Ampalaya: known in English as bitter melon or bitter gourd. This plant is a vine from the cucurbitaceae family which is grown in tropical and subtropical areas for its edible, although extremely bitter fruit. There are several varieties which differ in shape, appearance and bitterness. Before use the fruit is salted to remove some of the bitterness. Ampalaya is an anti-diabetic, antioxidant, immunobooster and appetite suppressor. From experience the bitter taste becomes easily addictive!
Bagoong: a Filipino condiment made of fermented fish or krill and salt. It provides a special kick, or umami taste to dishes. The paste has a brown-red colour, strong distinctive smell and thick consistency. If you cannot find Bagoong outside of The Philippines you can substitute fish sauce, although the result is not quite the same.
Bangus: known as milkfish in English this is the national fish of the Philippines, and is also found throughout South East Asia. This fish has white flesh and is considerably bonier than many other species.
Chicharon: this condiment is pork rind which has been fried until golden and crispy. Of Spanish origin this is popular through out any countries which has Spanish influence. As well as been used as a condiment to dishes it is also a popular pulutan or snack food. Available throughout the Philippines in supermarkets and sari-sari stores, overseas Filipino grocers and some large supermarkets will stock this.
Coconut Milk: the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a brown coconut. The color and rich taste of coconut milk are attributed to its high oil content. It gives dishes a rich and creamy taste and is used in both savoury and sweet dishes.
Kalabasa: in English this is the West Indian pumpkin, which is a large winter squash, resembling a pumpkin. The taste is smooth and slightly sweet and is a good source of beta-carotene.
Langka: known as Jackfruit in English, the fruit is composed of many individual flowers, and it is the fleshy petals that are eaten. The flavor is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. In the Philippines both the ripe and unripe fruit are eaten, along with the seeds which are boiled first.
Longganisa: Filipino longganisa traces back to the Spanish longaniza, a pork sausage with paprika, cinnamon, aniseed, garlic and vinegar. There are two main categories of longganisa, de decado, which is spicy and garlicky; and hamonado, which is sweeter.
Malunggay: is a plant that grows in the tropical climates such as the Philippines, India and Africa. It is the leaves which are commonly eaten in the Philippines and is both popular for its nutritional value as well as medicinal qualities. Mallungay has been shown to be Antibacterial, Anti Fungal, Anti Cancer, Anti-inflammatory and assist in treating malnutrition.
Kamote: known in English as sweet potato. This is a starchy, slightly sweet-tasting root vegetable.
Okra: also known as ladies’ fingers due to the shape of the seed pods. When cooked the seed pods can take on a slimly characteristic, this can be minimised by keeping the pods intact and only briefly cooking. Okra is a healthy vegetable, it is high in fibre, vitamin C, folate and antioxidants.
Patis: fish sauce, a byproduct of making bagoong, it is used as both an ingredient and condiment in the Philippines. If you cannot find a Filipino version then its suitable to substitute with Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce.
Pinipig: immature grains of green glutinous rice pounded until flat before being toasted. Used to top desserts in the Philippines.
Sayote: also known as chayote or choko. This plant is from the cucurbitaceae family and has a very mild flavour. Most commonly the fruit is used, however the root, stem, seeds and leaves are also edible.
Sita: snake bean
Tamarind: souring agent
Tinana: smoked fish
Ube: purple yam