Philippines Vegetarian Dishes


Adobong Gulay

Gulay – Vegetables = talong (egg plant), potato. Adobo is a style of preparation, which in Philippine cuisine – is stewing in vinegar and soy sauce. – Ken.

IngredientsAdobong Gulay

  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic (adjust to your taste)
  • peppercorn, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • vegetable oil (2-4 tablespoon)
  • potatoes or talong (around 1 lb or so), cubed, sliced
  • soya sauce (1/4 c)
  • sukang Paombong or your favourite vinegar (1/4 c)
  • pepper and sugar to taste (use a generous dash of pepper and a tiny tiny amount of sugar, to bring out the taste of the rest)


In a Pan, heat oil then add peppercorn and bay leaves. When the bay leaves start to turn brown, add the garlic. Saute until brown. Then add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the pepper and the sugar, stir briefly to mix, then add the soya sauce and vinegar. Lower heat to medium then add the potatoes or eggplant. Stir briefly then simmer, covered, around 25-30 minutes for the potatoes or around 35-40 minutes for the eggplant. They should be soft but not mushy. Add water if liquid level drops too low.

Serve over rice. Note: Now, in this Lenten season, I decided to try something interesting. Try using the above recipe with whole, hardboiled eggs. Follow the recipe as for the potatoes. When the potatoes are almost done, add the whole, peeled, hardboiled eggs, with a few cut marks (not deep) into the egg white to let the flavour penetrate the egg more easily. This particular dish (adobong itlog) really tastes well the next day.


Banana Blossom Ginataan

IngredientsBanana Blossom Ginataan

  • 2 banana blossoms (I just used the ones in the can, 10 oz drained)
  • 1 cup pure coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (if using 5% acidity vinegar, try 1:1 vinegar/water)
  • 1/4 cup sliced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 2 dried red chilies (optional if you want this slightly spicy) salt and pepper to taste


If using fresh puso ng saging (banana blossoms): remove the tough covering of the blossoms. Slice thin crosswise. Add 2 tbsp salt and squeeze off bitter juice. Rinse in water and squeeze dry. Set aside.

If using canned puso ng saging: drain, rinse then drain again. Slice thin crosswise. Set aside.

Heat oil in skillet, if using dried red chilies, add them when the oil is hot but not smoking and let the skins darken somewhat before you add the garlic. Saute garlic until light brown. Add onion, fry till translucent, then add tomatoes. Cook for around 3 minutes. Add banana blossoms and vinegar/water mixture and then bring to boil without stirring. Simmer for around 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir. Continue to cook until banana blossom is tender. Add pure coconut cream and remove from heat. Let stand for a few minutes to help develop the flavours.

(Adapted from “Recipes of the Philippines” by Enriqueta David-Perez, Mandaluyong, MM: Cacho Hermanos, Inc., 1973)




  • 1 cup malunggay leaves (if you can’t get this, try spinach or kangkong -[swamp cabbage, watercress can also substitute for it – Ken.])
  • 1 cup squash, cubed
  • 1 cup upo (gourd), sliced [substitute with zucchini – Ken]
  • 1 cup tokwa (tofu), cubed and fried (don’t fry for a lower-fat dish)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 cup water
  • tomatoes


Mix tomatoes, onion, and squash in a deep sauce pan or pot. Add water and boil. After 5 minutes cooking, add tokwa and upo. When the upo is almost tender, add malunggay and cook 2 minutes longer or until malunggay leaves are wilted. Remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste (or instead of salt, you can add patis, it will give a better flavour). Garnish with fresh tomatoes and cilantro or kinchay (Chinese celery).




  • 1 small bundle misua (fine rice vermicelli)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 onion
  • salt or patis and pepper to taste


Saute garlic in oil until light brown. Add onion and saute until onion is translucent. Add water, salt or patis and pepper to taste. When the water boils add eggs whole, one at a time. Break misua into 3-inch lengths and add. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Ginataang Saba

recipe by Ken

I got this idea from a Sri Lankan dish which they generally make for those who are recovering from illnesses because the chili level is considerably lower. When I tried it, it reminded me so much of the squash and sitaw guinataans my mom made when I was a kid. It’s amazing how much the saba tastes like squash when made like this!

Note: Guinataan – anything cooked in gata or coconut milk. Saba are Philippine cooking bananas mainly used for sweets and a few vegetable and meat stews. Plantains can be substituted. – Ken


  • 4 – 5 unripe (very green!) bananas or 2-3 (very green) plaintains
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c oil (can cut down on this)
  • 2 c coconut milk
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic (to your taste), chopped finely
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 fresh chilis, sliced (optional)
  • 2 tsp dried shrimp, soaking in 2 tsp hot water (omit if vegan)
  • 1/2 c sili leaves (or other greens that might go with this, like spinach, for example)
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Peel the bananas or plaintains, cut them in half cross-ways, and then in slices or quarters lenthwise (to whatever size you wish). Rub them with the salt.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and then fry the slices a few at a time, until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels (or in a collander) and set aside.

Heat ~1 tblsp (or so) of oil, then fry the garlic, onion (and chili if using) for about a minute or so, then add the cocounut milk (and dried shrimp in its soaking water). Simmer for around 5-10 minutes. Add the fried bananas and the leaves and simmer until the gravy is thick. Adjust the saltiness and pepper levels to your taste. Serve over rice.

For an interesting taste, try using coconut oil as a medium of cooking (not for frying the bananas though). Even though it might be more unhealthy, it does give a nice flavour to the food.




  • Yesterday’s left-over fried rice (say 1 cup of cooked rice)
  • 1 small onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped into small bits
  • 1 small piece ginger, also chopped into small bits (yes, we like ginger in our sinangag!
  • 1/2 c peas (we generally use the frozen kind)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • toyo (soy sauce) for colour


Heat about 1-2 tbsp veg oil in a skillet or karajay (wok) until hot. Add garlic, saute until light brown, then add onions and ginger. Fry until onions are translucent, around 3-4 minutes. Add the peas, fry for around 2 minutes, then add the rice, salt and pepper. Fry for around 2-3 minutes. Add toyo to colour the rice. If you can eat eggs, then consider stirring in some scrambled egg bits into the rice before removing from heat.

This dish is quite versatile. My dad loves putting in vetsin (MSG) in the rice as well (I think that’s what makes it really yummy!) but that is optional since there may be some people allergic to it. Instead of peas, you can add capsicum, celery, whatever vegetable you want.

Ginataang Talong

IngredientsGinataang Talong

  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • talong – eggplants


Roast eggplants in oven or over gas flame. Peel and chop fine. Peel onions and slice crosswise very fine. Heat oil in pan, add onions and fry until translucent. Add eggplants, stir for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, add coconut cream, let sit several minutes to develop the flavours.

Tortang Tagalog

IngredientsTortang Tagalog

  • 1 small Japanese-type talong (eggplant) per person (4 of them then)
  • 1 egg per person
  • 1 onion
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • tomato, cilantro or kinchay to garnish


Roast the eggplants, either in the oven or over gas flame (latter is preferable) until the outside skin is charred. Peel off the skin and mash the flesh with a fork. Make sure to keep the whole thing as intact as possible.

In a skillet, fry the onion until translucent and remove. To prepare one torta, beat an egg in a bowl, then dip the eggplant. Hold the whole thing by the stem and don’t dip that part in the egg. Add salt and pepper as you like, and if you really want to, add finely chopped cilantro or kinchay to the egg mixture. Heat oil in a frying pan, then when the oil is hot, add the mixture to the pan and layer some onions to the top of it. Let set then turn over with a spatula. Remove to a plate and garnish with tomato slices and cilantro/kinchay. Serve with rice.


Sopa de maiz

(filipino corn soup)Sopa de maiz

Yield: 1 Servings


  • 3/4 c Thinly sliced onions
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb Raw shrimp, shelled, -deveined, and diced
  • 2 c Bottled clam juice
  • 2 c Water
  • 1/2 ts Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c Chopped, cooked -or canned corn
  • 1/2 c Shredded watercress -or spinach

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil for five minutes. Add the shrimp and saute for two minutes. Stir in the clam juice, water, pepper, and corn. Bring to a boil and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the cress and cook two minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.


Eggplant Adobo

Yield: 5 servingsEggplant Adobo


  • 5 c Diced eggplant, -cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/3 c Vegetable oil
  • 1/3 c Soy sauce
  • 1/4 c Red wine vinegar
  • 6 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 ts Freshly ground black pepper


Spread eggplant on paper toweling and sprinkle with salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. In a non-stick skillet, fry eggplant in oil until brown and set aside. In a small saucepan, simmer soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and pepper for 5 minutes. Add eggplant, cover and cook over low heat for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.From Pacific Crossings by Lily Gamboa O’Boyle, Acacia Corporation, New York, 1994


Gluten Guisado

IngredientsGluten Guisado

  • 1-1/2 cups ground gluten
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, sliced fine
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 can sweet peas
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1/3 cup onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/4 cups potatoes. diced


Sauté garlic in oil until brown. Add onions and tomatoes and cook until tender.

Add ground gluten and seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add potatoes and water. Simmer until done.

Add raisins and peas just before removing from fire.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


Tofu Arroz Caldo

IngredientsTofu Arroz Caldo

  • 1-1/2 pound fresh tofu
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup rice grains(uncooked)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
  • 5 stalks scallion(spring onion) finely sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cut the tofu into one inch squares. Then deep fry it until golden brown. Set aside. In a large non-stick soup pot over medium heat, sauté garlic in oil until lightly brown. Add ginger and onion, stir for a minute. Then add fish sauce. Add rice, water and a little salt and pepper. Simmer in medium low heat, stirring occassionally for about 40 minutes or until the consistency of a light creamed soup has been reached. Add the fried tofu and correct seasonings to taste. Stir in a small amount of sliced scallion. If rice soup becomes too thick, add a little water to thin it a bit. Garnish individual bowl servings with sliced scallions just before serving. If you prefer, sprinkle a little lemon juice on the soup servings. This will give a pleasant tartness to the dish. Yield: 6 – 8 servings.

Peanut And Eggplant Scallops


  • 3-4 small eggplants
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup condensed tomato sauce
  • l/2 cup finely chopped salted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • l/2 cup soft crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dry crumbs mixed with
  • 1 tablespoon melted margarine


Pare eggplants and cut in cubes. Cook in boiling salted water until tender. Drain. Add all ingredients except buttered crumbs and cheese. Place in oiled baking dish. Sprinkle with crumbs and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese on top and bake for 5 more minutes. Yield: 5 servings.


Crispy KangKong

IngredientsCrispy KangKong

  • 4 bunches kangkong leaves, cleaned
  • 1-1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups corn starch
  • 5 cups cooking oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt and monosodium glutamate ( MSG) to taste
  • 1 pc boiled egg, grated medium


Wash kangkong and drain leaves thoroughly.

Remove leaves from stem. Set aside.

In a clean mixing bowl combine cornstarch, flour, egg, MSG, salt and water ( batter mixture ).

Mix until smooth in consistency.

Heat oil to 250°F and reduce fire to medium.

Dip kangkong leaves one by one in batter and deep fry until crispy.

Put fried leaves in a plate lined with table tissue to drain oil from kangkong leaves.

Serve with sauce on the side.


Spiced Coconut Sweet Potato

Serves 4Spiced Coconut Sweet Potato


  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 2 Large Chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 teasp Ground Turmeric
  • 1 teasp freshly grated Root Ginger
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 240ml/8fl.oz. Coconut Milk
  • 360ml/12fl.oz. Water
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 450g/1lb Sweet Potato, peeled and sliced


1. Place all the ingredients, except the sweet potatoes, in a large saucepan, bring to a boil while stirring, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add the sweet potato, mix well and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Serve hot.


Fresh Lumpia Wrapper Skins

10 piecesFresh Lumpia Wrapper Skins


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water

1 Mix all ingredients until very smooth.

2 Lightly grease a non-stick pan and heat. Brush mixture onto pan. When dough starts to come away from the pan, lift wrapper out carefully. It will not lift out if mixture is not done.


Spanish Bread

IngredientsSpanish Bread

  • Bread flour 1.0 kg
  • Instant Yeast 8 g
  • Dobrim Nobro 4 g
  • Monofresh 5 g
  • Sugar 160 g
  • Salt 15 g
  • Water 520 g
  • Shortening 40 g
  • Skimmed milk 200 g
  • All-purpose flour 200 g
  • Sugar 200 g
  • Margarine 300 g

Total Weight 2.7 Kg


1. Blend flour, Instant Yeast, Dobrim Nobro, Monofresh, sugar, salt, and water using a spiral mixer at low speed for 1 minute.

2. Add Bakels Shortening and mix until fully developed.

3. Rest for 10 minutes then cut 50 g pieces and round.

4. Flatten each dough piece into an oval shape and then place prepared filling.

5. Mould into hotdog roll shape.

6. Proof then bake at 180°C.

Tamales Vegetarian


  • 2 cups raw rice, roated and soaked in 1-1/2 cups water then ground
  • 1 cup rich coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 4 cups coconut milk, diluted
  • 1 cup finely chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • banana leaves cut into 10″ wide pieces
  • 2 tbsps salt
  • 1/4 kg gluten, boiled and diced
  • 2 tbsps atchuete seeds, soaked in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 pcs eggs, hard-boiled and shelled


In saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, sugar, salt and achuete water.

Simmer until mixture is smoother and thick, stirring constantly.

Then pour in rich coconut milk, stirring well until smooth in consistency.

Add peanuts. Remove from heat. Put banana leaves together.

Drop 1 tablespoonful of mixture on center of banana leaf.

Top mixture with a slice of gluten and a slice of egg.

Wrap mixture with banana leaf and tie around.

Do the same with remaining mixture.

In a big cookng pan, boil water and drop tamales

. Cover and let boil 30 minutes.

Transfer to tray and let cool before serving.

Many of the recipes on this page are from Manong Ken’s Carinderia…. Thanks Ken! 🙂