Today’s DIY: Spicy Tomato Marmalade

Today’s DIY: My DIY recipe in today’s  (August 21) issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer is for Spicy Tomato Marmalade.

Where I Got It: The recipe was one of those demonstrated at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel by Chefs Harum Imre and Ramazan Erdem, who were in Manila recently to supervise the preparation of the food for the Turkish Food Festival in Shangri-la Makati’s Circles restaurant.  The chefs both hail from the Shangri-la Hotel Bosphorus.

How It Turned Out: To make the marmalade the chefs processed the ingredients through a food mill.  This resulted in a marmalade with the texture of a coarse purée—which was perfect for using as a dip for pita bread.  In Turkey this dish is usually served as part of a platter of appetizers called mezze.

However, since I didn’t have a food mill at home, I couldn’t achieve the texture of a purée.  Instead the recipe turned out to be more of a relish, or a salad.  Nevertheless it turned out delicious.  It was similar to tabouleh salad except this one didn’t have bulgur. I served the relish with some tapa and rice.  Yum.

Grab the Recipe: To read my entire DIY column, see today’s Inquirer, Lifestyle section, page C4.  Or log on to

For more on the Turkish cooking class, see the post on Turkish Stuffed Eggplants below.

Here’s the recipe for Tomato Marmalade/Relish

Spicy Tomato Marmalade

2                      onions

2 – 3                 c water

2                      tbsp salt

6                      medium tomatoes, finely chopped

2                      medium cucumbers, finely chopped

1                      c finely chopped parsley

2                      stalks spring onions, finely chopped

¼                     c  tomato paste

1                      dried red chili pepper, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

3                      tbsp olive oil

1                      lemon

Chopped walnuts (optional)

Peel the onions.  Combine water and salt in a bowl and soak the onions in the water for one hour.  Rinse the onions then chop them finely.  Mix the onions with the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and spring onions.  Pass the mixture through a food mill (see note). The mixture should come out like a coarse purée.

Add the tomato paste and the chopped red chili pepper.  Season with salt and pepper then drizzle with olive oil and the juice of one lemon.  Blend well.  Top with the chopped walnuts.

Note: A food mill is a rotary device used in professional kitchens for grinding and puréeing fruits and vegetables.  If you don’t have a food mill, you can purée the mixture in a food processor.  Or, just serve the mixture as is (without puréeing).  It will be more of a relish or a salad rather than a marmalade and will still be delicious.  You can serve it with roasted meat and fish or as a dip for pita bread.

Cook’s tips:

  • Dried red chili peppers are available in the spices section of large supermarkets and in some Indian groceries.
  • If you can’t find dried red chili pepper, you can use red pepper flakes.
  • For a non-spicy version, omit the chili pepper.

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Today’s DIY: Turkish Stuffed Eggplants

This Week’s DIY: My DIY recipe in today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer is for Turkish Stuffed Eggplants.

IMG_1106: Chefs from Shangri-la Hotel, Bosphorus, Istanbul Harun Imre and Ramazan Edrem

Chefs Harun Imre and Ramazan Edrem

Where I Got It: Last week, Shangri-la Hotel Makati held a Turkish Food Festival, featuring the cuisine of Turkey in the lunch and dinner buffets of Circles Restaurant. To prepare the food for the festival the hotel invited two chefs from Shangri-La Hotel Bosphorus in Istanbul.  Chefs Harum Imre and Ramazan Edrem also conducted a cooking class on Turkish cuisine, which I attended.  One of the recipes they showed us was for Turkish Stuffed Eggplants.

IMG_1034 : Spicy TurkishTomato Marmalade at Shangri-La Hotel Makati

Spicy tomato marmalade

The other dishes we learned to cook were:  mashed broad bean dip, mint labneh, spicy tomato marmalade,

IMG_1041: Turkish Shepherd's Salad at Shangri-La Hotel Makati

Shepherd's salad

shepherd’s salad,walnut chicken, octopus salad, stuffed cabbage rolls, candied pumpkin and baked rice pudding.

How It Turned Out: All the dishes prepared by the chefs, which the class gladly tasted, were delicious.  But being a shameless eggplant fan, I lost no time in trying the stuffed eggplant recipe when I got home. Because it turned out so well—almost as good as the dish cooked by the chefs during the class—I decided to make it my DIY recipe for this week.

Grab the Recipe: See the recipe below.  You can also get the recipe and the entire DIY column in today’s (August 14) issue of the Inquirer, Lifestyle section, page C3.  Or click on this link:

IMG_1073: Turkish Stuffed Eggplant at Shangri-La Hotel Makati

Stuffed Eggplants

Turkish Stuffed Eggplants

4 – 5                 pcs long eggplants

1 ¼                  c olive oil, divided

2                      onions, diced

1                      whole head garlic, chopped

½                     k ground beef

½                     c diced parsley

2                      medium tomatoes, diced

2                      green chili peppers, diced

1                      c water

3                      tbsp tomato paste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dash of sugar

For the garnish:

1                      tomato, sliced lengthwise

1                      green chili pepper, sliced lengthwise

For drizzling:

Olive oil

Lemon juice

IMG_1060 : Turkish Stuffed Eggplant at Shangri-La Hotel Makati

Peel only the center of the sliced eggplants.

Slice each eggplant crosswise into 3 logs or barrel shapes (discard the stems).  You should have about 12 to 15 pieces. Peel only the center of each sliced eggplant, leaving the edges unpeeled (see photo).

Poke a few holes in each eggplant slice so they get cooked faster. In a frying pan, heat one cup of the olive oil and fry eggplant slices until slightly tender.  Remove the  eggplants from the oil and transfer to plates lined with paper towels or absorbent paper.

In another pan, heat remaining ¼ cup of the olive oil and sauté the onions then the garlic.  Add the beef and cook until brown.  Stir in the parsley, tomatoes and green chili peppers.  Pour in the water and tomato paste and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer until the ground beef is almost dry.  Remove from the heat.

Arrange the eggplants on their sides and slit the top part to make an opening.  With the back of a spoon, flatten the surface of each eggplant to create space for the filling.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and sugar.  Spoon some of the cooked ground beef into each eggplant.  Garnish each with a slice of green chili pepper and tomato.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice before serving.   Makes five to six servings.

Cook’s tips:

  • The green chilies make this dish spicy.  For a non spicy version, remove the seeds from the chilies before using.
  • You can serve any leftover meat filling separately.  Or store it for later use.  It can be used to make a meat tortilla, soup or as part of a tomato sauce for pasta.

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Today’s DIY: Potato Apple Salad

Today’s DIY: My DIY recipe in today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer is for Potato Apple Salad, published in the Lifestyle section, page C3.

Where I Got It: Now that the rainy season is here, we all have to stock up on nonperishable goods—to make sure we have something to cook when the rains and floods keep us from going to the market. I was looking in my own cupboard, wondering what I could whip up (in case the rain didn’t stop) and found out I had:  potatoes, apples, green onions, a can of crushed pineapples and Japanese mayonnaise.  Hmm, why not make a potato apple salad, I thought.

How It Turned Out: Tah-dah!  It was delicious.  It tasted very much like the potato salad served in Japanese restaurants—which is a family favorite.  The mellow taste of the Japanese mayonnaise complemented the potatoes perfectly, while the apples added crunch and sweetness.

Grab the recipe: Here’s my DIY recipe as featured in today’s Inquirer.  To read the entire DIY column, see today’s issue of Inquirer, page C3 or click on this link:

IMG_0977: DIY Potato Apple Salad

Potato Apple Salad with Japanese Mayonnaise

Potato Apple Salad

6                      medium potatoes (about 1 kilo)

Water, for boiling potatoes

½                     c canned crushed pineapples

¼                     c pickle relish

3                      apples, preferably Red Delicious

1                      c Japanese mayonnaise

¼                     c finely diced spring onions

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sugar, to taste

Peel the potatoes and boil them in enough water to cover until tender.  Drain the potatoes and let cool.  Meanwhile strain the crushed pineapples in a sieve.  Put the pickle relish in a strainer and press them with the back of a spoon to let out the excess liquid (discard the liquid).

Peel the apples then dice them into one-inch or half-inch pieces (according to your preference).  Immediately put the apples in a bowl then toss them with the mayonnaise.

When the potatoes have cooled, dice them into one-inch or half-inch pieces (similar in size to the apples). Add the potatoes to the bowl with the apples and the mayonnaise.  Toss in the drained pineapples, pickle relish and spring onions.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar then mix gently.

Transfer to a serving bowl and cover well.  Chill in the refrigerator for about two hours before serving.  Makes four to six servings.

Cook’s tips:

  • Once you’ve diced the apples, toss them with the mayonnaise immediately so they don’t turn brown.
  • If desired garnish the top of the salad with additional diced spring onions before serving.
  • Japanese mayonnaise is available in Japanese and Korean groceries and in the condiment section of big supermarkets.


  • You can also add raisins to the salad.
  • If desired, garnish the salad with hard-boiled eggs before serving.

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Today’s DIY: Wing Beans with Smoked Fish in Coconut Cream (Guinataang Sigarilyas with Tinapa)

Today’s DIY : In today’s (July 31) issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, my DIY recipe is for Guinataang Sigarilyas with Tinapa – Wing Beans in Coconut Milk with Smoked Fish.

Where I Got It: From Romulo Café, the restaurant named after Filipino statesman, writer, soldier and diplomat General Carlos P. Romulo.  The restaurant is owned by his grandchildren.

IMG_0945  Romulo Cafe's Rellenong Manok for Maya Kitchen

Lola Virginia's Chicken Relleno

At the Maya Kitchen and Culinary Center last Saturday, Alessandra Romulo Squillantini (granddaughter of General Romulo) and her husband Enzo demonstrated how to cook some heirloom recipes of the Romulo family.  These included:  Lola Virginia’s Chicken Relleno (chicken stuffed with a mixture of ground pork, cheese, chorizo, Vienna sausage, onions, peas, raisins, pickle relish and eggs),

IMG_0922  Romulo Cafe's Kare Kare for Maya Kitchen

Tito Greg's Oxtail Kare Kare

Tito Greg’s Oxtail Kare Kare (oxtail and tripe stew in a peanut-based sauce),

IMG_0955 Romulo Cafe's Adobo sa Gata for Maya Kitchen

Adobong Manok sa Gata (Chicken Adobo in Coconut Milk)

Adobong Manok sa Gata (chicken adobo cooked in coconut milk) and Tropical Turon (pineapple roll served with calamansi sherbet and lemon sauce). These dishes are all served in Romulo Café.

IMG_0932  Romulo Cafe's Guinataang Sigarilyas for Maya Kitchen

Guinataang Sigarilyas with Tinapa (Wing Beans in Coconut Milk with Smoked Fish)

And of course there was the guinataang sigarilyas.

I’ve never been fond of wing beans but this recipe has made me appreciate this humble vegetable more.  Simmered in sweet-salty bagoong and the rich, creamy taste of the coconut milk, the sigarilyas becomes transformed into a hearty dish.  It’s best eaten after it’s newly cooked—and with lots of hot, freshly cooked rice.

Grab the recipe:  Here’s Romulo Café’s recipe for Guinataang Sigarilyas with Tinapa.  To view my entire DIY column in today’s (July 31) Inquirer, see today’s issue (page C4) or click on this link:

Guinataang Sigarilyas with Tinapa

(Winged Beans in Coconut Milk  and Tinapa)

450                  grams sigarilyas (winged beans)

¼                     c cooking oil

¼                     medium onion, chopped

6                      small cloves garlic, chopped

½                     c flaked tinapa (smoked fish)

3                      tsp bagoong

1                      chicken broth cube

1                      c water

1 1/3                c fresh coconut milk (see tips)*

Wash the sigarilyas well.  Remove the seeds then cut the sigarilyas into 1 ½ -inch pieces. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil then sauté the onions and garlic. Add the tinapa flakes.  Stir in the sigarilyas, bagoong and chicken broth cube.  Pour in the water and allow to simmer.  When the sigarillas are tender, add the gata and continue simmering for a few more minutes.  Transfer to a serving plate and serve.  Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Cook’s tips:

  • For the tinapa, Romulo Café uses galunggong tinapa.  You can also use tinapang bangus (make sure it’s boneless).
  • For the coconut milk, use kakang gata, which is the first pressing of the coconut.  This is thicker than the second or third pressing of coconut and is also called coconut cream.
  • You can use freshly squeezed coconut milk (first pressing) or canned coconut cream.
  • If using canned coconut cream, shake the can well before opening.


  • Instead of tinapa, you can use small shrimps or dried shrimps (known locally as hibe).  If using dried shrimps, hydrate them first by soaking them in warm water for about 10 minutes before using.
  • For a spicier version of this dish:  Use spicy bagoong, or add some siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies) after pouring in the water.

For more information on Maya Kitchen’s cooking classes, call 892-1185 or 892-5011, local 108, or visit:

Romulo Café: 32 Scout Tuason, corner Dr. Lazcano, Quezon City, telephone: 332-7275.  Branches are also located on Jupiter Street, Bel Air, Makati (telephone 478-6406; and in Madrigal Business Park, Alabang (telephone 556-1443).

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