Embutido (Filipino-Style Meatloaf)
Embutido is a type of meatloaf that is prepared the Filipino way. Although it is a well-known holiday dish, Embutido can easily be enjoyed every day. Embutido is made with ground pork and packed with sliced ham, hard-boiled eggs, or other sausages. Although it can also be baked, traditionally, it is wrapped in foil and steam-cooked.
The Spanish term for sausage, Embutido, was the source of the dish’s original name in the Philippines. In the Philippines, dried sausages are now generally referred to as Longganisa or Chorizo, and meatloaf is referred to as Embutido.
The American meatloaf, which was introduced to the Philippines during the American colonial era, is the dish’s original source (1898–1946). This was brought on by the growth of the American canning industry and the influx of canned products and processed meat to the islands. Filipino families adapted canned goods into a variety of cuisines during the time when they were still a new thing.
How to make Embutido
It used to be common practice to begin assembling an Embutido by laying down a layer of caul fat, the web-like fatty lining that surrounds organs in animals like cows, pigs, and sheep (known as Sinsal in Filipino). Nowadays, it’s more typical to see preparations using aluminum foil or banana leaves used as the outside wrapping layer.
Whichever one you choose, fill it with ground pork mixed with finely chopped veggies, sweet relish, and raisins, then load it with hard-boiled eggs, Vienna sausage, or hot dogs, and roll it all up into a log. After being rolled and wrapped, the Embutido is steamed, allowed to cool, and then cut into pieces that can be eaten cold, warm, or even fried.
Embutido can be made in a variety of ways, just like meatloaf. When I was a child, Embutido was served cold, steamed, and contained raisins. Instead of raisins and relish, I added sautéed bell pepper for sweetness, shredded cheddar cheese for smoothness, and Chinese sausage for its salty-sweet flavor, which I think complements the other ingredients in Embutido.
Embutido is typically sliced; it can be done so when hot, but it is more common to chill it so that it won’t fall apart while being cut. You can store it by freezing it. Embutido is typically eaten with white rice and dipped in banana ketchup, sweet chili sauce, or another sweet sauce.
In contrast to American meatloaf, Embutido is often steamed, however it can also be baked.
For this recipe, both were tested. Although steaming results in a smoother, more uniform texture, I liked the baked Embutido’s richer caramelized taste and lighter texture.
- 85g light brown sugar
- 45ml cane vinegar
- 1 tablespoon banana ketchup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 fresh Thai chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 15ml vegetable oil
- 65g minced garlic
- 1 medium-sized red onion, finely chopped
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated on large holes of grater
- 455g ground pork
- 1 ½ cups of shredded medium cheddar cheese
- 85g panko breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
- 2 links of Chinese sausage
- Cooked white rice, for serving
- For the sweet-and-sour sauce: Add sugar, vinegar, ketchup, salt, and chilies in a small bowl; whisk until thoroughly combined; put aside.
- For the Embutido: Set the oven rack in the center and heat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Cooking spray should be used to grease an 18 by 24-inch piece of aluminum foil (you may also use two 12- by 24-inch sheets of aluminum foil that are slightly overlapping); put aside.
- Heat oil to shimmering in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the carrots, bell pepper, onion, and garlic for about 10 minutes, turning periodically, until tender and golden brown. Take the pan off the fire and let it cool for about 20 minutes.
- Pork, cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, fish sauce, cayenne, oyster sauce, black pepper, soy sauce, salt, and the cooled vegetable mixture should all be combined in a sizable bowl. Mix thoroughly for around 3 minutes with your hands or a firm silicone spatula.
- Place the aluminum foil in the desired position on a work surface, with one longer side parallel to the edge. With your hands, press the meat mixture into an 8 by 15-inch rectangle in the center of the foil. The eggs should be arranged in a single line across the middle of the rectangle. Make sure that the eggs and sausage are touching one another as you arrange the sausage links horizontally in a single line directly above the eggs.
- Lift the edge of the aluminum foil and gently roll the meat (which will release from the foil), folding it over the eggs and sausage and enclosing them in the center of the Embutido. Roll, lift, and roll Embutido with foil until it forms a tight log. Wrap the Embutido in aluminum foil and fold the ends in. Fold the ends of another sheet of aluminum foil around the Embutido.
- Embutido should be transferred to a wire rack positioned within a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until juices flow out of the foil and caramelize on the baking sheet and the interior temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
- Transfer Embutido to a cutting board and set aside for 20 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices with a sharp knife and carefully remove aluminum foil.
- Place the Embutido slices on a large serving platter. Serve right away with white rice and sweet and sour sauce.
Easy Recipe for Fried Rice
The best way to make use of your leftover rice is to make fried rice. Numerous variations exist for fried rice. In China, it’s often prepared with sparse quantities of meat and aromatics, salt, and sometimes a little soy sauce or another sauce. Larger pork pieces and a lot more sauce are used when making it in the Chinese-American manner. For the time being, I’m interested in the Chinese style of fried rice preparation because it is what I primarily ate growing up.
Fried rice is pretty easy to make but there are some rules to follow if you want to make the perfect fried rice. I will be walking you through these rules.
Rule #1: Use the right type of rice
The key to the ideal fried rice is texture. I wanted rice with distinct grains, each with a soft taste and a little crunchy fried outside. I desired grains that were distinct from one another so that you could taste and enjoy their textures, while still being sticky enough to let you pick up little clumps with a spoon or a set of chopsticks. I made different batches of fried rice using Chinese-style medium-grain rice, short-grain sushi rice, and Jasmine rice. I also tried using long-grain variations (basmati and Riceland extra-long-grain rice) and also parboiled rice (Arroz parboiled rice).
The medium-grain rice had the ideal combination of stickiness (for ease of chewing) and distinct grains (for superior texture).
The short-grain rice is typically stickier than medium-grain rice. It was a bit challenging stir-frying without it sticking together, but the finished product had a perfect chewy texture.
Long-grain rice varieties proved to be the most challenging since they were less plump and came apart slightly when stir-frying, which is what gives fried rice its distinctive chewy-tender feel.
Rule #2 If you can, plan ahead
There is this theory I always hear about “if you want to make the perfect fried rice, use rice prepared a day before. You’d get a mushy dish if you use fresh rice”. Could this be true? If it is true, then why?
Two things happen to cooked rice as it sits: first, it gets drier then secondly the rice firms up and becomes less sticky because the gelatinized starches that have swelled and softened during the cooking process become recrystallized.
Knowing this do I go for dry or stale rice? I put up batches of rice under a table fan at room temperature to test for dryness in the hopes that it would dry out quickly and prevent it from going bad. I kept batches of rice in the refrigerator firmly covered on plates for periods ranging from 30 minutes to 12 hours to test for staleness. This allowed the starches to recrystallize without drying out. I also kept rice in poorly sealed takeaway containers. These batches would most likely get dry and stale over time. From my test I came to the following conclusions:
- Rice that has been cooked, spread out onto a tray, and then put under a fan for approximately an hour turns out dry but not stale, which is precisely what you want.
- You can create superb fried rice with fresh rice as long as you spread it out on a dish or tray while it’s still hot and give it a few minutes to let some surface moisture drain.
- Before stir-frying, break up any clumps of day-old rice by hand. Furthermore, because it is internally drier than fresh rice, you must stir-fry it quickly to prevent it from overcooking. However, if you happen to have leftover rice from the previous day, it will make a bowl of fantastic fried rice.
Rule #3: Rinse the rice properly
Because rice clumps as a result of too much starch, it is important to properly wash the uncooked rice with cold water. No one likes their fried rice clumpy.
Rule #4 Break up the rice
Before adding the rice to the pan, separate any rice that has begun to clump or get stale. By doing this, you can be certain that the rice will separate into individual grains without breaking or becoming crushed.
Rule #5 Use a wok
Even while woks were not intended to be used on gas ranges with rings of burners in the Western manner, they are still far better containers for stir-frying than a skillet or saucepan. A wok not only offers several heat zones (enabling you to move ingredients away from the centre when adding fresh ones), but it also makes tossing and turning simple. This is crucial to do to get “wok hei”, the smokey taste that results from the oil vaporising and burning when the rice is tossed in the air.
Rule #6 Keep the pan hot
I’ve never gotten the skillet hot enough or cooked too much rice at once, which are my two worst faults when making fried rice.
When making fried rice, the process is very similar to that of, say, searing beef chunks for a beef stew: you want to make sure that the pan is extremely hot before adding the rice so that the exterior can brown and develop some texture before the rice releases too much internal moisture and ends up steaming rather than frying.
Rule #7 Be minimal with the addition of extra ingredients
You are making a dish of fried rice. Just as the name implies, the spotlight should be on the rice and not the sauce. All of the add-ins should be taste enhancers rather than the main attraction.
Rule #8 Apply the sauce sparingly
Some fried rice recipes call for huge quantities of soy sauce, oyster sauce, or hoisin sauce. I’ve never really understood this. Why take the time to make sure your rice grains are dry and distinct if you’re just going to go back and cover them all with more sauce?
You don’t need a lot of sauce if you’re utilizing decent technique and premium rice.
Rule #9 Use fresh “greens”
You can’t say you’ve made a dish of fried rice if you don’t toss in green elements before serving it. This can be anything from cilantro, basil, mint, green peas or even carrots.
Rule #10 Stir well
The final step involves giving everything a good stir. By the end every gain should stand as a single entity and each spoonful should have an equitable distribution of all of the mix-ins.
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 30ml vegetable oil
- 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 small onion
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 5g minced garlic
- 5ml soy sauce
- 5ml toasted sesame oil
- 1 large egg
- 115g green peas
- Kosher salt and white pepper powder
- If using day-old rice (see note), put it in a medium bowl and break it up into individual grains with your hands before continuing. In a wok, heat 7mL of vegetable oil until smoking. Cook, turning and tossing occasionally, until the rice is pale golden and toasted, with a faintly chewy texture, about 3 minutes. Place in a medium mixing basin. Repeat with the remaining rice and the remaining 7mL of vegetable oil.
- Return all of the rice to the wok, pressing it up the edges but leaving a space in the centre. Fill the space with 7mL oil. Cook, stirring gently, until the onion, carrot, scallions, and garlic are softened and fragrant this takes about a minute. Combine with rice. Toss in soy sauce and sesame oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Push the rice to the side of the wok and drizzle in the remaining 7ml oil. Season the egg with salt and pepper and place it in the oil. Scramble the egg, breaking it up into little pieces using a spatula. Toss the egg with the rice.
- Add green peas and toss until every grain of rice is separated. Immediately serve
Choux au Craquelin Recipe
Choux au craquelin is a sweet dish prepared with choux pastry and topped with a craquelin, a thin cookie disc. Like pie or short-crust pastry, craquelin is created using a combination of butter, sugar, and flour. As opposed to traditional choux pastry buns, craquelin gives the cream puff a coating of sweetness and makes it deliciously crispy.
A delicious, crunchy, crackly crust forms on top of the cookie disc (craquelin) as it bakes, encasing the cream puff’s top as the choux pastry bakes and expands.
Making Choux au Craquelin is not difficult, challenging or time-consuming. But, one common question I often get is “What kind of sugar works best for craquelin?” Well, I evaluated three types of sugar—granulated, light brown and dark brown for making craquelin.
I discovered that the granulated sugar gave the craquelin a gritty consistency with little taste depth, whilst heavy brown sugar’s robust molasses flavours overpowered the delicate choux. We discovered that light brown sugar was the finest option since it gave the baked choux a beautiful copper colour and a delicious caramel flavour.
How to make the Craquelin
The craquelin itself is simple to make; simply combine melted butter, light brown sugar, and flour in a bowl until smooth. Add salt and continue beating until a dough forms (this can also be done in a stand mixer). The dough is then chilled before being rolled out between sheets of parchment paper and cut into circles. The dough is forgiving, so you can immediately put the craquelin back in the freezer for a few minutes to allow it to firm up if it gets too soft to manage while you’re stamping out rounds. Even the remaining pieces can be collected, re-rolled, and cut into fresh rounds to be saved for a later batch.
How to make the Choux dough and filling
I prefer using water for the choux dough base; no milk or sugar is needed because the craquelin gives the choux all the colour development, crispness, and sweetness it needs. Aim for a two-inch broad foundation while pipping the choux (you can draw circles on your parchment if that helps; see instructions for that in the note below). Gently top each choux with a circle of craquelin once they have all been piped.
When the choux au craquelin are baked and cooled, you may eat them plain (they make a nice afternoon snack) or fill them with rich pastry cream, airy whipped cream, or velvety crème légère to make a fantastic dessert.
Choux au craquelin can be filled in two different ways: “piped-in” and “sandwich.” The piping method entails forming a little hole in the bottom of each choux, filling it with pastry cream or crème légère, and then sealing the hole. For the sandwiched version, use a serrated knife to cut each choux in half, pipe the filling onto the bottom half, and then top off the “sandwich” with the top half. You have a choice, and both are great ones (we’ve included steps below for whatever you choose).
For the Craquelin crust
- 1/4 cup (60g) light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and softened to about 68°F (20°C)
- 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 pinch salt
For the Choux dough
- ½ cup cold water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- To make the craquelin: Combine the brown sugar and butter in a medium bowl using a flexible spatula. Stir for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- After adding the salt and flour, thoroughly combine the ingredients for approximately two minutes, or until there is no dry flour left and a moist, crumbly meal has formed.
- Form a ball out of the dough using your hands (it will be a bit sticky but do not add extra flour). The dough should be placed on top of a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Create a flat rectangle out of the dough that is approximately 6 by 8 inches long.
- Put the second piece of parchment paper on top. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into an about 12-by-14-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch-thick; adjust both parchment paper sheets as necessary to prevent creasing. Place the dough on a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper on top, and freeze for about five minutes until it is completely solid (or refrigerate until cold, about 15 minutes). In the meantime, affix parchment paper to a second baking sheet.
- The top parchment sheet should be removed. 18 pieces of craquelin should be cut using a 2-inch circular cutter. Work quickly to transfer the craquelin rounds to the lined baking sheet, arrange them in a single layer, and then place the baking sheet back in the freezer. You might need to use an offset spatula to pry the cutouts away from the parchment paper. The leftover dough for craquelins can be rerolled, refrigerated, and cut into fresh rounds if preferred.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°F (191°C) and place the oven racks so that one is in the upper-middle position and the other is in the lower-middle position. Two metal baking sheets should be lined with parchment paper. Under each corner of the parchment paper, pipe a thin layer of choux paste (the dough acts as a glue and keeps the paper in place as you pipe).
- Apply consistent downward pressure while holding the pastry bag at a 90° angle to pipe a choux that is 2 inches wide (see note). Apply no more pressure and spin the pastry tip away to end the piping. A total of 9 choux should be piped, spaced about 3 inches apart. the second tray, and so forth. To guarantee that the craquelin cut-out clings to the highest point of the piped choux, top each choux with one, positioning it parallel to the bottom of the baking sheets and pressing down just a little. The choux au craquelin should be puffy, deeply golden brown, and hollow when lifted, which will take around 30 minutes in total. After 20 minutes, swap the racks and rotate the front of the tray to the back. Go to the next step if you want Choux au craquelin in a sandwich form. Or proceed to step 9
- Choux au Craquelin in the Sandwich Style: Turn Off Oven. For 30 minutes, let the trays sit in the oven with the door slightly ajar. After removing it from the oven, give it 15 minutes to cool fully. Slice each puff in half lengthwise to form a top and bottom “bun”; place your preferred filling in a pastry bag fitted with a 3/4-inch star tip; working with one at a time, start piping with steadily increasing pressure to generously fill the bottom half of each choux; top with the other half of each choux; repeat until all choux au craquelin are filled; serve right away.
- To Fill Piped-In Choux au Craquelin: Working quickly, carefully push the tip of a paring knife into the bottom of each choux and rotate in a circular motion to make a small hole approximately 1/4 inch in size, then return to the tray. Set both trays in the oven, which has been turned off but is still warm, with the door half open for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool fully for about 15 minutes.
- Working one at a time, slip the tip of a pastry cream-filled bag into each choux hole and continue piping with steady pressure until filled (you can tell because the choux will feel heavy and pastry cream will start to overflow the hole). Remove any extra pastry cream. Repeat until all of the choux au craquelin has been filled. Serve right away.