March is Philippines month on the blog, and I'm looking forward to sharing a lot of new dishes with you. As with a lot of Asian nations, the Philippines has a long history of association with a lot of different countries - all of which have influenced their cuisine. The resulting cuisine has Malaysian, Spanish, Chinese and even American influences which have contributed to their unique cuisine. Generally, I have to say, it's a very meaty country! They love eating their pigs over there and most of the recipes I found contained several part of the pig. But I found a smattering of lovely vegetarian dishes hidden amongst all the meat and have more than enough to share a month's worth of recipes with you.
I'm going to start with some Adobo Tofu. You might think of Spain when you hear the word adobo, and infact the adobo is quite well known and well used in America thanks to it's large hispanic population. But what you might not know is that when the Spanish explored the Philippines in the 16th Century, they discovered that the Filipino population had a very similar method of cooking with vinegar. Because it was so similar to the Spanish method, they named it adobo, despite the fact that it was indigenous to the region.
Filipino Adobo Tofu with Pineapple & Bamboo Shoots
500g hard tofu (sometimes called extra firm tofu)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 small pineapple (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, you can use palm vingear, coconut vinegar or any other variety of white vinegar)
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 bay leaves
Generous grinding of black pepper
1 small can (220g) bamboo shoots (if you can find fresh shoot, even better!)
1. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the tofu and cut into cubes or triangles. Heat the oil in a wok and fry pieces until lightly browned on both sides. Remove and set aside.
2. Peel and chop your pineapple and set aside. Peel and slice your garlic and lighty fry in the remaining oil in the wok (you may need to add more if there is not much left) until just starting to go golden. Then add the pineapple and cook for about another 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the vegetable stock, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves and black pepper. Bring to a simmer.
4. Add the tofu and drained bamboo shoots. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
You can serve with rice and steamed vegetables.