Archive for Filipino

Banana Lumpia

Banana lumpia is a super simple dessert to make.  It requires just a few ingredients — cooking bananas, sugar, cinnamon, and lumpia wrappers.

These are the kind of cooking bananas I like to use.  There are several varieties you can buy.  The one I see at most Asian stores (you can also find them in Hispanic markets as well) are a variety called Burro bananas.  Thai bananas also work well here.  The bananas pictured below are the Thai variety.

You want to make sure the bananas are fully ripe before making your banana lumpia.  They should be a deep yellow with a few black spots.  The bananas will still be slightly firm as well.

To prepare the bananas, peel and slice 6 bananas in half, lengthwise.  Cut each half in half again, lengthwise, giving you four long pieces.  Each piece should be about four inches long.

Set the bananas aside for now while you prepare your lumpia wrappers.  The brand I prefer is Wei-Chuan spring roll shells.  I find they stay crisp longer, and they are very easy to separate, even when partially frozen.

Separate the wrappers, then cover with a clean cloth to keep them from drying out.

To assemble the lumpia, place brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Use a fork to mix it all together.

Spread about a tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on one corner of the lumpia wrapper.

Lay one piece of sliced banana on top of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Another option is to roll each banana slice in the sugar mixture then place the coated banana on the lumpia wrapper.

To roll the lumpia, begin by folding the bottom corner up and over the banana.  Slowly roll upward, sort of like forming a cigar shape.

Fold each side inward, as if you were making an envelope.

Continue rolling the lumpia, as tight as you can, until there are about two inches left of the top corner.

Dip your fingertip in some water then wet the top corner along the edges.  Finish rolling the lumpia over the moistened edge, pressing slightly to seal.

Finish rolling the lumpia.  If you plan on frying them right away, leaving them out is fine.  Otherwise, place rolled lumpia in an airtight container (a resealable bag also works well) and place in the refrigerator or freezer.

To fry the lumpia, heat oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees F.

Carefully add the lumpia to the hot oil, making sure not to crowd the oil.

Fry the lumpia until golden brown. They are ready at this point—as shown in the photo below.  One popular cooking option is to create a caramelized coating by sprinkling sugar over the lumpia as it fries.  I don’t particularly care for this as it makes a huge mess in the oil.  If you’d like, you can serve up your lumpia with some caramel sauce on the side (caramel sauce used for ice cream sauce works well) for drizzling or dipping.


Banana Lumpia
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A delicious, crispy dessert made with bananas and cinnamon-sugar, rolled in a lumpia wrapper and fried until golden brown and crispy.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Chamorro, Filipino
Serves: 24
  • 6 cooking bananas, such as Burro or Thai variety
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • Water, for sealing
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. Slice each banana in half, lengthwise, then slice each half in half again, lengthwise, giving your four pieces per banana.
  2. Separate the lumpia wrappers.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar together.
  4. Place a tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture close to the bottom of a lumpia wrapper. Place one slice of banana over the cinnamon-sugar. Roll upward, like a cigar. Fold in the two edges, then continue rolling upward. Rub some water along the top edge of the lumpia wrapper; press to seal.
  5. Fry the lumpia in oil heated to 350 degrees until golden brown. Serve while hot and crisp.
  6. Option: serve with a side of caramel sauce for drizzling or dipping.

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Pancit Bihon

Pancit Bihon is a Filipino dish that Chamorros adopted as their own, fusing ingredients from several cultures as well as using home-grown vegetables.

There are many pancit variations. As the name implies, this pancit uses Bihon noodles, also called rice noodles or rice sticks. Bihon noodles are usually sold dried (that’s where the name “rice sticks” comes from) but some Asian markets sell them fresh. I used the dried noodles to make my pancit. It’s quick and easy — it only takes minutes to soften the dried noodles in a bowl of hot water, and even less time to cook them.


I add a variety of vegetables to my pancit. It all depends on whatever is fresh and in season at the time I make it. I like cabbage, carrots, onions, celery, snow peas, bell peppers, and fresh green beans.

In addition to vegetables, Pancit Bihon includes some sort of meat. I prefer using chicken in this recipe, but you most certainly can use pork and beef as well. Pancit Bihon also usually has Chinese sausage, which you can find in almost any Asian market. Look for sausage called “lap xuong mai que lo”. This is a cured pork sausage that resembles skinny pepperoni sticks.

This is a great recipe that is simplified by doing a lot of the prep work ahead of time. If you’ve got a busy life that involves work, kids and school, then your time, like mine, is quite precious. Cut your vegetables the night before you plan to make the pancit. You can also cut the meat ahead of time. Refrigerate the vegetables and meat until you’re ready to cook the pancit. When you’re ready to cook, all you need to do is soak the noodles, cook the meat and vegetables, then mix in the noodles. Easy peasy.

My complete recipe is located at the bottom of this post. Give it a try. I think you’ll like it.  It’s delicious served as part of your Chamorro fiesta plate. 🙂


Here’s how to make it.

Place the dried rice noodles in a large bowl filled with hot water. Let the noodles soak while you cook the meat and vegetables. After the noodles become pliable, drain out the water. Use a pair of clean kitchen shears to cut the noodles in half. Set the noodles aside.


Saute the chicken in a large wok or pan along with garlic and black pepper.


Once the chicken is no longer pink, add the soy sauce and Chinese sausage to the wok. Cook for another couple of minutes.


Remove the chicken and sausage from the wok, leaving all of the liquid in the pot (you’ll use the liquid to steam the vegetables and finish cooking the noodles). Set the meat aside. Add sliced onions, carrots, bell pepper and celery to the wok. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir fry the vegetables for a couple of minutes; do not cook too long — you want the vegetables to still be somewhat firm, not limp.


Add the cabbage to the wok. Cook for another couple of minutes, just until the cabbage begins to wilt.


The liquid left behind in the wok steams the vegetables nicely.


Remove half of the vegetable mixture (again, leave any liquid in the wok). Add half of the meat mixture back into the wok.


Add half of the drained noodles to the meat and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine.


Add the remaining vegetables, meat and noodles back into the wok. Stir once more.


Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking, adding more soy sauce or salt, to taste.


Garnish with lime or lemon wedges. Serve with your favorite meal or as a main dish. ENJOY!


Pancit Bihon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Rice noodles cooked with fresh vegetables, savory chicken and Chinese sausage.
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Chamorro
  • 1 bag (16-oz) dried Bihon rice noodles (or rice sticks)
  • 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 Chinese sausages (the kind that's cured), thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 1½ cups carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • ½ small head cabbage, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • Lime wedges
  1. Soak the rice noodles in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes. Drain the water once the noodles become pliable. Cut the noodles in half with a pair of kitchen shears.
  2. Saute the chicken, garlic and black pepper in large pot or wok; cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add the soy sauce and Chinese sausage to the wok. Cook for a couple of minutes then remove the meat from the wok, leaving the liquid in the wok.
  4. Add the onions, carrots, bell pepper and celery to the wok. Cook the vegetables for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the cabbage; cook until the cabbage wilts slightly.
  6. Remove half of the vegetable mixture from the pot. Add half of the meat mixture back to the wok, along with half of the noodles. Stir to combine.
  7. Add the remaining vegetables, meat and noodles to the work. Stir once more to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat.
  8. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking, adding more soy sauce or salt if required.
Garnish with lime wedges, serve and ENJOY!


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Chicken Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad one of my family’s favorite side dishes.  There are many, many macaroni salad variations, but we’re simple…we like two specific kinds.  The first is a Hawaiian style macaroni salad and the other is Filipino style Macaroni salad.

My recipe below is for a very basic Filipino macaroni salad.  It has chicken, cheese, pineapple, and sweet relish, but you can also add other ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs, ham, and raisins.  Some of my Filipino friends also add a spoonful or more of sweetened condensed milk, but I don’t like mine too sweet (to me, the relish and pineapples add just the right amount of sweetness) so I don’t add it.

This dish is best made the night before you intend to serve it.  An overnight stay in the ‘fridge allows all the pasta to absorb all the delicious flavors.

I like to add lots of chicken (more than what I have in my recipe below) whenever I want to serve this as my main dish.  It’s great for packed lunches, and it’s also a quick and easy pot-luck dish.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Chicken Macaroni Salad



  • 1 large chicken breast
  • Salt, black pepper, and garlic powder (for the chicken)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 cups cooked macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (for the macaroni salad)
  • 1 10-ounce jar sweet pickle relish, with as much juice squeezed out as possible
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, with as much juice squeezed out as possible
  • 7 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, diced


NOTE:  The photos below of the chicken show around 9 or 10 chicken breasts.  We like to cook several chicken breasts at a time so that we can use it throughout the week in various dishes.  We used one breast to make this salad; about 6 breasts were used in my daughter’s Chicken Marsala, and a couple more went into my daughter’s other dish, Mac-n-cheese with Chicken.  Cooking in bulk is a great way to save time during the week, especially if you’re pressed for time each morning.  It saves time at night too, when you’re trying to prepare dinner after a long day at work or school.

Prepare the chicken.

Place the chicken breast into a ziplock bag.  Use a kitchen mallet to flatten the chicken into about 1/4-inch thickness.


Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.


Dredge the seasoned chicken breast in the flour, covering both sides.

image  image

 Place a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetable oil to the pan.


 Place the chicken in the pan when the pan and oil are hot.  Reduce the heat to medium.


 Cook the chicken for about 4-6 minutes on each side.

Turn occasionally to evenly brown both sides.


 Shred or thinly slice the cooked chicken and set it aside.



Prepare the macaroni salad.

Place the shredded chicken breast, cooked macaroni, black pepper, relish, crushed pineapple, cheese and mayo in a large mixing bowl.  Add in any other optional ingredients.

Gently fold all of the ingredients together.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve and ENJOY!



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Siopao is a favorite snack on Guam that is of Chinese (Cha Siu Bao, or Chinese BBQ Pork Buns) or Philippine origin (Siopao Asado).  The Philippine version of these buns are normally steamed, while the Chinese version of these delicious snacks are also baked.

You can prepare siopao COMPLETELY from scratch, but there are a couple of shortcuts I take to make the preparation quicker and easier.  I do make the dough from scratch, but I save a whole lot of time by using leftover pulled pork from my Hawaiian Pulled Pork recipe.  Unless you are feeding a large crowd, you will most certainly have enough pulled pork leftover to make siopao (I use a 9-10 pound pork shoulder to make my pulled pork).  All I do is add a few more ingredients to the pulled pork to turn it into a sweet pork filling for my siopao. 

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Pork Siopao

Siopao - 16   Siopao - 18


  • A doubled batch of my yeast donuts dough recipe (find it here)


  • About 4 cups leftover Hawaiian Pulled Pork (find my recipe here)
  • NOTE:  To make chicken siopao, use shredded cooked chicken (I like to use a rotisserie chicken) instead of pulled pork
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Optional:  6 hard boiled eggs, quartered (so you have 24 pieces of boiled eggs)


  • Parchment paper, cut into 3-inch squares, 24-36 pieces (amount depends on the size of your siopao)
  • Steamer basket or pot


Make my Hawaiian Pulled Pork recipe, then set aside about 4 cups of pulled pork.  Enjoy the rest of the pulled pork for your dinner.  In the next day or two, used the leftover pulled pork to make siopao. 🙂


Prepare the dough using my yeast donuts recipe.  Ensure you double all of the ingredients required for my yeast donuts recipe.  Follow the directions up to step number 5 (letting the dough rise).

Siopao - 05

While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the filling.  Place the leftover pulled pork into a medium sized pot.  Add the garlic, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce.  Bring the mixture to a boil then quickly stir in the water-corn starch mixture.  Return the mixture to a boil, cooking until it thickens.  Set the pork filling aside to cool (I placed the filling into a bowl and placed it in the freezer to cool while my dough was rising).

Siopao - 07

Cut the dough into 24 pieces (for larger siopao) or 36 pieces (for smaller siopao).  I made 24 larger pieces that measured about 4 inches in diameter after it was cooked/steamed.

Siopao - 10

Use a rolling pin to flatten each piece of dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.  Keep the center of the circle slightly thicker than the edge.  Place two tablespoons of filling in the middle of the dough.  Optional:  Add a piece of egg on top of the filling.

Siopao - 11

Pull the dough up around the filling, pinching to seal.  The sealed part becomes the bottom of the siopao.

Siopao - 12

Place the siopao on a piece of parchment paper, pinched side down.  Continue filling the remaining pieces of dough.

Siopao - 13

After all the dough is filled, place in your steamer basket.  I can fit about 6 large siopao in mine.  Don’t let the siopao touch the sides of the steamer, and leave about an inch or two between each one.  Place a clean kitchen towel between the steamer pot and the lid to prevent the condensation from dripping back onto the siopao.  Steam for 20 minutes then remove from the steamer to cool.

Siopao - 14

Enjoy while still warm. 🙂

Siopao - 20   Siopao - 19

Freeze any uneaten (and already steamed) siopao.  To reheat, defrost the siopao in the refrigerator then reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds.

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Arroz Caldo

Arroz Caldo is a classic Filipino dish that made its way into Chamorro kitchens. This is my version of this delicious comfort food. It’s very quick and easy to put together. In fact, the longest part of making this dish is waiting for the rice to cook. 🙂

Give my recipe a try. I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Arroz Caldo


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 8 chicken tenders, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon achote powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon (or 4 bouillon cubes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Hot pepper flakes

The only ingredient not shown above is the fish sauce. I like to use the brand that has three green crabs on the label; it’s not as pungent as most other brands of fish sauce. This is what the bottle looks like. You can find it at most Asian supermarkets.


Place the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic. Stir it around in the hot oil and fry until browned slightly. Place about 3/4 of the fried garlic in a small bowl and set aside.

Add the diced onions to the pot. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the chicken pieces to the pot. Stir to combine with the onions.

Add the fish sauce, achote powder, ginger, chicken bouillon, and black pepper to the pot.

Stir to combine the ingredients. Cook for a couple of minutes, just long enough for the chicken to be cooked through and is no longer pink.

Pour the water into the pot. Turn the heat up to medium high.

Add the rice, stir, then cover the pot.

The easy part is done. Now for the hard part — waiting for the rice to cook. You want to cook the Arroz Caldo for about 45 minutes–this is so the rice can begin to break down and really thicken the soup.

In the meantime, you can be boiling the eggs if you haven’t already done so.

This is what the rice looks like after only 10 minutes of cooking. Give the mixture a stir, put the cover back on, and wait patiently. Trust me, it’s worth the wait. 🙂

This is what the rice and broth looks like after 20 minutes. The rice is done at this point, but you want to cook it longer so that the soup gets nice and thick. Notice that the broth is starting to thicken up a bit.  Give the soup a stir, then place the cover back on the pot. Turn the heat down to medium.

After 30 minutes, we’re almost there, but we still need to cook the soup for about 10-15 more minutes.

After 10-15 more minutes, the rice is cooked just how it should be and the soup is nice and thick — now it’s time to finish up the soup. Turn the heat down to low. Add the coconut milk to the pot.

Stir to mix the coconut milk into the soup. Cook only long enough to heat up the coconut milk — do not boil the soup. Remove from the heat.

It’s time to dish up some goodness! Pour some soup into a bowl. Garnish with green onions, fried garlic, and a couple of slices of hard-boiled eggs. If you’d like, add a lime wedge as well.



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