Most Filipino families are very traditional. Traditional even in the food we eat, that we tend to stick to the tastes we are used to. We want our mom’s adobo, our lola’s kare-kare, or our dad’s bulalo—we want something homey, comforting, and yes, something classic. But with the fast changing environment we live in today, our old favorites must be upgraded to be up-to-date. And so we are faced with the challenge of recreating these classic dishes to make it look more modern without losing the taste.
With my mom’s recipe of Kare-Kare, I used the old practice of “taste it then make it.” I tasted it and without my mom revealing the secret recipe to me, I did it. And no offense to my mom, I did better! But even if it’s a traditional family recipe, I didn’t hesitate when giving it a twist to make it more modern.
The classic Kare-Kare is oxtail and vegetables stewed in peanut sauce, but you can give it a different approach by deboning the oxtail, stuffing it with shredded meat, braising it in peanut sauce and serving it as a roulade.
The same goes for one of my all-time favorites, Chicken Pork Adobo, or CPA, for most of us. Stuff a chicken breast fillet with pork, roll it up, simmer in soy sauce and vinegar, bay leaf and black peppercorns, and voila! You just turned your CPA into CPA Roulade.
Try reinventing the classics. In cooking, there’s no rule that you can’t play with any dish. Put your own touches to a dish, tweak a recipe, play with the presentation, or even add new ingredients to recreate a classic.