Budget Friendly Media Noche Recipes

Disclaimer: This is the full feature from The Royal Chef column on Edge Davao.
Happy 2017, royalistas!

Before we turn and say hello to a new page, let’s take a moment and thank the year that was. 2016 — 525,600 minutes of fun, laughter, ups and downs. 365 days of learning and embracing change. True, letting go of the past is and will never be easy. But a must to savour life in all of its glory.

Here’s to a new chapter; a new page. Here’s to good life and better health than ever. Cheers to us as we take the path to a new beginning and embrace love like never before. Happy 2017 to us!

Let me share some of my fave dishes for 2016. Though inevitable in every dining table, I made these dishes mine by tweaking age-old recipes to suit my palate. Some of it I mixed and matched with other recipes. So, what’s your 2016 food story?

2016 was when the vegetables, tofu and I reunited — for good. Still picky, I have given them one more chance and now, I am enjoying them on a regular basis. What’s my 2016 veg recipe? Chopsuey. Again, you can add your preferred veg and meat. You can also use flavoured balls (chicken, shrimp, crab etc.) instead of meat pieces.


Boneless chicken, sliced, remove skin
Chicken liver, sliced
Tofu squares, sliced quarterly
Garlic, minced
Onion, sliced
Bell pepper (red and green), de-seeded, and sliced
Cauliflower, rinsed and sliced
Broccoli, rinsed and sliced
Mushrooms, drained and sliced
Carrots, peeled, sliced
Shrimp bouillon cube dissolved in tepid water
Corn starch dissolved in water
Oyster sauce
Salt and pepper

In a pan over low-medium heat, add oil. Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic. Sauté until brown.
Add chicken pieces and sauté until brown. Mix with the garlic and onion for an in-depth flavour.
Add chicken liver pieces and sauté until cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
Once cooked, pour dissolved shrimp bouillon cube. Simmer until rolling boil. Cover pan.
Build up flavour with oyster sauce. Simmer. Once rolling, add tofu pieces. Simmer.
Add vegetables — cauliflowers and broccoli first. Stir to incorporate.
Add carrots, bell peppers and mushroom. Simmer until vegetables are cooked.
Add tofu piece. Simmer.
Pour dissolved corn starch and mix well.

2016 made me embrace baking and loving every crumbs of it. This year, I learned to mix and match flavours for muffins and cupcakes, bake brownies and simple cakes. One dessert I would equate to 2016 are these yummy Butterscotch Bars.


½ c unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c brown sugar
1 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt (if using salted butter, omit this)
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c nuts, crushed (you can use anything you want)

Preheat oven at 300 degrees. Grease baking pan with flour or butter.
Sift dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Once melted, add brown sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
Gradually add dry ingredients to melted butter and sugar mix. Fold in slowly. Add eggs and vanilla. Fold. Add nuts. OPTIONAL: you can add chocolate or butterscotch chips for a richer flavour.
Pour mix in baking pan. Tap to remove air. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

2016 is the year of the salted egg. Why? Everything is cooked and flavoured with salted egg. From seafood to chips, it is a salted egg feast. Am I complaining? Of course…not! Here’s my go-to instant lunch dish – Salted Egg Yolk Prawns – a dish I learned to cook because of the abundance of salted egg and prawns at home.

Unsalted butter, room temperature
Canola oil
Garlic, minced
Onion, chopped
Birds eye chillies or dried chili flakes
Curry powder
Salted egg yolks
Evaporated milk
Prawns (or you can use Crabs), deveined, washed and drained
Brown sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a saucepan, with oil, over low-medium heat, sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and cook. Do not burn.
Once fragrant, add chilies and curry powder. Mix to incorporate flavours and textures. Season to taste (you can season yours at the end; I just like to build my flavours in the early stage).
Add mashed (but chunky) salted egg yolks. Mix and mash.
Pour evaporated milk, brown sugar and salt and pepper. Add water if you find the sauce too thick. Let simmer.
Add prawns. Cook until they turn pinkish/orange. Remove from heat.
*I like serving mine with fried oats (butter, sugar and oats on top of the prawns).

Want to know my latest food finds? Follow me on Instagram @iamleebai and I’ll make you hungry in a snap. For missed features, you can read them on my blog
Happy munching, #royalistas!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s