RICE PORRIDGE A LA MODE (Arroz Caldo)

By Evelyn S. Bunoan

Dish: TOFU WITH MUSHROOMS)
This helpless chef is recuperating from foot surgery (bunionectomy), and at the mercy of a neophyte, albeit commendable cook my doting husband, Oscar. He is at my beck and call 24/7, and I consider myself very lucky. The rice porridge (Ed and Dolly Medina can attest to its authenticity) and the side dish are both Oscars creations. Both are simply delicious and healthy for he knows I will never settle for less. The salt (to taste) I had to convince him that we needed the iodine to prevent goiter. Here then are the recipes, with my husbands permission, of course.
Ingredients:
1 cup ginger, julienne
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 pounds chicken tenderloins
4 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon saffron
Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Methods:
1. Sauté the ginger (do not brown). Add the onions and cook until transparent. Set aside and divide into 2 portions.
2. Blanche the chicken to remove the scum. Rinse and dice into 1/2″ cubes, or if preferred, coarsely flake the meat.
3. In a large pot (non-stick preferred), pour the rice in one quart water and add the half portion of ginger. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally to avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add more water if you prefer a soupy porridge. Lower heat and let simmer until rice is fluffy. Add the saffron.
4. Sauté the chicken and the other half portion of ginger in a non-stick pan for at least 3 minutes and add 1/2 cup of water. Cook until the ginger has infused its flavor into the chicken, approximately 3 more minutes.
5. Add the sautéed chicken into the boiling porridge. Season with salt and pepper.
Chefs tip: For a healthy porridge, season in the last two minutes of cooking. Less sodium is recommended. More ginger can be added also.

TOFU WITH MUSHROOMS
Ingredients:
1 pack firm tofu (16 oz.)
8 mushrooms, quartered (stalks removed)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Cooking Methods:
1. Carefully remove the tofu from its package after draining the liquid. Using a chopping board lined with two layers of paper towel, dice the tofu 3 slices on edge and 4 slices flat.
2. In a non-stick skillet, stir-fry the tofu until light golden and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil. In the same skillet, stir-fry the mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Combine the tofu and mushrooms and add the lemon juice and soy sauce.
Serve immediately.

Household Hint:
I can never emphasize enough to family members that leaving knives lying around anywhere can inadvertently hurt anyone, especially when left in the sink, dish rack or even dishwasher. It is a must to clean and wipe knives after each use and return them promptly to their proper storage (separate from other utensils).
Editors note: Mrs. Evelyn S. Bunoan is Owner/Master Chef, Philippine Oriental Market & Deli (with more than 30 years of service to the Filipino-American community) – 3610 Lee Highway, Arlington, Virginia; (703)528-0300; Master Chef (French cuisine), Le Cordon Bleu, London, UK; recipe creator, improviser, food stylist, cake designer, and culinary writer; kitchen-tested and mastered more than 400 recipes, and counting. Member of International Cake Exploration Societe. Host of the cooking show “Evelyns Kitchen Cooking with Friends”.

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