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14 June 2013

Asian Sautèed Chayote (Ginisang Sayote)


Five years have passed by unnoticed.  I didn't even realize that it has been that long since I've last set foot on Asian soil until I started planning a short trip back to the Philippines a few weeks ago.  While in the midst of booking and orienting myself to the country I left 14 years ago, I found myself at a loss about landmarks, new places, new trends and new addresses that my friends tell me about.  In most cases, the new areas didn't even exist when I was still living there!  It's like they're speaking a foreign language.  The changes can't be that big in just 5 years time.  It seems that the whole area I used to know by heart went through a complete make-over.  And so it did!  I can't wait to get to know this new side of the city I used to call home once. 


Philippine food is hard to come by in Europe.  More than a decade ago, I found only 2 restaurants in this side of the world.  One in London, where I spent my entire holiday eating every single dish that the Philippine restaurant had on the menu.  But of course, that came after tasting the fish & chips of England first!  Another one is in Vienna where I found a small Philippine restaurant with a limited menu.  Limited or not, I had to drag myself forcefully away from the place after eating.  In Rome, I found 2 new ones (there's a third one too!) that have simple menus.  When I get a good craving for some dishes I can't do at home, I go to them, take my whole family and try to educate my kids on Philippine cooking.  When I decide to cook something at home, I stick to the ones I grew up with using the limited available ingredients I can get my hands on.  

And when it's time to visit the country, then that's another thing.  Tasting the genuine food in its country of origin is a totally different experience because for once, the ingredients are correct.  I can't wait to sit down on a Philippine dining table and rekindle the past through my taste buds.  


Chayote, as it is internationally known, also grows locally in the Philippines where it is called sayote. It's a popular vegetable side dish or a main dish on its own because of the meat ingredient.  In my parents' house, we used to pair it with steamed white rice and fried fish.  In my house, I still do the same thing but most of the time, I cook the fish in the oven with some fresh rosemary, sea salt, pepper & extra virgin olive oil and add a fresh tomato salad with vinaigrette.

I am counting the hours until I fly for almost 24 hours to reach my destination. From there, I will be sharing pictures as much as I can through Facebook and Instagram and if I can manage with my time, write a blog post or two.  Let me leave you now so I can finalize my packing.  Enjoy your weekend and the week ahead!



Asian Sautèed Chayote (Ginisang Sayote)


Ingredients:
Serves 4
  • Extra virgin olive oil (can be replaced with other kinds of oil)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, sliced 
  • 2 big tomatoes, chopped
  • 200 g. ground pork
  • 3 chayote, peeled & diced (core seed discarded)
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1/8 cup water (adjust if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

Directions:
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sautè the garlic, onions & tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil.  
  2. When the tomatoes become soft, add the ground pork and cook until the color changes.
  3. Add the chayote, carrot, water and soy sauce.  Let it boil then simmer for 10 minutes or until the chayote is cooked through and tender.
  4. Season with salt & pepper.