Cooking with Pulo Cuisines Coconut Adobo Sauce

Pulo Philippine Cuisine logoI’m sure if I asked, you would probably be able to tell me about your favourite Indian or Thai curry, Chinese noodles, or Vietnamese grilled meat dish. But if I asked you for your favourite Philippine dish, I’d get a blank stare.  The Philippines is one of of South East Asian neighbours, and probably the third largest immigrant population in Vancouver, but you may not know.  Their cuisine takes bits and pieces from Malay cuisine, China, and Spain, and combines it with their fresh seafood and love of grilling, and vinegar-based sauces to give you a completely different Asian flavour.  Instead of big spicey flavours, you get more vinegar and garlic, sweet bbq, and mild coconut milk flavours.  A cuisine that I think you should try, just for the fusion from all these different countries. Pulo by the way is the Filipino word for “island”, and there are more than 7000 islands that comprise the Philippines.

One way you can try Filipino cuisine, other than hunting around for the Filipino restaurants in East Vancouver or Richmond, can be by trying the new Pulo Philippine Cuisine sauces that are made and marketed right here in Vancouver.  They have 5 different sauces for you to try:

  • Guimaras Island Mango Chili Marinade
  • Samal Island Pineapple Tamarind Marinade
  • Cebu Island Lemongrass Atsuete Marinade
  • Tinaga Island Coconut Adobo Cooking Sauce
  • Luzon Island Kare Kare Toasted Peanut Cooking Sauce

All these sauces are vegan friendly.  I recently received all but the Kare Kare Toasted Peanut Cooking Sauce to try.  This article is about my experience with the Tinaga Island Cocconut Adobo Cooking Sauce.

Pulo Philippine Cuisine range of sauces

Pulo Philippine Cuisine range of sauces

Cooking Chicken with Tinaga Island Coconut Adobo Cooking Sauce

What is coconut adobo sauce?  Well there are two main components.  One is coconut milk, which adds rich creaminess to this dish.  The other half “adobo” is a traditional Philippine dish that is made by slow cooking meats or vegetables in vinegar, garlic, and black pepper.  This dish combines the two, so is not 100% traditional, but it is very flavourful.  If you like a mild curry, you may want to try this cooking sauce.  It has light pepperiness, garlic, sourness from vinegar, and the creaminess from the coconut milk.

Tinaga Island is part of the Bicol region (Central Philippines), an area renowned for hot chili and coconut milk dishes.  It is one of the few areas that adds chili spice to their food in the Philippines.  Cooking with this sauce was relatively easy.  They recommend cubing 4 chicken breasts (or the equivalent for pork or beef) and chopping 4 cups of vegetables for this dish.  I used chicken drumsticks which I had on hand.  Start off with frying the chicken in oil, add the vegetables, and sauce and them simmer till done.  Serve with rice.  For vegetables I used onions, green beans, green pepper, and carrots.  I would recommend to cube one potato and add it to the mix because I enjoy squishing the potato in the sauce on my plate and getting every last drop of flavour.  I enjoyed the flavours of this dish, and I think that it is worthwhile to try out on your own, with your family and friends.

Coconut adobo chicken simmering

Coconut adobo chicken simmering


Wine Pairing and Where to Buy these Sauces?

If you would like to drink some wine with this dish, I would recommend a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley in France or from South Africa,  or a dry Riesling from BC, Washington, or Australia.  Both have enough body and acidity to cut through the richness of the coconut milk, and both grapes are known for being very good food pairing wines.

In time I will try out the different dishes and give you an update here on my blog.  I have found these sauces for sale at Choices Market, but you may want to check other grocery stores, in their Asian aisle.

What wine to pair with a vegetarian meal?

For those of you that haven’t had a vegetarian meal, think again.  You typically have cereal or a muffin and coffee for breakfast.  For lunch it could be a salad or a vegetable sandwich or soup.  That leaves you with one meal with meat.  You are almost a vegan without knowing it, or doing much.

For most people, dinner is the main meal, and this is where the what wine to pair with a vegetarian meal will be addressed.  There is a wide variety of vegan dishes.  There are vegan dishes from all countries.  For example, Indian food has many curries made with vegetables.  Curries are usually spicy, so my recommendation is a fruity red or white wine.  The fruitiness can hold up to the spice in the wine.  You do not want to pick a dry, tannic cabernet.  A Merlot would be a better choice.  On the white wine side, a Kabinett style Riesling from Germany would work.  I have also been told that Pinotage (a red grape from South Africa) works quite well with curries.

The key point for meals, whether vegan or not, is to consider how the food is cooked (e.g. grilled or sauteed), and what sauce or spices are being used in the dish.  If you have a spicy sauce, then a wine that has lots of fruitiness works, not a dry, tannic wine.  A meal that is sauteed and has maybe a mild, citrus sauce, could pair well with a lighter bodied white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc or a chenin blanc, or a lighter bodied red, such as pinot noir or gamay.  A dish with a creamy or buttery sauce would pair well with a Burgundian wine (chardonnay or pinot noir).  The silkiness of these wines complementing the silkiness of the sauce.

Salads can be a challenge because of the sourness of the vinegar.  You may want to try a high acidity wine such as a New Zealand or BC sauvignon blanc, or a dry riesling from Australia.

Some vegetarians do eat fish.  Most fish are delicately flavoured so again pick a delicately flavoured wine, such as unoaked chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot noir or riesling.  If you get some smoked salmon, try pinot gris, Alsatian riesling, or a pinot noir.

There is much more than I can write about in this short blog.  Hopefully this will give you some pointers.  Enjoy!

Wine and Filipino Food Pairing

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-3295479-2”);
} catch(err) {}Yesterday I held a Filipino food pairing with wines around the world. Filipino food is a cross of many cultures, primarily from Malay, Spanish, Chinese cultures. Foods are not typically spicy, but can have lots of vinegar and garlic (which are 2 ingredients that are hard to pair with wines). My other constraint was to find wines that were not too expensive, e.g less than CAD $20 a bottle.

I selected 3 whites, 3 reds, and 1 late harvest wine for the evening. The white wines were:
* Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 2006 $16.49 USA (Washington)
* Santa Rita Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2008 $14.99 Chile
* Nk’mip Cellars Chardonnay 2007 $15.99 Canada (BC)

The 3 reds were:
* Mirassou California Pinot Noir 2006 $15.99 USA
* Inniskillin Okanagan – Reserve Merlot 2006 $16.99 Canada (BC)
* Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 $17.99 Australia

The late harvest wine was:
* Sauvignon Blanc – Concha Y Toro Late Harvest 2005 $14.98 Chile

To the white wines I paired:
* Lumpia Shanghai (a deep fried egg roll with dipping sauce)
* Bihon Guisado(a dish made with thin noodles, mixed vegetables and pieces of pork)

To the red wines I paired:
* roast pork with liver sauce
* Chinese bbq duck (made with five spice powder)

The late harvest wine was paired with leche flan (an carmelized egg custard) A recipe for leche flan.

As I hoped the wines showed their varietal characteristics. Some wines were nice sippers on their own, such as the riesling, while others did not, such as the pinot noir. That being said, when we tried the wines with the food, some of the wines, such as the pinot noir paired wonderfully. I particularly liked the Chinese bbq duck with the pinot noir. The pinot really cut through the grease in the duck skin, plus the spices in the 5 spice powder used in the bbq duck brought out flavours in the pinot noir. The late harvest wine was also very tasty on it’s own, and with the leche flan.

I usually ask a group for their favourite white and red wine of the evening, but I decided to try something slightly different last night. I asked the women and the men separately for their favourite wines, and suprisingly they were both different. The women preferred the riesling and the pinot noir, while the men preferred the chardonnay and the cabernet sauvignon. I am going to have to try this at other tasting I host and see if this generally holds true.

I also had another wine to try which I had recently purchased from Pacific Breeze Winery; their 2006 Killer Cab ($22.90), but we ran out of time. I’ll have to save it for my next tasting. For those that are interested, this wine is medium purple/red in the glass, with black cherry and vanilla nose. Cassis, sweet fruit, black cherry liquor and spicy flavours. Nice round mouthfeel, medium tannins and long finish. A buy.

Either way, it was a fun evening had by us all.