Cooking Lessons

For the month of August, I have learned a couple of meals that are delectable, easy to cook and most of all, very affordable. I am a very thrifty person so the last consideration is very important. The meals to name are Molo Soup and Creamed Vegetables with Egg and I intend to share the menu with newbies like me who might be looking for something new to serve on the dining table.

The first meal, I learned from Yanah’s grandparents, tita Toy and Mam’da when they visited over and cooked for her birthday. Just a brief intermission, Yanah, my niece, turned 11 last August 10, but since it fell on a Wednesday, we just had a simple cake party and had the celebration itself on Friday night. In the morning, Nilo and I offered to get the ingredients from the supermarket. Lucky for us, we got to know the ingredients to this super treat.

The recipe, which was good for 20 people, costed Php230 only which got my attraction primarily hehe. While Mam’da and tita Toy were preparing the food, I invited myself over for a free lesson. I called on Nilo too, since he cooks our meals more frequently than I do (and he’s a better cook, I admit) and while I got lessons from tita Toy on how to wrap the molo meat, Mam’da taught Nilo how to make the broth. A few days later, we gave the dish a try and I must say for first timers, it was a delicious success. It wasn’t as good of course, so I’ll be sharing the original recipe. The ingredients of a molo soup follow:

Molo meat
1/4 kg ground pork
2pcs carrots
2pcs eggs
1pack molo wrapper (the biggest size)

Broth
1/4kg chicken
Onion spring

For the molo meat, mix the ground pork, grated carrots and beaten eggs in a bowl and season to your desired taste. However, for those who would like to skip this tedious procedure, you may buy the ready-made shanghai mix at the supermarket. This was what we did which caused no significant difference in the recipe. Wrapping up the meat is quite difficult to describe so I took pictures unfortunately, virus got to it first (inconvenience of procrastination). First, place a chunk of meat on one corner of the wrapper then fold that corner over the meat so it would look triangular. Then, roll from one side of the triangle until it meets the other side then use water to seal it.

Before proceeding to the broth, it is advised to use a more expensive brand of molo wrapper or if available, Dinks is highly recommended (by Mam’da and tita Toy, that is). On Yanah’s birthday, we used Bambi’s instead. However, to save up a little, I used a cheaper brand when we cooked it and Nilo made me never hear the end of it. He blamed me for being so stingy because our soup didn’t turn out as thick as Mam’da’s. I said though that it was because he didn’t put in all the molo into the soup. We saved a few pieces for frying and they turned out like dumplings, really crispy and worth trying too.

For the broth, boil the chicken in a generous amount of water. Set aside the chicken broth and shred the chicken meat into fine strips, then sauté the cut-up meat in garlic and onion. Afterwards, put in the chicken and molo meat into the broth. If there were leftover wrappers, cut them to strips and put them in too. They add thickness to the soup. Add water and seasoning if necessary and desired. Lastly, sprinkle in the sliced onion spring.

Our finished product did look good although most of the meat got out of the molo wrappers haha. Our very eager first customer was my brother and he must have found the soup really tasty or he’s just starving (hehe).

The next meal, I learned from the same neighbor. This time it was Yanah’s auntie, Tess, cooking for an ordinary dinner meal. It wasn’t the first time I have encountered creamed vegetables but we used to serve this dish only on special occasions. Aside from the tedious shredding of cauliflower and cutting up of the other vegetables, the cream is a little expensive. However, Tess taught us a technique to cut on the expense. Lovely (hehe)! Instead of using cream, she used evaporated milk and cornstarch. The result? Creamier and sweeter taste!

The ingredients of this simplified dish are:

1stalk cauliflower
450gms young corn
2pcs carrots
1can evaporated milk (smallest size)
2tablespoons cornstarch
4pcs eggs

Just cut up the vegetable into small pieces and make sure they are clean and free of vegetable caterpillars (ewwww! hehe). After that, sauté them in butter, garlic and onion and season to desired taste. Simultaneously, boil the eggs in another pan. Once the vegetables are slightly cooked (do not overdo because the veggies might turn saggy), put in the evaporated milk and cornstarch. Cook for another two minutes before finally putting in the cut-up boiled eggs.

It’s funny to realize that although I have often cooked meals for my family since I was in college, it’s always exciting to learn new dishes and I just can’t wait to encounter other simplified ones to serve on our dining table. I must say though, that my first consideration is “affordable” hehe. For now, I have some prospects like bico and maja blanca from tita Myra, although the latter might be removed from the list if it turns out to be costly (hehe). I just hope she visits us soon and frequently too because a slow learner like me could only know a recipe one at a time (:p). Anyway, costly or cheap, I promise I’d be sharing the recipes when I learn them, sooner or later. 😀

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