Boiling (nilaga), grilling (ihaw),
roasting and steaming (halabos) are the four cooking methods that are the
foundation of Filipino cookery. It was only during the Spanish era that Sautéing (guisado)
or frying in oil and lard came into use and eventually became part of Filipino cooking. At
present, these cooking methods conform with the modern-day demand of healthy food and
cooking for most Filipinos.
One of the basis for many of the best-loved
Filipino dishes is boiling or nilaga. The most famous of the many nilaga is bulalo, which
consists of boiled leg bone containing marrow with cartilage attached, plus meat and
lettuce. How the bulalo
will turn out after boiling would depend on several factors which include the texture and
consistency of the beef, the sixe and quality of the bone, and the duration of boiling
time in liquid that is little else but water, salt and pepper.
Another significant cooking procedure in
Philippine cookery is steaming. The process of steaming is usually done on a wok. Most
dishes to be steamed are first wrapped in banana leaves. It is important to remember that
the leaf should be wiped clean and then softened in hot water before being wrapped around
the food. Subsequently, It will add subtle flavor to the food and preserve its moisture.
In the days before refrigeration became
common practice, the adobo served as a delicious way of preserving food. Adobo
is a special dish where preparation includes cooking of pork, chicken, fish, seafood or
vegetables in vinegar with garlic and pepper.
Another delectable dish that was made out
of preserving is kinilaw.
Ingredients of this dish include raw fish or prawns that are marinated or
"cooked" in vinegar, salt and pepper. Fresh fish are used by the Visayans for kinilaw while
the Ilocanos and the Pampangos prefer kilawing kambing – goat steeped in vinegar and
A perfect example of the Filipino roasting
process is the lechon
or roast pig. This festive treat traces its roots either from the Spaniards who introduced
the delicacy, conchinillo asado (roast suckling pig) or our Polynesian neighbors
who practiced roasting whole pigs on hot stones.
Lastly, a distinctive Filipino cooking term
that should not be forgotten is the ginataan. Ginataan is the generic term for any
dish cooked with coconut milk. Examples of the vast variety of dishes that can be made
using coconut milk include Hipon sa Gata and Ginataang Puso ng Saging.