now that spring chicken is readily available at your local supermarket, try this recipe that i hope approximates, if not surpass, max’s famous fried spring chicken. thanks to magnolia for making these spring chicken readily accessible to the consumers. and thanks to manang vic for the tip.

this is surely worth the trip to your supermarket.


1 magnolia spring chicken

1 bunch lemongrass leaves

1 unsalted anchor butter

1 medium-sized onion

1 tablespoon peppercorns

2 cubes knorr chicken soup base



1 liter minola cooking oil

step 1:

wash the magnolia spring chicken. pat dry then sprinkle pepper all over. massage with salt.

step 2:

wet the lemongrass leaves and try squeezing it dry. insert it into the chicken cavity.

step 3:

let the chicken stand for an hour.

step 4:

submerge the chicken in a pan full of water. add medium-sized onion, peppercorns, a teaspoon of rock salt and knorr chicken cubes. high heat

step 5:

let it boil. once water is boiling, lower the settings to low heat. boil for half an hour or when chicken is nice and tender.

step 6:

let the chicken cool. coat chicken with unsalted butter.

step 7:

heat pan with 1 liter of cooking oil. set it in high heat. make sure that cooking oil is super hot.

step 8:

lower settings to low heat. submerge half of the chicken into the super hot cooking oil (remove lemongrass before submerging chicken). when golden brown, submerge the other half.

(be careful when placing the chicken onto the pan. the super hot cooking oil has the tendency to overflow. that’s the reason why you have to set the stove to low heat.)

step 9:

enjoy your home-made, juicy and tender max’ spring chicken with garlic rice and fried kamote. or simply by itself.

this happened a couple of weeks ago when i suddenly woke up from an afternoon siesta feeling so alone and so hungry. and when i looked up at the cheap 3D yellow wall clock, it was already a quarter before 7pm and the 630pm news was way past it’s early headlines.

so i lazily got my butt off the bed and went straight to the kitchen were the water dispenser was and the ref just across it. as i was emptying a glass of dispenser-cold water, i opened the ref and found nothing inside but a solitary lemon in the veggie compartment, the leftover sinaing in a ziplock bag, a salted anchor butter in the butter compartment and a vacuum sealed tuna belly (straight from gen san courtesy of a very good friend who got it from her trip to davao) which had been freezing it over in the freezer compartment for over a week already. of course, there were the usual accoutrements that can only be found in the ref (i.e. a greening philadelphia cream cheese immediately below the egg compartment and just above the butter compartment).

so i opened an above-the-kitchen-sink cabinet hoping for an expired can of master sardines and found nothing in the way of a stash. as i place the vacuum-sealed frozen tuna belly in the thawing tray, i began thinking of the ways on how to attack the beast, fried or what-not. and as a light bulb just went on somewhere inside my skull, i got my wok out and placed it on top of a now on-line stove, high heat. reached out for the lemon and butter inside the ref and got out a tablespoon from its rack. spritz about a tablespoon and a half of minola cooking oil onto the wok, played with the wok for the cooking oil to evenly spread itself out on the surface of the now nicely heated cooking vessel. as soon as the oil let out a trace of smoke, i lowered the bluish flame into low heat and submerged the already freshly salt and peppered tuna belly onto the wok.

(the sound of the thing sizzling was music to the ears of a starving bloke.)

and as i let the slitted belly fry, i melted about two tablespoons of butter onto a pre-heated saucepan; mixing in a tablespoon of lemon in the process. and as i poured the lemon butter compound onto the nicely fried tuna belly, a simply done fried rice (with only salt as its other ingredient) was steaming in a large plastic (unbreakable too!) corelle plate. that was the dinner that amazed me. a very memorable and fulfilling fried-tuna-belly-with-a-lemon-butter-sauce dinner indeed! and of course, my very own version of iced tea on a tall glass garnished with a recylced slice of discarded lemon on the rim. talk about survival skills! hehehe…

    a pound of tuna belly
    fresh lemon (fresh off sm shelf that is!)
    salted butter

the pepper is complaining why it is always

second to salt when it comes to billing

on hindsight, methinks it is better if tuna belly is grilled instead of fried.


we call this dish chicken tempura. but when my friend introduced me to zong (the chinese restaurant at the fort whose come-on is its no-msg dishes) and to this dish with its distinct taste, i fell instantly in love with it! the salted egg fried chicken is uniquely zong and i won’t be surprised if it is one of their bestsellers.

and it is not even hard to prepare. all the ingredients that you will need can be bought in the local marketplace. the challenging part, maybe, is to buy the true itlog na pula which is salted duck egg. nowadays, they also use chicken egg as a substitute for duck egg. salted chicken egg, if i may, is a very poor substitute. it doesn’t give you that distinct salty taste a salted duck egg is known for. the yolk is so much different you will notice the difference at once between a chicken and a duck egg.

i was conned once in buying a salted duck egg when the tindera assured me that what i was buying was duck egg. lo and behold and much to my dismay, it was chicken egg when i opened it! ahh… the lengths people will go to in pursuit of a buck…

two words: caveat emptor.

here are the ingredients that you will need to prepare zong’s chicken tempura:

1 whole chicken breast (deboned and filleted) cut your deboned and filleted chicken breast into bite-size pieces. remember to wash your hands before and after handling chicken.

3 salted duck eggs you will only need the orange hued yolk..

2 tablespoons chinese cooking wine adds zest to this dish.

2 tablespoons fresh milk this will be used as binder mixed together with the chicken egg.

1 egg chicken egg that you will use as binder for your bread crumbs.

2 cups bread crumbs i use the brand KASUGAI bread crumbs. don’t use the breading mixes that fill the supermarket shelves.



prepare the chicken by adding salt and pepper to the sliced, deboned and filleted chicken breast pieces. add cooking wine. add the yolks of the salted duck eggs and gently massage the chicken with it. refrigerate the chicken fillets for an hour.

beat the egg together with the fresh milk. in another container, pour in the two (or more) cups of bread crumbs.

heat the wok. gently dip chicken fillet pieces into the egg-milk mixture and the bread crumbs. fry in low heat. cook until golden brown.

bon appetito!

sumptuous ak-47
i once had a bottle or two of san mig light at gilligan’s park square with a couple of female friends. these female friends of mine would often go to gilligan’s every 15th and 30th of the month so they know what and what not to order. knowing that i’m fond of having good ‘pulutan’ while drinking beer, they ordered two dishes for me. one was sisig and the other was adobong kangkong. they ordered hilaw na mangga with bagoong for themselves. as much as ordering sisig for pulutan has lost its novelty and has become such a cliche at bars and other wet-your-beak joints, they insisted on it since gilligan’s sisig was one of the best, daw, that they had. compared to dencio’s or gerry’s grill i guess. but that’s another story. and believe you me, the sisig of gilligan’s was no better than the rest of the other restos around!

gilligan’s adobong kangkong, though, was an instant hit for me. it was not your usual carinderia-sa-kanto adobong kangkong. instead, they chopped the kangkong stalks in 1/3 of an inch sizes giving the kangkong the crunch it would never have if you cooked it whole stem and leaves included.

preparing adobong kangkong is as easy as cooking it. it is also a very cheap and nutritious veggie alternative. it is quite a puzzle, for me, how restaurants can charge Php P80 to Php P120 for a plate of adobong kangkong when you can buy a bunch of kangkong at your local palengke for only Php P5.00!!! the thing is, you can make 3 – 4 plates of adobong kangkong with that one bunch! but what puzzles me no end is why people are buying it at such an outrageous amount of moolah! and again, it is best that we leave that to be told some other time.


anyways, here is what you will need for this dish.

a bunch of kangkong, of course. wash and chop stalks into 1/3 of an inch. leave the immediate stem and leaves for your sinigang.

2 1/2 tablespoon vinegar of course, what is adobo without the vinegar. you can use heinz distilled vinegar (5% acidity) or datu puti 5% acidity.

3-4 tablespoon soy sauce

garlic lots of it! finely chopped.

about half of an onion.

10 thinly-sliced pork (optional) liempo or the part that they use for adobo or sinigang. thinly sliced.

salt a dash of salt

pepper a pinch of pepper

2 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil best to avoid transfat so remember to discard used oil and use new oil everytime.

first, let us fry the thin slices of pork into a tablespoon of cooking oil until golden brown and chicharon-like. heat the wok and cooking oil. when wok is hot, simply put in pork slices, turn the stove into low heat and let the pork slices fry in their own lard. this way, you will avoid those deadly splatters of hot oil everywhere including your face. set aside the pork slices.

into the wok, add the remaining cooking oil. fry garlic when wok is hot. add the onions when garlic is near golden brown.

turn heat to high. kick in the kangkong slices into the wok. quick fry. spritz the vinegar and let it stand half a minute. add the salt and pepper. mix. and finally add the soy sauce. let it simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. add pork slices. mix. turn off heat and transfer adobong kangkong in a nice plate.

you can add msg or knorr seasoning. but why turn an otherwise healthy dish into something that can block your arteries. 🙂



nowadays, when you go to any decent restaurant, a glass of iced tea is the usual way to go for those people who shun carbonated and other unhealthy beverages. unlike a decade ago, tea is widely known today as a healthy drink with its high levels of anti-oxidants that is thought to ward off different types of cancer. and any decent restaurant has their own version of iced tea. yet, most of these restaurants pay scant attention in the making of their iced tea. some would simply brew and rebrew their tea bags/leaves thus saving a lot on costs. worse, some would simply use the nestea powdered iced tea preparation! you can simply tell when restaurants are skimping on their 40 peso glass of iced tea. notorious are those restaurants that offer bottomless iced tea. but there was one exception. the manila yacht club iced tea of yore. now, that was one refreshing tall glass of superb iced tea.

here is my version of the manila yacht club iced tea…

you will need:

3/4 cups of home made syrup

2 lipton tea bags (ordinary or green tea)

a liter of water

3 tablespoons of raw wild honey

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

the syrup:

first for the syrup, boil a cup of water and two cups of water in a saucepan. set aside.

then, again, in a sauce pan, brew a liter of water with 2 tea bags lipton tea (you can use the ordinary lipton tea or, much better, their green tea).

pour the honey, lemon juice and 3/4 cups of syrup into the saucepan. let it boil.

adjust taste by adding lemon or syrup. once the concoction is boiling, turn off flame. let it stand for 20 minutes or until cool.

pour into a tall glass and garnish with a slice of lemon.