The Happy Home Cook: More Recipes for your Christmas Table

The Happy Home Cook features cherished recipes of Filipino dishes from well-known foodies and contributors. If you have a recipe that you are proud of and would like to share, please send it along with a photo of the dish, your two-sentence bio and your picture to

When cooking dishes for Christmas Eve’s Noche Buena or the Christmas Day family celebration, there’s nothing more important than for the host to be well prepared with classic dishes which are crowd-pleasers. These line up of traditional entrees are wholesome, satisfying choices that gives the home cook a chance to prep ingredients or else cook ahead, giving one enough time to spend with the family.

Pancit Sotanghon with Shrimps, Ham and Vegetables

Pancit Sotanghon with Shrimps, Ham and Vegetables (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Pancit Sotanghon with Shrimps, Ham and Vegetables (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Serves 4.


sotanghon or cellophane noodles - 1 bundle (16 ounces), pre-soaked in water, 2 cups of noodles if uncooked (from Asian markets)

shrimps - 1/2 pound, large, peeled, deveined

garlic - 2 cloves, peeled, minced

onion - 1 whole medium, chopped

celery - 1 cup chopped

patis or Filipino fish sauce - 4 Tablespoons (from Asian markets), divided, use half for stir fry, rest for dipping side sauce

vegetable or corn oil - 2 Tablespoons, for stir fry

soup stock - 1 cup (vegetable or chicken broth)

cooked ham - 1 cup, sliced in 1-inch strips

carrot - 1 cup peeled and sliced pieces (from 1 large carrot)

sugar snap peas - 2 cups, washed, edges trimmed

lemon juice - from a whole piece, about 1 Tablespoon, divided, use 1 teaspoon for side dipping sauce

green onions or scallions - 1 to 2 stalks, chopped (about 1/3 cup), for garnish

salt - 1 teaspoon

freshly ground black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon


  • If there are any, cut off the string which ties together the bundles of cellophane noodles.

  • In a medium sized bowl filled with water at room temperature, soak the sotanghon noodles for about 25 minutes. Do not pre-soak noodles longer than this time or they get mushy while cooking.

  • Peel, devein and wash the fresh shrimps. Set aside.

  • After 25 minutes, drain the water from the noodles. Let the noodles rest on a colander and set aside for later.

  • In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the cooking oil. After 1 to 2 minutes when the oil is hot enough, sauté the garlic, onions, celery. Once the onions are transparent, in about 2 minutes, add the peeled shrimps. Pour in the patis (fish sauce) and soup stock or broth.

  • When the shrimps are cooked and turn pink, in about 8 to 10 minutes, add the cooked ham strips and carrots. Blend ingredients well. Then add the snow peas which should take 3 to 5 minutes to cook. Do not overcook the snow peas or they will not be crunchy.

  • Add the pre-soaked noodles to the skillet. Incorporate well with the rest of the ingredients, making sure the liquid coats the noodles evenly. Continue cooking for 5 minutes more. The soup stock will get absorbed by the noodles in a few minutes and that is okay. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice all over the noodles. Garnish with scallions. Serve with a side of fish sauce.

Carne Asado Kapampangan

From “My Mother’s Philippine Recipes” Cookbook

Carne Asado Kapampangan (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Carne Asado Kapampangan (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

This is the kind of pork entrée that transcends being “pang aldo-aldo” (everyday dishes) and becomes a fiesta dish. The Kapampangan traditional method of cooking over a slow fire and patiently letting the stew simmer in a tomato sauce makes this a familiar party-pleaser for all occasions. 

Serves 4 


2 pounds pork shoulder, sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces 

2 Tablespoons calamansi or lemon juice 

2 Tablespoons soy sauce 

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil  

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 large onion, chopped 

¼ pound tomatoes, chopped 

½ cup tomato paste 

1 cup tomato sauce 

¼ cup soy sauce 

1 cup organic broth 

1 teaspoon sea salt 

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper  

2 large potatoes, peeled, quartered and fried 


  • Marinate the pork slices in the calamansi or lemon juice and soy sauce for 6 hours or more covered in the refrigerator. 

  • In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, add the marinated pork and render the fat while the meat browns. Remove the cooked pork and set aside; keep the rendered fat hot to use for sautéing. If there isn’t enough fat, add the vegetable oil.  

  • Add the garlic and onions to the pan and sauté. Add the tomatoes and mash them with the back of the cooking spoon. Add the tomato paste and sauce, soy sauce and organic broth.  

  • Return the pork slices to the saucepan and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking until the meat is tender and the liquid is reduced to a thick gravy—about 40 minutes. 

  • Season with salt and black pepper. Add the pan-fried potatoes and serve warm. 

My Mother’s Philippine Recipes

My Mother’s Philippine Recipes


From “How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks” Cookbook

Bibingka (Phptp by Elzabeth Ann Quirino

Bibingka (Phptp by Elzabeth Ann Quirino

What is Christmas without the classic Filipino Bibingka rice cake? No matter where we live in the world, Filipinos will always try to recreate family memories by whipping up all-time holiday favorites. Traveling chef Yana Gilbuena of the Salo Series visited me at my New Jersey home and baked this amazingly easy Filipino rice cake made with coconut, butter, and cheese. It is superb served for breakfast, snacks, or dessert. 

Yield: 6 servings


Banana leaves (frozen or fresh), enough to cover an 11-inch pie plate 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 

4 whole eggs 

2 cups rice flour 

2 cups coconut milk (canned or fresh) 

1 cup granulated sugar 

¼ cup melted unsalted butter  

2 tablespoons baking powder 

½ teaspoon salt 

2 tablespoons grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese  

2 salted eggs or regular hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced 

Butter, for serving

For the glaze

¼ cup canned coconut cream  

¼ cup granulated sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. 

  2. Wash the banana leaves with soap and water. Pat them dry with paper towels, and then grease one side with softened butter.  

  3. Line an 11-inch pie plate with the banana leaves, buttered side up. Let them overlap if they are narrow and extend over the edge of the dish by a few inches if needed. Set aside. 

  4. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, melted butter, baking powder, and salt.  

  5. Pour the batter into the leaf-lined pie pan. 

  6. Arrange slices of salted eggs on top of the batter and sprinkle with grated cheese. 

  7. Bake at 375F for 35 to 40 minutes. The bibingka is done when a toothpick or a thin, sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  

  8. For the glaze: Mix the coconut cream and sugar until thick. Brush the top of the bibingka with glaze and return the cake to the oven. Broil at 450F for 5 minutes until the top is browned. Do not leave the bibingka unattended or it may burn. Serve immediately with butter. 

How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks

How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey is a journalist and author of the “How to Cook Philippine Desserts: Cakes and Snacks” Cookbook. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and blogs about Filipino home cooking on her site

More articles from Elizabeth Ann Quirino