Red wine mushroom ragu w asparagus and zucchini, topped w a little parmesan and black pepper :)
Went cherry picking at Lancaster last week.
Most of my childhood happened in the Philippines. Born and raised Filipina, I grew up like a regular Pinoy; playing outside the streets with cousins and neighbors, patintero (kids trying to cross you without having to touch each other), luksong baka (literal translation as: “jumps over the moon”), Chinese Garter, Langit Lupa (Heaven and Earth), and the list goes on.
My family relocated to the United States some years back, and a lot of the times I get carried away with the hullabaloo and the diversity of LA, I forget how much fun I had when I was a kid. Today I found myself thinking about Taho. Yes, this photo right here. As soon as this image flashed in my head, memories of my childhood came rushing back in; waking up as early 6 am to catch the magtataho (taho vendor) walk through our street, and making sure we grab our huge mugs and change to give to the taho man. I would grab the biggest mugs in the kitchen cabinet, scream throughout the house if anyone wanted a cup of taho, and run outside. Sometimes it’s easy to miss the magtataho. Sometimes when he’s already passed by our house, we would scream and run after him until we were heard.
Once caught up though, mugs are brought forth, filled with fresh soft, custard-like tofu, arnibal (a brown sugar syrup), and mini tapioca pearls. As a big sweet tooth (even in childhood!) I always asked for extra tapioca pearls and syrup. That smell of dark brown sugar and fresh made tofu still lingers around my nose.
I remember sitting down on the patio, eating my taho while watching the street wake up, people walking out their homes for work, tricycle drivers passing by, kids in uniforms walking to the nearby school.
It’s little things like that that you miss so much about the Philippines. It’s such a simple dish, yet so hard to get by in this city! Sure, there are probably a lot of prepackaged ones I’ve missed throughout asian stores, but nothing will beat that fresh hot tofu in your own mug.
It was such a nostalgic memory I knew I had to recreate it. The nostalgia was so strong, I told my boyfriend all about it. I started looking through photos and showing him, and tried and explain the nostalgia I had, and how good it was. It wasn’t enough just to talk about it though, he had to try it for himself!
It wasn’t 6 in the morning when we enjoyed it, but the hunt for the ingredients was adventure enough. Extra soft tofu is a little harder to come by than we thought. There are a lot of brands with soft tofu, but it’s just not soft enough! A lot of asian grocery stores would have it though. We found my extra soft tofu in Nijiya Market, a Japanese store. It should also be found in 99 Ranch, Mitsuwa and most probably all korean grocery stores (they use it a lot for their tofu stews).
The hunt for tapioca pearls got a little bit difficult. Living in the westside, there arent’ much asian stores to go around. 99 Ranch Market for sure has them, but all we had closeby were Japanese markets. Google-ing and Yelp-ing it, Tapioca pearls can be found at health food stores; Whole Foods! Or any store that would carry a big number of Bob Red Mill’s products. Small tapioca pearls would be best for trying to recreate this dish.
It’s a little bit of work, but the effort, fun and work that goes through it…my friend, I assure you it is priceless!
Arnibal (Dark Brown Sugar Syrup):
1 1/2 c brown rice
3/4 c water
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small pot and let simmer on low for about 5 minutes or until it reaches a nice smooth syrup texture.
1/2 c tapioca pearls
There are several ways of making tapioca pearls, but this is one method I found most helpful: Place pearls in a pot and cover with enough water to submerge it. Bring to a boil on high and cook for 5 minutes. Stir often as tapioca is starchy, it will stick together. Turn heat down to medium and cook until centers are almost clear. Adding or replacing the water might be necessary because of all the starch, so watch your pearls! Another helpful hint: If your water has turned to jello, you might have overcooked your pearls and made tapioca pudding instead. Don’t worry, it could be salvageable, but that’s another story. Store cooled tapioca in water.
1 package extra soft tofu
This one’s fairly easy to replicate. Place tofu in a small pot with the water and heat on medium low heat until tofu is warm.
Grab your favorite mug! It’s basically layers of tofu, tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup. To get that 6 am taho experience, thinly slice the tofu with a spoon and layer on top of each other in the mug. Scoop in your desired amount of tapioca pearls, usually ranging from 2 T to 1/2 c, depending on your mug size. Pour in the sweet, sweet syrup, again, depending on how big your serving is.
There is no right or wrong making taho. It’s all a matter of your taste preference, and how you had it growing up.
It’s technically a dessert, so I have no idea why they sold it at 6 am! And guess what, it’s technically vegan ;)
Hello Tumblr, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?
It’s been a crazy hayride these past few months, but I’m trying to get back on track!
I’ve been so busy cooking at MotherOrganica it’s time to get back on my blog! So much photos and recipes to share, I can’t wait!
Here’s a little teaser…my own Heirloom Chickpea Chana Masala with Lemon Rice
Summer’s coming up! What’s cooking?