The Filipino pantry consist of very few essential ingredients with which you can make most of the recipes here. Your Filipino pantry should include:
- Bigas - (White Rice)
- Bawang - (Garlic)
- Sibuyas - (Onions)
- Kamatis - (Tomato)
- Calamansi - (Calamondin) - This is a small citrus from the Philippines which has a distinct taste that is more lime than lemon. The juice, extracted while the fruit is still green but soft, is used as a marinade, flavor and condiment usually added to toyo (soy sauce)
- Asin - (salt)
- Paminta- (Pepper)
- Kasubha - (Safflower) - saffron-like in that it imparts a yellow food color to the dish. It does not have the same fragrance and strong flavor as saffron
- Toyo - (Soy Sauce), dark. I suggest the Silver Swan or Marca Piña brands
- Patis - (Fish Sauce ) I suggest Rufina or Tentay brands
- Bagoong - (Fermented fish or shrimp). There are two kinds of bagoong used in Filipino cooking. the most popular is bagoong alamang which is made from minute shrimp fry (alamang) marinated in salt for days. Although I like to get the unsautéed bagoong and sauté it myself, it is not always available in the US. The sautéed versions are available in the Kamayan and Barrio Fiesta brands. Bagoong Balayan is made from salted anchovies and is more liquid than the bagoong alamang.
- Malagkit - (Sweet glutinous rice)
- Niyog - The edible white flesh of the coconut, often shredded and used in food and confections or for the extraction of coconut oil. In the past you bought a whole coconut, take the green husk off to reveal a hard brown shell surrounding the white meat inside. The juice inside the semi-transparent juice of the coconut is extracted first and is a refreshing drink. The white meat is grated on a kudkuran (scraper).
- Gata - (Coconut Milk), extracted from grated coconut
- Sampalok - (Tamarind)
- Suka - (Sugar Cane Vinegar)
- Asukal - (Sugar)
- Itlog - (Egg)
- Luya - (Ginger)
- Atchuete - (Annato) - a spice that imparts some flavor to the food and used as a coloring agent. It is soaked in water or oil to extract the color. The achuete water or oil is then added to the dish.
All of the basic ingredients used in Filipino cooking are easy to find and are available at super markets or Asian grocery stores everywhere. Pork is a very popular meat used for cooking in the Philippines which distinguishes the Filipino cuisine from most Asian’s who do not eat pork, Also common is beef, chicken and goat meat. Being surrounded by water, fish, shellfish and seafood is also a staple ingredient in Filipino cooking. There is also an abundance of fresh leafy and root vegetables grown and used in cooking.
You will also need a sauce pan, fry pan, stock pot and a wok to cook with.
Filipino cooking is fairly simple and includes very few spices. Most dishes start off with the trinity of garlic, onions and tomatoes. By adding meat, fish , shellfish or seafood and vegetables and employing the different cooking methods to the above ingredients, you can come up with delicious dishes for your family and friends to enjoy.