Living back home and going to community college after freshman year in Davis had its perks. One of them being learning how to cook the yummy dishes my parents made! Whenever people ask me if I can speak or understand Tagalog, I say only very little like matulog ngayon! (go to sleep now!) or mainit! (hot!). But I do know how to cook. I can wrap my own lumpia and whip up my own pot of salmon sinigang.
Tonight I cooked something I’ve always loved eating at home but never made myself – adobo gulay. Adobo meaning cooking any meat with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and bay leaves; and gulay meaning vegetables – in this case long string beans or sitaw.
Unfortunately it has been painstaking asking my dad for exact measurements of ingredients. ” I don’t measure! I just estimate and taste,” he’d brush off along with hand gestures of shaking out garlic salt and circling a stream of imaginary soy sauce. When I had emailed them about how they cook it I got a Facebook message from my mom with a link here. So I used this as my basis for ingredients. Equipped with Google for measurement conversions and my computer’s calculator I estimated to the best of my ability the ratio of meat to vinegar and soy sauce. I had a pound of meat which came out to be around 454 grams so the ratio was 1.8, a little under 2x the amounts listed.
I don’t blame my dad for not writing down measurements. There always is a degree of experimentation when cooking. But it would be nice to have general guidelines and a set recipe to pass on. My long term goal is to create a family recipe book complete with pictures. Not just pictures of the dishes but of us preparing food and enjoying it at the dinner table. I’ve also considered a homemade cooking show, but I think my Auntie Susan would be more suited for than instead of my dad. Writing about my cooking here will be the first step.
2 T chopped garlic
1/2 an onion
2 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 bunch of long string beans
~1/2 c vinegar
~6 T soy sauce
1/2 c water
First I cooked rice (as always, it can be a bummer after cooking a dish and realizing you forgot to). Then defrosted the frozen beef for 15 minutes in the microwave. Chopped up the onions and cut the beans into 2 in pieces. I cooked the meat as I usually do. First heating up the pot by sprinkling a bit of water on it and checking to see if it is dry. Then pouring about 2T of oil and scooping the garlic in. I had it on medium high but next time do closer to medium as to not burn the garlic. In goes the onions, sauté, sauté. Add the meat. Brown. Sprinkle twice over with garlic powder and lightly once with black pepper. Next time I may cook the beef straight up on its own and drain the fat but I think it was fine. Add vinegar and soy sauce. Simmer. In the recipe that I was referencing it said to leave it for 10 minutes but I checked back before then and it started to get burnt in some parts. So next time don’t cook on medium high…closer to medium and stir frequently. Add the beans & add the water. This time I only added 1/4 c of water but next time more since the beans could be softer and the whole thing could be more moist. Simmer for 15.
For my first try it was a bit dry, but still edible. Next time, more water, lower heat & stir more frequently when just cooking the meat.