Atchara is a Filipino recipe of pickled green papaya – Achara is the Philippine contribution to the world of Asian pickles. There are many versions, and virtually any vegetable can be used for making achara. Any mention of achara, though, will most likely evoke thoughts of this type of achara, which uses green papaya.
Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate paellas and cocidos created for fiestas. Popular dishes include: lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken and/or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), kaldereta (meat in tomato sauce stew), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), puchero (beef in bananas and tomato sauce), afritada (chicken and/or pork simmered in a tomato sauce with vegetables), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), crispy pata (deep-fried pig's leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls).
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Banana ketchup is sweeter than tomato sauce and is similar in taste to the Indonesian Kecap manis and the Thai sweet chilli sauce. In Filipino households, this ubiquitous condiment is used on just about any dish – omelettes (torta), hot dogs, burgers, fries, fish and other meats.
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Generally served for breakfast, countless fillings such as onions, garlic, tomatoes, corned beef, potatoes, capsicums, raisins and possibly leftovers from previous day’s meal like grilled eggplant, ground, chopped or shredded pork and beef are used. It is eaten by itself or served with garlic fried rice and banana ketchup on the side.
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In Sinangag, a Filipino version of garlic fried rice, rice is added to stir-fried garlic and then seasoned with salt and pepper. It is a common, everyday breakfast dish. Vegetables, meats, and other ingredients may be added but it is generally left bare, with just the garlic, pepper, and salt to flavour it, because any other additional ingredients’ flavours may interfere with the flavour of the dish eaten with the fried rice.
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Few cuisines value sourness quite as much as Filipino. Whether from vinegar, citrus, or unripe fruits, sourness adds sparkle, helping balance intensely fishy flavours and rich, fatty meats. The Philippines’ quintessential sour dish is sinigang, a seafood soup that usually relies on tamarind pulp for tartness.
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