Your 3 Winning Filipino Recipes Of The AFN Food Awards

Your 3 Winning Filipino Recipes Of The AFN Food Awards

From a classic pork peanut kare stew, to a bright kimchi-stuffed inasal chicken, here are our community's 3 best recipes of The AFN Food Awards

We asked our community in the Philippines for their best recipes, and they delivered! Here are the top 3 Filipino recipes that we love. 

In our first-ever AFN Food Awards held in the Philippines (and on Facebook) on July 24, we asked you to share your best Asian recipe - whether it was a long-held family recipe, a local favorite made new or just something you really love cooking. And you really turned up! We had so much fun pouring through all the submissions, and together with our food-loving community and resident chef, we selected the top 3 recipes - a winner, and two finalists.

It was incredibly tough to select so few from the many wonderful recipes from our Filipino community. But eventually we laid down the cutlery on a classic pork peanut stew, a Mexican-inspired, pull-apart taco pizza for gatherings, and a bright kimchi-stuffed inasal chicken. We hope you'll love cooking them as much as we did. 

1. Winner: Pork Pata Kare-Kare by Dennis Policarpio


Pork Pata Kare-Kare

My late father first made this Filipino pork peanut stew classic, which everyone in my family loved. It takes quite a while to cook everything, but it’s not too difficult. I start off by making the savory, creamy peanut dip, which is simply a quick blitz of roasted peanuts and oil. I roast them myself, but you can also buy them roasted. The whole pork leg may be a bit clumsy to handle, but the cooking is simple - just boil. The hardest part might be combining everything in a hot pan. For that, I use a glossy red annatto oil for some spiced sweetness (I fry the seeds for the oil, but you can buy the oil too), and let everything sizzle. This old dish is something all locals love, but my father really knew how to make the best one, and I’m glad he taught me too.

This recipe's a knockout classic that every Filipino food lover should memorise. Like most stews, soups and curries - Dennis' pork stew recipe requires a good long simmer to get it all bubbly and seeping with flavor. Mostly that comes from cooking the pork pata, which involves boiling a whole pork leg and hock. A rich, malty curry-like stew made from peanut paste and pork broth is then laden over it and the whole thing is simmered even more. Take note it's "curry-like", not curry, even as its name "kare-kare" goes. That's because the signature Filipino dish does not use any curry spices of turmeric, curry leaves, cumin and so on. It instead replaces them with savory grounded peanut - that's peanuts, roasted and blended into a thick paste. 

There are some ingredients that you can substitute too. Dennis suggests using oxtail or short ribs in place of pork hocks, if you prefer. For the stew base, he recommends a roasted peanuts paste, made from scatch, as it lends a nuttier, roasted flavor that better complements the meaty pork juices. But if you're short on time, you can always use unsweetened peanut butter too, it just won't have the hint of smoke that comes from roasting your own. Banana flowers, while used a lot in Filipino cooking, may be hard to find elsewhere, so leave that out if you can't find it in supermarkets. 

Kare-kare dishes are among Philippines' most widely eaten ones, along with lechon and pata. This recipe though, is a family keepsake of Dennis' that was passed down by his late father. It's one which his whole family loves, and we hope you'll love it as much as we have.

2. Finalist: Taco Beef Pizzadilla by Idamae Santos


Taco Beef Pizzadilla

This easy sharing, pull-apart pizzadilla has become my family’s favorite over the course of community quarantine here in the Philippines. I switched out the typical doughy pizza base for a soft-shelled tortilla instead, so you see why I’ve called it “pizzadilla”. My family loves toppings of cheese, pepperoni slices and beef, but you can always use different ones. To balance out the big, meaty flavors, I’ve made a citrusy mango salsa and a zesty yogurt-lemon garlic sauce. The tortilla wrap is homemade, but you can also use store-bought ones. This taco pizza’s a big nod to Mexican inspirations of salsa and tacos, which has influenced so much Filipino food.

It's in this pizzadilla, or pizza-quesadilla, that you see the Mexican influences in Filipino food - which this recipe embraces in every step. Idamae's no-fuss assembly, easy-pull taco-pizza is a joyfully simple and satisfying one-dish meal for those days. We love how she coolly replaced a crusty and doughy pizza base with a soft-shelled tortilla for an all-over chew that's part soft, part crunch. She uses her family's favorite toppings of beef, salami and cheese, but like a pizza, you can use whatever you desire. Some anchovies perhaps? Or how about team ham-pineapple?

And it's not just meat and meat, Idamae thoughtfully nudges these big, strong flavors with a cool guacamole and lemon-squeezed yogurt dip that hit us like a cool breeze on warm days. And, for an extra chilling effect, we went in spoon after spoon into the tomatoey, water-bursting salsa that she made a whole bowl of, on the side. You'll see that she does the tortilla wrap from scratch, but you can buy a pre-made packet in your supermarket of course. In all, a recipe like this is made for a blissful time of easy eating and evening conversations - which Idamae remembers doing a whole lot of while in family quarantine in the Philippines

3. Finalist: Rellenong Chicken Inasal Stuffed With Kimchi Rice by Natania Trynel Evangelista


Rellenong Chicken Inasal Stuffed With Kimchi Rice

Besides salt, sour and smoke, I’ve made Filipino’s beloved grilled chicken dish with some peppery sweetness. First, I swapped the usual garlic rice for another flavor hit - kimchi rice, and swirled in a dab of earthy sweet gochujang paste in the chicken marinade. The Korean flavors carry on in the sauce too - I stirred another spoon of Korea’s chili pepper paste into a typical dip of sharp vinegar and calamansi juice. And for an extra crisp chicken skin oozing juice, I flame-torched the chicken. This stuffed chicken dish hails from Ilonggo, a province near Boracay that’s often described as a mini-Manila, where it’s eaten on its own or with warm white rice.

There are so many joyful surprises in Natania's recipe. To start, if you've ever tried addictive chicken inasal skewers of the Philippines, you would tear through bites and bites of sour and salt. But how about sweet? Well, her recipe boldly introduces some magical sweetness into the salty sour duo with a pop of Korean inspiration. You'll taste gochujang's peppery hot sweetness in the chicken's marinade, as well as in the essential dip of vinegar and calamansi, where it's stirred in.

For those not familiar with the golden street food skewers, chicken inasal is usually grilled on sticks, and dipped in a sharp, critus mix of the latter two. Some of the most famous inasal eateries serve it with garlic or white rice. Kimchi rice however, has turned out to be perfect too - something else Natania has shown. It's an incredibly good switch, with sour and buzzy pickled cabbage juice balancing all the sweet spots in between.

Another creative decision we loved in her recipe was the stuffing of rice, or "rellenong" as the locals say. Normally, rice is served on the side. The results? A quick but satisfying rellenong-inasal snack for the quite hungry. It makes a convenient to-go bite too, one which you can simply wrap in foil and bring along. Try it out yourself

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