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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Join Me for Merienda: V,GF- Malunggay and Turmeric Rice

Can you comprehend that this year is nearly over?

I think like most of us, we're not sure where the time has gone.

A lot has happened this past year for me personally and for the world. I have had so many stories to share with you, but I haven't been able to let all the flood gates open, just yet. They are coming, but for now, in my own way I am paying tribute and homage to the Philippines by sharing this simple recipe with you.

I was in the Philippines not that long ago, in Metro Manila,Baguio,Pangasinan, Cebu and Bohol. When I came back from my trip, not even a  week had passed when, the earthquake struck and it decimated a lot of the places that I had seen in Cebu and Bohol. The feeling of helplessness because I cared about the people in those places that I had just been to and spent time with was intense. It reminded me a lot of the dark pit in my being after the attacks of September 11th. I had been in NYC not long before the attacks and spent a lot of time there at the World Trade Center, and I just thought of all those nice people who I met who were probably all gone. How does your heart not break or just turn to dust when bad things happen? Then Typhoon Haiyan struck and it was just senseless. Again the feeling of helplessness and anger of not being able to be there to physically help. It is now a month after the typhoon struck and everybody is still struggling. I am upset about so many things about how things were mismanaged for the preparation, the answer to the calls for help, basic needs and so on. I will be writing more about this in the future, but for now in my own way by sharing a part of my culture and experience from my trip, I remind myself and the people of the Philippines that they are never forgotten.

If you are inspired to help by giving a donation; the one that I can assure you is a 100% donation going towards the peopl is through the greatergood network. Please take a moment and follow this link to the greatergood network.

My brother also posted an entry about his experience and feelings about the current situation in the Philippines and you can check that post out, by clicking on The Canary Files.

Mahal kita, Pilipinas <3 I love you, Philippines

There are so many recipes that will be shared with you all, but today it will be a Malunggay and Turmeric Rice. This recipe was inspired by a meal that I had while I was in Baguio City. We had arrived in Baguio at 5am and visited the Ben Cab museum (which is tremendous and anybody who visits Baguio; should definitely go there for the art and also the food in the restaurant below it) went to the local markets and then came back to the hotel to rest a bit. My cousin had wanted to try and take us to a Vegetarian restaurant, but she had to leave early; so we couldn't go with her. We walked to the restaurant she suggested and the place was very interesting in décor, but the food was a bit lacking and they didn't seem to want to adjust anything on the menu for us (so it was difficult for us to really have a true meal, specifically for my brother and I). Then we headed downstairs (yes, we had to walk 5 flights of stairs to the restaurant!) and I reminded my brother about a deli with the name 'Greens,' in it and asked him if he wanted to check it out before we headed back to the hotel. Thank goodness we did because it was a revelation. Night and day in comparison to the experience that we had at the restaurant 5 flights above us. The service was awesome, the servers were willing to do whatever it took to make sure that we had a good meal, answered all our questions and always had a good attitude. True we had 'eaten,' upstairs, but we truly had a meal downstairs at the wonderful Azotea Greens Resto and Café.

Aside from the main dish that we chose, (I think it was called Tokwa sa Tinuktok) they had a choice of different types of rice: malunggay, turmeric, garlic ( of course) and plain. If you know my brother or myself; then you know that we ordered both malunggay and turmeric rice. Soooooo goooooooood! They were a perfect compliment to the main dish that we ordered which was tofu steaks that had been stewed in a coconut milk with chili based broth wrapped in nori. Naturally, I also tried mixing the malunggay and turmeric rice together and another lovely combination was born.

And now a photo show:

My brother standing in front of some of the dining area in the 'upstairs,' restaurant that was interesting, but didn't fit our bill.

My Dad, standing near some of the interesting décor in the 'upstairs,' restaurant.

At Azotea Greens Resto and Café, interesting art everywhere you look.

We had supernatural service! =)

Alkaline water for the win!!!

I will take that and then some, thank you very much!

One of the lighting fixtures. So cool.

The stars of my inspiration: The main dish was called Tinuktok and you can clearly see which type of rice is which.

Gorgeous Tinuktok

This is a real, 'Happy Meal.' 


Is my brother tweeting about his glee?

Incredible meal, service and really affordable. We of course, left an awesome tip for them!

 Now back to the recipe and such. While I was in Cebu, we had a kitchen to use at our hotel and quite a few times I made a version of Malunggay rice, quinoa and so forth, using fresh malunggay leaves, but we although tasty; it wasn't the same as the experience at Azotea Greens.

Naturally, I bought a myriad of native ingredients to take back home to my 'lab,' with which to create and experiment. One of those ingredients was malunggay in powdered form. It was simply dried maluggay that had been pulverized. It looks similar to the green color of matcha green tea.

Back at home, I decided to bring it out one day and make a special rice. I went to my fridge and pulled out my turmeric that I had previously chopped and kept in olive oil. I sauteed about a tablespoon of chopped turmeric with some minced garlic and then added in some cooked short grain brown rice, coating it evenly and seasoning it with some pink himalayan sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. To finish it I added a heaping 2 tablespoons of malunggay powder and stirred it in to coat each kernel and added in a few splashes of water to 'revive,' it. Voila, my malunggay and turmeric rice was born.

As I went to eat it, the memories of Azotea came flooding back. Hurray!

Oh and I should include some links to what Malunggay and Turmeric are, just in case you are not familiar with these ingredients. If you're able to; please thank Wikipedia by donating a few bucks. Everybody uses it all the time; so if you're able to give a little; you know you'll get a lot back in return.

Malunggay is my type of gulay!

'Harvesting,' malunggay from a local tree in Villasis =)



Turmeric is terrific!

Turmeric in its fresh and dried/powdered form

V,GF - Malunggay and Turmeric Rice


2-3 C Cooked short grain brown rice

1-2Tb Olive or any neutral oil
1 Tb of chopped fresh turmeric*
1-2 Cloves of Garlic minced
1-2Tb of Malunggay powder
2-3Tb of filtered water as needed
Himalayan Pink sea salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

*A pinch of turmeric powder can be substituted, but the flavor will not be the same.


In a large skillet, sauté the turmeric and garlic together for a few minutes, just until you smell the turmeric and garlic. Immediately add in the cooked brown rice, moving it around to coat all kernels, seasoning it as you go. Let cook for a few minutes and then sprinkle the malunggay powder on top, stir it around to coat the kernels and then add in a few tablespoons of water to 'revive,' the rice. Stir around a few more times and then turn off the heat, leave on burner for a few minutes to settle and then it's ready to serve.

One of the most recent versions of my Malunggay and Turmeric rice. This one was made with an addition of scallions.
This is the current brand of Malunggay powder that I am using. I think I was able to buy it for less than 6  USD. You might be able to find this at Filipino/Asian markets, but if not; I guess you might be able to substitute chlorella or spinach powder, but it wouldn't be the same. Try it though!

One of the many versions of my Malunggay and Turmeric rice. Look at the gorgeous color and those toasted bits of turmeric and garlic dotted throughout it. Heaven =)

What can you serve this malunggay and turmeric rice with? The better question is, 'What can't, you serve this rice with? =)

I eat it along with any type of vegetables. A quick meal, I might add in some pepitas or sunflower seeds into it and mix it with some fresh salad greens etc. Yum, yum in my tum and it keeps me from feeling gutom (Gutom is Tagalog for 'hungry)!

So, this is my simple recipe for you that was inspired by the Philippines and their good will and upbeat attitude. I know that they are struggling right now, but they can never be broken. I will never turn a blind eye to them and I know that they can feel my love for them.

If, I don't post again before the end of this year; I hope that you all will have a wonderful new year filled with good health and lots of prosperity. Remember to always pay it forward and do whatever you can to help in whatever capacity that you can.

Wishing you lots of love and good health,

Jessica  <3

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