Recipes for a Filipino Kamayan Feast
Filipino Coconut Garlic Fried Rice (Sinangag)
This super-delicious rice can be made mostly ahead of time. (You need the steamed rice to cool and dry out a bit before you fry it anyway.) The final result is addictive and goes with everything on this menu, so I like to make two batches—one plain and one with the optional turmeric, which adds a little extra flavor and a pretty orange color.
Quick-Pickled Red Cabbage (Atchara)
Sour flavors are important in Filipino cooking, and quick pickles both heighten the sourness and serve as palate-cleansers, balancing and cutting through fattier dishes. This cold-flash-pickling method works with all kinds of vegetables (green papaya, radishes, and carrots are traditional), but red cabbage is an easy and gorgeous place to start.
Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk (Adobo sa Gata)
In the Philippines, adobo is both a beloved cooking technique and a tangy marinated and braised meat dish. It’s akin to the French coq au vin, but with a flavor all its own. You can use different types of meat or fish, but chicken is a favorite. I love to add mushrooms to mine—and sometimes even a boiled egg.
Sour and Spicy ’shrooms (Mushroom Sisig)
This is my vegan version of what Anthony Bourdain called his favorite Filipino dish. Sisig (SEE-sig) is traditionally made with chopped pig’s face and served on a sizzling hot platter. The mushrooms here mimic the chewy-meaty quality of pork and don’t take nearly as long to prepare. You still get all the salty, tangy, and spicy flavors. And no face gets chopped!
Scallop Ceviche (Kinilaw na Scallops)
The spicy and sour flavors of this quick dish will punch you right in the mouth—in a good way. As with all ceviches, the acidic marinade “cooks” the seafood without heat—and it happens pretty quickly. So it’s good to make this at the last minute and set it out just before people dig in.
Salted Egg Salad (Itlog na Maalat)
Eggs are a staple in Filipino cooking, and duck eggs are especially beloved for their rich yolks. Traditional versions of this salad use salted duck eggs, which cure for weeks in a salty brine or paste. Sold at Asian markets, they taste a little like a very salty, funky boiled egg. Here, I’ve substituted hard-boiled chicken eggs and added fish sauce for a hint of their saltiness and funk.
Purple Yam and Coconut Mochi (Ube Bibingka)
These sweet and chewy little cakes get their brilliant color from purple yams (ube) and their springy texture from glutinous rice flour. They also can be baked in mini muffin pans, but I typically cut them into small squares or triangles and serve on individual squares of banana leaf, along with tea or coffee. For an extra flourish, you can top them with diced fresh mango, as we did here. Candied pineapple or dried papaya are also good toppers.