23 Oct2012

Fresh From The Farm…

by Marketman

Fresh from Malipayon farms, formerly Kitchen Herbs Farm, of long-time reader and frequent commenter, Gejo Jimenez. After a couple of months of heavy rains and strong winds, farms in Silang and Tagaytay are starting to recover and fresh produce is now starting to re-appear for consumers to enjoy. If the weather holds up, it looks like great produce towards the holiday season and into early next year! Gejo is kind enough to deliver to me when he does his restaurant delivery schedule and it’s always a great pleasure to see what he has in his van for me. I typically order some items I definitely want/need, and often ask that he sends whatever else he thinks I should try. Here is a sampling of what was delivered earlier today… Up top, an abundant supply of fresh arrowroot. Made into flour, and the more commonly known uraro cookies, I have written about this ingredient once before, here. I still haven’t ever cooked with it, nor do I know how to make the flour, but I think I will start off by simply boiling it and enjoying it with some sugar, as suggested by some commenters in that previous post.

Gorgeous tiny radishes, fresh out of the ground. The attached radish leaves were so incredibly fresh looking as well. Great in salads, to eat by themselves or with some butter and bread.

Very lush and healthy leaves of sawtooth coriander. I recently noticed our own plant in the backyard is doing rather nicely, but it was good to receive this bounty of sawtooth coriander. Will have to cook up a proper tom yum gung or spicy sour thai soup using these fragrant leaves.

A huge portion of fresh curry leaves. I never quite know what to do with these, but if I recall correctly, they were useful for the crab with butter and salted egg yolk dish that Millet brought to our attention a few months back… Any other ideas how I might use the curry leaves? Suggestions appreciated! :)

Lots of french beans or haricots verts — perfect blanched and added to a salade nicoise, a green salad, or enjoyed as a side dish. As a general observation, the local versions are just a bit too big and are left on the vine a bit longer than you would find in Europe and elsewhere. I know this is partly to make them weigh heavier, and partly because it does seem a bit bizarre to enjoy them when they are straw thin, or even thinner. But it’s one of those luxurious peculiarities of the produce world… If you have an abundance of the beans, blanche them and toss them with boiled baby potatoes and a sharp mustard vinaigrette dressing… delicious!

Particularly fresh and vibrant baby arugula. Perfect in salads, as a garnish for sandwiches needing a peppery kick, and wilted into pasta sauces. I am a huge fan of arugula, and this stuff Gejo delivered is lightyears better than the humongous leaves now typically seen in grocery lettuce mixes.

Finally, some fragrant mint, with tiny leaves bursting with aroma and flavor. I also got some rosemary, tomatoes and other goodies in today’s delivery. Thanks, Gejo!



  1. marznery says:

    Hi MM,

    You can use a sprig of curry leaves in sautéed veggie dishes. I usually add it after the garlic/onion combo and the kitchen would smell really good. Once when we had a bunch of curry leaves, I experimented and included curry leaves into my fried rice. It turned out much tastier and better smelling too :)

    These I got from my Malaysian Indian mother-in-law :)

    Oct 23, 2012 | 9:57 pm


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  3. Anna says:

    Oh I love these! I am based in Minnesota and our gardening season is over. So sad :( . We still have farmer’s markets open but they have mostly fall vegetables like root crops, cabbages, squash and very yummy apples. I miss the Asian vegetables that proliferate in the summer. I love all the produce you pictured above. My 11 year old son loves arugula on pizza. I usually make it with mozzarella and garlic infused olive oil then toss the arugula at the last minute with some olive oil and wait just until a bit wilted. My mint was mostly used as tea with holy basil. For radishes, I love it on top of crackers or toast slathered with liverwurst. I just had breakfast and now I am already hungry :) .

    Oct 23, 2012 | 10:12 pm

  4. betty q. says:

    There is also a Malaysian dish that uses fried pork spareribs cooked with shallots, garlic, simmered in evaporated milk and fried curry leaves….MAKANIN!!!!!!!

    Oct 23, 2012 | 10:41 pm

  5. Dulce says:

    Curry leaves are used a lot in Malaysian, Indian, and Sri Lankan cooking. Some examples for their use is the Penang Black Pepper Crab, Butter Prawn (I love this over the Singaporean Cereal Prawn), Shrimp with Curry Leaves, etc.

    Sri Lanka uses it a lot with their dishes similar to South Indian dishes and they have this very good fresh coconut chutney with curry leaves that they serve with string hoppers (a type of steamed noodles) and fish curry.

    My maid has also been using a lot (she came up with these on her own) of curry leaves for Indian inspired dishes. She uses different Indian spices with either vegetables (okra, cauliflower, potato, squash, etc., cooked separately), chicken breast pieces or fish chunks and simply sauteed, lots of long cooked browned onions and garlic, with some water added and left to evaporate for different kinds of dry dishes, for rice pilafs, dhal dishes, etc.

    We freeze extra leaves so they are always at hand since we do use it often. For those who would like to get some leaves, Rustan’s almost always has them available and Gil Carandang has trees of them. S&R also carries them at times. The tree is easy enough to grow.

    Hope this helps use up your current purchase.

    Oct 23, 2012 | 11:27 pm

  6. Connie C says:

    When in Puerto Princesa ( where I grow a lone curry plant ) I grill stingray with this rub: salt, sugar, mashed or crushed curry leaves with turmeric. Place thinly sliced lemongrass on top of fish, cover with banana leaves and grill. Fills the air with an unmistakable fragrant aroma. Serve with garlic lime chili dipping sauce and you have a “makanin” lunch.

    I also found this shrimp recipe using curry leaves which looks good but I still have to try it :

    Oct 24, 2012 | 12:06 am

  7. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    French beans and rotisserie chicken…classic!

    Oct 24, 2012 | 1:49 am

  8. Jade186 says:

    Thanks for the post and the pictures, MM! I have some curry plants in our garden and I saw that they were totally different to what you have posted…they look more like herbs, similar to a miniature ‘fir’. A quick google shows that the curry herbs I’ve got are inedible! And I was about to ask for recipes…

    Oct 24, 2012 | 2:17 am

  9. Kb says:

    Oct 24, 2012 | 2:42 am

  10. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Sambar is basically Indian ‘balatong’…minus the pork and fish.

    Oct 24, 2012 | 4:06 am

  11. Josephine says:

    Curry leaves are not something we use traditionally in the Philippines, are they, but in cuisines where they are used often, they are usually fried in oil first to intensify their flavor, and are used most in coconut milk based dishes such as laksa with other aromatics such as lemongrass, galangal etc…used as a base for fish or seafood curries too, etc. But one other thing I’ve heard is that the oil is very good for rubbing on the scalp to prevent or at least slow down hair loss!

    Oct 24, 2012 | 7:39 am

  12. Constant Reader says:

    Last night I made sautéed French string beans with garlic and served it with a roast chicken and roasted baby potatoes with rosemary. Delish!

    I totally agree that the variety or produce here in Manila keeps getting better every year. Hooray for us!

    Oct 24, 2012 | 8:21 am

  13. betty q. says:

    For a different take on gnocchi, I am thinkimg a curry flavored gnocchi simply sautéed in browned butter and curry leaves…

    Oct 24, 2012 | 9:36 am

  14. millet says:

    curry leaves! am jealous! i wonder why many common asean produce like galangal, candlenuts and curry leaves are so difficult to find here.

    Oct 24, 2012 | 10:03 am

  15. Anupama says:

    Curry Leaves can be sauted when heating oil for any curry before you add the onions and tomoatoes. They also make a great garnish – Fry to a crisp curry leaves and dry red chilles. Crush them both over roast chicken. Yum !!! The aroma is heavenly.

    Oct 24, 2012 | 1:11 pm

  16. Khew says:

    Never knew about sawtooth coriander. Thanks!

    What I found about curry leaves is that their essential oils are very volatile( ditto pandan ) which means you need to quickly capture them. Can’t simply mince them and mix into whatever – you won’t get much curry smell that way. Can’t even remove leaves from stem and set aside for awhile – the smell vanishes somewhat. What I do for small amounts is to de-stem the leaves quickly into oil which is heating up and then fry them gently till they crisp up but don’t brown. The leaves can then be used as is for anything or crushed/ground to be added into herb butters/oils/salt/spice mix or as part of a marinade( rolled pork stuffed with curry! ). In addition to convenience, preserving the leaves this way lets you maintain them at their best. For larger amounts of leaves, I coat them, stem on, with oil and then give them a quick blast in the oven( turning and mixing along the way ) to a crisp. The stems are later removed and the leaves preserved as mentioned.

    Oct 24, 2012 | 2:18 pm

  17. Chas says:

    Also known as culantro (note: not the same as “cilantro”) or recao in Latin America, sawtooth coriander is primarily associated with Puerto Rican cuisine. It is an essential ingredient in both the sofrito and recaito, the base seasonings or foundation for many Puerto Rican dishes.

    Oct 24, 2012 | 2:19 pm

  18. Footloose says:

    What we commonly call araro flour is actually araro starch. Fresh araro tubers are cleaned, pounded and rinsed out to separate the starch from the fibre. The milky slurry is then dried to produce the starch.

    Our neighbor to the north, the town of Samal, was celebrated for their araro cookies. They are now commercially produced with all the concomitant corner-cutting, i.e. using cornstarch or tapioca and abandoning the use of wooden molds to form their frontal bas relief design which make them taste and appear just like the commonplace waknatoy.

    The fresh araro’s skin peels off easily once boiled. The growing tender tip reminds me of asparagus in flavor and texture. The rest of the body, however, is husky and can functionally replace dental floss effectively.

    Oct 24, 2012 | 3:24 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    Footloose, I just made some arrowroot starch this morning! It was a simple but amazing discovery… post on it in the days ahead.

    Oct 24, 2012 | 5:08 pm

  20. JL says:

    You can try to plant the mint cuttings too — but make sure they are potted as they expand like crazy!!

    Oct 24, 2012 | 11:02 pm

  21. Susie says:

    Curry leaves…an essential for fish head curry.

    Oct 25, 2012 | 11:29 am

  22. ykmd says:

    Pan-fry curry leaves until crisp, set aside and in the same oil saute lots of minced garlic, green onions and chopped red chilies with salt. When it starts to smell divine toss in cubed pan or deep fried tofu, drizzle with a little soy sauce. Top with curry leaves. So good!
    I have discovered the leaves freeze really well- I put them in the smallest ziploc bags, press as much air out as I can and take them out of the freezer right before using. The leaves discolor rapidly when reexposed to air.

    Oct 25, 2012 | 1:03 pm

  23. Roland says:

    For me i dip first the dory fish into a beaten egg with the crashed curry leaves then drain a little bit and slowly roll on the bread crumbs and go for deep frying…the aroma will burst out so nice…local singaporeans do these..

    Oct 28, 2012 | 4:48 pm

  24. NidaFe says:

    Dulce: “my maid…” REALLY? Not only was this pejorative, but using the phrase denoting ownership made me cringe.

    Oct 29, 2012 | 1:10 pm

  25. Footloose says:

    How should household and personal help be referred to without being demeaning? Everybody ought to have a maid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssS5Drna1bo

    Oct 29, 2012 | 9:41 pm

  26. NidaFe says:

    Footloose :-)

    Oct 29, 2012 | 11:44 pm

  27. Alpesh Prajapati says:

    Can Someone please tell me where to find curry leaves in Makati, Philippines?

    May 12, 2013 | 12:13 am


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