20 Jan2009

Okay, I feel like I was lost in the leche flan twilight zone for 44 years. All my life, I assumed that Leche Flan, or probably more appropriately, Flan de Leche was most traditionally or logically made with fresh milk or cream. And in the Philippines, that probably meant carabao’s milk, a high fat and more readily available alternative to fresh cow’s milk. But barring access to carabao’s milk, some form of real cow’s milk was, I assumed, the best choice. So recently, while reading a cookbook that was supposed to encourage the highest of standards for well-known Filipino dishes, I was dumbfounded that the recipe they included made a leche flan using canned condensed milk AND canned evaporated milk. Honestly, I was flummoxed. If you wanted to trace the roots of a flan to its delicious essence, certainly one would likely settle on the best organic eggs, sugar and milk/cream. But here staring me back in the face was a simplified recipe that, most importantly, required a can opener to complete successfully.

I am not saying that the shortcut recipe using canned condensed and evaporated milk is wrong, or not appropriate… just probably not “best practice” if one had a choice. But then I checked the internet and realized the first six hits on google were the shortcut condensed and evaporated milk version of the recipe. And out of say 20+ Filipino cookbooks that I checked, roughly 50% used the fresh milk version while the rest used the condensed milk version. Yikes! Why is this bothering me? Because I instinctively think that making sinigang with fresh unripe sampaloc/tamarind is indeed MUCH BETTER than using a dehydrated tamarind mix with chemicals, MSG, etc. I think it is personally more satisfying to know that the broth is flavored naturally, as it was originally made… The purity of the “made from scratch” approach is a reward on its own, not to mention the aesthetics, taste, economy, environmental impact, seasonality, etc. Do you get what I am blathering on about?

Mila, a reader of this blog, recently attended a forum or symposium at a top Manila hotel/restaurant management or cooking school, with a speech by Amy Besa of Cendrillion Restaurant fame. Apparently, the many students/aspiring chefs in the audience were asked if they had ever made their sinigang from scratch by using boiled unripe tamarind/sampaloc and NOT A SINGLE student had made it from scratch. They all used the tamarind mix in a foil packet! Egads. Yes, I will be a bit of a food snob on this. If you are going to MAJOR in some form or other on the topic of food, wouldn’t you want to learn how to make such an iconic dish as sinigang na sampaloc using real sampaloc??? Arrrgh. There is nothing wrong with a shortcut if it works for you, but I think, at the least, we need to define “best practice” for a particular dish using the finest and freshest ingredients wherever possible.



  1. Diwata says:

    YeY… relieved to see you’re back well and blogging. I am one of the lurkers… Missed reading your blog Mr. MM. Quite comforting lang. Recommended you to a friend in Thailand. I am sure that she will enjoy your site too. STAY WELL…

    Jan 20, 2009 | 8:52 pm


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  3. krq says:

    My friends make fun of me because I make kare-kare from scratch (I toast the rice and grind it, I use atsuete seeds, etc.). I never learned how to cook Filipino food, so everything I’m making is completely from scratch.

    Jan 20, 2009 | 9:15 pm

  4. Argie says:

    ??? How many recipes for leche flan in Filipino recipe books did you find, that didn’t include canned condensed milk AND/OR canned evaporated milk? And this is the 1st time you have ever read/heard of it? Now I’m dumbfounded. I always thought that everyone knew that that is how Pinoy’s normally do it. Not everyone has access to “fresh” milk and cream.

    And yes, I do make sinigang from scratch.

    Jan 20, 2009 | 9:28 pm

  5. Enteng says:

    does it count if i use nestle fresh milk? hehe

    i really love how you challenge your readers to do it from the scratch… i’ll buy tamarind for my next sinigang.


    Jan 20, 2009 | 10:00 pm

  6. mudra says:

    Nice to see you are up and about. Dont strain yourself though. Baka mabinat and we can’t take loooooong periods not hearing/reading from you! =) Stay well…

    Jan 20, 2009 | 10:06 pm

  7. Ejit says:

    There are some restaurants out there that claim they’re using organic food but are there restaurants out there that serves Adobo cooked the old fashion way, or Sinigang cooked with real tamarind or leche plan prepared with organic eggs and fresh milk… this would be great! Remember the sinigang mix commercial NOON: “sampaloc ay iyong nilalaga, pinipiga, sinasala…” NGAYON: isang pakete na lang ang katapat.

    Jan 20, 2009 | 10:08 pm

  8. kiko says:

    welcome back! I knew it! Blog withdrawal is pretty difficult to overcome… I’m glad to see you back! Hopefully 100% soon!

    Jan 20, 2009 | 10:08 pm

  9. smiles4angels says:

    i’ve used tamarind for my sinigang…. but for the fresh milk for the leche flan…. well, unless it was really planned, I would probably do. But I haven’t tried that or even tasted leche flan made of fresh milk :P

    Jan 20, 2009 | 10:22 pm

  10. betty q. says:

    The best leche flan …simplicity in its true form: fresh milk, sugar, and eggs, pure vanilla and/or Grand Marnier. Nothing can compare to its silky, flawless texture when done properly….that leche flan is what I make and friends and customers at the restaurant prefer. However, my niece and her relatives from her dad’s side prefer the denser type made with evaporated and condensed milk. This version is far too rich for my taste and I can only eat two spoonfuls at the most. But the other one I make, it is esay to eat 2 ramekins of those…no sweat at all!

    I also find making things from scratch as my form of therapy. There is something fulfilling or sense of accomplishment knowing that what i made is a labour of love….like perogies for instance….yes, I make my own dough and go through all the process of preparing the filling, etc.

    Jan 20, 2009 | 11:18 pm

  11. toping says:

    Hi, MM. Nice to hear that you are at least partly well–whatever that means. ;-p Your ruminations on the leche flan reminded me of the leche flan “(mis)adventures” of two Filipina authors, one by Cecilia Manguerra-Brainard and the other by Ninotchka Rosca. Something to tide us over while you recuperate, hehe…

    Jan 20, 2009 | 11:47 pm

  12. toping says:

    Oh, and Ms. Brainard uses one other kind of milk for her leche flan: coconut milk!

    Jan 20, 2009 | 11:50 pm

  13. EbbaMyra says:

    Ayy, Ms. Betty, kaya pala nung minsan I ordered some lecheflan from an italian resto, ay naku, 2 teaspoons lang ako, parang hindi ko na kaya. Pero nung umorder ako dun sa isang Pinoy cafeteria, aba eh halos maubos ko na yung isang lianera. Not that its because I am Pinoy too, talaga lang mabigat yung pag-kaluto ng ibang culture. My sister uses not carabao’s milk, pero hindi rin canned, yun bang fresh milk from the carton. Sarap din ang leche flan niya.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 12:01 am

  14. EbbaMyra says:

    This post is so timely, as I have cooked sinigang yesterday and grabbed the packet. I already poured the contents into the pot, when I read the ingredients listed on the back.. aba eh pulos hindi ko ma-pronounced yung naka-list. And where is the tamarind? Naka-specify sa harap, wala sa likod, other than it says – – and.. Natural Flavor. Ay sus. I once bought a bottle of “pure tamarind” extract, and use it for my cooking. It doesnt have that much sour taste, kaya I added fresh squeezed calamansi. It taste great and the flavor is much much lighter. Lalo pa at dinagdagan ko ng talbos ng sili. When I go Pinas this summer, I will insist on having the leche flan made from the freshes carabao’s milk.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 12:06 am

  15. jun says:

    I second the motion on BettyQs comment nothing beats the traditional way of cooking. specially when I’m stress from work I just need to cook a dish and as I feel like Im sailing in the middle of a calm blue ocean.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 1:00 am

  16. nina says:

    Yey, you are back now! I use fresh tamarind for my sinigang whenever it’s available. Back home, if it’s not tamarind season, we use tamarind flower… I always like to learn how to prepare food from scratch!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 2:36 am

  17. Maria Clara says:

    Nothing beats food prepared from scratch. It is like building your house from the ground up. You know the strength of your foundation and what went in there. I can tell a leche flan made from canned evap and condensed milk as opposed to the traditional way of fresh carabao’s milk. The canned milk is densed and no silky mouth feel while the fresh milk has that melt in your mouth and silky and a smooth mouth feel. I remember my grandma she used one empty egg shell as a measuring cup for her fresh milk to equal number of her eggyolks in her lech flan. Sinigang made out of sampalok is still the best for me and deserves the platinum award. Sinigang is very versatile dish when sampalok is out of season there is green mangoes, santol, kamias, batuan and green sinuguelas to substitute in. The sampalok flowers and young leave shoots of sampalok is also a good souring agent so sampalok is actually available all year round if your access to it. As to the package ones I would imagine it is easier for Mr. and Mrs. of the household since most households now are two earners. Their yaya cum kusinera cum labandera (multi-taskers) is easy for her to do the package souring agent as opposed to the fresh souring agent for sinigang.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 2:49 am

  18. paoix says:

    MM, Amen! I totally agree with everything that is in here. I feel that Filipino food sometimes gets “cheapened” or made less important because of the shortcuts that a majority of the people that cook it (including Filipino restaurants). And the view is that it’s not worth the extra effort or money because it’s “just Filipino food” doesn’t sit well with me either. thanks for writing this.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 5:01 am

  19. VIRG says:

    I think we have to remember that there was no refrigeration in the Philippines for the longest time which probably necessitated the use of condensed and evaporated milk. I assume the dense product also withstood the climate better than the one made with fresh carabao’s milk. So, I have no beef with the canned milk version, specially if it’s the common practice with majority of the population, diba? It’s a testament to Pinoy versatility and adaptability.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 5:19 am

  20. Ging says:

    My recipe for leche flan (which I found in an old notebook of my mama) uses milk (does not specify what, so I assume it’s fresh not canned) and cream. No condensed milk. Yummy and creamy and silky but painfull on the pocket to prepare.

    My mama also said she never used that recipe as it was REALLY difficult to get fresh milk and cream in the 40’s and 50’s. Not to mention they were so expensive, she said only the super rich families could afford them. Often, only evaporated, condensed and powdered milk were readily available. It’s a wonder she did not use powdered milk!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 6:16 am

  21. Marketman says:

    Yikes, I have been in the twilight zone! Nearly half of the poll respondents think it is BEST PRACTICE to use canned milk/condensed milk. Yikes! As for milk, even UHT brick milk is better than canned, in my opinion, it has a freshness to the taste. Though I have to admit, generations of pinoy think milk taste IS EVAPORATED milk, since they grew up with that. Coconut milk is a brilliant substitute, common to the environment, and yielding a “tropical tasting leche flan.” Hmmm, will wait for more comments and poll answers…

    Jan 21, 2009 | 7:20 am

  22. renee says:

    I think growing up with a sampaloc tree definitely has it’s benefits. You get to know the difference between the mix and the real thing. I have no qualms using mixes for sinigang (we actually use it a lot in our house), but nothing beats fresh sampaloc, specially for fish dishes. It’s just more difficult to find it in markets nowadays.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 7:37 am

  23. RoBStaR says:

    How do you make palabok sauce from scratch? I’ve never made it from scratch.. and shamelessly used the mamasita packets.I’d be willing to learn.. sadly I’ve never made sinigang from scratch.

    Glad you’re back MM. I was getting pork withdrawals.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 7:49 am

  24. marissewalangkaparis says:

    I guess a lot of those who didn’t know how to make sinigang from scratch were young. If they belong to the older generation like me,they had no choice but to do it from scratch.We never had those cubes so we learned to do it from fresh tamarind,kamias,batuan,guava,tamarind leaves,santol,mango etc etc. My lola (a great cook) did it this way and my mother taught us how to do it this way. We had no shortcut alternatives then.And no sinigang cubes!!
    As for the leche flan,my mother-in-law makes superb leche flan. She is 84 and she makes really good leche flan with yolks and condensed milk. It’s not too sweet and you can eat a llanera of it. I have seen many versions of how it’s cooked from her side and i guess it’s the techniques (as always) that counts. She belongs to an affluent Laguna family and many in their clan cook very well. Till today,whenever I eat leche flan,I always refer to my mother-in-laws’ leche flan as my benchmark–although when she makes it she specifies a brand of condensed milk .It’silky and really yummy..I’ve tried replicating it but have not been successful even after she made me do it with her one time. Will keep on trying. I find her leche flan cost effective too RELATIVE TO ITS TASTE. She does so many of this when we go home to the province for the yearly Holy Week activities.
    PS. Off subject. In your absence I also got some ampalaya salad recipes and they look so good I will do them this weekend.Thanks MM..you’re back!!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 7:50 am

  25. marissewalangkaparis says:

    PS again. Bear with me. Ha ha ha..I decided to check a new recipe book I got as a gift this Christmas (Kulinarya) and some of my local recipe books (even Nora Daza). Almost all of them use the condensed/evap milk etc version. Hahaha..you’re right. One did mention milk but did not specify fresh or canned.Hahaha..will look at the foreign ones for custard…what does sister and your mom use MM? Would be good to hear from them. It would be good to hear from the older generations…

    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:06 am

  26. cris says:

    I always thought “leche flan” is made from canned milk, so a flan made from fresh milk must be something else, not leche flan.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:06 am

  27. ted says:

    My mom’s recipe does not use evaporated milk, only condensed milk with the same amount of water mixed with,,, get this,,, 12 egg yolks per llanera… Super rich but silky when it comes out. It also makes a big difference using white instead of brown sugar when making the caramel.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:10 am

  28. ragamuffin girl says:

    Welcome back MM. Seeing 2 new entries definitely made my day. :)

    I think there’s an indescribable satisfaction in making things from simple, everyday ingredients, ones found in say your garden or freshly picked off a field or bought from your favorite suki in the market. The process of peeling, grating, squeezing, browning, toasting, pounding and straining etc… all add to the experience of cooking, much more than say, opening a can and dumping the contents in a pot. The incredible “rush” one feels when trying to make something lest ingredients spoil or are not as fresh, is something most avid cooks (and artists) feel, i think, when they find that raw material they dream of working with.

    I’m sad to say that living in a modern city such as HK, far from the markets of Manila has made me rely too much on modern conveniences like canned coco milk (I would much rather squeeze) and sinigang powder. I’m happy to say though I can still make kare kare from scratch (rice, peanuts and all) because a friend does it and it tastes so much better that way and soup stocks as well. Now my goal is to learn to pound Thai curry paste and boil Vietnamese soup stock.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:14 am

  29. Marketman says:

    I mean, would anyone making kesong puti from canned milk? :(

    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:29 am

  30. kongwi says:

    totally agree with you MM…i wouldn’t mind if one uses packaged mixes, condensed milk, tomato paste and sauce, packaged and canned ingredients for semi-homemade dishes…one needs to know the basics and be able to work from scratch…i guess this all goes to all disciplines…a good jazz musician as all good jazz musicians are should have basic understanding of the scales and music theory…

    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:47 am

  31. kiko says:

    i know how to make sinigang from scratch but sampaloc is not readily available where i live…

    as for leche flan, condensed milk is all i know… panna cotta and creme brulee are the ones i know that uses fresh milk…

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:00 am

  32. siopao says:

    I saw an episode of a show where in Tyler Florence went to Mexico to explore the food (“Tyler’s Ultimate,” I think).

    On the part where they featured vanilla, Tyler’s Mexican host made a “traditional” flan which used real vanilla pods and… you guessed it…

    canned milk!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:00 am

  33. Marketman says:

    siopao, I tried a leche flan with real vanilla, it tasted heavenly, but it looked like a disaster as the little seeds settled on the bottom of the flan and looked really “dirty”… and yes, some south american recipes do use the canned condensed milk as well… it’s a convenience thing I gather, just something I was unfamiliar with apparently. But now I want to do a flan cook-off and see what blind tasters will say…

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:02 am

  34. AleXena says:

    Forgive me but I prefer my leche flan to be made with equal parts of evaporated and condensed milk all out of the can. It has been the way I was raised to eat the dessert and the practice amongst my family from way back. It is one of those Filipino “things” I won’t give up for anything.=) hehehe!

    My guess is the canned way of making leche flan came in after World War II when there was an influx of canned goods from the US. Before maybe they really do it with fresh milk, but I guess leche flan is really not a Filipino dish to begin with. Certainly won’t hurt MarketMan to try the fresh milk version as it may be the “ideal” way but I suppose majority of the leche flan you ate your whole life was made out of canned milk.=)

    But I do agree with making things out from scratch. In our house we succumbed to making sinigang sa sampalock the commercial way. I know the difference since I learned how to do it using real tamarinds but this fruit is getting scarce these days. If ever we get one, it isn’t that sour anymore. However, I do put my foot down on sinigang sa bayabas, kare-kare and other saucy dishes as well as coconut based dishes. Nothing beats the real thing.=)

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:15 am

  35. fely says:


    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:23 am

  36. maria says:

    welcome back mm. yey!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:48 am

  37. Christina Foss says:

    Welcome back, MM! Do stay well- I’ve been missing your interesting and often challenging ideas.

    I’ve made leche flan the condensed milk/evaporated milk version as well as the fresh milk one. The first is definitely denser, especially given the amount of egg yolks called for in many Filipino recipes. I tweaked it a bit and replaced some of the egg yolks with whole eggs- not bad but still too heavy for my taste. I think a fresh milk/cream version is best, using 6 eggs and 2 yolks and scalding the milk in orange peel and a couple of cinammon sticks. Vanilla can be added later as well. Can’t remember where I found this recipe but it’s rich without being heavy. Ironically enough, in all the years I lived in Spain I never had any flan that was up to scratch.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:48 am

  38. siopao says:

    I think it also boils down to the quality of the canned milk. I believe that, way back then, milk of the canned variety was much better in quality than what is available today.

    We also have pseudo-milk in cans nowadays. Ever wonder why some cans of milk say “Evaporada” or “Condensada” instead of “evaporated milk” or “condensed milk?” It’s because the former is not exactly milk.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:58 am

  39. lee says:

    canned melk. with an e

    Jan 21, 2009 | 10:12 am

  40. Angela says:

    Nice to have you back, MM! You were missed!

    I grew up eating leche flan made with condensed milk. So, that’s all I know. I have, however, eaten creme brulee (similar tp leche flan but not as dense) and I prefer the condensed milk version. Just me, but I prefer a smooth, silky, but dense leche flan.

    Betty, my brother’s co-worker makes leche flan that’s quite dense. She said that she adds cream cheese to it–of course, she declined to share the recipe. I tried to duplicate it with mediocre results. Do you have a recipe?

    Jan 21, 2009 | 10:19 am

  41. Marketman says:

    creme brulee and leche flan are a bit different. One must taste leche flans with cow’s milk/cream, with carabao’s milk, coconut milk and canned milk at one sitting to really compare…hmmm, yet another idea for a taste off or eyeball… what do you think lee, THE ULTIMATE LECHE FLAN BAKE-OFF, MARKETMANILA STYLE??? Esteemed judges (readers) and say 20 or so different recipes in a blind taste test? What will the criteria be? Taste, mouthfeel, density, looks, bitterness, sweetness, citrus, vanilla, milk, cream, condensed, etc…??? :)

    Jan 21, 2009 | 10:30 am

  42. AleXena says:

    MarketMan if ever your planned eyeball (I pray to high heavens it does and in Manila!=P) would push through for the leche flan cook of can you please include flans that are cooked both by steaming and by baking?

    Haven’t really tried baked flans to my knowledge. We steam ours and I think there is a big difference in using canned milks and the fresh/cream combination with the cooking process. Most fresh/cream based are cooked by baking and the evap/condensed milk are more of the steaming kind of way. It would be intresting to sample and surprise yourself about eating flan made out of different milks, even coconut milk!!!=)

    @christina foss: your version sounded so yummy!=)

    Jan 21, 2009 | 11:16 am

  43. solraya says:

    I agree totally with Leche Flan from scratch. Fresh Carabao’s milk, freshest eggs from grass fed hens, fresh dayap or mint leaves…and hand mixed (as in using hands) . Heaven

    Jan 21, 2009 | 11:26 am

  44. TINA says:

    Hi MM. Glad you’re back. I’m in my late 30s,have been using my grandma’s leche flan recipe and honestly don’t know any other way of making it. she uses evaporated milk, not condensed. even if i now have access to lots of fresh milk, i wouldn’t know how to cook leche flan with it. would appreciate it if you could share recipe using fresh cow’s milk. but i do prefer to use sampaloc for my sinigang and kare kare from scratch.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 11:40 am

  45. Rico says:

    I somehow get you. Or maybe I’m watching too much Top Chef. Anyway, REAL chefs (at least the ones I see on the show) pride themselves with the ability to make things from scratch. They would have been appalled at using anything processed or mass produced. So using fresh carabao’s milk would seem better if one has access to it.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 11:59 am

  46. betty q. says:

    Angela: …just curious…your brother’s co-worker-of Spanish or Latin descent?

    Yes, I do have the recipe. It is from the Foodnetwork. There are 2 recipes for Cream Cheese Flan. I like the one that uses eggwhites….the texture is much more lighter …just remember…when whipping the whites with the cream cheese…try not to overmix or overwhip..you do not want to aerate the mixture more than necessary…have the cream cheese at room temp…that way, not as much lumps. Yes, it is really good! …though I will have it only once in a while for it is really richie rich!

    I hope this helps!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 12:02 pm

  47. myra_p says:

    I’ll pay to be a part of your panel of judges!

    Fyi, SM Supermarket usually has green sampalok. Three packs of fruit is enough to sour one medium pot of sinigang.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 12:27 pm

  48. MarketFan says:

    MM, I guess it’s the higher cost and the fact that fresh carabao’s or cow’s milk is not readily available which hinder most people from using them in leche flan and other dishes. But I agree, this doesn’t mean that “widely-practiced” is equivalent to best practice.

    Hi bettyq, you know what happens next when you mention something as good as your leche flan with Grand Marnier. Do you mind sharing the recipe and techniques for doing that? Love ya…mwah!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 12:34 pm

  49. Marketman says:

    I just looked up Knorr Sinigang na Sampalok Mix and Alaska Condensed Filled Milk and Alaska Evaoporated Filled Milk…

    When making leche flan…

    If you go with a carabao or cow’s milk or cream, you get milk and all it’s associated nutrients and qualities.

    If you use EVAPORATED MILK, you get (in order of relative volume in the can):

    Water, Skimmed Milk Powder, Buttermilk Powder, Vegetable Oil (contains one or more of the following: coconut oil, palm oil & corn oil), Carrageenan (a SEAWEED extract), Vitamin A Palmitate (?), Vitamin E, Lecithin & Vitamin D3. Good grief, I honestly had no idea evaporated milk had so many ingredients.

    If you use CONDENSED MILK, you get (in order of relative volume in the can):

    Sugar, Skimmed Milk Powder, Vegetable Oil (containing one or more of the following: Palm Oil, coconut Oil, Corn Oil), added Lactose, Licithin, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitami A, B1, E and D3.

    When making sinigang na sampaloc…

    If you go win unripe tamarind, you get unripe tamarind pulp and water.

    If you use Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok Mix, you get (in orer of relative colume in the packet):

    Iodized Salt (the biggest component!), Citric Acid, Monosodium Glutamate (the third biggest component!), Tamarind (phew, real fruit extract I hope), sugar, tomato, onion, alm oil, shrimp, natural flavor, spices, wheat flour, natural color.


    Jan 21, 2009 | 12:39 pm

  50. AleXena says:

    Whoa now that’s a lot of artificial ingredients!!!

    Im seriously reconsidering buying fresh tamarinds and using the mix for a quick fix of sinigang. But I’m still sticking with the evap/condensed milk combination for my leche flan hehehe! Though I’m open to eating and making one out of fresh carabao’s milk if only I can get access to it. It’s a rare find in my hometown sad to say.

    Now I have to ask my lola how leche flan was made during her childhood and teen years. She’s 83 yrs old and I’m pretty sure before the 40’s they made it from carabao’s milk and still steamed it.

    All she advises me in making leche flan is to better use duck eggs. The bigger the better and only the yolks with one whole egg incorporated to the mixture. Duck egg flans are more dense and has a more yellowish color to it. Pretty darn good.

    Can’t wait for your leche flan recipe.=) Hope you include a steamed one.=)

    Jan 21, 2009 | 12:55 pm

  51. millet says:

    i believe the original leche flan and 95% of pinoy leche flans are made with canned evaporated and canned condensed milk. same story for the original pinoy fruit salad – i think it was made with the original nestle’ (then pronounced as “nessels”) cream, the one that came in a can.

    fresh carabao milk, organic eggs, etc., etc. may make for a delicious flan, but it won’t be anything like the original.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 1:00 pm

  52. lee says:

    will THE ULTIMATE LECHE FLAN BAKE-OFF, MARKETMANILA STYLE be the dessert portion of the barbecue cookoff?

    Jan 21, 2009 | 1:07 pm

  53. Beth says:

    Hi MM. Can you give us a hint as to what book the recipe came from? I hope the first word of the book’s name doesn’t start with a letter K .

    I’m not surprised though that the recipe called for canned condensed and evap. It’s convenient and honestly, I think a lot of pinoys today use them and have been using them for a while. I don’t have too many qualms about the canned version because if you know what to do it can still make a very respectable and good tasting flan. In fact, I prefer to use evap because it gives a certain texture that’s not easily achievable with fresh milk or cream. But people have different preferences. Like I don’t like leche flan made with citrus rind while some people love it. It really depends. As to the issue of using pre-made ingredients, I don’t fully agree with the notion that doing things from scratch gives the best tasting end product. There are appropriate times when pre-made ingredients could be used and do improve taste more than the from-scratch ingredients. If something can be made tastier by using pre-made products, then I don’t hesitate much to use them. I agree though that knowing the basics and knowing how to actually make things from scratch is something we should strive for. But in terms of getting the best flavor, using pre-made products isn’t too much of an issue for me. It’s just like the issue of gasp!! using a microwave for ‘cooking’. A lot of foodies and purists shun this appliance, but to me, if you know how to use it to your advantage and if it can help create better food, why not use it? I think sometimes, foodies like ourselves box ourselves and close our minds to possibilities due to traditions and customs. I myself lean towards tradition and customs like using fresh ingredients and the more traditional methods of cooking, but I think it’s also important to keep an open mind and focus equally on things that “should be done this way” and that “could also be done this way”.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 1:13 pm

  54. Marketman says:

    millet, lots of folks claim there was an abundance of leche flan (presumably more original than the canned versions) well before the advent of canned milk… the whole, possibly spurious argument of churches, egg whites, and egg yolks to leche flan, ensaimadas and tocino del cielo argument… so I presume they were using fresh milk then… the same is probably true for similar desserts in South America, but later also turned to canned milks… There are actually several pre-war menus and recipes from various sources that state recipes for leche flan from around 1900-1920, and they use milk… here is one example:

    From “The Governor General’s Kitchen,” citing as its source: Rosendo Ignacio Aklat ng pagluluto, 1919:

    translated from tagalog:
    14-15 egg yolks
    1/2 kilo refined white sugar
    1 tbsp flour
    1/2 liter of fresh milk
    lemon rind/essence

    and cooked in a llanera, in a bano maria, and extracted with a piece of clean walis ting-ting. So if this recipe is to go by, I would think, the more “original” leche flans did start out with fresh milk and due to accessibility and convenience partially evolved into a canned milk dessert around world war II or thereabouts… :)

    Alexena, I do have a leche flan recipe in the archives, it is done in an oven however, will try one in a steamer. And yes, I understand from several sources that duck eggs would indeed be a good variation.

    lee, OMG, talk about cholesterol overload!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 1:19 pm

  55. Marketman says:

    Beth, you are right about the book I was perusing, but then, I looked up 20+ cookbooks and about half used the condensed milk version recipe and the others not. So yes, I agree it is a common practice, but common and best practice do differ in my opinion. One is not better than the other per se, just different. And personally, in my food experiments, I do often strive to find the base or essence of a dish, and make my own personal changes from there when appropriate. For example, I might argue that the best practice hamburger is to take a nice hunk of steak and hand grind it, then patting it into a nice thick burger that is seasoned with just salt and pepper and grilling it on an open flame until just rare, and serve it on a substantial bun like a kaiser roll. But at the other end of the spectrum, the vast majority of folks would get their hamburgers at McDonalds and Jollibee equivalent places, thin and fried, slathered with all kinds of sauces, so whose version would one refer to as best practice for a hamburger? They are so different, and yet still called a hamburger… I most certainly cannot assume that a food or dish is only cooked one best way, rather, we all have our own preferences for getting a dish done. As for figuring out which version of leche flan might prevail without the biases of time, cost, convenience, etc., that is where a blind bake-off is ideal, with say a panel of many judges, professional and not, so that one can see if there is a confluence of choice or taste, or if it is all truly spread across a wide spectrum… In many cases, we like what we are used to, and as you say, it’s good to keep an open mind. Oh and Beth, do me a favor from that same book, and try the Pan de Sal recipe, as I believe it has a problem with flour to liquid ratios that yield rocks. And it specifies vegetable shortening but doesn’t tell you when to include it in the dough. I was writing a review of the book and it was a wonderful review until I actually tried the pan de sal recipe. The monggo one also leaves out an ingredient. And the pinakbet has a truly unique? twist on the preparation of what is a very easy and classic dish to make well.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 1:34 pm

  56. maricar says:

    wow MM!!!!! i really hope you would plan an eyeball soon….a leche flan eyeball?????? how bout posting different styles and recipes of leche flan? and maybe we could all find out who’s got the best recipe? yum…yum….

    Jan 21, 2009 | 1:56 pm

  57. Pedro says:

    hI mm, i think that book has a lot of error, if that is the same book i have now (starts with k also). Look at the puto kutsinta recipe it is incomplete.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 2:23 pm

  58. sylvia says:

    I have made different versions of leche flan – with fresh milk, with just evaporated milk, with both evap & condensed milk – and, in my opinion, the best taste & texture comes from the one made with fresh milk. Silky smooth & light. I find that the version with condensed milk, which is what some of my friends are used to, is too dense and sweet. My mom’s version, which is also very good, is made with evap milk and lemonsito and is steamed. My version is plain vanilla and baked in the oven, bana maria, simply because I don’t have a steamer or double boiler big enough to accomodate my pan (I don’t use a llanera). I think that the use of canned milk in leche flan became popular/common for economic reasons, in the same way that most Filipino kids grew up with powdered milk instead of fresh cow’s milk.

    Talking about sampaloc mixes – my late Papa would always frown when I would attempt to cook sinigang made with sampaloc mix. Hello? I had & still have no idea how to make it from scratch. Not to mention that I do not have the patience to make piga the sampaloc. Anyway, Papa never approved of these shortcut methods and also didn’t like us eating foods that had lots of preservatives & food coloring…which meant that we rarely had tocino, tapa & longaniza at home.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 2:33 pm

  59. bluegirl says:

    I went through a Leche Flan baking phase about 6 months ago. I wanted to make it the purist way… eggyolk & fresh milk. I kept giving it to our staff to taste test. It kept getting ho-hum responses.

    In the end, an old man told me how his wife makes her leche flan. Nothing exact, just bits and pieces about the ingredients and of whatever else he saw. It was the evap & condensed milk version. The result … not the leche flan of MY dreams but it was the leche flan of THEIR (and my husband’s) dreams. One comment I received was “Yes, tama na ito. May dulas na!”

    In the end, I think the method or recipe which we keep is the one that gives our audience the most pleasure. In this case, I find pleasure has to do with the taste & texture they grew up and are most familiar with.

    And while I like the baked & real-milk version, I’m sure I will end up making the evap-and-condensed milk version many times more as there is nothing more satisfying that watching someone eat a dish and see their faces light up.

    Reading all the comments about Filipino cookbooks make me feel a bit ridiculous! I could have had the classic Filipino Leche Flan recipe without all the agony! Oh well, one of the downside of being overseas and away from home…

    Jan 21, 2009 | 2:34 pm

  60. zena says:

    Leche flan, as far as i’ve known in my life has always been canned. With Milk Maid and Alpine as preferred brands because they are full cream as opposed to filled milk (which alaska and i think even carnation are). Fresh milk makes me think of Creme Brulee. And I saw the Tyler Florence ultimate episode where this mexican lady made Creme Caramel (leche flan) from canned milk.

    Not to endanger anyone’s cholesterol levels, but if there will be a Leche Flan Bake-Off/Steam-Off, why not include the previous topic of the BBQ Grill-Off as well? That was one heck of a post with lots of very interesting comments. BBQ and steamed rice first then the flan. =D

    Jan 21, 2009 | 2:36 pm

  61. avs says:

    hello! my mom makes these rare sinigangs out of scratch! there are a lot of variations with the right zing to it – sinigang sa sampaloc, kamyas and even bayabas! It does not have the aftertaste most sinigang mix have…with regards to fresh milk, is tetra okay?

    Jan 21, 2009 | 2:36 pm

  62. Jun says:

    Hi MM, I did bought the Governor General Kitchen and I’m comparing to a Spanish Recipe Book that I got from a library here. It is amazing to see that most of the food we have actually have a corresponding spanish recipe.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 2:43 pm

  63. Marketman says:

    Pedro, check the inside pages for which edition of the book you have. I already have the SECOND edition and the puto/kutsinta recipe reads okay, though I haven’t tried them. So maybe you have the first edition of the book and it was edited by the second edition? However, the second edition still has quite a few gaffes/errors as far as I can tell. Sloppy editing. Though I have to admit it’s tough to catch all of those errors…

    Jan 21, 2009 | 2:59 pm

  64. Mila says:

    Eyeball 2009:
    Soup course: three (or four) kinds of sinigang made out of tamarind, guava, kamias or another fruity souring agent. The fourth could be Knorr mix. Blind taste test to see if people can figure out the difference!
    Meat course: regional choices of pork bbq, should include those tiny sates from the south! Lots of garlic rice, sukas from all over.
    Dessert course: Leche flan – fresh milk vs canned milk, baked vs steamed, citrusy vs plain.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 3:16 pm

  65. Beth says:

    Hi MM. Ah too bad about that book. I was afraid that the recipe originated from there as I fully expected that it did contain true best practices. Unfortunate because I too believe that best practice for making leche flan shouldn’t involve canned dairy. Sayang, I expected more from that book. Hopefully they revise it in the future. I haven’t been able to purchase it and was excited to but alas, I guess I should lower my expectations a bit. Too bad that the pandesal recipe is also lacking. I have a personal recipe that I developed myself which uses minimal ingredients (as I believe it should) and it is virtually foolproof. It would have been wonderful if the book were able to give the public a great recipe for our most beloved bread. Hopefully not many of the dishes have unusual or ‘unique’ ingredients that we wouldn’t associate with that dish but since there are so styles in cooking the same dish I guess it was bound to happen.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 3:20 pm

  66. Beth says:

    Hi MM. You mentioned that you have the 2nd edition right? I’m a bit curious about the puto recipe(s). How many puto recipes does it contain and does it have one that does not use baking powder as a leavener? For the longest time I’ve been looking for a traditional puto recipe that uses real ground rice and natural fermentation (though I don’t expect to get the best result because I don’t have the means to grind the rice extremely fine).

    Jan 21, 2009 | 3:27 pm

  67. rhea says:

    i have to admit that i am guilty of using canned milk for making leche flan. and i agree, that making something from scratch will definitely yield better tasting output. would definitely try using fresh milk …. by the way, is there a marked difference between steamed leche flan to that of baked leche flan?

    Jan 21, 2009 | 3:37 pm

  68. Marketman says:

    rhea, I am steaming and baking condensed and fresh milk leche flans RIGHT NOW. Will tell you soon what I discover in this experiment… will wait overnight before tasting them.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 3:42 pm

  69. Mimi says:

    yehey, you’re back! sinigang only with real sampaloc is the best! i also say pinoy leche flan with dayap rind – i infuse the dayap or lime by grating a thin zest and soaking it in the fresh carabao’s or cow’s milk for over 10 minutes, kahit hindi pakuluan, then straining if out, para hint of lime lang – no to vanilla! also in making haleyang ube, no to condensed milk, better use coconut milk and white sugar.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 4:08 pm

  70. sunset says:

    I’m a pure Bulakeña. I’ve witnessed my titas doing leche flan using canned milk eversince i was a kid, they steam it and they add dayap zest into it and with less sugar. It was fantastic the way they cook batches of it in preparation for fiestas and christmas family gatherings. It’s favored eaten with suman, and either of these:halayang ube, garbanzos, macapuno. Hmmmn come to think of it… I’ve never tasted leche flan using fresh milk. As for sinigang I like it best with fresh tamarind, if used with souring packs parang puro chemicals ang nalalasahan ko. Even on cooking kare kare i witnessed my mom make it from scratch, i even get to pound the peanuts myself and extract atsuete.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 4:10 pm

  71. cai says:

    I always thought Leche Flans are made with canned evap and condensed milk..nye!

    Ms. Betty, do you mind sharing your recipe? Thanks!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 4:28 pm

  72. Lex says:

    I think a lot of our cuisine has adapted to the times. Much that we reminisce of the good old times and authentic ingredients, times have changed. The adaptation of evaporated and condensed milk has occurred because they are readily available in the market. Fresh milk is hard to come by and is expensive for most. Many children have grown up feeding on evaporada and condensada. Just as we would love to use authentic sampaloc for our cooking, they are difficult to come by. Instant ingredients are created for those who relish the convenience. Many housewives find MAMA SITA a lifesaver while the rest of may may gasp in horror.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 4:55 pm

  73. PanchoA says:

    Hello and welcome back MarketMan! FYI, you already have 46 fans on the Marketman Facebook group.

    Re: your wondering about canned evap for leche flan: I am of your mindset as well, however I had to concede on this matter. Fresher forms of milk have thinner consistencies, which do not allow for the custard to hold, even after steaming.

    If you notice, the less condensed milk you use, the lighter the flan.

    I attempted to use fresh milk once, ending with comparatively disastrous results. Not knowing how to use binders effectively, I preferred not to experiment further and be more conventional when it came to this one delicacy. Now, I’m content with not fixin’ what ain’t broke.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 5:00 pm

  74. DADD-F says:

    Korek ang lola mo diyan Alexana. Duck eggs make for so much more delicious leche flan.

    Have tried both canned milk and fresh carabao’s milk. Both taste fantastic. But personally, I prefer the denser, much creamier version–made with Alpine full cream evaporated milk (I have a bottle of fresh carabao’s milk delivered to me every week. I intend to use them in other goodies.)–and duck eggyolks, no egg whites; no condensada. Anyway, I also use muscovado for my caramel. So sinful, so saraaaaappp!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 5:03 pm

  75. sonia says:

    like MM, i assumed that a good leche flan has to be made with fresh carabao or cow’s milk and dayap. so i automatically shunned recipes using evaporated and /or condensada milk. i look forward to MMs experiments.

    the k cookbook sold so well last year. the first printing of 6000 copies sold out really fast as lots bought them to give as christmas gifts.

    looking forward to y our review, MM. pan de sal hard as rock? the recipes were supposed to have been kitchen tested several times

    Jan 21, 2009 | 6:01 pm

  76. ragamuffin girl says:

    Beth could you share you pan de sal recipe? thanks!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 6:14 pm

  77. sister says:

    Dear Marketman,
    Welcome to the real world. 99% of leche flans in the Phil. are made with condensed milk and evaporated milk because fresh milk and cream were simply not readily available in he last century. Even carabao milk was not easy to come by. What boggles my mind is that Filipinos continue to use condensed milk even when they move to other lands where fresh cream and fresh milk are found in every grocery store and STILL they continue to make it with condensed milk. It is simply the taste and texture they are accustomed to.
    I haven’t used anything but fresh cream, not ultrapasteurized, ever since I left home and it makes a far superior leche flan, by any measure.
    Try this:
    Caramelize 3/4 c. sugar over a low flame in a heavy saucepan, shaking occasionally until golden brown.
    Meanwhile warm a 6-7 inch round or bundt pan in the oven for five minutes. (5-6 c. size).
    Pour the caramel into the warm pan and tilt to cover the bottom. Don’t worry about the sides.
    Set onto a flat surface to cool and harden.
    Mix 1 dz. eggyolks (1 c.) 1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar depending on how sweet you like it, 1 pint (2 c.) fresh heavy cream, 1 c. whole milk (or another 1 c. of cream), 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tbsp. grated lemon or dayap rind, just until well blended. Let stand 10 min. Pour through a fine sieve into the pan. Place the pan in a bain marie with water up half the side of the pan. Cook either on top of the stove or bake in a 325F oven for 30 min. or just until the middle still jiggles, watch after the first 20 min as times will vary. Do not overcook, you should not have bubbles on the sides of the leche flan- a sure sign it was overcooked, it should be creamy through and through, not like yellow rubber. Remove from water bath and cool. Another way to do it is cook the mixture in a double boiler, stir until it just starts to thicken and coats a spoon and then pour into the caramel lined pan and finish off in a bain marie until firm around the sides. Chill for several hours before unmolding to give a chance for the caramel to liquify. Loosen with a knife all around and place a plate on top and turn over to remove from pan. I often make it in indivdual ramekins for dessert, perfect little circles on a dessert plate. Makes a very delicate, rich, creamy, leche flan. Trust me, forget about condensed milk, unless you are still in the province preparing for fiesta.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 6:31 pm

  78. erch says:

    i think it all boils down to context, sense of objective and perspective.

    If the recipe was written for the harassed office-worker/weekend cook who really doesn’t have the time to look for fresh ingredients and just wants to serve a damn good flan for her family–then the delata version, obviously wins. I would even go as far as saying that sourcing fresh milk may only mean her exhausting herself, thus she wouldn’t be in the proper frame of mind to properly taste the supposed advantages of using fresh milk.

    of course, that’s totally different when you’re in a competition of best-flan ever on the face of the earth.

    and this is where my (slight) beef against “purists” come in. The problem with sticking to purity , is that it fails to consider that cooking is a living and dynamic process and culture. Recipes and processes change not out of preference for mediocrity, but because of total life and environment realities. Moreover, purists claim purity for purity’s sake whenever they stand up for their recipe.

    i have nothing against pure recipes. i think it has its place, along with “express” recipes. but in my opinion, to simply call a recipe or dish mediocre without establishing a proper context is simply, well…too simplistic. Even blind bake-offs will still call for context–criteria for judging, ingredients and even the judges will all have to be in a particular context to find “the best.”

    so do i mean there is no “best”? my personal answer and belief is that there are bests; you could have a bajillion contexts and everytime, there will be a best for every context. I guess, what im just trying to point out is that to take out context, perspective and a sense of objective in cooking, makes it nothing more than a list of items and a home chemistry experiment.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 6:44 pm

  79. sister says:

    In NYC fresh heavy cream, not ultrapasteurized, is available at Union Square, Citarella, and Fairway. Best one around here is Bonny Brook fresh cream sold in half and pint containers.

    On another note, do you think Michele Obama is going to keep the Filipina White House chef? Maybe the chef can make leche flan for the first family…

    Jan 21, 2009 | 6:45 pm

  80. chrisb says:

    I do get your beef MM. Although i accept that canned milk is a legitimate ingredient to use (and some people may actually prefer it over fresh), it is indeed disturbing that people will consider it as a “best practice.” By best practice, i take it o mean that it is a standard that cooks can aspire to. If condensed milk really gives superior flavor or texture, then one can make condensed milk from scratch- by simmering down fresh milk to condense it.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 7:13 pm

  81. Lizzy says:

    I find Julia Child’s creme caramel recipe makes a wonderful lighter “leche flan” version than the canned/condensed milk recipes.

    Sister, apparently Cristeta Comerford will be staying on as White House chef for the new first family.


    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:00 pm

  82. Marketman says:

    erch, I agree there are contexts… as for convenience, I found it took longer to use a can opener to open a can of condensed milk and a can of evaporated than it took to open a jug of milk/cream. All these ingredients are more readily available now in major groceries. As for availablililty and shelf life, yes condensed and evaporated are more readily available, as are pork & beans as opposed to a homemade bean stew, but that doesn’t mean that in a context of expediency, I would consider a can of pork & beans an adequate substiture for a homemade bean stew. Folks choose at what lengths they will go to put a meal on the table, and the long version vs. the short version isn’t always right for everyone.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:08 pm

  83. Ed B. says:

    I also believe it’s a matter of convenience why people use condensed+evaporated milk to make leche flan and sinigang mix to make…uhm…sinigang. But one should always try (aspire?) to make any dish from scratch just so you can say that you’ve tried the “REAL” thing.

    After you’ve tried making a dish from scratch and you find that it’s tedious or that it tastes the same, or close to, the shortcut version then by all means go with the shortcut. For some dishes the shortcut version will do (e.g., sinigang) but for others the shortcut version will never ever compare to the “REAL” thing (e.g., carbonara). ;-)

    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:21 pm

  84. Ging says:

    MM, may I ask what this “k” cookbook is? Just email me the full name so as not to offend anyone. Would like to know so can steer clear of it.

    By the way, I make my Fabadas or pork and beans from scratch. If I can’t get blood sausages, I use chorizo barbacoa or ham or pata or pork belly sometimes.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 8:46 pm

  85. iyoy says:

    can’t make out flan made from fresh milk from one made from canned (am diabetic so i am into sugary food). just a note on similar food in other former Spanish colonies. some years back i was eyeing what suspiciously looked like leche flan (they called it flan de leche)at a restaurant on the bank of the paragua river in argentina near border with paraguay. after the first spoonful, told my host a hint of citrus would make it a clone of pinoy leche flan. he told me to take a bite of a marble-sized thing on the top of the flan. it was a caramelized fruit apparently native to argentina. when i sank my teeth into it, yikes! the taste was like a cross between aratiles and kalamansi. perfect foil for the egg-rich custard.

    in another part of the country (on the foothills of the andes),we were served dulce de leche. with all the cattle in that country, it must have been made from fresh milk, but my probinsyano palate reminded me of what we used to spoon out from a tin of condensada boiled in water for hours like we used to do in the province (if not mistaken,there were earlier posts on this condensada concoction)

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:06 pm

  86. iyoy says:

    correction: “not into sugary food”

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:09 pm

  87. corrine says:

    True, the best for me is leche flan with dayap zest. It’s what my mom used to do.

    I don’t use sampaloc anymore because it’s not sour anymore. I grew up though using fresh sampaloc to make sinigang.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:36 pm

  88. Jun says:

    Hi MM, Here’s what I got from a book “Culinaria Spain” by Marion Trutter which said the Flan is Spain’s national dessert which is not exactly baked custard but a custard made of eggs, sugar and milk then cook in a bain-marie. It also says that the milk used is instrumental in the success of the flan. A top quality unpasteurized whole milk is the best. It also suggest a bit of vanilla, lemon peel or brandy for flavor. A fresh homemade flan has a light, creamy texture and it is possible to taste the egg yolks and milk.

    here’s one interesting note, to elevate the flan to gastronomics height place one or two green fig leaves overnight in the milk.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:42 pm

  89. Jun says:

    A top quality unpasteurized whole milk is best. It also suggest a little vanilla, lemon peel or brandy for flavor. A fresh homemade flan has a light, creamy texture and it is possible to taste the egg yolk and whole milk.

    Here’s one more interesting note is that to elevate the flan to a gastronomic heights place one or two fig leaves overnight in the milk.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:47 pm

  90. Jun says:

    arghh!!! there is something wrong with the updating of word into the comment. First it doesn’t show the last paragraph that is why I enter it back. But later on it shows back in the comment line which is why there is two entry. Anyway I hope I made my point here that it seems back MM’s entry that fresh milk is really the best for the leche flan along with fresh tamarind for sinigang.

    Jan 21, 2009 | 9:54 pm

  91. dizzy says:

    Mr. MM, thanks to you I have just discovered a major tragedy in my life – I have never tasted leche flan made with fresh milk/cream :-(


    Jan 21, 2009 | 10:11 pm

  92. faithful reader says:

    I do have to say that I use the sinigang mix instead of fresh tamarind. But if we had fresh tamarind available here in the US I would use fresh Tamarind. In the past, before they even had the sinigang mix we had to use fresh lemons to make sinigang :-( So all I can say now is thank god for the sinigang mix.

    Jan 22, 2009 | 12:35 am

  93. Pam says:

    Hi MM! Glad you’re back and what an entry to come back with! Love it!

    I have never said no to a leche flan that came my way, but the best remains to be that made of fresh cow’s milk. Using fresh cow’s milk used to be the basic ingredient in every household where my Mom came from (Bulacan). You’ll be able to tell the difference because the condensed milk makes the leche flan heavier/denser both in mouthfeel and the tummy.

    I love the way you compared it to the sinigang mix. Just like these mixes, I guess the condensed milk is the modern world’s way of teaching one how to make leche flan the convenient and almost fool proof way. If you do get to try making leche flan with fresh cow’s milk, you’ll see that it’s like making condensed milk, only the flan is dessert instead of just cream/milk.

    Good luck with the flan-off! : )

    Jan 22, 2009 | 4:08 am

  94. gweni says:

    my mom uses evaporated and condensed milk too.. egg yolks of course, sugar and dayap rind.. i just don’t know the ratio but i swear by her recipe. it’s just so silky and contrary to what people say about the texture of this “shortcut” recipe, it’s actually very silky and creamy. kinda like the ones you see on tv commercials. no bubbles, air packets whatsoever. it’s divine!

    Jan 22, 2009 | 6:58 am

  95. rhea says:

    thanks,marketman! i would really like to know the outcome of your experiment! by the way, if you don’t mind – i’ve added your site to my blog list. i’ve been an added reader since last year. God bless and more power!!!

    Jan 22, 2009 | 7:50 am

  96. Ellen says:

    Hi, MM! I am proud to say that I came from a family of really good cooks – my mother, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters are all superb cooks. However, I have never saw them cooking leche flan with fresh milk, be it carabao’s or cow’s. The reason for this is probably the fact that I also belong to the average Filipino family who has only known that a leche flan is cooked with canned evaporated and condensed milk.

    It is fortunate that in my life, I have had opportunities to taste leche flans made with fresh milk, but considering that I grew up with the leche flan made by the cooks in my family, I would always think, without feeling culturally deprived, that the best leche plan is still the one made with canned milk.

    Jan 22, 2009 | 8:17 am

  97. ted says:

    Re: white house chef, as quoted from an article in the SF Chronicle.

    “The Obamas have decided to keep the current chef, Cristeta Comerford, who has been part of the White House kitchen staff since the Clinton administration, rising to the rank of executive chef under Laura Bush. The Obamas, who have two young daughters, like the idea that Comerford, the first woman ever to head up the kitchen at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., is also a parent.”

    Also thanks for the recipe, i would surely try this fresh heavy cream version.

    Jan 22, 2009 | 8:28 am

  98. mayums says:

    leche flan is my favorite and i have tasted both the dense types and the lighter ones, although i am not too sure if these lighter flans were prepared using fresh milk. one thing though, i prefer flans without the citrus taste. all flans prepared by my aunt (a great cook) used canned milk.

    i have also seen sinigang and kare-kare made from scratch. and while kare-kare is still prepared from scratch in our home (but we’ve tried using the mix also), our sinigang is cooked using the powdered and cubed “sampaloc”. i don’t detect any difference though, maybe just on the MSG content.

    yes, we came from an ordinary family so i guess there’s the issue of convenience and affordability.

    Jan 22, 2009 | 9:12 am

  99. millet says:

    flour in the leche flan? aaargh!

    i find that the major difference between leche flans made with canned and those made with fresh milk are that those made with evaporated AND condensed milk tend to have a “heavier”, which I think most pinoys favor. the ones made with fresh milk tend to seem deceptively lighter (and the key word here is “deceptively”, haha…

    waiting for the results of your cholesterolic experiment, MM. and i agree with the suggestions for the next eyeball- barbecue and leche flan! yum!

    Jan 22, 2009 | 9:56 am

  100. kiko says:

    how ’bout a blog on these cookbooks that disappoint? I recently tried an ensaymada recipe from this cookbook written by a well known Philippine culinary personality and it just bombed… the author i think was more concerned ’bout “name dropping” than testing the recipes… that ensaymada recipe, btw, was just one of many…

    could you please email me the name of this “K” cookbook so i can avoid it… thanks!

    Jan 22, 2009 | 10:34 am

  101. Angela says:

    I agree with Kiko. My brother’s father-in-law went home for a visit and I gave him a list of cookbooks to bring back. One of the books I requested starts with “K”. I’d hate to waste my money on a book that’s full of errors.

    Jan 22, 2009 | 2:26 pm

  102. keithchiko says:

    oh yeah come to think of it i cook sinigang using sampaloc (fruit and the young leaves). i only tried using the sinigang mix when i stayed in manila and eventually here abroad..

    BUT the leche flan recipe that i grew up with used canned milk too!!!! hmmm..i never thought of it being unusual until now..why didn’t we use gatas ng kalabaw when it was readily available back home????to think my lola always insisted using the “freshest” most “natural” ingredients in her cooking…hmmm

    Jan 22, 2009 | 2:52 pm

  103. zon says:

    Hi!have discovered MM site recently and I have learned heaps of cooking tips and recipes. Recently, I cooked sinigang with frozen kamias (we are here in new zealand and imagine the price!) and my kids loved my sinigang better. Ibang iba pag “fresh” kesa sa sinigang mix. Nakakamiss ang puno ng kamias sa bahay namin back in pinas. Kuha ka lang sa bakuran pag magsisigang kami…hay…

    Jan 22, 2009 | 3:49 pm

  104. Lava Bien says:

    Wow! flummoxed hehehehe haven’t heard this from my western folks, deep very deep.

    Anyways your stint with AB would probably be on Feb. 2nd here as they’re showing Azores for next Monday (reruns on Tuesdays), can’t wait to see mi pais en tele.

    Jan 22, 2009 | 5:52 pm

  105. Marketman says:

    Lava Bien, possibly Feb 16, as Feb 9 has an episode entitled “Food Porn” scheduled… but I won’t get to see the show anyway so I will rely on feedback from U.S. based readers like you! :)

    Jan 22, 2009 | 6:18 pm

  106. Queen B says:

    I have to admit before this post the only way I know how Leche flan is made is with Evaporated and condensed milk. I haven’t made one for a long time since a friend makes it for us all the time. I have no point of comparison with the one made with evap and with fresh milk so I cannot answer your poll as for now. Looking forward to your post regarding the leche flan made with fresh milk, I think I’ll give it a go…

    Jan 22, 2009 | 7:06 pm

  107. jun says:

    off topic MM, I found out that in Malaysia ang Singapore they actually blur the whole pig probably to be sensitive to Muslim. this means I won’t get to see your lechon. they just show Saudi episode last week so it won’t be that soon before I see the Philippine version

    Jan 22, 2009 | 10:48 pm

  108. Angela says:

    Sister, I cannot find any fresh cream at any of the grocery stores in my area–only utra pasteurized. What would happen if I use this instead?

    Jan 24, 2009 | 6:26 am

  109. Marketman says:

    Angela, yes pasteurized cream will do if fresh is not available. jun, bummer, hopefully someone in the U.S. puts it on youtube…

    Jan 24, 2009 | 4:38 pm

  110. Laura says:

    Hi MM – do u think rhubard for sinigang will work, since fresh tamarind’s not readily available here in the US?? Thanks for the tips.

    Jan 25, 2009 | 9:13 am

  111. Marketman says:

    Laura, I have never tried rhubarb in a hot soup… But I do know that some folks love parsnips in their sinigang…

    Jan 25, 2009 | 9:42 pm

  112. Zet says:

    Why indeed bother using canned milk for leche flan when fresh milk is readily available and cheaper (here in the US)? For me, its the memory – it takes me back to the Philippines. By using fresh milk its just “plain” creme caramel that you can order in restaurants. For me, using canned milk makes it a Filipino leche flan. But that’s just me.
    By the way, check out “The New Best Recipe: All New Edition” by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. They have a recipe for creme caramel and an explanation on how they come up with the “best” recipe. I haven’t tried it yet.

    Jan 26, 2009 | 5:00 am

  113. Sarah MUM says:

    Hi MM. I have never made a flan (condensed or otherwise) in my life. And after all that has been said about it, I want to try making one. My sister has perfected (in our opinion anyway) making one using the canned variety . And since I want to make it right the first time, I will make it using the best ingredients- carabao milk (which is readily available in my area- quite expensive at 165-=\ pesos per liter, if I may add), homemade vanilla (this i can say I made from scratch- Madagascar vanilla pods and good vodka), dayap etc.
    Where can I find the recipe for this recipe?? I’ll update you once I have made one… Wish me luck…

    Jan 26, 2009 | 12:44 pm

  114. elaine says:

    By the way, I found that there is a regular supply of milkmaid and alpine in Parco (times st. qc)

    Mar 11, 2009 | 4:49 pm

  115. Aileen Barredo says:

    I’d say at least 50% of the time my family ate sinigang in Manila, the meal was made from scratch. I could’ve sworn it was ALWAYS made from scratch, but I just asked Mom about it, and she said that most likely from a mix since it was already “uso” (popular) then to do so. However, she DID use fresh tamarind (boiled first, mashed, then the strained juice poured into the broth). Lots of great veggies.
    For many years now, I haven’t been able to enjoy sinigang due to food allergies. I’d wonder why I would always feel nauseated and “hot” around the neck and face, then get rashes, abdominal cramps, and throbbing pain that would travel up and down my limbs for days. As it turned out, I’m allergic to the shrimp powder that is included in the mix! [Shrimp never used to bother me until about 8 years ago, along w/ many other seafood, which stem from the use of corn (allergen) to feed farm-raised seafood.] After having to go without sinigang for two years, I was able to enjoy it again a few months ago when Mom made a batch from scratch! So delicious, but so time-consuming for her :( A couple of months ago, she made one with a mix, and I had no intention of trying it, but couldn’t resist once I had a whiff of the intoxicating aroma. (I learned my lesson– I felt horrible for days! Never again!) From now on, it’s from scratch or none at all!
    As for leche flan, we always receive great compliments when we serve ours made with eggs, sugar, and you guessed it, condensed and evaporated milks!

    Jun 10, 2010 | 1:48 am

  116. horti_guy says:

    The leche flan that I grew up eating uses evap and condensed milk. The best one I’ve tasted so far are the ones made by my relatives in Batangas. They use duck egg yolks instead of chicken eggs (so smooth and silky, it melts in your mouth!). My mom uses pandan leaves to flavor the caramel (instead of vanilla).

    As for sinigang, I grew up using the soup packet + tomatoes. When I tried using broth from boiled fruits (guava, sampalok or kalamias) + tomatoes for souring the sinigang, I never went back. Good thing these fruits are available here in our place.

    Nov 3, 2010 | 6:38 am


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