Ann is chef and matriarchal leader at Tao Philippines’ Tao Kantina. Watch and learn below as she takes us through some classic Filipino dishes. A true chef and master, Auntie Ann doesn’t do much measuring or timing or following recipes. All she really needs is a wok, a strong fire (there they burn coconut husks), and lots of fresh ingredients. That said, these dishes are relatively straightforward. The key is getting fresh turmeric root for the flavor.

1. GRILLED EGGPLANT

Ingredients:

    6 peeled eggplants
    1 onion leek (chopped)
    1 large onion (chopped)
    2 heads of garlic (minced)
    Cup of shredded coconut
    ¼ cup chopped ginger
    2 cans of coconut milk
    Black pepper to taste

2. SEAFOOD FIESTA

The Filipino diet is based on seafood, rice, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. This classic Filipino seafood dish takes, as Ann puts it, “crazy garlic!” Notice how simple the ingredients are — you could easily pick up a seafood pack from Trader Joe’s and try this one at home! The whole thing is done in 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

    Pound pack of seafood (Squid, mussels, shrimp)
    Red chili peppers
    2 heads of garlic
    1 onion leek
    Soy sauce, sugar, pepper to taste

3. BANANA CURRY SAUCE

Here, Ann makes Banana Curry, a classic Filipino sauce that’s, as she notes, “good for everything.” As with all curries, the base is coconut milk, and for this dish she uses Saba bananas, a cooking banana native to the Philippines. You could replace with very ripe plantains. Notice how Ann never measures when she cooks. She goes by feel. Try to follow along with proportions accordingly.

Ingredients:

    Grated ginger
    Mashed plantains/saba banana
    Garlic
    Lime
    Onion

4. STUFFED SQUID

Ready for the next level of Filipino cooking? Let Ann guide you though this amazing recipe: stuffed squid. The secret for this one is preparing the oil first by gently boiling your preferred cooking oil for 30 minutes with fresh ground turmeric. Stuff the squid with chopped onion, spinach, tomato, basil, roasted coconut, and salt and pepper. Then glaze with the turmeric oil and grill for 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

    Finger chilis (or substitute other spicy chilis)
    Roasted grated coconut meat
    Tomatoes
    Onion
    Basil
    Spinach
    Fresh ground turmeric root

5. VEGGIE STIR FRY

In the final episode of our series, Ann prepares the classic Filipino vegetable stir fry. If you can’t find this exact variety of squash, don’t worry, the key is the cooking method — a very hot fire and wok — and getting the flavor right with fresh turmeric root, onion, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. Notice how Ann adds splashes of water to make sure the veggies are cooked all the way.

Ingredients:

    Squash
    Chard
    Green beans
    Cucumber
    Tomato
    Garlic
    Onion
    Fresh turmeric
    Grated ginger
    Fish sauce
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