As a foodie, if you haven’t tried Philippine cuisine, then it should be on top of your bucket list. “A confluence of Chinese, Thai, Malay and Spanish cuisines”, is how Filipino celebrity chef Myrna Dizon Segismundo, who is a visiting chef Welcomhotel Sheraton, describes Philippine cuisine. Segismundo has penned two cookery books and runs several restaurants in Philippines. “The biggest challenge of being a chef is to train people, and tell them how to bring in a certain flavour in a dish,” says Segismundo. Talking about Indian food she says, “I love all kinds of Indian tikkas, and have even tried my hands at making Indian bread, Naan.” She says that Philippine cuisine is not radical, as there is little experimentation. Hence, anyone can take to it. “We bring out the best that we can,” she adds.
However, the Philippine cuisine is largely influenced by other world cuisines. “It is very similar to Portuguese cooking, and is happily married to Spanish ingredients,” adds Segismundo. While reasoning why Indians would like Philippine cuisine, she mentions that many common ingredients, like tamarind, are used in both the Indian and Philippine food. For non-vegetarians the Philippine platter offers various varieties of meat, and sea food. But Segismundo has emphasised on vegetarian dishes to suit the Indian tastes and preferences. The most popular Philippine dishes are Adobo —cooked meat or sea food marinated in sauce of vinegar and garlic, Turron — crisp banana rolls, Maja Blanca corn pudding, Pinakbet (seasonal vegetables in shrimp paste), Sinigang — a sour stew, and Ginataang Halo-halo — mixed fruits with Yams in coconut milk.
Recipe to make crisp banana rolls at home
1.4 pieces Ripe bananas
2.1 cup White sugar
3.6 pieces Spring roll wrappers
4.3/4 cup Jackfruit sliced
5.1 tsp All-purpose flour
6.Oil for deep frying
Peel and slice bananas lengthwise. Cut each half into three strips, making sure each strip is about 4 inches long. Dredge banana strips in sugar. On each piece of the spring roll wrapper, arrange one banana strip with one or two strips of jackfruit on one side. Roll into small cylinders and seal ends with flour or cornstarch. Deep fry rolls tossing continuously while sprinkling with sugar. Drain excess oil from Turron. Cool Turron or the banana rolls on a plate and serve.