself came out good despite the short chilling period. I will definitely try the 24-hour chilling according to the recipe and  see if it does make a big difference.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my guests did on our 4th of July BBQ held on the 3rd!


Pandan Flavored Pan de Sal

Pandan Pan de Sal

Pan de Sal, literally mean bread with salt, is a favorite Filipino bread and could very well be the Philippine national bread. It is eaten on breakfast or mid-day snacks, plain, dunked into morning coffee; with corned beef hash;  and these are specially good with fresh local farmers cheese.  This is the basic pan de sal recipe I have been using for years.  To add the pandan flavor, I simply substituted  the water with the liquid  I extracted from the fresh leaves of the pandan plant (pandanus amaryllifolius).


  • 1 cup of liquid extracted from  pandan leaves. Or use 1 cup of water with 2 teaspoons of  commercial pandan extract . 
  • 3 1/4 C bread flour
  • 4 T  granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 T dry milk
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2  C plain bread crumbs

Extract the flavor from pandan leaves.

  • 12 pieces of fresh pandan leaves, thoroughly washed and cut into thin strips using a pair of scissors
  • 1 cup of water
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Strain to  extract the liquid
  • Add another cup of water, blend to take  a second extract. Strain.
  • Let extracts stand overnight in the refrigerator to let the green chlorophyl settle on the bottom.
  • Pour the top liquid into another container.
  • With the concentrated green extract, add enough of the liquid to get the required cup of liquid.


  • Follow the dough setting of the bread maker.  
  • OR   Put all the ingredients in the bowl (except the bread crumbs) of a stand mixer, knead until dough is smooth. Put in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic and let rise in warm place until double.
  • Shape into 24 pieces and roll into the bread crumbs.
  • Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Bake  for 12 minutes.
  • Cool and enjoy with your favorite filling.

Shaped dough ready for the oven

Meat Rolls (Buns with Meat Filling)


We like this ready-to-go-sandwiches.

Make the dough.

  • 1 c water
  • 3 1/4 c bread flour
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 T dry milk
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 2 t instant yeast

Rise the dough in the bread maker.

If not using a bread maker, use lukewarm water and knead using a stand mixer on medium speed until it sticks clean to the beater.  Transfer into a slightly oiled bowl, Cover with plastic wrap.

Rise in a warm place for  1 hour or until double in size.

Cook the meat filling.

  • 1 medium potato,  diced . Fry in 3 T olive oil until golden.
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 3 T  olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 finely chopped onions
  • 1   bay leaf or 3 pieces if using fresh bay leaf
  • 1 t  dried oregano  or 1/4 c fresh oregano
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper, according to taste
  • Optional ingredients: mushrooms, olives


  • In a pan, brown the ground beef with 1 tsp salt and bay leaf.  Discard  fat, if any.
  • Add 3 T olive oil, garlic and onion to the beef. Saute until the onion is clear.
  • Add the tomatoes, soy sauce,  salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce,  cover, stirring once in a while and cook until the meat is tender and the tomatoes have turned into sauce.
  • Add the raisins and if using, mushrooms and olives. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stir to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper according to taste.
  • The resulting dish must not be saucy in order  not to saturate the dough.
  • Cool before using.

Ground Beef Menudo

Now we are ready to fill the buns.  Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In  a slightly floured surface, turn the dough and divide into 14 pieces  or  each one should weigh between 50 and 52 grams. Form each piece into a ball.

Flatten each ball and put about  3 T of meat filling in the middle, gather the edges and seal. Place in a non-stick baking pan with the sealed  side down.

Put a piece of square wax paper underneath each bun if the pan is not non-stick.

Beat 1 egg and  brush the top of each filled bun for a shiny golden color.

Bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy.

To warm later using a toaster oven, bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.


Chicken Siopao

I haven’t met a Filipino who does not  like siopao. This dish also called  Siu Bao was introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese centuries ago. This is  traditionally made with pork filling. Not many bao store in New York Chinatown sells chicken bao and being that we don’t eat pork, I make it with chicken.


  • 1 chicken breast, diced
  • 1 T oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 pieces dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in 1 c water for 30 minutes or until fully hydrated, sliced thinly. Strain and reserve the mushroom water.
  • 1/3 c chopped onion
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 T Hoisin sauce
  • 1 T Oyster sauce
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 T Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 t  sesame oil
  • 2 t corn starch
  • 3 sprigs of green onions, sliced

Cook the filling.

  • In a pan, heat the oil and cook the garlic until light brown. Add the onion and mushroom and cook until the onion is soft.
  • Add the diced chicken meat and saute until opaque in color.
  • Add the soy sauce, hoisin, oyster  sauces, cooking wine and  half of the reserved mushroom water, cover and simmer to allow the chicken to absorb the flavor.
  • Dissolve the corn starch using the rest of the mushroom water. Add to the pan along with the sesame oil and sliced green onions.
  • Stir and cook until thick. Cool before filling the buns.

Cooked chicken filling.


  • 3 cups of white bao flour, also called HongKong flour which is lighter than the regular all-purpose flour. You may also use low-glutten all purpose flour.
  • 3/4 c water
  • 1/4 vegetable oil
  • 3 T fine sugar
  • 2 t instant yeast

This is the flour I use. This is available in Asian groceries.

I use the bread machine to knead and rise the dough. You can also knead manually or in a mixer and rise for 30-45 minutes.

Kneaded dough.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces for small buns or 12 for big buns.

Flatten each piece and fill with about 3 T of filling. Wet the edges with water.  Gather the ends in pleats and seal.

Put a piece of wax paper under each bun. Bring the water in the steamer into a rapid boil. Cover and steam the buns for 12 minutes. Resist opening to peak.

Steamed bao.

Serve warm. We like it with a little Tabasco sauce. Enjoy!